I’ve been working overtime on the final edits for “The Button”. I decided to use our trailer to work uninterrupted with the bonus it has air conditioning, which the house doesn’t. The trailer is parked in a space above the house, but near the garage and back yard. One side faces the long dark driveway and the other side (where the door is) there’s a heavily forested area. It’s a lovely place to work during the day. I appreciate seeing the douglas firs, pines, oaks, dogwoods, madrones, and other assorted greenery.
But, I’ve added night shifts to meet my upcoming deadline. After dinner I’d head out with my cell phone and laptop and get to work. The backyard and garage lights provide enough illumination to make me feel somewhat safe. Yet, there is the side of the trailer that borders the murky forest. Even leaving the porch light on it doesn’t throw out enough glow to alleviate my fears of what could be lurking in the night.
The first night out–power outage. The only way that would happen was if the trailer came unplugged from the outlet on the house. Of course, my mind raced with thoughts…who unplugged it? What did they want? I texted my husband and got no reply because he was asleep. My lap top’s battery was exhausted, and I wasn’t done working for the night.
Setting my fears aside was all I could do. I hurried out the door to see what happened. Luckily, both dogs were outside and kept watch on my rush to the outlet. It was unplugged. I thought perhaps my husband or I tripped over it and didn’t notice. I left it at that, while trying to ignore the other scenarios my mind was creating including serial killers. So, I brought Sara our Shepard-mix back with me to the trailer and left Hermie our black lab to watch over my sleeping husband. All went smoothly the rest of that night with Sara by my side.
Sara became my night-time companion in the trailer. Each night when I was done she’d bravely make sure it was safe with the darkness of the forest taunting us. This place is where shadows don’t exist and where an animal had screamed loudly a few nights ago. That cry was so piercing I heard it from the house. My first response was to go outside and yell at whatever was hurting the animal. It didn’t listen though, and after a while there was silence. That night I researched the sound and decided it was either a fox warning or a rabbit being killed. I went with the fox. That ‘scream and silence’ stayed with me all week.
A few nights later right before 11:00 pm, I was working with Sara next to me. It was a warm night, so I had the door open. I was editing the evildwel’s part when something heavy walked through the darkness right outside the door, but out of sight of the yellow porch light. Sara’s ears were up, and she was alert. My heart started racing along with my mind. I froze for a moment as the sounds of twigs and branches snapped under its weight. I decided it would be a great time to shut the door and lock it–once I convinced my feet to move. Sara’s attention was on the doorway while my fear changed into panic. Finally, I got my body to move and I raced to close the door. I held my breath until the moment I turned the red latch on the door locking it.
I could still hear the creatures’ progress through an open window. My next step was to shut all the drapes so it couldn’t see me lit up by a computer’s screen. That is also when I noticed it was darker than normal outside. I’d forgotten to turn on the backyard light. Everything was bathed in nighttime. I was convinced that this thing wanted me. I didn’t have the house phone, so I texted my husband. Like before, no response he was asleep. Perhaps if I stayed where I was and slept in the trailer, it would go away? But what if it got into the trailer—there was no place to hide. I would have to defend myself. Why didn’t I think to keep a weapon out here with me? Maybe I should try to reach out to someone. One of my kids should still be up. I couldn’t make a call from where I was at, but I could text. What would I say? I would either worry them or have them laughing at me. What little pride I had left, I decided I was saving them from worrying.
About then my rational thoughts started breaking through my fears. I wasn’t going to let noises in the dark scare me. It was just a byproduct of writing about scary things. So, I settled back to work, with Sara now sleeping quietly next to me. She didn’t seem worried about anything. I took that as a sign all was well. Around midnight I closed my laptop. Done for the night, I knew the only person that was going to get me inside my house, was me. I let Sara out first to clear the path and walked as quickly as I could behind her in the darkness. That 50-foot journey took forever. Luckily, I didn’t need to test my theory whether laptops make good weapons or not,when I made it safely into our garage, and then the house. I locked the door and the darkness out. The next day I was back in the trailer enjoying the green splendor. Yet night wasn’t far off…
When I write about those evil entities that feed off fear and I hear a noise at night…. will I be scared? Yes. Will that fear find its way into my writing? It will. Will I bring some protection with me next time? Guaranteed. Will I make sure the backyard light is on encroaching on the night? Absolutely.
You see I’ve done my research of things that go bump in the night. These things haven’t found me yet, but I know they are there. It may only be a fox, deer, bear, coyote, or mountain lion, but I haven’t ruled out Bigfoot, evil monsters, aliens, or one of those crazy humans, either.
So, know when I’m writing about something scary, I’ve been that scared before. And my heart may have been racing as I typed the words, but that never stopped me from writing. When reality finds me creating fiction, I’ve found it takes a bit of bravery not to run away…and just keep writing.
Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn