I’m scared of everything; the dark, being home alone, bugs, ninjas that use trampolines to bounce onto my room. Everything.
A decade ago, my sister suggested that we go to Halloween Night at our local theme park. It was a fun idea. For Diana. For me, it was an exercise it trying not to wet my pants. I clung tight to my sister all evening, as a comfort, or a shield, and if necessary an offering. Although, a bigger, fatter person would have made a much better shield, but scaredy cats take what they can get.
I spent the whole evening being terrified out of my skin, at points throwing myself and Diana sideways with the intensity of my reactions. That was until we got to the pig-man. He wasn’t a person, or at least from the chest down he might have been, but up top, he was a pig. Or sort of a pig.
Pigs share an awful lot of our genetic code which is why they get used in science a lot. This creature looked like he had come out of the wrong end of an experiment. He was making these tortured, animalistic sounds. While I spent the entire night feeling like I was going to die, when I met the pig-man, I was certain my time had come.
I bolted for the exit, throwing Diana backwards towards the pig-man as a sacrifice. “I’m sorry she’s not bigger or fatter,” I called over my shoulder.
That last part isn’t true. The only thing that came out of my mouth was the strangled howl of a person escaping death. I ran the rest of the way through the house, shoving the other tourists out of the way in my bid for salvation.
When Diana emerged from the haunted house, she was furious. “You threw me at the pig man! There was ONE scary thing in this entire park and you threw me at it!”
There may have been one scary thing to her, but for me, the entire park was scary, while the pig-man was the harbinger of my death.
I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake”. Diana recommended it. “It’s really good, you’ll love it.”
I was so scared after reading the book last night that I couldn’t go downstairs to brush my teeth. My son has been sleeping in my bed and not for his comfort, for mine. There have been a couple of times, after closing the book this past week, when I’ve felt like leaning over and shaking my four year old awake. “C’mon buddy, Mommy has to go to the bathroom. You have to come with me. Wake up, wake up; I do this for you in the morning.”
There’s nothing quite like reading about the end of the world, when it feels like you’re living through the end of the world.
Finally, I called my sister on it. “That was a really scary book you wanted me to read.”
“Really? Was it?” The skeptical note in her voice nearly killed me.
“You don’t remember the hemorrhagic plague that killed everyone? And the genetically-altered, murderous pigs?” My mind went back to the night of the pig-man.
“Oh yeah, I guess it was scary.” This admission came out like I had corrected her on the colour of our childhood dollhouse.
And then it came to me, this was her revenge for offering her up to the pig-man. Life is long. But sibling rivalry is longer. I’m scared for what she has planned for the afterlife.