I've always had an active imagination. When i was a kid i spent many hours either serving customers in my bedroom cum post office or arguing very important cases in the dinning room that doubled as a magistrates court (till this day my mother still doesn't know where her mop heads kept disappearing to). The hallway light had to be left on at bedtime though it wasn't due to my fear of the dark or the boggy man in the wardrobe but more to the fear of my own imagination. in the dark it would go into over time and the shadows were infact monsters from another realm in disguise, waiting for the moment when i slipped into sleep and they could pounce. But it wasn't until i left home and set up in my own broom cupboard sized 'apartment' that i realized exactly how overactive it could be and, as it gradually became apparent to me, dangerous.
It was a Friday night. A friend of mine from college and i had planned a night in with a few movies and a over sized bowl of popcorn but at the last minute she had been called to attend a family gathering for a cantankerous aunts birthday. Well i had already rented the movie we had agreed to watch, a new release horror, and although i would not normally put myself through that kind of film alone i was damned if i was paying nearly four quid for a film i wasn't going to watch. So against my better judgment and telling myself i was a grown-up now and i had no need to be fearful of SGI and clever camera tricks i put the DVD in the player.
A bad idea.
I was fine watching the film and although it was scary and gruesome i felt confident that it wouldn't keep me from sleep or turn the shadows into one of the films disfigured, blood sucking night crawlers. And i was right, i slept like a baby slipping into unconsciousness the moment my head hit the pillow.
The next day i was on my way home from my evening job waitressing at Ron's Bar and Grill. It was 10 o'clock and being the middle of July the sun had gone down but remnants of it's blistering heat and light lingered. It was a fifteen minute walk and although there was a bus that stopped right outside the grotty block i lived in i had spent too much of my budget already that week and needed to save the small amount of money i had left. Ten minutes into my stroll i was out of the busy area of town, the drunken yelling and nightclub sounds had become a distant murmur and the streets were deserted. My imagination seemed to decide that now would be an appropriate time to kick in and all of a sudden the distant rumblings of life could no longer be heard and tendrils of shadow reached out to caress my bare toes. Despite the left over heat of the day a chill crept up my spine and goospimples broke out all over my body. My imagination then took it apon itself to recall the images from the movie of the night before and a crystal clear picture of the demon's mishapped lumpy head jumped into my mind's eye, it's raw bleeding skin rippling above the parasites that kept it alive.
And then it happened.
Movement to the left of my vision made me turn sharply. My breath caught in my throat freezing the scream that threatened to burst through my chest and my feet became rooted to the ground as unable to run as i was to command them.
There it stood on the corner of Brook Street. The creature i had so perfectly remembered from the film i should never have watched. It's razor sharp teeth were revealed, dripping with its own blood as it pierced it's lower lip in an insane grin, gleaming red eye's gazed at me hungrily and i knew it could hear my heart beating and see the blood pumping through my veins.
I was dinner.
But how could this be?? This was not a real being, it was an actor in a suit with heavy latex mask. Make-up and special effects had gone into producing this....thing thousands of miles away in Hollywood so how could it be here in the middle of the United Kingdom??
Fear paralyzed me, coursed through my body, and i felt it might do the job for that thing and stop my heart dead. I had to do something, get away from it run as far as i could. But i couldn't move, couldn't will my feet to lift and carry me to safety. I was going to die, painfully and slowly as it sucked the life blood from my body. And then it took a step toward me and the spell was broken. I darted to my right forcing the muscles in my legs to sprint as fast as was possible, i dropped my back as i ran but i barely noticed i was so relieved i could move. i could hear the monsters clawed feet slapping on the concrete behind me as it took chase and i pushed harder a burning sensation quickly creeping up my thighs. The image of it closing in on me, feeling it's warm wet breath on my neck came to me and the terror stole some of the air i needed to keep going. I could not let that terror overcome me, slow me down even a second i had to run like i never had in my life. I forced the picture of it from my mind, replaced it with something to distract the fear. I had an essay to complete by Monday, if i didn't hand it in to my first lesson i would be getting a D for English lit. I filled my head with the specifications for the essay trying to remember what the teacher said he expected from it. And then i was outside the front of my block facing the graffiti covered concrete and cracked glass door that led into the urine stained foyer. I chanced a look behind me to see how far the creature was.
The street was empty. Not a soul in sight. No people, and no monsters.
My overactive imagination had projected it and now the projection had been turned off. But when would the show begin again and what would it treat me too next time?