A STRANGER CALLS
THE DEAD BOYFRIEND
Almost every parent has left their children with a babysitter at some point in their adolescence, whether it be a relative, a family friend or simply somebody they found locally advertised.
It doesn’t matter how well we know them, how comfortable we feel in their competence and ability, there is always that niggling feeling of doubt… that fear that whispers so silently into your ear when you’re trying to focus your energy elsewhere. The reminder that you are not aware of what is in the mind of the person you have placed in the care of your kin.
A babysitter is not uncommon, going back for thousands of years across our ancestors – even crossing species into the animal kingdom as the wiser, more maternal of the group is entrusted to take care of the youths.
As the parents of our children, we are entrusted to keep them safe, and in these short moments of our lives, we entrust these individuals to take over that mantle, if not only for an evening.
Almost every single time, these fearful thoughts remain just that – thoughts - never to manifest into anything more than a silly worry in the back of a mother’s head… but then there is always the question, what if it isn’t the babysitter that we need to fear?
We’ve all seen the scene in the American horror movies of young lovers parking up by the woods to awkwardly fumble around in private without the worry of parents or passers-by but they are almost always disturbed; occasionally this disturbance is simply natures calling, as the male counterpart of the two heads off to relieve himself, leaving the woman alone to impatiently wait in the darkness of the car. Other times they are disturbed by a curious noise outside, luring the male away from the car in search for answers.
This narrative feels so real to us as so many of us attempted to seek refuge from our parent’s gaze in our younger years, finding a place to park up and smoke, hang out, have sex, or simply play music into the night. Our first cars give us that first feeling of ownership, that space is yours and yours alone, it is your home away from home. A teenager with a sudden feeling of independence will push it to its limits as they attempt to stretch their legs in this newfound world of adulthood.
There is an element of safety that comes from sitting inside of a car; people will shout and scream from behind the steering wheel with a confidence that would never manifest itself without the steel box they were inside but in truth, we all know deep down that we are not safe from the outside world and our confidence is built on a naïve landscape.
What if, as we hid from the world to create our own temporary teenage utopia, we also hid ourselves from safety? What if, as we seek out the darkness, the darkness finds us?