The other day, I watched Granada Television’s version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” starring Jeremy Brett (the best portrayer of Sherlock Holmes, ever) with my wife and one of our children. Surely this is one of the great detective stories of all time, and it brought back a vivid memory from many years ago.
Late one night when in my teens, I was lying awake in bed, reading The Hound of the Baskervilles. My bed was situated lengthwise against the same wall of the bedroom as the door. The door was therefore at the foot of the bed. Everyone else was fast asleep.
Lying propped up in bed and getting deliciously scared at a critical point in the narrative, my eyes caught movement over the top of the book. People, it was the bedroom door handle, slowly, ever so slowly turning. Frozen in terror, I couldn’t seem to think clearly as I then watched the door slowly, ever so slowly begin to open. My eyes just about popped out of their sockets, I was so scared.
This is the moment when I finally found my voice and let out a bloodcurdling shriek.
To compound matters, a head popped ‘round the door then, about level with the door handle, and that made me nearly pass out.
It was my brother, who had decided to try to scare me but had no idea how apt was his timing and how astonishingly successful his attempt would be. He scared me so badly that my violent reaction in turn scared him.
Even now as I retell the story these many years later, I start to laugh all over again. What a moment!