I have always loved scary stories. Scary movies were fun, too, but there was something about reading a scary book that gave me innumerable thrills. I read the entire Goosebumps series before I was old enough to be entirely sure my toys didn’t come to life at night.
However, one of my favorite pastimes at sleepovers with my cousins – or any adventure that we would find ourselves in the dark, away from the ears of adults who would try to debunk our stories – was exchanging urban legends. Between us, we had a few books that provided us with material that we would read aloud. Others we knew by heart and would share with flashlights held tight to our faces, providing that eerie aura necessary for scary storytelling. We would keep our voices hushed until that critical moment in the story, the climax meant to make everyone jump out of their skin.
You got the most praise if you made someone release an involuntary scream.
Well, some stories stick with you more than others.
You know that story about the girl who was driving in her car and the truck behind her flashed its lights? She got nervous and sped up, but the truck followed suit. She slowed down to let him pass, but the truck stayed right behind her, flashing its lights once more. Panicking, she started taking side streets, trying to lose his tail, sure now that he was following her. All the while, the truck would flash its lights every few minutes. Finally, she returned home and scrambled into her house, locking the door behind her. The truck pulled into the driveway behind her. She called the police and sat in her front hallway, listening intently for any sign that the trucker had gotten out of his vehicle. When the police came, they asked the truck driver why he had followed this girl home. He told them, “There’s a man in the backseat of his car. Every time he got up and held the knife over his head, I flashed my lights and he went back down.”
Sure enough, when the police checked her car, there was a man and a butcher’s knife crouched down in the backseat.
Now, I’m sure when this story was told to me, there were a lot of dramatic pauses and creepy repetition. However, even typing this simplified version of the story out gave me chills, and it is the sole reason that I check the backseat of my car literally every time I get in it.
There was another story that kept with me, though I’m sure I’ll butcher this one as well.
There was a little girl sitting on a swingset in an abandoned playground. A little boy comes up to her and asks if she wants to be his friend. She said yes and he joined her on the swingset. He noticed she had a black ribbon tied around her neck and asked her why. She said, “I’ll tell you someday, but not today.”
The years went by and the boy and girl grew up and fell in love. The girl still wore the black ribbon around her neck every single day. On the day he proposed, he asked her, “Will you tell me why you wear that ribbon?”. Her response, again, was, “I’ll tell you someday, but not today.” Months later on their wedding day, he asked again. “Will you tell me why you wear that ribbon?” Still came, “I’ll tell you someday, but not today.” The years went happily by and on the day of their 50th wedding anniversary the boy, now a man, asked his wife, “Will you tell me why you wear that ribbon?”. Once more he was met with, “I’ll tell you someday, but not today.” More years pass, and the time came that the man was on his deathbed. He reached a trembling hand out to his elderly wife and asked with one of his final breaths, “Will you tell me why you wear that ribbon?”
Finally, the response that he had been waiting for all these years came, “Yes, now I will tell you why I wear this ribbon. Or rather, show you.” She slowly untied the ribbon and removed it from around her neck. As soon as the ribbon fell away, her head fell off.
Yes, I realize now that this story is actually almost hilarious at the end. But when you’re little? The idea that this woman’s HEAD had been being kept on by a RIBBON for her entire LIFE?! Creepy.
I could go on for ages with these stories, but instead I will only recount one more. The one that sprung into my head tonight, and the inspiration behind this entire post.
There once was a little girl who woke up with a start. She had felt something pinch her cheek and raised her hand to see what it could be. Finding nothing but a small bump, she assumed it was a bug bite and went on with her day. As the days went on, the bump on her cheek slowly kept getting bigger and bigger, itchier and itchier. She went to the doctor, and they told her it was just a bug bite that would go away on its own. Yet, every day it got a little bigger, a little itchier. One morning she once again awoke with a start. She had felt another pinch on her cheek, but this time when she raised her hand to the spot her growing bump had been, a hundred spiders were pouring out of the nest a spider had laid in her cheek.
A HUNDRED. SPIDERS. IN. HER. CHEEK.
So, the reason I bring this horrible, poorly retold story to you tonight is because the other day I noticed a red bump on my leg. It was pretty big, but I’m sort of allergic to mosquitoes, so my bites get to be roughly the size of a baseball before retreating to look like anyone else’s mosquito bites. I also tend to manage to get 100 bites on the same evening everyone around me gets two, so I am no stranger to these inconvenient unpleasantries. However, after a few days, I noticed that this bump has not gone down in size or itchiness. Usually by now it’s back to at least a dime-size. I’ve still got at least a silver dollar going on.
Naturally, my mind jumps to this story. ARE THERE SPIDERS NESTING IN MY LEG?!?! Because that would be incredibly inconvenient. Though, I will admit, if I had to have spiders nesting in my body, I’d much prefer my upper calf to my cheek.
However, since I had my minor panic attack, I have been assured that there is no scientific evidence that supports the theory that this has ever or could ever happen.
So, think happy thoughts and try not to have nightmares tonight, okay?
Oh, I was talking to myself, there. But you do the same, readers!