When everyone else is sleeping, I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of evil. I opened my eyes to start a one-sided staring contest with the eyeless monster. I usually avoid looking at anything which frightens me. But with this particular horror, closing my eyes only makes it worse.
I cannot describe the sound that it makes. But the fear I feel when it starts to break the silence of the night is so intense, I still remember how I felt during those moments. I was seven. I feared for my safety, for my family, for my pets and stuffed bunny. I fear that a blazing fire will consume us all. What was I supposed to do? I am the only one who was aware of its existence. It has no name but in my mind I call it…the electric fan from hell.
This is not fiction. Although I must admit that it has all the makings of a cheesy, low-budget horror flick, perhaps along the same alley as the killer clowns.
This post should focus on sounds, I know. I’m not good at describing sounds. But I tell you, the sound of that old piece of crap drove me crazy. It sounded angry, spiteful, like it was eager to unleash its wrath through self detonation.
It was not the sound alone but more of the images that comes to my head when that awful machinery starts to make a raucous, cackling hum as it drown out the cold silence of the night. I begin to imagine that the Thing would just suddenly burst into flames bringing all of us into ashes. I tried to hide under my blanket, but the thin piece of fabric is no match to the dreadful nagging noise.
Did I also mentioned that it was red? If there was every a sound that I can negatively relate to the color red, the sound that the fan made would be my first choice. It’s a sound that promised violent death.
It’s hard to believe that I was imagining such horrible things at the age of seven. In the heat of the day, amidst the noisy neighborhood, I never really notice it. The night seemed to transform our old and dependable cooling equipment into a fierce monster.
Until now it amuses me to remember those terrorizing nights. I will probably never know how a simple sound that can be perfectly explained by some loose screws and mechanical “wear-and-tear” can inspire such morbid thought from a child.
Fortunately for me, my reaction and imagination now are not as fantastic and horrifying as those with the cursed electric fan. I guess my hyperactive imagination is “less” hyper nowadays.
It’s really fascinating how some sounds (especially those repetitive ones) can leave an imprint in our brain prompting us to react automatically. Oddly enough, this reaction to sounds and other form of stimuli has provided us with some of the most fascinating theories in learning and conditioning. I guess we are not so different from dogs after all.