When I was young, far too young to know the harm I could do to myself by watching terrifying movies, I permanently damaged something inside of me. You see, I was not the sort of child who ate well at dinnertime. I am reminded of this daily as I struggle to get my own children to eat their dinners. However, back then, I had a secret agenda.
While other children played Asteroids or with Lincoln Logs before going to bed, I stretched out dinner as long as I could manage. And for good reason. My mother made me sit at the dining room table until I finished everything that was on my plate, knowing I never would. Still she tried. But I waited because I knew at some point my mother would turn the television to the shows I wanted to see. My seat at the table had a direct view of the television.
From the dinner table I watched full episodes of The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, One Step Beyond, and many more. At the mere age of four I watched The Omen in its entirety. I filled my curiosity of the things that haunted me to my heart’s delight. And then something broke. One night my mother turned on Psycho and life for me would never be the same.
I know what you’re thinking; “I’ve seen that movie. It’s not that bad.” Well I assure you at 4 or 5 years old it is quite terrifying. In fact, I have never looked at taking a shower the same way. I am thankful for my clear shower stall, no curtain needed to hide the things that might be waiting to stab me. It was such a defining moment in my creepy little life.
You see, it is this emotion I feel when taking a shower that I have become obsessed with. I think all children feel it, and although kids now seem a bit desensitized to it all, it is still there. It hides under their beds or sleeps right outside the window waiting to get in. It’s in their closet calling out their name or in the basement. True horror is always there whether we choose to admit it or not. It waits for us, always there in that brief second where the realization that it does exist finds us. It is then it leaps out, causing us to jump out of our skin.
So why the obsession you ask? Why does one obsess so over lack of sleep? Is it because we desire it so or because we loathe the knowing that we will not find rest? My fascination with horror exists simply because I cannot get these images out of my head. These fears have long haunted me, always waiting around one corner or the next, always terrifying. So it is this constant fear that I examine in my stories, trying to discover the truth behind each horror I have encountered.
Does it work? Some, but not much. I sleep lightly, waking often throughout the night. When we stay at hotels I still peek out around the shower curtain expecting to find Norman Bates, or maybe something worse. I know the Boogeyman rests under my bed, waiting for my eyes to close before he makes himself seen. Ghosts sit at the edge of my bed, hoping I will not wake as they study me. These horrors are part of me and likely always will be. And this is why I write.
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11/06/2012 RELEASE! 05/05/2013 RELEASE
~Kenneth W. Cain