Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why do we love suspense so much?

Maybe it is that "killing me softly" thing. Women love reading suspense novels. And all of us here love writing them. The woman in jeopardy story always has us on the edge of our seats. In today's novels, we try to make our heroines strong and independent but willing to let a man help them out now and then as long as he knows they are strong and independent. (And that drives him crazy at times.)

I have a suspenseful story to tell you. When my husband and I were first married and living in an apartment in Atlanta, Georgia, he worked the night shift for years. One night when my daughter was four or so and safely tucked into bed, I took a shower upstairs in the bathroom off the master bedroom. When I got out of the shower, I heard what sounded like someone rattling around downstairs in the kitchen. My heart beating rapidly, I wondered what to do. Should I call the police? This was before 911and our phone was downstairs. I thought, no, I can't get to the phone in the kitchen. And I had no weapons. The noise was growing louder and louder. I thought about running to a neighbor but I'd have to get my daughter up and the prowler might hear us. Finally, I decided I'd just go downstairs and around the corner and try to see who was in my tiny kitchen. I grabbed the first weapon I could find--a big old umbrella. My plan was to sneak downstairs and stab the intruder with the tip of that big, clunky umbrella or at least open it in his face and then run screaming toward the front of the house. Well, I came downstairs and tiptoed toward the kitchen at the back of the building, all the while breathing hard and so scared I was afraid I'd faint right there. Thankfully, I had left all the lights on in the kitchen. When I rounded the corner, umbrella held like a sword, to my surprise I found no one in my kitchen. I looked around, knowing there was no way anyone could have passed me to get to either of the doors out. Then I heard the rustling noise again, followed by a little sqeaking noise. I looked down and that's when I started screaming. A tiny mouse ran right by my bare feet! I did try to use the umbrella on him, but he was too quick. I did the only thing I could. I quickly opened the back door to the patio and shooed him out! He left pretty quickly because he was as scared as I was.

Talk about suspense. I will never forget that night or how I had to face my worst fears--a three inch intruder.

That is why I love suspense. It's that feeling of what's going to happen next? Who's after her and why? Will she live to find happiness with the man who's willing to fight for her? That's the fun of writing suspense and that's the joy of reading suspense. And sometimes, it's those little fears--those tiny as a mouse fears--that drive the real terror of a good story. But even now, when I'm alone and afraid in the house, I know I have a handy supply of sturdy umbrellas to use as weapons.
I guess I'm not the only one with such a tale to tell. I'd love to hear other stories of brave heroics (umbrellas optional :)

Lenora :)


Margaret Daley said...

I love the story, Lenora. Those little mice can certainly get our heart pumping.

PamelaTracy said...

LOL, Oh, Lenora, what a great story. I guess I'm still thinking about your pointy shoes, though, and thinking... hey, they could be a weapon

Lenora said...

Pam, you're right. I didn't have any pointy shoes back then! I barely had any cash to buy shoes back then! But that little mouse would have felt the pain if I'd had them for sure!

Lenora :)

EllenToo said...

Yep you gotta watch them sneaky little mouses. But my "intruder" was a little larger about the size of a cat (wait it was a cat)!! This happened when I was living in an apartment the first year I taught. I came home one day and found things pushed off tables and other things scattered around the apartment. I was carrying a heavy metal briefcase and planned to use it as a weapon against the intruder if he was still there. When I heard noise in the kitchen I peeked around the corner and there sat a large cat eating my bread that was sitting out on the counter. I don't know who jumped higher, me or the cat. About that time the neighbor came looking for the cat. Seems the maintanance man had come in to fix a leaking pipe earlier in the day and somehow the cat snuck in.

Carol Steward said...

Lenora, what a perfect story for me today! I went to feed the dogs this morning, without my glasses on, and thought I saw a little shadow in the corner of the plastic bin. I hit the bin, and sure enough, it was a mouse! He kept trying to jump out of the bin, but his little heart was beating as hard as mine. I looked around for a way to get it out. I had to put the lid on so it didn't jump onto my back while I reached over the bin to get an empty ice cream bucket. And of course, the bucket and the lid weren't together, so I had to find it. I set the bucket into the bin on it's side, hit the bin to scare little mouse into the bucket and then used the lid to tip the bucket upright, then plopped the lid onto it and trapped the little mouse in the bucket and bravely moved the bucket to the other side of the garage for my hubby to deal with after work. After all, I'd CAUGHT him.

It certainly wasn't the way I wanted to start my morning at 7am. Eeeeeuuuuwwww, I do not like mice.

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

mez said...

How can such a little animal (mouse) make such a big noise? I've heard them trapped in a small trash can or a paper bag and thought for sure someone was in the house. A broom is my weapon of choice! :-)

Lenora said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had scares from a mouse. When I lived on the farm, we had mice and big rats everywhere. But we had cats, too. But late at night, I'd hear that trap hitting a mouse and then I'd hear a tiny squeak. That made me sad even if I didn't want to have a battle with that tiny varmint!

Lenora :) who hit send before I'd posted my comment!