Elizabeth had never been so frightened. They had told her father that they were going to watch Gigi at the Regal, but instead they had watched The Blob. It was Bobby’s idea but Elizabeth was happy to go along with the ruse. She was 18 now and teenagers should be able to do whatever they wanted. Why should her father always spoil her fun?
Bobby had collected her and promised they wouldn’t be late. “I’ll have your little girl home by 10pm, Mr James. Just like always.” Her mother looked up from her needlepoint and smiled at them, looking as if she perhaps wished for an occasional evening out at the cinema. Life had been so different when she had been young.
Elizabeth slipped her arm through Bobby’s and they headed for the Regal. She thrilled with the thought of seeing her first horror film. The lie they told her father sat awkwardly with her, but the double risk excited her even more.
Her father had always protected her from bad things and she had been very young when the war ended. She had no idea what a horror film might be like and was unprepared for the sight she saw. The glistening black blob filled her heart with fear as surely as if it had glooped out of the screen and absorbed her whole body like it did the doctor and the mechanic.
Elizabeth watched much of the film from behind interlaced fingers. Often she screwed her eyes tight and wished she couldn’t hear the screams and shouts and cries. Even the gasps of the cinema audience scared her.
Bobby had watched the whole film, never looking away once. “I’m a man,” he told Elizabeth as he walked her home. “We don’t get frightened easily.” He put his arm round her shoulders to show how brave he was. She didn’t speak all the way to her house but Bobby didn’t notice as he retold his favourite scenes and how he would have worked out freezing much earlier.
“Night Elizabeth, night Mr James,” said Bobby as he set off for his own home.
“Did you enjoy your film?” asked her father. “I suppose you’ll be singing Gigi for a week now, won’t she Mother. Bed, Elizabeth. It’s late and we are tired.”
“Yes Father. Night, Mother.”
Elizabeth climbed the stairs, and then undressed in her room with the light still on. She got into bed, with the light still on. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but the light kept her awake. But the dark would remind her too much of the blob. Oh bother that Bobby. Why had she gone along with his crazy idea? She may never sleep properly again. So this is what real fear is like, she thought.
Elizabeth crept out of bed, switched the light off before her father noticed the glow around the door and said her prayers for an extra long time.
Inspiration: The 1950s