B O O M !!!

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Vancouver Island is being pounded by storm after storm after storm after…you get the idea.

It’s not fun.

Several communities have experienced floods.

We experienced a huge tree taking out a power line at the end of our street.

B O O M !!!

That’s the thunderous noise of a transformer blowing.

As well as sending a huge thank you to the team of dedicated BC Hydro workers who performed a winter storm miracle and got us reconnected, I offer wisdom gleaned through the ordeal of living off the grid for a few hours.

1. I need to invest in a car charger for my cell phone so I can surf the net (and play 2048) the next time a tree blows over. (I had to shut ‘er down before the battery completely died so I’d have some juice left over for the next day.)

2. Don’t wait until you’re out of cookies to bake more. A tender ginger Christmas cookie or three would’ve made the darkness so much less creepy, but my boy took the last one in his lunch that morning. 😦

3. Someone as nervous as me should surround herself with light, laughter and flowers instead of anything even remotely related to Stephen King. After watching Storm of the Century with my sailor last weekend, I was terrified Andre Linoge would come tap, tap, tapping on our door because, you know, bad things always happen when you’re in the dark.

4. A Chihuahua is really easy to trip over in the dark. Enough said.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

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It’s hard to sleep tucked up in my lonely bed. I often read to pass the lonesome hours. Sometimes reading makes me sleepy, but other times, if the story is too stimulating, it has the opposite effect.

At home without my sailor I should have known better than to choose a vampire novel and not just any vampire story, but one written by the king–Stephen King.

I read the opening chapters hoping the unspeakable evil would bypass Jerusalem’s Lot, the novel’s bucolic setting. Of course, it didn’t and the malicious vampire arrived to suck his way though the unwary populace.

Deep into the novel, the plot was gaining intensity. The heroes had arrived at little Mark’s house to warn his parents about the new monster in town when the lights suddenly went out. (Anytime the lights dim in a movie or novel, you know it’s not going to end well.) In this case the fiend strode forth from the shadows, angry a group of mere mortals were attempting to thwart him and thirsty, terribly thirsty.

This was enough for me at zero dark thirty–time to put the book down.

I clicked off my lamp and gasped loud enough to disturb a snoozing Chihuahua. My room was black as the tomb.

My nightlight had burned out!

I’m certain there is some obscure law of physics to explain why a nightlight only burns out on a night you are home without your sailor and have just read something really really scary.

I chewed my thumbnail and looked around. Was that a faint scratching at the window? With a whimper I assumed the universal posture of the scaredy cat–I huddled under the covers and hoped for the best.

The next morning me and my big under eye circles went shopping for a replacement nightlight and a new welcome mat. (My research indicates a vampire can only enter a home if he’s been welcomed in. I’m not taking any chances.)

Joyland by Stephen King

021It sounds weird to say this about a horror novelist, but anything written by Stephen King is a joy to read. His story-telling ability is unrivalled (this man’s imagination is hyperactive!) and his use of language is perfection. I’m sure his books would be studied in university English lit classes if he wrote in a different genre.

My love letter to Mr. King complete, I’ll talk about Joyland. It’s a ghost story, a murder mystery and a coming of age novel about Devin, a sensitive young man experiencing a broken heart. It has something for everyone!

Joyland is set in the early 1970’s. There’s an eerie retro vibe from the opening sentence. Devin is a college student who takes a summer job at Joyland, a carnival in a small Southern town. Descriptions of Joyland are so vivid, I had flashbacks of childhood summer holidays at the PNE.

Tension mounts as older carnie workers tell the story of an unsolved murder on one of the rides. Adding a supernatural twist, the apparition of the lovely young victim often appears at the site of her violent death. One of Devin’s fellow student workers researches the crime and uncovers a string of similar unsolved murders in the years leading up to the Joyland murder. The plot thickens!

I love a good ghost story (who doesn’t?)–add engaging characters, a cool setting and the real threat of a murderer lurking in the shadows and you have a winner of a book. The ending was shocking, satisfying and made me glad I’d found this novel on the Walmart book display.