I’m the biggest coward this side of the Mississippi. I don’t do dark. I’m one of those who reaches for the door knob and in the instant before it opens I imagine all kinds of monsters and psychos lurking in the corners or under the cars in the garage. Or just behind the closet door. But I’m also a sucker for a scary book, television show, or movie. If done well. I also don’t do stupid. Sometimes scary is just plain dumb. For me, Stephen King is IT! 

My fear of the dark may stem from a mishap as a child of about six, when my father sent me upstairs to retrieve something terribly unimportant and besides, why couldn’t one of my OLDER brothers do it? It was DARK up there. And the stairway was unlit and steep and the floorboards squeaked. I grabbed whatever nonessential item my father needed and turned to run into the light. Instantly, bright stars flickered in my head like a fourth of July fireworks display and I clung to the door frame (now drizzled with blood) my nose had just met head-on. You can’t imagine the force one skinny six-year-old can generate when faced with sheer panic. My nose certainly did! Hmm. Maybe that’s why my friends called me “Mush” after that.  

We live in the mountains of Arizona at the base of the Mogollon Rim and the legend of the Mogollon Monster is quite prolific at times. I’ve never seen him (other than my imagination) but others have sworn they have. I’ve threatened to bottle the water where they call home and drink up, then sit and wait for the magic to begin. I’m thinking there might be a bit—or a lot—of “additives” in their wells. 

My son played baseball when he was younger and one evening on the return trip from Camp Verde the subject of the Mogollon Monster came up and  strange things have happened on this mountain that can’t be explained. At least not by me. I was never very good with scientific things. So began the story of a young female ghost dressed in a long, flowing dress with plenty of ruffles, wide-brimmed hat and beckoning passing drivers at night on the outskirts of Pine. His eyes widened and he swallowed hard as we descended into the small town. He didn't blink. As the story goes, the pioneer woman beckons travelers to come join her in her otherworldly realm. Some of the guys on the highway crew I work with have seen her on more than one occasion, especially when they are plowing snow late at night or into the wee hours of the morning.

Now, I never claimed to be the best mom in the world. My parents were kinda stuffy and never did anything out of the ordinary. I vowed not to be like them. Who doesn’t? On this particular night when we returned home, I grabbed a flashlight and a hoody and sneaked outside by his bedroom window. I pulled the hoody over my head to cover as much flesh as I could and stuck the flashlight in my mouth. I probably should have washed it first, but brilliant ideas burst onto the scene with little practicality. Per my instructions, hubby lifted the blinds in our son’s room, then asked him to go close them. At the same time as our son reached for the blinds, I switched the flashlight on and hubby hit the light switch off! The scream that ensued would have scared a banshee into running in the opposite direction! I laughed till I nearly wet my pants. I think my son did. Hubby and I were both pretty sore around the middle the next day and astonished the police didn't show up.

Our son didn't laugh, but if looks could kill I would have been dead meat on the spot. He still can’t watch a scary movie and although he doesn’t mention it, I think it stems from that night long ago when he was fourteen and I was such a bad mom. And for some reason, rarely does he open the blinds. Too bad. He’s missing quite a view.

What goes around, comes around as they say. And this certainly did. Check back next week when I’ll tell you how this sensitive, funny, smart young man finally got revenge. He's tapping into his darker side. He gets that from me. 

Until then,

Happy Reading, Happy Writing! 
And I’ll keep the light on for ya. 


Photo of "Lillian" above taken 
by BBS TV crew during taping 
of Supernatural Adventures.


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