I am helping to kick off Vicki Leigh’s “My Worst Nightmare” blog hop by sharing what is My WORST NIGHTMARE.
Let me tell you, I have a very twisted mind. We didn’t have “YA” when I was in middle and high school, so I skipped right from Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins to VC Andrews, Stephen King, John Saul and Dean Koontz, and for a while Robin Cook and his medical thrillers. The more twisted, the better, for me.
My parents were in the medical field- my mom is a nurse while my father was an EMT in our volunteer fire department, so we had a bit of background knowledge of medical things in my house. We watched ER and Chicago Hope, and had a good understanding of how things worked. We also had a good foundation in science fiction with Star Trek, Star Wars and other series. So Robin Cook’s books like Coma, Mutation, Outbreak, and Terminal were right up my alley. Maybe too much.
The most vivid nightmare I remember mashed up the theme of Mutation (genetically created super-smart children) with Children of the Corn, along with Outbreak. Out in the fields behind my house, these weird tests were taking place in the canning factory next door- people kept moving things in and out at night. And then kids would show up the next day in school- kids who were NOT FROM TOWN. I knew because I remembered, but no one else did- and it was weird because everyone knew everyone in my town. These kids were super geniuses bent on taking over the nuclear power plant down the road (just 26 miles away, coincidentally the same power plant used for The Simpsons), and then using it to destroy the human race, but first they had to start by taking over the little towns like mine. This played on for weeks, my brain just KEPT AT IT, and it didn’t help that I kept reading these books and getting the themes stuck in my head. The nightmare would progress further each time, until I eventually got caught, taken to their ultra-scientific lair, and kept frozen while they started to transform me into something else.
It never got further than that, but that was MORE THAN ENOUGH.
With regards to Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh and the “clawed, red-eyed creature” that would feed off my fears, mine would be a red-eyed, winged demon imp. It would pop up wherever it needed to be, day or night, and feed off my fears of crowded places, social gatherings, and general anxiety, among others. I cannot draw anything other than stick figures, but others can, and I’m guessing it would look like this.
My interview with Vicki Leigh will run on Veteran’s Day, November 11!