Howdy from Central Oregon!!
Technically, I'm on vacation. The DH and I are in Black Butte with the Gremlins enjoying a few days away. In reality, I'm working - complete with laptop - as I try to finish up this book of mine. (Last night I actually listed out the rest of the scenes I have to write...I think I'm down to ten! Wahoo!) While on vacation, we've been watching movies (something I rarely do), and last night's choice was I Am Legend with Will Smith.
Okay, pretty good premise. I even enjoyed it - freaky mutant people aside. Normally these kind of movies give me nightmares, but this one? Not so much.
Wait. Let me rephrase that.
The freaky, virus-infested, screaming fang people didn't give me nightmares. The rats did.
In case you haven't seen this movie, let me sum it up for you quickly. Will Smith is the last man on the planet. Researchers found a cure for cancer - a virus they altered which killed cancer cells. However, this virus mutated and became airborn and infected the entire human population, creating rabies-like results in the hosts, turning people into said freaky, virus-infested, screaming fang creatures. (Who need to eat - obviously - and guess who they feed on?). Will Smith (and a handful of other people you meet near the end of the movie) are immune to the virus.
Okay. So now that you're caught up, let me tell you about the rats. Will's trying to find the vaccine. He's a researcher, catching weird fang people and testing his vaccine on them. But first he tries his vaccines on rats, and there's one scene where the virus-infected rats (with HUGE fangs) are stuck in Plexiglas cages trying to get to him. They're rabid. And evil. And completely N-A-S-T-Y.
Am I normally wigged out by rats? Not any more than the average person. Then why did this scene strike me so bad? Oh, let me tell you...
Over Easter, my family got together. My younger brother and his wife live in Corvallis (she's a professor at OSU). They're renting a house in a nice neighborhood. While we were eating, my brother (so nice of him) told us that one night a few days ago he heard a strange splashing noise in the bathroom. He got up, walked down the hall, looked into the dimly lit room and saw something climbing out of the toilet. Thinking he was imagining things, he inched into the bathroom for a closer look, narrowed his eyes and realized it was a RAT! Coming up through the sewage pipes!
He immediately slammed the toilet seat down, grabbed a full hamper and set it on the lid so the rat couldn't get out, then proceeded to freak out. After running down the hall to wake my sister-in-law, they both went back only to discover the rat was gone. It had slithered back out through the sewage pipes, the way it had come in.
In the morning when they called the city, they were told, "Yeah. That happens in cities."
(This is where I scream, "I DON'T WANT TO KNOW THAT!!!")
Supposedly, the city was going to send someone to set traps in the manholes on their streets, but at the time my brother told this story, it had yet to happen. In the meantime they were told to "keep an eye out." (This is me screaming again!) Later, they learned their neighbor had a rat come into their house the same way. Except (sorry to gross you out here), the wife discovered the rat when she went to use the facilities.
The rat scene in I Am Legend normally wouldn't have affected me so greatly, but after this story, it's all I can think about. Something coming up through my toilet is a great fear of mine. Aside from not watching that movie again, I've told my brother I'm not visiting his house either.
Are there any scenes - from books or movies - that you can't handle because of a personal fear or experience? Any scenes you can't write for that very reason? Maybe something that - to the average person - seems completely harmless?
(This is where I admit to having a large fowl fear as well...turkeys, geese, swans....scccccaaaaarrrry....You definitely won't find Big Bird in any of my books.)