Five Night’s at Freddy’s and My Overactive Imagination
The recent installment in a series of horror games called “Five Night’s at Freddy’s” (Specifically FNAF 4.) got me thinking back to a time in which my overactive imagination was extremely significant to me. Apparently I am an amazing actor, as even my parents were oblivious to this fact until now. Story time!
When I was seven, I was trying to work on a math worksheet without the assistance of my dad when I heard my mom screaming. This was nothing new, she was probably watching a movie thought seven-year-old me. So I kept working. Another scream. I was starting to lose focus and started getting irritated that I couldn’t work properly. Another scream. That was the last straw, and I stomped outside to find that my mom was actually watching a movie, but it wasn’t anything I ever saw before. My mom invited me to sit on the couch, and as I could never resist my curiosity, I sat down. I wasn’t really paying attention to it until the people in the film were standing in front of a barricade that got kicked down and people walked in. Except they weren’t actually people. It was a zombie movie that I found myself watching, and I was absolutely terrified as well as interested in a strange, macabre way. We finished the movie when my mom told me that we had to return the movie to the rental shop. I was ready to leave the house and not think about the horrors I just saw or my math homework. So I rushed to the front door and threw it open (as well as a thin, feather-light seven year old could do), and saw what time of day it was. It was night.
I survived the rest of the night (albeit, with my mom almost successfully scaring me sometimes, but I was a hard-headed, stubborn little girl) but when I lay in my bed that night, I put my head under the covers for the first time in my life. I tried sleeping but I found that it was hard to breathe so I created a little hole using the edge of the blanket to breathe through. My legs were slipping out of the bottom so I tucked them up to my chest and slept like that until morning. This was the beginning of me formulating tactics and various plans to avoid the zombies from getting me. (Note: I was old enough to know that they were fictional, but they were science fiction. According to me, that meant that it could happen.)
The first of the tactics and plans was to protect my bedroom at all costs. I would now no longer keep my door shut and if I noticed anything bad, I would sprint towards my parent’s bedroom (which happened to be exactly on the opposite end of the hallway from my room). This way I could protect myself by alerting my parents. I then made a habit of keeping the closet open so that I could see anything that would crawl out. Next, I had to tuck all limbs to my chest and I had to be underneath the blanket. The only time I was allowed to change positions was when the zombies got in the room and I would have to lay spread eagled out under the blanket to trick the zombies into going into other rooms because they wouldn’t notice me. Oddly enough, my next tactic was to always turn away from the door (Which would make the first two tactics completely moot, but oh well.) but I was seven, don’t ask.
From this, I started my next tactic which I called the “Light Sprint”. I had received permission to start going home by myself (and or accompanied with my mom) and once the door was open I would rush through slapping all of the light switches and throwing my bag across the carpet to finally settle against the corner of the couch that was against a wall. There are many variations of this, such as when I was finally desensitized to the visually related fears I had and my auditory fears began to become more pronounced. I started to either hum or sing to myself a happy song before I opened the door, and when I would get in, I would keep my hands on the locks while scanning for anything that might pop out. This way I could run out while slamming the ghost in the face.
This was worsened when I stayed over at my flat in San Francisco and because my parents took the bedroom, and eight year old me had to sleep on the couch. In the living room. Which had the front door in it. And the heater. Which meant noises that would freak me out. I managed to try get my dad to make me a midnight snack just to have some company at 12 in the morning. But the inevitable happened and I was re-tucked into the makeshift bed. The light switch was flipped and I was terrified. I tried to cover myself with the blanket using sleep protection tactic #1 (tuck all limbs to chest) but the heater made a sound that freaked me out and I never slept there again. On reflection it might have been better if I stayed there because I could be like a lookout, but hey, eight-year-old Aya logic.
That’s only a taste of what I used to do as a paranoid little kid. The list goes on from creating my own zombie survival kit, stealing the flashlights, always keeping my BB gun with me to making barricades using my never ending supply of stuffed toys. I also came out with a bunch of habits such as never being able to sleep without the orange nightlight (which I’ve finally started NOT using), always flipping on every single light when I enter a room and putting the blanket over my head. Not that these aren’t good, it’s just that some annoy people. 😛
One good thing that came out of my period of extreme paranoia is the fact that I am now completely desensitized to the horror genre. Seriously, the closest to screaming or covering my eyes is me slightly jerking my head back. (Which is instinctive.) Apparently during the last months of my paranoia, I started getting into creepypasta, horror movies, NoSleeps and RPG horror games. Weird how that happens.