On a quiet back street in Toonerville there is a haunted house. Obviously four meddling kids and their talking dog are looking around inside, but they won’t find anything. It is my dark place. I am the only one that can go inside and discover what truly is there, for the dark things inside are all a part of the dark side of Mickey.
But Mickey doesn’t have a dark side, you try and argue. Micky is all goofy giggles and nerdy Dungeons and Dragons jokes. Mickey is all cartoons and silly stories and he makes us all guffaw.
But I can assure you, everyone has a dark side. Without darkness, how can anyone recognize the light?
So, I have to go inside the old Ghost House every now and then and take stock of all the furniture, and make note of everyone… and every thing that has been living there. I go in there now because I am starting to rewrite a very dark story that I really have to get down on paper in novel form. It isn’t a true story. Ghost stories never are. But it is full of true things… old hurts, old fears, panics, and ghosts of Christmases Past.
There was the night I was stalked by a large black dog when I was nine and walking home from choir practice at the Methodist Church. We are talking Hound of the Baskervilles sort of big damn dog. I knew every dog that lived in town in those days, but I didn’t know that one. Maybe it wasn’t actually hunting me, but I ran the last two blocks to my house that night faster than I ever knew I could run before.
There was that cool autumn afternoon when he grabbed me and pushed me down behind a pile of tractor tires in the neighbor’s yard. He forcibly got my pants down… and what he did to me… It has taken more than forty years to be able to talk about what happened. I wasn’t able to talk about it until after I learned that he had died.
There were the nights spent in the emergency room. Severe potassium depletion… chest pains that could’ve been heart trouble but weren’t… The morning when my blood pressure was so high I thought I was going to die in front of my second period seventh grade English class. And the terrible waits in the emergency room when someone I loved was serious about suicide… that was the most terrible of all.
I am not frightened by the grim reaper in the same way that Shaggy and Scooby are. I have spent time in his company too many times for that. I do not fear him. In some ways he brings welcome relief. And I do believe I can beat him in chess and at least tie him in checkers.
So, yeah, the dark resources are all still there… still in place at the bottom of a deep, dark well. Bad things do wait in the future… but they are in the present and the past also. I am not a slave to fear and evil has no power over me. So, I think I can safely write a horror story. And I admit I am not Steven King. But I don’t want to be him. I want to be Mickey. And that is certainly scary enough for me.