Friday, October 14, 2005

Hour of the Wolf

In a recent interview the horror writer and dare-devil Dan Greenburg was asked what actually scared him.

A: Waking up at the hour of the wolf, that hour just before the sky starts turning pink, when the comforting sounds of crickets and cicadas and the bugs that sound like ratchet tools have stopped for the night and nature is holding its breath before dawn, the hour when the most truly horrifying things happen to people. Wait, did you hear that? A kind of eerie scratching and snuffling at the back door? No? Uh-oh. You know, I think I forgot to double-lock the back door, and the one thing they warned me never to do in these woods is to forget to double-lock the back door. I'd better go check it out.

There is something about getting up at 4:00 in the morning that is qualitatively different from getting up earlier or later. At some point in my early 20’s I accepted the notion that the hour between 4AM and 5AM was the “hour of the wolf” - it was something I read somewhere or heard on the radio late one night driving home from a date. I genuinely believe this hour is somehow haunted and that whatever evil there is in the world surfaces at this time. Without any evidence to support it, I'm sure that most of the murders and beatings and rapes and other bad things people do to other people, occur during this hour and therefore it isn’t a good thing to be out and about in the world until 5:01AM or thereabouts. And I have this notion that whatever evil might lurk within me has a better chance of acting on me if I’m awake, so I don’t particularly like it when I can’t sleep for one reason or another and get up and go into the kitchen and see the clock above the oven reads four-something in the morning as it did today.

It is now safely past 5:00AM. I can hear the early birds chirping outside. I’ve made it through another hour of the wolf unscathed.


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