Hazard lurks. It at all times does while you’re a child standing alone on an October night simply this aspect of Halloween, on the nook of Jackson and Eighth Road.
I’m not removed from my home, however proper now I’m undoubtedly not shut sufficient both.
My buddies have way back peeled off for house, secure and safe, after our Friday evening vampire film enjoyable, leaving me alone for the primary time within the darkness with an over-stimulated creativeness. The muted glow of the streetlight supplies a smidgen of security earlier than the mad sprint house.
The adverts for the white canvas PF Flyers I’m carrying promise my tennis shoe’s “magic wedge” will help me run faster and jump higher. Good factor, as a result of I do know for a reality, I’ll want all of the pace I can muster to outrun Depend Dracula, who at this very second is cloaked within the darkness offered by a cover of gnarled elms that line Eighth Road. I’m certain of it.
What Depend Dracula could be doing in my Nowhereville small city as a substitute of hanging out in his swanky Transylvania citadel, I don’t know. However logic, like my buddies, left me way back, changed by worry. Stalling, I re-tie my sneaker laces. A free lace might imply curtains, and I’ve no want to be a part of Dracula’s legion of the undead.
It’s about eight blocks from my home to our downtown movie show. Getting there isn’t a sweat. For those who lower by way of a few neighbors’ yards, by way of the college playground and previous the water tower, you emerge onto Fourth Road, the primary drag. From there it’s simple crusing. Go previous my Uncle Ken’s tavern, the Ben Franklin 5-10, the Princess Café, Stieber’s Barber Store and the IGA, the place my Aunt Harriet works as a cashier, and also you’re virtually sitting within the theater together with your friends. Ten minutes. Tops.
I could make this stroll with my eyes closed, which is what I’m doing proper now as I stand alone, my coronary heart racing, pondering of the Prince of Darkness and simply how briskly my sneaks can carry me.
The issue is Christopher Lee, the towering English actor who performed Depend Dracula in such classics as Horror of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. At 6-5, Lee as soon as described himself as “tall, darkish and grotesque.” Bingo!
His tackle the notorious Depend stands in marked distinction to the 1931 portrayal by Bela Lugosi, who, till then, was the actor most recognized with the Night time Stalker. Whereas Lugosi’s Dracula was considerably stiff and formal, scary, little question, however actually not dashing. Lee bursts onto the display screen with unholy vigor and an animalistic bloodlust. Watching him, I cowl my eyes lots. Till I can’t as a result of, properly, I used to be a child studying concerning the birds and the bees and the bats from Dracula.
There was plenty of biting, after all. Males’s necks have been terrifying sufficient, however ladies’s necks? Usually scantily clad – for again then – ladies? It was scary and horrifying and complicated. How might I be terrified and curious on the identical time?
My child thoughts was blown.
It was all enjoyable, within the darkness of the theater, surrounded by my finest pals. We squirmed and slunk in our seats, punched one another within the arm, and survived solely with the assistance of the occasional pretend giggle. We by no means mentioned our intrigue when a reasonably lady met her fanged fortune. By no means ever. Till highschool.
Then the lights got here on, a lot to my reduction. Outdoors the theater we have been loud and goofy and courageous. Obnoxiously so, I’m afraid.
However with every step away from the intense lights of the movie show marquee, the bravado fades, slipping into the small-town evening, till all that is still within the darkness is a child carrying a blue windbreaker and his quickest sneakers, strolling house by himself. A scared child, who knew it was only a film – after all – however nonetheless …
In the present day, on an October night, simply this aspect of Halloween, I typically discover myself standing on the nook of Jackson and Eighth Road. Near house, but not shut sufficient. My childhood movie show is lengthy gone. So is my Uncle Ken’s tavern, the Princess Café and the barber store. The IGA? It’s gone too, together with my Aunt Harriet.
Most of my child world – the folks and locations – has fluttered away like a bat into the evening air. And but, within the darkness with my recollections, I can image all of it so clearly, as if I have been watching a film on a Friday evening. With pals. And fangs.