Monday, October 28, 2013

Scary Things in my Past

Marilyn Meredith rejoins us today as part of a blog tour for the latest in her award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, SPIRIT SHAPES, where ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house and deputy Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits. The author of over thirty published novels, Marilyn draws inspiration from her home town of Bear Creek and its environs in the southern Sierras, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and the Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America.



Whether or not scary things that happened to me along the way have influenced my writing, I’m not sure—but I have a hunch they may have.

When I was a young teen I did a lot of babysitting for the family up the street. The dad was a police officer and he told me where he kept his gun and that I should use it if need be. (Can’t imagine any law enforcement officer doing this today.) One time while I was babysitting, someone tried to get in the front door. I got the gun, and hollered, “I have a gun and I’ll shoot.”

Then I called my dad. Of course by the time he got dressed and came to the house, there was no one around. What the policeman said when he got home, I can’t remember. (This was long before 9-1-1.)

My folks were at the evening service at church and I got a ride home. I went into the house and straight to the bathroom. I left the door open and was looking in the mirror and saw someone run by. I followed, stomping my feet and yelling, “I’m coming after you.” My weapon this time, a hair brush. Whoever it was ran out the back door, the same way they got in. Now this is really dumb—I sat out on the front porch until my folks came home.

Once as a teen, I was riding on the street car and while looking out the window, saw a dead body on the sidewalk and someone hosing off the blood. What happened, I’ll never know.

One New Year’s Eve, when hubby was overseas, I had all the neighborhood kids over so their parents could go out. Since I had five of my own it was quite a group. Everyone was in the living room except my youngest who was in bed in my room with the sliding glass door. We were all playing a game, when my little boy came out and said, “There’s a man in my bedroom.”

I grabbed a baseball bat and started hollering, “I’m coming to get you!” I got there in time to see a leg exiting through the open door.

This one was only scary at first—then funny. I came home from a college class to find the three kids who were still at home huddled together in the living room. I asked what was wrong, the answer, “Someone is in your bedroom.” Sure enough when I tried the door it was locked. It had a drop down latch and the only way to lock or unlock it was from the inside of the room. I called the police. When the officer arrived, he tried the door, shouted, etc. Then said, all he could do was kick the door in. I knew hubby wouldn’t be pleased. Had an idea. Went outside and looked through a slim crack of the curtain. Oh, my, the answer was clear. There was the cat on the dresser, batting at the lock. I showed the officer. He said, “I better knock the door in anyway, how else will you get in?” I told him my husband would figure it out. And he did. He took the hinges off the door, the cat ran out, then he put the door back as it should be.

Because I’ve been around for a long time, there have been many such occasions. Now, if someone tried to get in probably neither hubby nor I would hear them. Fortunately, our grown son lives on the property—we’ll let him worry about intruders. Oh, and we do still have cats, but no door with drop-down latches.

© 2013 Marilyn Meredith
http://fictionforyou.com
http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/
Click here to buy: Spirit Shapes

Contest!

The person who comments on the most blogs on Marilyn Meredith's blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow she’ll be visiting here:
http://www.kathleenkaskawrites.blogspot.com/

22 comments:

  1. Robert Knightly invited me to visit today, and I thank him and all the rest of you for indulging me. I had fun writing this, how about sharing something scary that happened to you.

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  2. Marilyn what a great bunch of scary stories. When I lived in San Francisco I took a late night walk. It was one of those typical foggy nights with shadows everywhere, the kind of shadows that makes the imagination go a bit wild with possibilities. When I returned home and turned on the late-late news I learned that someone's pet panther had escaped and was roaming the hilly area where I'd been walking. Then I got scared!!

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  3. Meredith, This proves it. Small towns are a whole lot scarier than big cities. In the past 50 years--all of my adult life, I have lived in New York City, including through the tumultuous 70's. I have never found an intruder in my home. Never. And I never think of myself as vulnerable in New York City. Being alone in a house on a deserted country road---that's another matter entirely.

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    1. Though I write about small towns, because that's where I live now, I grew up in Los Angeles where most of my scary stuff came from, the intruder in the house was in Oxnard, which was fairly small at the time.

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  4. Marilyn, I grew up in small towns. The only thing scary that happened to me there was the summer evening when the sky turned green and the tornado sirens went off. We all headed for shelter, which, thankfully we didn't need.

    When I first moved to the city I got a job house sitting. It paid reasonably well and provided me with no-cost accommodation. I did it for about a year while I tried to find a job in my field. This was a lonely time for me. I had broken up with my girlfriend and I was away from friends and family for the first time.

