Originally posted on Marie F Crow’s website, re-posted with permission of author.
What Does a Horror Author know of Horror?
What does a horror author know of horror? When living in a home haunted by the ghost of a little girl, plenty. When we moved in the home, we excused a lot of the noises as simply being new to us. We shouldn’t have. Within the first week of calling our new home, home, shadow figures were soon a constant sighting. We dismissed alot of it to “tricks of the eye” or “too many late night movie binges”, but when the clock struck three a.m., it became hard to dismiss it as anything imagined.
The house always takes on a different feel as if by magic or some twist of the senses. The air in the home will start to feel thicker, heavier as the shadows grow deeper. Footsteps can be heard running up and down the hallways’ wooden floors. Voices will call to you as you pass doorways. Sometimes, the little girl will even stand in those doorways staring back at you. When that happens, you almost miss the voices.
Being a mom and a writer, I am often up late at night. That is when I do the best work with no one to ask questions about dinner or homework. I had thought the girl, and the others that seem to roam the house as if we are the guests, and I had struck a deal. By announcing that I was coming downstairs, I was able to avoid a lot of the surprises they used to gift me. They would still let me know I was being watched by the moving of papers, swinging the hanging lanterns, turning on the LED tea lights, or the rush of wind as a shadow crossed my path, but they also allowed me space. They wouldn’t touch me anymore or run up behind me to watch me spin with dread. They wouldn’t pull the doors shut as I tried to open them or slam them as I walked past like an angry teen. I could work with their “hellos” if they just gave me some space. I’m not sure why it changed.
Now, it is not uncommon to see the shadow of a man standing at the top of the stairs at anytime of the day. Sometimes he will wait, lurking the in shadow right past a doorway only to step out as you pass. He will walk behind you, letting you see him in the mirrors of the house and when I shower, I am never really alone. You would imagine that to be more scary for him?
Pictures are torn down from walls to be discovered broken on the floor when going to investigate the loud crash. Even with his new tricks, hers are more impressive. My husband will tell you of the many times she has ran up behind him, waiting for him to turn around only to run away again. You can hear her little feet running all the way from the bedrooms upstairs to the den and back again like a child playing a game of hide and seek. Only, we don’t really want to seek. She has even woken him with gentle shaking motions from sleep to lead him around the house in a state of half-slumber with that same game before she disappears. That is when he remembers that our girls are in bed asleep and have been the whole time.
For me, she plays a different game. She likes to stare at me through the cracked door of my office as I write. With only half of her face visible, I can still watch as she smiles at me when I finally see her. She will follow me from home in the back seat of my car where I will see her in the review mirror before that same smile and she is gone. I can watch her baby-sized handprints form on bathroom mirrors. Her laughter will sometimes come from opposite ends of the house when I am home alone, taunting me to “come play”. I don’t. I have seen enough horror movies to know what happens when you say “Hello?” into a dark room.
So, what does a horror author know of horror? My friends will tell you more than she needs to know. For me? I think it’s all fun and games, but if the crosses should start turning upside down or my children start talking in languages that I don’t understand – text speak aside – you might want to ask me again.
Marie F Crow