Scary movies were never scary to me, because they just weren’t. Sure, a few had their moments of suspense, but really, I was never, ever downright terrified.
Okay, that’s a lie. When I was six or seven I watched Stephen King’s It and I will never, EVER like clowns. But I was much too young for a movie like that. And since, nothing scared me. I actually rather enjoyed horror.
That was until I saw Paranormal Activity. The movie itself was low budget and gimmicky, and reminded me of a terrible version of an M. Night Shyamalan flick. The suspense built nicely, but it was all fake, and I knew it.
But there was something about
the camera in the bedroom.
It was unnerving, but okay. I chalked it up to the shadows of the hallway and stairwell.
Yet it still bothered me. And then it was the ending that made me feel my first extreme anxiety attack in years.
You see, I wasn’t pregnant. I didn’t have my son yet. It wasn’t until after he was born over a year later that I started to understand what bothered me so much about that movie.
It spoke to something else. Something I didn’t know about until after he was born.
The ending of that movie nearly scared me to death, yet I didn’t have a clue why. I couldn’t even think about it without getting so scared my pulse tripled and I broke out into a sweat, among other things I couldn’t even begin to understand.
I don’t know what exactly triggered those memories to come back, but they did. And to this day I still cannot watch that movie — let alone think about it in detail — without causing my anxiety to skyrocket and send me into a spiral of flashbacks.
Come to find out, stomping, erratic footsteps coming up the stairs is one of my biggest triggers.
That was always how I knew he was coming. And I always sat across from the door, staring at it, as if I might see through it. Hoping against hope that for once, he might just go to bed, instead of turning down the hallway and coming straight for me.
I remembered that much.
I remembered the beatings. The punishments. But thought I passed out after. Or something. What came after was always an unknown to me.
But I remembered. I was wrong. I didn’t pass out. It was so much worse.
Now, I remember most of it. What happened after I checked out. Disassociated.
And I think I will always fear the sounds of ominous footsteps coming up the stairs.
© Sarah Doughty