I can pinpoint the moment I developed this fear. When I was ten or eleven, I saw an episode of Australia's Most Wanted featuring a re-enactment of a home invasion. (Ironically, my very first television gig eight years later was as an actor in a very similar re-enactment on AMW. As my mother is quick to tell me, I did a pretty awful job.) The criminals broke into a pleasant suburban home containing a charmingly normal nuclear family, tied up the parents, stuffed them in a closet, and proceeded to rape their eleven-year-old daughter on the master bed.
I assume this was the moment of germination of my fear, because I can remember the bound girl shivering on the bed as though I had watched it yesterday.
For years, whenever I woke up in the middle of the night, I had trouble sleeping again. I would lie, wide-eyed and white knuckled, under the covers, inventing horrific scenarios and improbable modi operandi. What if the front door were unlocked? I was usually too petrified to check. Were those footsteps on the stairs? Was that the faint whisper of a finger running along a knife edge? I'm sure I hear footsteps!
I remember particularly one night being so sure I heard footsteps that I nearly screamed. I broke out in a cold sweat. I desperately tried to think of places I could hide, if only my muscles would allow me to move. Then a light switch clicked, and the unmistakable sound of my dad peeing into the toilet with the bathroom door open came trickling down the hall.
As a "grown-up," I'm no longer too scared to check the locks if I suddenly get the fear. I can usually fall asleep again just fine if I wake up at night. But if I hear a strange sound, the first conclusion I draw is "OH SWEET JESUS IT'S A HOME INVASION." The first time a bat flew into our apartment and Matt woke me up with "What the fuck was that?" I fully expected to see one or two burly men silhouetted in the door of our bedroom with guns and duct tape.
Currently reading: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
- The ten greatest horror death scenes. A joy to watch! Also, Lucio Fulci is king.
- US bans Vegemite. This is utterly horrifying to me. Good thing I had over a dozen jars foisted on me by relatives when I was there in August - they ought to last me a few years. I'm very curious if the ban also applies to Promite, since I actually prefer it.