The horror genre plays a huge part in my childhood memories. My father used to love to tease us with scary tales (mostly child appropriate). He was especially known for a thriller titled, “Now I’ve got you, and now I’m going to eat you.” I also had some adoring uncles who used to tell tales of Indian graveyards on every camping trip. In addition, there was an especially awesome book called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that was a staple in every 4th grader’s backpack, at least back in the 90s it was.
The fun of ghost stories was recently relived with my own daughter while we passed around the flashlight with the lights turned off, telling a story that was just scary enough, and just funny enough to be perfect for a 3 year old.
And that got me thinking of some of the “scary” parenthood stories that I would like to share.* Here’s my attempt at one:
Haunting of the Cave Cricket
It was a dark and windy night in a small bedroom- much like Wee One’s bedroom- where a mother played on the floor with her cuddly baby. The mother marveled at her small child’s recent growth, and how quickly she was able to now crawl wherever she pleased. There was a peace in the mother’s spirit, as she stroked her infant’s soft cheek and watched her crawl after her favorite doll to give it kisses. But that peace was short lived.
The soft cooing of the baby seized as her gaze drifted off to behind the mother’s shoulder. The mother looked behind her, to see what could have caught her daughter’s attention. At first, she could see nothing, but then she saw a black blob slink out of the shadows. The more her eyes focused on the curious blob, the leggier it became, until she finally was able to put a name to the nightmarish creature. It was a cave cricket.
Her heart rate quickened and her mind raced as she attempted to recall everything she knew about the beast. It was half spider/half cricket, and pure evil. She remembered an article she had read that depicted the origin of the demon, claiming it was the result of a satanic ritual where a spider and a cricket were combined through the sacrificial blood of a virgin. Another theory involved an evil Nazi scientist attempting to create the perfect weapon against humanity.
As her brain attempted to process the hideous monster, she grew increasingly aware of it’s proximity to her defenseless child. She spun, grabbed up the baby, and snatched a small child-sized Converse, the only weapon she would have against the monster. However, by the time she stood to face it, it had disappeared.
By this time, her peaceful child had begun to drift off in her arms. In order to not disturb the elusive slumber of the napping 9 month old, she searched the room with her eyes, frantically straining her eyes into each shadow, trying to seek out the beast to protect her daughter. However, her search was useless, and she finally started wondering if she had made the whole thing up in her head.
With the baby now completely asleep, she gingerly laid her down on the play mat. As she stood up, she heard a faint “thump” behind her. She swiftly turned, but saw nothing. She then heard another “thud” from the other side of the room. She could no longer blame her imagination. The demon was real. It continued to taunt her, jumping from one side of the room to the other, remaining unseen just to get her heart racing.
Finally, the beast showed itself, and began it’s attack. The mother summoned all her courage and strength, praying to the saints and the martyrs that had gone before her. She wielded the Converse, and stood to fight, just as David stood against Goliath. She spun her arm, unleashed the shoe, and miraculously directly hit her foe. She picked up the shoe again, and finished the deed by squishing it as hard into the ground as she could until its evil spirit could be sent back to purgatory.
After gathering her senses of her victory, she ran to the kitchen to grab a paper towel to dispose of the gangly body. She replayed the battle in her head. It had been so quick, so surreal, and even more miraculously, her baby had slept through the entire ordeal.
As she came back to collect the remains, she saw her weapon of choice, the small pink Converse, but she could find no trace of the bug. How could it not be dead? What sorcery was this? Stunned and bewildered, she sank down next to her snoozing daughter, not quite able to comprehend what had happened.
She looked down at her daughter, who was awake and smiling gleefully. And on her daughter’s precious chin was a long black leg soaked in slobber. No other remains of the beast were ever seen again.
*Story based on real events, but may be slightly altered for dramatic effect. Obvi.