    My house sitting job, however, kept me going. I had plenty of time during the day to go for job interviews and explore the city. All went well until I was assigned to look after 808 St. Jude Street. It was an older row house in a part of the city that was starting to transition from a working class district to an upper middle class enclave.

    This particular house was normally looked after by one man who the owners really trusted. For some reason he was not available and the agency sent me instead. It was a three week assignment which would mean very good money and a nice place to rest my head for a few weeks.

    The owners were nice albeit a bit distant. They showed me all of the features of their home and explained how things worked. I settled in for a nice visit.

    It was anything but. On my first night I awoke in the guest bedroom to the sound of someone walking downstairs. My first reaction was that this was a burglar who had broken in. I yelled down that I had a gun and was coming down.

    Silence.

    I went downstairs and checked the main floor thoroughly. The doors and windows were still locked and there was no sign of anyone. Since it was a semi-detached house I thought it must have been coming from the neighboring house.

    The footsteps continued each night at roughly the same time. One night they even sounded like they were climbing the stairs and coming toward the bedroom I was sleeping in. By then I had convinced myself that it was just sounds from next door.

    At the end of the three weeks the owners returned. I did a debriefing with them and happened to mention the sounds coming from the neighbor's house. They looked a little strange and I got a chill down my spine.

    "We don't have any neighbors," the husband told me. "The house next door is empty."

    From the look on their faces I knew that I wasn't the only one who had heard the mysterious nocturnal footsteps.

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    1. Ah hah! A resident ghost--I love those kind of tales. Thanks for sharing, Peter.

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  5. Hi, Marilyn, nice to see you back here!!! My scariest times have all been in a small Tennessee town, Sewanee, between Chattanooga and Nashville. I was once held in a dorm room by a student with a knife! Scarrrry! You will enjoy my blog on this site for Sept. 2, 2013 - The Night I Almost shot the Sheriff! Thelma Straw

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  6. Thelma, wow, that is scary. I'll go back and check out that post.

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  7. Marilyn,
    Amazing how you were able to scare off the intruder in most cases. I'll add bravery to your many attributes:)

    I've lived in suburbia most of my life. No encounters, so far, with intruders or ghosts.

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    1. I've lived for a long time and have a good memory--I've also been pretty brave my whole life--now I have to remember that I'm old and probably won't scare anyone away.

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  8. Marilyn,
    I think I'm gonna make a point of not hanging out near you @ the next PSWA conference. That's a lot of stuff rat thar!!

    Other than having a phobia about werewolves from all the movies in my teens, there are A LOT of them here in Colorado you know, I can't top anything you listed. You are almost a walking "Halloween" movie.

    My scariest moments occurred during 30 years of law enforcement, such fun things as being stabbed and having a few guns in my face. Aside from that, nothing to top your experiences. Where in the heck were you living then? Hadonfield, ILL?

    A bunch of hugs...................Pete Klismet..........Author: FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil

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    1. Oh, sure, Pete, I had more scary moment that you as an police officer and FBI guy, no way! But.. you can hang out with me and I can be assured of being safe.

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  9. Your are probably the only one I know with more scary stories than me, but I expect it over here, living in New Orleans. Almost everyone I know has been robbed, purse snatched, mugged, or accosted by robbers, I've even had a wack job jump in my car when I used to work in the Quarter. We've always had guns and dogs. It sounds redneck and white trash, but it's a combo that works.

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  10. My dear Holli, no matter where you live scary things happens. No gun for me, but we have lots of dogs. We do have guns at home, but by the time hubby got it it'd be too late. Ha ha.

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  11. No guns or ghosts for me. The only thing I can think of was the time I was reading a story about dwarfs. Suddenly, I heard loud rap music from the parking lot across from my backyard fence. I investigated and found a family (mom, pop, kiddies), standing beside their car listening to rap. I ran inside the house, locked the door, and put the book away.

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    1. Oh, my, I probably would have gone out and talked to them, Kathleen.

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  12. You are a brave woman Marilyn. I would hide not go after someone! (Bet you thought I was M.I.A.)

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  13. The scariest thing that ever happened to me was when my ex-husband held a gun to my head. He was quite abusive, but that was by far the worst thing he ever did. The scariest thing was I stayed with him after that happened. Years later we divorced, but at that time all I could think was that one day it would be him or me that ended up dead. Thankfully it never came to that.

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    1. That one tops them all. Madison, I am so glad you got out of that abusive relationship even if it did take a long time--the world wouldn't be the same without you!

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