Friday, October 26, 2012

What's the Scariest Book You've Ever Read?

In honor of Halloween, I thought it would be fun to ask this question, and I hope you'll respond. I'll get the ball rolling by answering it myself.

Sometime in the 1980's, I was in a hotel room alone in Columbus OH. I always read when I go to bed, and on this occasion, I was reading Rosemary's Baby. Do you remember this book? It was one of the first modern horror novels to become a national bestseller. It was extremely well written and was having its intended effect on me.

As I lay there reading, I noticed that the picture on the wall in front of me was swaying, but I thought I was tired and my eyesight was just blurry. Then I noticed that the armoire next to my bed was shaking. Now I was starting to get a little worried. Next, my bed started shaking. Pretty soon, everything in the room was shaking vigorously. Now I'm not only worried but scared to death.

I had been in a couple of minor earthquakes, and I decided that must be what was happening. So I got up and opened the door. If this was an earthquake, there would be people in the hallways, talking and escaping. However, my hallway was totally empty and quiet. Total fear now!

I thought about calling the desk, but I was afraid I was imagining all this and I would sound like a weirdo. In my mind, it was better to die in an earthquake or be possessed by the devil than appear like an idiot. (Vanity can definitely get you in trouble.)

By now, the shaking had stopped. I wanted to go to sleep but I was too petrified. I realized I would not be able to sleep until I had found a satisfactory answer for what had happened. I finally came up with the idea that the room next to mine was a utility room which contained a laundry - and the shaking was caused by a washing machine that was overloaded. After all, hotels have bedspreads and blankets to wash, and they are very heavy. I guess I was really sleepy, because I convinced myself this was true and finally fell asleep.

The next morning I dressed quickly, packed up my stuff, and went downstairs. I wanted to get out of that room as soon as possible! On the way, I noticed a room number on the supposed utility room, but I imagined they didn't want people to know it was a utility room. I went in the restaurant to have breakfast, and I noticed the newspapers people were reading had huge headlines. "Earthquake Hits Columbus!" Such a relief! I was not crazy after all nor had I been possessed by the devil.

Then I heard everyone talking about the earthquake. Apparently, the hotel had been evacuated. Why did I not know about it? Why didn't I see or hear people in the hallway? When checking out, I asked the people behind the desk. They were horrified! Apparently, I was the only person staying on my floor, and they forgot about me! I pretended that I slept through the whole thing - I wasn't about to confess what I had really been doing. (There's that vanity again!)

By the way, I left my copy of Rosemary's Baby in the hotel room and never finished reading the book. I also have never read another horror book - I'm not taking any chances. So it remains the scariest book I've ever read.

No comments:

Post a Comment