It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
By Mary Matus

When I was a kid, whenever a thunderstorm started I would grab a book and run up to the bedroom to read. I needed something, anything, to take my mind off the storm and I wasn't about to watch TV while lightning was flashing in the backyard.

Some kids got over their fear of thunderstorms. I even met a guy who used to love to go up to the mountains and watch them because they lit up the whole valley. I guess it would look pretty cool, and I do admire a guy who could appreciate nature like that, but I would never be able to just stand and watch a thunderstorm.

I've never been really sure why thunderstorms terrify me. Maybe it's because I don't like loud noises. On the other hand, I guess I always half expect the silhouette of a guy holding an ax to appear in the window, and music from Psycho to play.

I wasn't always scared. Although thunderstorms never seemed to start until school let out, I remember sitting in class during a few big ones. At first, I'd be really nervous, and then thunder would crack and a couple girls would scream and for someone reason I didn't feel so bad. I guess it's easier to handle stuff when you're with your friends.

It was the same way in college. If I wasn't in class, I was in the dorm with my roommate. If my roommate wasn't there, there was usually someone around. Sometimes I'd visit my friends down the hall until the storm let up. I usually tried to make up some excuse for stopping by. But I'm pretty sure they always knew. I'll give them some credit. They never made fun of me.

Tonight, however, I was alone. My roommate, Lisa, had asked if I would be all right before she'd left about an hour ago to fill in for somebody at the hospital. "I'm fine," I had told her.

Lisa had this way of being a worrywart. It's not that she didn't have good reason to be worried. I had sprained my ankle the previous day.

I hated it when I hurt myself. I'm normally a very active person. Part of my job as a reporter included running all over doing interviews and going to meetings. The thought of being stuck in my apartment and having to hobble around the room made me feel very uncomfortable.

Oh, well. At least it wasn't a bad sprain. I'd had to ice it the night before, but tonight I could walk on it, more or less. I just had to be a little careful. As a result, I had a heck of a time trying to get around the room. The doctor said that by the following week, I would be able to go back to work.

The lights began to flicker ...Then they were off. "Enter Freddie Kreuger," I said to myself. Despite the heat in the apartment, I began to shiver. I wished I had told Lisa to stay. I really didn't like this.

I sat there in the dark, afraid to move. Would the phone lines be down too, I wondered? That always seemed to be what happened next. First, the power goes out, and then they cut the phone lines, and then...As the image of a guy wearing a hockey mask and holding a chainsaw passed through my mind, a bolt of lightning lit up the sky. "Mommy!!!"

Okay. There's a thin line between bravery and stupidity, and being stuck in the dark by yourself with a sprained ankle seemed to be leaning more towards the stupid side. Wait. Wasn't there supposed to be a full moon out tonight? Great, I thought as I grabbed the phone. I don't have to worry about psycho killers anymore. The vampires and werewolves will get me first.


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