Just about a week ago, Derek and I were downstairs watching season 3 of Downton Abbey. It was around 9:30 pm, the kids were in bed and had quieted down quite a bit earlier.
About halfway through the season, we heard footsteps coming down the stairs.
We could tell by the tread that it was our daughter, and when she was close to the bottom, Derek said something like, "Hello, darling daughter Adelaide."
Her response was a muffled sob.
She came rushing into the living room, threw herself next to me on the couch, and buried her face in my shirt. She wasn't just crying; these were ugly, body-racking sobs. When she pulled away, we could see that her face was a mess of tears, snot, and thin lines of spittle dripping from her mouth.
Adelaide is not particularly nightmare-prone, and this kind of nighttime behavior is not at all normal for her, so we were pretty puzzled.
Then I looked down and saw she was holding a book.
Needless to say, I felt terrible, especially after she told me that it wasn't just the dog that freaked her out, it was the scene where the uncle contracts rabies, ties himself to a tree because he knows what's coming, then tries to eat his wife and kids after the onset of the disease.
Somehow I hadn't remembered that part.
In related news, Derek has decreed that all children's book titles must be first screened by him.
I'm not sure why; it only took thirty minutes to calm Adelaide down. And sure, she'll be haunted for the next couple years or so, but I'm sure the memory of the book will start to soften and she'll look at it with nostalgic fondness.
Or maybe not.