I've got a few early ones, but I can't remember what order they happened in. What I think might have been the first involved waking up in the middle of the night in my bedroom in Bristol, at the tender age of two or thereabouts, and wondering why the lamp on the far side of the room wasn't on. Or it might have been another night, in the same room, where I had a dream that questioned what would happen if the shade fell off my ceiling light. Yes, I've always had a bit of a thing with light and dark. No wonder I ended up as an artist.
There were some other memories from the smaller bedroom, but I'm pretty sure those came later, as I only got moved in there after I stopped being an only child at two-and-nearly-a-half. They included a certain level of paranoia about those little chinks of light coming through the gaps around the curtains (I think I was under the mistaken impression that they were spying on me), an equal if not greater level of paranoia about the cartoon drawing of an x-ray on my alphabet wall chart (I hated that x-ray with a vengeance, or more to the point I was scared stiff of it, and I was enormously pleased with myself one day when I worked up the courage to face the offending drawing and rip it out of the poster. Mum was less pleased with the mess)... and then there was the incident with E.T.
I usually like to gloss over the one under the dining table with the felt-tip pens and little sister's t-shirt. (How was I meant to know that wasn't an appropriate choice of canvas, anyway?) That one aside, my most anecdotable early memory was the one where I woke up one morning to find my room had suffered an overnight alien invasion. I came to, and may or may not have had time to note the disappearance of the aforementioned possibly-conspiratorial chinks of light from behind the curtains before I realised I was being stared at from across the very small room (I maintain that it was about 7 foot by 5) by the most hideous and obviously-malevolent entity I had ever seen.
In retrospect, it turns out to have been a small, stuffed version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but as far as my three- or four-year-old self was concerned it was the miniature embodiment of evil come to kill me or something. The situation probably wasn't helped by its unexpectedness - the fact that this thing had arrived in my room without a single word of warning or explanation. The big problem was how to escape the room and find someone to help get rid of it, because my head was at the pillow end of the bed (see, I did have some residual scraps of normality!), and that was at the opposite end of the room to the door, with the beast strategically perched on a shelf in between. I dared not get any closer without some sort of protection, as I would probably pay for it with my life.
Thank goodness for the miracle of duvets. In a flash of inspiration, I retreated beneath the cover, and crawled down to the foot of the bed in its shadow. The door handle was now just a few inches away, and if I could move quickly enough, I might outrun the monster. There was probably one of those tense pauses like you get in Westerns, where everybody stares meaningfully at each other's gun holsters and the art department sends a well-placed piece of dry tumbleweed blowing across the street.
I ran. I grabbed my door handle, yanked it open, hurled myself off the foot of the bed and into the relative safety of the landing, saw salvation in the bathroom in the shape of a parent or two, and ran towards it for dear life, as fast as I could possibly manage, shrieking hysterically. I may have invented a new adjective to describe the indescribable horror that I'd just escaped.
The unwelcome alien was duly removed, and peace restored.
Only for him to turn up again in a very strange movie I saw several years later... except that time he didn't scare the living daylights out of me.
Grown-up me's statistics:
- Twenty Questions status: 17 down, 3 to go
- Days until Root Hill: 3
- Latest book read: Operation Mincemeat
- Latest film/TV watched: Red Dwarf 1.5
- Latest music listened to: How to Train Your Dragon OST by John Powell
- Latest edible item eaten: coffee
- Predominant colour of clothes: black
- Programs and web pages currently running: Microsoft Office Word and Outlook 2007, Firefox (tabs: Fort Paradox offline archive; A White Horizon; Blogspot Create Post; www.imdb.com), Windows Media Player 11
- Webcomics posted today: Cylinder and Miserable #1338
- The Colclough