I can’t say I remember this, but as a toddler I wandered from our home near Lake Erie, and was found near the cliffs overlooking the shore. I don’t know why, or what I was looking for. I’m, fairly certain this wasn’t too good for my parents’ cardiac heath.
A little later on, a beloved neighbor–called the “can man,” because he had a shoot under his kitchen sink which deposited beer cans directly into a barrel his garage–passed away. My parents took me to the funeral. I’m almost certain this was my first exposure to death. I couldn’t have been more than four, or five. One or both of them encouraged me to see the Can Man’s body for myself. I don’t remember being afraid, per se. I had been watching him for awhile, and he hadn’t moved–not even a little bit.
So I walked up to him in his casket just to take a peek. I don’t know why I did what I did next: I touched him.
He didn’t try to eat me, but he was cold. Cold, and felt for all the world like a mannequin.
I wasn’t scared until right then. Nobody told me death was so cold.
As a teen, my dad bought me Stephen Kings’s IT for Christmas one year. Being that I was 17, or 18, at the time, I got my own bed. In the basement of my dad’s house (my brother and I visited twice a year). I was up late reading on that cold Colorado winter night. I don’t recall being particularly afraid.
Then the lone bulb, dangling as it was from a beam in the unfinished ceiling, burnt out. I lay back, immobilized by a sudden paralysis. Inky darkness floated all around me.
Sleep was a long time coming.
What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?