It’s been a long time since I inhaled a book. I used to be able to read one in a sitting or two, but now this time frame has been stretched into months. While I’ve read some very wonderful tomes this way, I haven’t felt carried away by one in a very long time. It finally happened again last night.
A long, hectic weekend at work was culminated by a family gathering at our house yesterday. The grandchildren ran amok, as usual. When everyone finally left and the place was cleaned up, I went right for the Ultimate Recliner and my book. Kevin turned on a movie and we disappeared into our own little worlds for awhile. My plan was to read for about an hour, then head up to bed.
An hour later, my eyes were still wide open and the pages were flying beneath them. Kevin was beginning to nod on the couch and finally turned the TV off to head upstairs. I told him I’d be up shortly, as I could tell something good was about to happen. I hadn’t felt that consumed with reading something in a long, long time.
Alone downstairs in our tiny, darkened den, I continued. The only light was the one illuminating my page. A half an hour later, it happened. Stephen King’s own brand of horror began. I was riveted and entirely absorbed by each page. He creeped me out and horrified my senses, just as he used to do when I was a younger woman. Success! I felt I could sit up for half the night and finish the book; something I haven’t done in years.
Except for one little problem.
I was now too frightened to continue. My eyes began furtively darting from the printed page to the darkened rooms around me. My concentration broken; my imagination set free. What was that sound? Did the dog just raise her ear? Why won’t the cat come in here with me? I tried to read more, but started to picture an otherworldly creature waiting in the next room to grab me with outstretched arms, covered in dripping seaweed. I was doomed. No. Read more. I must read more and get past these images. If I could only get to a safe spot in the book, I could make it upstairs more easily.
Upstairs. I had stairs to climb. Stairs that I was certain would be covered in wet footprints. Stairs that would have sand and seashells on every riser. Stop that! I attempted to read more.
But, I then found my overactive mind going through the motions of buttoning up the house to go to bed. I would have to leave the darkened den, where the only light was burning. Something would surely grab me before I got across the dining room to turn on another light. No! Stop it! I would then pass through the kitchen and lock the door to the sunroom. I would turn on all of the lights as I went to give me comfort. I would lock the dog in the mudroom, then systematically turn off the lights and go upstairs like a big girl.
Go upstairs. How could I go up those stairs? There were things waiting to scare me, to grab me, to horrify me on those stairs. How was I ever going to be able to take the time to empty my bladder before going to bed? I was certain there would be something waiting in the bathtub for me. My imagination knew no boundaries. My heart began pounding and I knew I had to just go for it, as fast as I could.
I zipped through the dining room and hit the lights. The kitchen lights then also went on, the sunroom got locked, the dog was hurried to her bed and the gate to lock her in went up. I left every light blazing and flew up the stairs without looking down at them. I set a new record for Fastest Land Pee and dashed into the bedroom, pulling the door closed behind me.
My hurry to get under the covers woke Kevin, who mumbled something of a query about if I had been enjoying my book. Trembling, I admitted I had scared myself so badly that I left all the lights on downstairs and only came to bed so he could protect me. His sleepy giggles set off a few of my own before I let him wrap me in the safety of his arms as protection against the demons of my Stephen King filled evening.
It felt really good to let a book grab me like that again. Thanks, Steve.