THE FRIGHTFUL NOBODY
My earliest recollection of horror being a thing that existed in the world was when my mother tried to ease my fear of a dark bedroom. As I enjoyed recoded stories, she played me a tale titled, The Frightful Nobody. It is the tale of a young boy who is terrorized by a creature that creeps into his room the moment the lights go out. In the end, the ‘creature’ turns out to be nothing more than the lamp on his bedside table. The story was meant to help children (like me) get over their fear of the dark.
The Frightful Nobody had quite the opposite effect on Chris Sorensen.
Instead of focusing on the ‘it was only a lamp’ ending, I latched onto the dark heart of the story. To this day, I can hear the words whistling through my mind. “First, it was a shadow on the door. Then it stretched out on the floor. I never knew what it’d turn out to be…this Frightful Nobody. Ooo-ooo-ooo!” It sent me screaming to my parents’ bedroom every time.
But did I stop listening to the story? No. I played it everynight. Despite the fear it inflicted. Wait…that’s not quite right. Because of the fear. I didn’t want to see the lamp; I wanted to see the creature.
“Why horror?” The question comes up in every other interview. I usually respond with a word salad about scary stories offering up some sort of catharsis, allowing for the controlled release of emotions. But that’s a lie. If you want to know the truth, my real answer is, “I don’t know.” Because the ‘not knowing’ is part of the horror.
Should you wish to brave a short snippet of the terror of The Frightful Nobody, proceed at your own risk:
CHRIS SORENSEN spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Werewolves of Poverty Gulch and The Vampire of Cripple Creek. He is the author of the middle grade book The Mad Scientists of New Jersey and has written numerous screenplays including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project. Chris is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association.