Fright night at home

SINCE my partner started working nights, I’ve discovered how much of a wuss I can be.

I can’t watch the plethora of crime shows on TV after 8.30pm because it always results in me staring wide-eyed around the room, waiting for burglars, boogeymen and deranged killers to burst in.

In fact, driving to Toowoomba one night gave me a mild panic attack as I imagined breaking down beside the highway and being slaughtered by some trenchcoat-clad man with a hook for a hand.

There’s something to be said for having no imagination.

In the company of others I can put on a convincing bravado – or maybe I’m soothed by the thought that there is someone there to help, or at least bear witness to my untimely death.

I have been known to scare others with ghost stories and convincing renditions of Linda Blair from The Exorcist (not the crab walk down the stairs, obviously).

But usually when I embark on quests to scare others, the tables are quickly turned just by a person standing menacingly in the shadows as I come down the hall.

I’ve developed a unique skill of screaming and running in the air at the same time. The only other person I’ve seen execute this manouevre is my mother.

The poor woman has had several children frequently indulging in scare tactics at her expense.

Living in a poorly designed house once – where you could see the shower rose from the carport – I decided to splash some cold water in on my unsuspecting mother.

She sensed my presence before her failing sight registered a face at the window.

As her innocent face contorted with fear, I couldn’t possibly splash her with water.

It was hard enough to remain standing, I was laughing that hard.

But before you think I’m a heartless wench, I’ve had my fair share of sibling-induced paranoia.

Hide and seek with my elder brother was only ever played under the cover of darkness – with him brandishing a steak knife. Purely for effect, you understand.

Leaving home and living by myself was only marginally better.

I can remember one embarassing night while moving house – I had an upended couch sitting in the laundry that I mistook for a formidable hulk of a man with scary intentions.

The scream caught in my throat, so convinced was I that the couch was about to lunge.

I did that twice.

You’d think I would have just moved the couch.

So you can understand how I relish having someone who loves me enough to inspect outside noises for me.

Unfortunately he’s not always home now and the sound of his footsteps in the hall has me in the grip of terror before I realise it’s him.


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