I am kind of a freak in that I like to be scared.
Or, well, I’m actually kind of a freak for a lot of reasons. I am terrified of bugs, but don’t mind bees and only read kids’ books and don’t like onions. But, honestly, I love being scared and apparently that is odd to most of my friends. I adore horror movies and horror novels, even the shitty ones, but especially the awesome ones. I find horror, as a genre, fascinating and could talk about it for hours. (Roommate-to-Be had to put up with my rant about how Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is one of the most groundbreaking horror films of all time when we were at Target last week. It’s a wonder she still wants to live with me.)
I like walking out of the theatre with an abject fear of the dark and I don’t mind telling people that. I always roll my eyes at the teenagers who proclaim that they weren’t scared at all and the movie was stupid. I know it’s just a defense mechanism, but I still don’t understand it. The point of horror movies is to be scared! Why deny that?
I don’t deny it to anyone. A few months ago, I watched [REC]2 with my friend Jenn4. (I have four friends named Jen[n]. They are going to be numbered in the order in which I met them, despite the fact that their names are all spelled differently, purely to make your lives easier, readers. Even though the four of them probably make up four of the only readers of this blog. Deal with it.) A few days later, Cousin stayed over for the weekend and we watched it again.
“We’re going to sleep with the lights on tonight,” I informed her. “Just so you know.”
“That’s totally fine,” she said.
(Cousin also understands that the point of horror is to be scared.)
The point is, I like being scared. I actively seek out reasons to be scared. I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled across Marble Hornets earlier this week, but once I figured out what it was, I threw myself into watching it precisely because I love to be scared.
I just, you know, didn’t exactly realize the consequences at the time.
For those too squeamish to so much as google “Marble Hornets,” it’s one of those internet real-time storytelling horror stories. It revolves around a series of videos uploaded by “J,” cut together from footage he rescued from a college friend. They were working on a student film together when his friend started acting strangely and then killed the project. J stopped him from burning the tapes and then went through them, trying to discover the source of his friend’s anxiety. As J uploads more videos, his behavior becomes erratic, just like his friend’s, and he seems to be stalked by the same supernatural entity that was after his friend, before abruptly disappearing from the internet after posting one last creepy video.
I eat this shit up, guys. Remember that creepy house blog back in like, 2005? Dionea House? (Thanks, Jenn4!) I’ve read that five or six times. It still creeps me out. And I love it. Once I managed to piece together what Marble Hornets was, I had to sit and watch all the videos and read all the comments and totally freak myself out over the mysterious Slender Man.
None of this would have been a problem, normally, except for three things:
1) I discovered and then gorged on these Slender Man videos between the hours of 9pm and 12 am.
2) I had left my cellphone (aka my alarm clock) in my car.
3) I had to work the next day.
Around midnight, after finishing the last of the videos, I began to prepare for bed. I was jumping at every sound, which was completely expected, and looking over my shoulder constantly. Great. Fine. I was just going up to bed, where I would curl up with my steampunk supernatural scifi novel for a few minutes and then go to sleep and wake up for–
And that was when I remembered where my cellphone/alarm clock was.
I spent a few seconds agonizing over my dilemma. I didn’t have to work until the afternoon and I had been waking up naturally after about eight hours of sleep for the past few weeks, but I didn’t want to chance it. My options were a) using my old alarm clock or b) going out to my car at midnight in the dark to get my phone, where I would promptly be murdered by the Slender Man.
“Kaitlyn,” I said to myself. “You are twenty-five years old. Besides, the Slender Man doesn’t outright murder people, he stalks them and drives them crazy first.”
I have a lot planned for the next couple of months and I was pretty much against confronting a supernatural psychopath outside my house where I knew he was waiting. Which left only one option.
The reason I did not initially relax and jump on the fact that I had a secret back up alarm clock is that this alarm clock and I have a history. A history of me being late.
The past two times I have used this alarm clock, the alarm has mysteriously not gone off. I don’t know why. It always works when I test it. It used to work consistently. I used this damn thing every day for the entire summer I worked at camp and every day for the first semester of the school year that followed, but for whatever reason, it is now plotting against me. I’ve changed its batteries. I always triple check to make sure that I have the alarm set and the time correct, including am/pm. The volume is up as high as it can go and it is within hearing distance, but not within reach.
Still, when the time comes, the damn thing refuses to wake me up on time. The first time it did this was okay–I was just meeting a friend for lunch and simply called him and told him I was running about twenty minutes late. The second time I didn’t wake up on my own and only realized it didn’t go off when the store manager called me to tell me I was supposed to be at work an hour prior.
Not fun times, but what choice did I have? I did not want to be serial killed.
I tested the alarm twice. I switched out the old batteries for fresh. I made sure the time was set right and the alarm was set right. Then, exhausted, I read a few pages of my book and fell asleep.
That was when the dreams started.
You would think they would be dreams about the Slender Man stalking me, driving me crazy, and murdering me. You would be wrong. No, I, being the neurotic lunatic that I am, had a series of stress dreams about being late for work. A whole frigging series. I had six dreams over the course of the nine hours I was “sleeping” and each ended with me waking up in a panic to check the time on my shitty alarm clock to make sure I wasn’t late for my shitty bookstore job.
Each dream went like this: I would wake up. I would have a terrible feeling I was late. I would look at my alarm clock. It would be 1:30. I would panic so badly I woke up for real.
And each time I woke up for real, I had to check the fucking clock. It was pitch black and STILL I had to check the clock. JUST TO BE SURE.
Like I said, I am kind of a freak.
The last one happened around 9:30 am, at which point I decided, fuck it, it wasn’t worth another half hour of sleep, I should just get up.
I spent the entire day exhausted and weary despite the nine hours I spent in bed. And every time someone asked why I was tired, I had to explain.
“I was up watching scary videos on YouTube.”
“Oh, you had nightmares.”
“Yes, but not about scary things, about being late for work.”
“It’s a long story. Have you ever heard of the Slender Man?”
“Have you ever been afraid of being serial killed in your driveway at midnight?”
“Anyway, so I couldn’t get my cellphone.”
“I think I see a customer. Over there.”
It did not do much for my Bookstore Cred. Of course, having voluntarily and eagerly accepted the worst job at the Bookstore and then held it for two years, I didn’t have much Bookstore Cred to begin with.
The lesson here, children, is this: don’t watch scary YouTube videos when you have a faulty alarm clock and a tendency for stress dreams. Save that shit for when you don’t have to work the next day.
And remember–it’s totally acceptable to sleep with the lights on.
(Even though lights probably won’t actually stop the Slender Man from sneaking into your room and serial killing you. Sweet dreams!)