The tell tale heart….
I’m not a Halloween fan at all. I don’t buy into the dress up, spooky food at themed parties and particularly the trick or treating. As a kid we were never encouraged to do it, my parents thought that after drumming into us all year that it was very VERY wrong to take candy from strangers why would we then be allowed to do it all dressed up whilst wandering the streets in the dark! Instead we would always get a takeaway feast, lock all the gates so the trick or treaters couldn’t get in, light the log fire and watch a movie as a family.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like to be scared on occasion though and love to read a good thriller or watch a creepy movie. As a very geeky, strange kid I remember I somehow got myself a book of Edgar Allen Poe short stories. I can’t remember if I took it from the school library or I bought it at a car boot sale or maybe it came from my grandparents. I don’t remember how I came to have this book. I can’t recall the colour of it or the size, but two of those stories terrified me. The Pit and the Pendulum and the Tell-tale Heart.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.
I was really too young to be reading such adult, gothic stories and it shows how weird I was as a kid that I chose to read them instead of making daisy chains or playing ‘in-1-2-3’ but I couldn’t put them down and scared myself silly. I think it speaks to the power of a good writer that a story written in 1850 was still scaring a little girl in the 1980’s and a not so young lady in 2013. Good wholesome terror never fades!