I Am Eleven Years Old When Scream Is Released on VHS
My three best friends, Amy, Sarah, and Crystal, are thirteen and Amy’s older brother, Daniel, is fifteen. Daniel and Amy’s parents do not care what they do as long as they are not bothered, so we all watch Scream at their house in this pyramid of not old enough but trying desperately to seem cool. It is maybe summer and still daylight when we finish the movie and I walk up the street two doors to my house and it is empty. I check my sister’s bedroom and my parents’ bedroom. I brace myself before checking the backyard, sure I will see them and/or Beauty, our dog, in some gruesome scene but it is just Beauty sleeping in the sun. I check the garage and the van is not there. My family has not been murdered at home, but they are still not home and I am panicking. I don’t remember the moment I found them all alive and not horribly murdered, but I did. Several months later for my twelfth birthday, I have somehow convinced my mother to rent Scream for my sleepover birthday party, which means I have convinced my mother to traumatize my friends, who are mostly eleven and twelve years old. We don’t live in the house I thought my family and/or Beauty were murdered in anymore. Now, we live in a too-small house for a sleepover party, so my sister sleeps with my parents tonight because she is still young enough to do that and my guests will have room for the too much they have packed for one night. In my too-small house, we still manage to sneak around and hide from each other. We take turns jump scaring and shrieking and this is when I have my Genius Idea. I take an off-white handled, serrated steak knife from the silverware drawer because I am still too afraid to touch the other knives and I set it on the kitchen table. I squirt ketchup across the blade, leave droplets on the floor leading to the pantry where I am giggling and hiding and I’m not certain who found the knife, but I think it was Ashley M, not Ashley D, and I jump out of the pantry screaming. Ashley M cries and I start to feel bad. I feel the same kind of bad as when I threw a marble at my sister and left a purple and bleeding welt on her ankle, the same kind of bad as when my mother found my diary, wherein I called her a bitch. Looking back, I don’t know why my parents never made an appearance, never told us to shut up and go to sleep, but they didn’t. Not even when Ashley M was crying, but I was used to my mother not coming toward the sound of crying and when we all start to quiet in the solemnness of crossing the line, the VCR spits the tape into the entertainment center cabinet door. We all scream in unison, then burst into laughter, then, without declaring it bedtime, we find our respective sleeping bags and crawl into them moments before the sunrise.
Laurence Hart (she/her) is a bisexual dragon sitting atop a hoard of notebooks in Louisville, KY. Her work has appeared in Clementine Zine, Folx Gallery, and Melted Butter. She is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection Disorders and Dating Apps (Nanny Goat Press, 2021).