My younger daughter insists that she’s not scared of the things she’s scared of. This includes books, pictures, Scooby-Doo movies, and stories that other kids tell her. She denies it all, but come bedtime, it’s all lights blazing.
What’s interesting is that she seeks out the things that scare her. Like a lot of fans of the horror genre, be it book, movie, or campfire story, she’s drawn to the things that scare her.
I wasn’t all that different. I wasn’t a big reader growing up. When I finally did find an author I liked, it was Stephen King. He was the first adult author I actively read. I would put on a pair of giant old-fashioned headphones, put “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield on the turntable, and read about vampires and scary clowns and rabid dogs.
For my daughter, the fascination persists. She wants to look at the train wrecks even though she knows they would keep her up at night. More than once I’ve had to tell her “No, you can’t watch The Walking Dead with me, it’s not appropriate for someone your age, it’s very violent, and it will scare the bejesus out of you.” Yet despite her fears, my daughter keeps arguing with me that, no, she won’t be scared of The Walking Dead, that everything will be fine.
Last night, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
After I came in from a late evening appointment, I went upstairs to see how my girls were doing getting ready for bed. I found my younger daughter sitting in bed with my wife, pencil furiously scribbling words across paper.
“Daddy,” she says, “I’m writing a violent story!”
“I’m sorry, what?” I ask.
“I’m writing a violent story. It’ll be scary and violent and everything.”
She holds up the stapled collection of loose leaf paper. On the front is the cover she’s drawn for it. Before the story is even finished, she’s got a name for the book.
Coming soon, to a campfire near you: “The Blood of the Death!”
My little horror writer.