In the old days, we spent our evenings as a family parked in front of our old black and white TV set. There were only four channels back then: 3, 13, 8, and PBS. Being down in the hills, we could only pick up two: 3 and 13. If atmospheric conditions were just right, and they seldom were, we could pull in a very snowy channel 8.
On this particular night, sometime around 1967’ or ‘68, me and my brother were in our usual places sprawled out on the living room floor in front of the boob tube. Dad was lying on the couch, and mom was in her favourite chair.
While we were watching TV, I remembered something I wanted. Unfortunately, it was upstairs – a place that experience had taught me to avoid at all costs on my own at night.
Whatever it was that I wanted, the desire for it was strong enough that I was willing to risk life and limb to get it. So, there I stood at the bottom of the stairway looking up at the vinyl, accordion style door, and debating whether it really was worth the risk.
Finally, I decided to go for it. I carefully slid the door open, hoping with everything in me that the noise wouldn’t awake “Mr. Titus,” the family ghost. Stepping onto the first step, I reached up and turned on the two-way light. I couldn’t feel his presence anywhere.
I cautiously walked up a few more steps. He still wasn’t there – I was going to be safe!
With a grin like the Cheshire cat, I ran up the rest of the stairs, made the quick U-turn down the hallway to my room. Flipping on the light, I grabbed whatever it was I needed. I stood there for a moment bursting with pride. I was in my room, at night, alone, and I wasn’t afraid. I was growing up!
Just as I got to my bedroom doorway, my legs became heavy. I froze in my tracks. My heart began beating like it was going to shoot out of my chest like the creature in Alien. I was suddenly filled with that inexplicable fear that overwhelmed me every time Mr. Titus appeared. But this didn’t feel like Mr. Titus. This was something different. This thing wanted to hurt me. I was trapped.
To be continued…