Confession. Because we’re all friends here, right? Sometimes I’m a tiny bit weirded out by the dark. I’m not talking about some vague irrational fear of a dark room. I mean outside in the dark. Because that’s scary, right?
My family has had property in northern Ontario for over fifty years. It’s a tiny log cabin on a tiny island in the middle of the northern wilderness. As kids, we’d go up there with our grandparents and spend a couple of weeks ‘roughing it.’ There’s no electricity or plumbing, and there’s an outhouse out back. When I was a kid there was nothing scarier than going out to the outhouse after dark. Think about it–there are all kinds of wild animals out there. And you can only see what’s in the beam of your flashlight. What’s just beyond that single sabre of light?
Many years later, my folks and I took my boys to the cabin. It was great fun. We fished and hiked and the kids swam in the lake. Before bed, I walked the boys out to the outhouse for one last run before we all went to sleep. I tried to be very brave. After all, I was the grown-up.
The outhouse has no door, so we stood a respectful distance to the side of the shack, shining our lights just in front to lend enough light for someone inside to do their thing. The boys each had their turn and I was last. They shone their lights as I went inside and got settled.
The next thing I know, there’s no light. “Hey, a little help here,” I called out. No one answered. I finished up as quickly as possible and stepped outside to find that those little shits left me out there!
I hightailed it back to the cabin as fast as I could. I’m pretty sure I narrowly escaped being snatched by some gruesome thing with long sharp talons. As I burst into the cabin, everyone looked up from their beds. “Did you run all the way back?” my son asked.
“No. I walked quickly.” Huff. Puff.