I distinctly remember the first scary book I ever read–“Rosemary’s Baby.” For all of you under the age of consent, it’s the story of a young, well-to-do newlywed. She and her husband move into this grand old apartment building in Manhattan and are immediately taken in by all of the strange neighbors. Turns out they’re not just strange, they’re truly evil. Anyhow, Rosemary gets pregnant and that’s when the weirdness ratchets up another notch. After a series of odd events, we–and Rosemary–come to realize that she is carrying the child of the devil himself. Finally, she goes into labor–at the apartment I think–after much pushing and panting and gnashing of teeth, the baby finally arrives and it’s a …..
Well, I don’t know what it is because that’s as far as I got. I was sitting in my yellow bedroom on Hen Peck Lane here in Franklin. I jumped up, threw the book in the little trash can and covered it with kleenexes. Because clearly the devil wouldn’t find me if he was covered with used tissues.
That started a trend that continued for several years. I call it my Devil Baby phase, interspered with the occasional Stephen King. I would literally torture myself with scary books. They all had names like “Come Back Audrey Rose,” “The Demon Seed,” “The Omen” and of course, the granddaddy of the all–“The Exorcist.” And even though it wasn’t literally a devil baby book, I think that Salem’s Lot–King’s story of boy vampires–scared me most of all. (Hell, why did I start this on a night I’m home alone?) In it he descibes a scene of the vampire boys floating outside the window of another boy…waiting to get their fangs into him. (Excuse me, I have to go lower the blinds now.)
Anyhow, the point is, I never finished any of them. I would read until I was literally too scared to turn another page and then I’d throw them under the bed.
A few years later, I’m married and living in Fort Worth, Tex. Husband changed jobs and the new company moved us to Little Rock, Ark. Since they were doing all the packing, I took advantage of a few days off and came home to Franklin to visit. Husband stayed behind to supervisor the packing and moving.
The last thing the movers took was our bed. But as soon as they picked it up, they saw what I had left behind. About 26 devil baby books. And a few hundred kleenexes.
Today I’m older and wiser. The scariest thing now I read is my monthly financial statement.