It is roughly 2am and I am awake. Not entirely of my own volition, mind you. As such, I have decided two things.
First: I have to stop drinking straight black tea. I usually take it with milk and sugar, but I sometimes drink it on its own. This is a mistake for me because it makes my heart go crazy and race and squeeze like when I’m crushing really hard on someone. I especially need to stop doing this before bed, because, as you can probably well imagine, it makes it difficult to calm down enough for sleep.
Second: I really hate my selective memory. Half the time I’ll forget things I need to remember, and I’ll often remember things I’d rather forget. It also has the tendency to bring up memories of stressful situations when I’m lying in bed and trying to sleep.
Let me tell you a little story.
This happened when I was doing my little solo tour of the UK. I was in Edinburgh and, being the crazy horror fan that I am, decided to go on a tour of some of the city’s most haunted places: the vaults, and Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. The memory that has kept me from going to sleep took place in the vaults.
Now, the vaults are these hollow areas within the big bridge in Edinburgh that have a less than favourable history, which I will not share with you here because it is very long and rather depressing. One of the vaults we toured is reportedly the most haunted vault of the entire bridge and may or may not be inhabited by a terrifying demon ghost. Please note that only people on this special tour can enter most of the vaults (save for the ones sectioned off and rented out as useable space).
So we go into this vault and the tour guide gets us all to gather inside it while she stands just outside the actual chamber (I call it that, but it had a rather large and unobstructed entrance to the rest of the tunnel). She lights up a candle and turns off her flashlight, setting the mood. (As a side note, I was standing near the back of the group, in spite of my usual fear of pitch black darkness –I think I was feeling really brave that night). Then, she starts telling us a story about a previous tour that had happened in that very same vault.
There’s a general rule in that tour company that children have to be a certain age to be allowed to attend. One Friday night (a time when a lot of drunk people attend the tours), a couple brought their young daughter for the tour, but assured the guide that she was accustomed to watching scary movies and actually handled them even better than her older brother did, so she was allowed to attend. While they were in the haunted vault, some of the drunks started to make spooky noises to be annoying. As is usual practice with the tour guides, their guide blew out the candle to get the drunks to shut up. In the darkness, the girl’s mother felt her daughter grab her hand rather tightly. The mother, assuming her daughter was scared, knelt down to try to comfort the little girl. But the girl only kept gripping her mother’s hand tighter and tighter until it got so painful that the mother let out a yelp. Of course, everyone immediately spread out from around her and the tour guide turned on his flashlight and shone it on the woman. While she assured everyone that she hadn’t been attacked by a ghost, she realized that her daughter wasn’t with her anymore. They started to look for the girl in the vault and eventually found her standing in the far corner of the chamber and facing the wall.
Please realize, now, that in the time it took between the woman shouting and the tour guide shining his flashlight on her, there wouldn’t have been time for the little girl to get to the corner.
When the mother brought the girl close to her again, she seemed really frightened. After they left the vault, the mother scolded the girl for wandering off and scaring everyone the way she did. The tour guide tried to reassure the girl, saying that she should have just told him she was scared and he would have let her hold his flashlight.
It’s what the little girl said that is keeping me up now with my lamp on.
She said that she wasn’t scared by the story the tour guide was telling, and not by the darkness either. She said that after the guide blew out the candle, she felt a hand leading her into the corner. Her mother scolded her again, asking her how she would have thought it was her mother leading her there. She said that she knew it wasn’t her mother’s hand, because that hand had claws.
After returning to my hostel from that tour, I couldn’t get to sleep. Above my bed was the smoke alarm, which had a glowing red light on it. You can imagine how it unsettled me. I had to actually get out of my bed and spend some time in the common area before I was calm enough to try sleeping again.
What’s always bothered me, though, almost as much as the creature with the claws, was one question. If the little girl was in the corner, what was holding her mother’s hand?
Anyway, that’s why I really hate my memory sometimes. Good luck sleeping, everyone. TTFN