Ever since I was a little girl, I've always loved mystery stories, movies and TV shows. Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, the Bobbsey Twins. And then as I got older I liked all of those true-life murder stories like on 48 Hours and stuff. I got hooked on Mystery! and all sorts of other English murder mysteries. No one can murder better than the English. Their penchant for it is actually quite frightening.
But what might be more frightening is that I became hooked on Patricia Cornwell's books. Her main character, Kay Scarpetta, is a medical examiner who is always in danger because she tries to solve the murders of the people who come through her morgue. She's like a female Quincy (I loved that show, too). But these books are so grossly graphic in their murders that sometimes I read them with one eye closed, and yet I get sucked in and can't put the books down even when they get really disturbing.
I remember once when we still lived in Ohio, I stayed up really, really late reading one of the books. Eamonn had long since fallen asleep, but I was so freaked out by the book I woke him up at 2am. I don't know why. I probably made some excuse like,
Me: "Did you remember to put the cat out?"
Eamonn: "We don't have a cat."
(Name that movie)
I tend to have the occasional night terror anyway so why I read these books and terrorize myself more, I have no idea.
When I was in high school, one year around Halloween time, one of the local TV stations was showing a bunch of Anthony Perkins movies and I was telling one of my friend's parents how I was going home to watch it. So that night, right at the end of the movie, the phone rang. I picked it up and this voice said, "Natalie, this is Norman Bates and I'm coming to get you!" I slept with the light on for a week.
In later years I went with my cousins to see Silence of the Lambs. When I got home from that experience, I went in and woke my mother up. And then slept with the light on for a month. I had already graduated college and was working.
Anyway, I hadn't read a Scarpetta book for several years--probably since that last time I scared myself so badly--and I realized she had two books out that I hadn't read. I got one from the library and instantly regretted it. It was so hideously disturbing. And yet, I continued to read.
Last night I was about 100 pages from the end and I really wanted to finish it, but I was exhausted and missed my goal. Eamonn was already asleep when I turned off the light. I drifted off, but then kept having nightmares about Scarpetta and how she was in my room trying to perform an autopsy on me.
Why am I telling you this? Probably to explain the fact that I'm 41 years old and last night I had to get up and turn on a nightlight in order to get to sleep. And I intend to do the same tonight because I'm about to go and read the rest of the book.