Horror. I was raised on a steady diet of werewolves, vampires, slashers and mad scientists. Once a week, my family would gather in the living room, clutching bowls of popcorn, and watch the glowing terror ooze from our television set. My brother tried to stay in the room with us, but usually ended up laying across my Mothers' lap facing her to avoid the nightmarish visions that almost always visited him in his slumber. Being the older of the two sons, it was my solemn duty to pick away at his sanity in the cleverest ways I could imagine.
I fast forwarded a blank cassette tape close to the end of the reel. Pressing record, I whispered in a guttural tone "Let me out... let me out..." while scratching at the microphone. A quick rewind and my trap was set. I placed the tape recorder in my brothers closet, and just before bed, I crept into his room and hit play. Shortly after he fell asleep, I quietly positioned myself under his bed with my favorite "Frankenstein Monster" gloves on. Within minutes, the cassette tape began growling it's horrific command. "Let me out!" I could hear my brother stir from his sleep. The mattress began to move violently as he struggled to remove his blankets. I always referred to this moment as my brothers' "pre-launch", as he was known for running screaming to my parents room down the hall after a nightmare or, (throat clearing), my intervention. The tape was working perfectly. I could feel the bed shivering above me as he was moving his feet up from the end of the bed to swing them over the side. His right ankle came into view hesitantly as his foot touched the floor. He was moving much slower than usual due to the closet being right near his door. Whatever was in there, he didn't want to get close to it while making his escape. As I felt the mattress rise, I knew the other foot was coming down and his run was close at hand. I reached out and wrapped my zombie like fingers around his ankle and shrieked "LET ME OUT!" I honestly saw my brother take one step out of his bedroom door after wrenching his foot from my grasp. His stride must have been enormous to clear the room and make it to my parents' door in just a few steps.
I had only seconds to clear the room of evidence and make it back to my bedroom to feign sleep and ignorance. It took everything I had to peel the smile off of my face as my brother pounded on my parents' door, shrieking and sobbing. Something was different this time. Mom and Dad didn't come flying out of their room. Usually, my brother bursts into their room or they make it out to find my brother screaming bloody murder, paralyzed in his bed with fear. From my bed, I could see my parents' room. My brother frantically turning the knob and pounding at the door. "What could be going on that they would not answer their door?" I wondered. My brother now lay in a pile before their room, shuddering and glancing back at his room with wide eyed terror. A feeling of remorse crept up into my chest. Usually, my parents console him and he would be showered with attention and gently calmed down by now. On this night, my brother was left alone in the hall to let the horror drain him of sanity.
I sat up in bed. My heart ached for the poor fellow. Sure, he was an annoying little snot, but he was my brother. "Matt! What's going on?" I shouted. A rustling sound from behind made me quickly spin around to face the other side of my bed. Two large creatures draped in black robes with hideous faces leapt up from the floor next to my bed. They descended upon me with fang and nail. I screamed for my brother, but it was too late. They had me pinned to the bed. The rush of blood to my head and my heart in my throat stung every nerve in my body. Relief came in an instant when I heard the creatures laugh in familiar voices.
Mom and Dad had taught me a lesson that night. Because of the remorse I had felt for filling my brothers' head with waking nightmares, I never bothered him again. I began working at a local haunted house, making home-made horror movies, and writing stories. Now, I scare you.
P.S. My brother, who is now married with children of his own, still sleeps with a night-light thanks to me. The maker of nightmares.