By Michelle Smith
One fall afternoon about 14 years ago, we drove past the haunted house, Nightmare on 13th. When my one-year-old daughter, Meesha, saw the gargoyle guarding the entrance she grabbed me and held on tight. I assured her that everything was alright. By the time we arrived at home, I had forgotten all about the gargoyle, but Meesha jumped out of the car and was looking in the sky for it. She was hardly talking at that age, but she must have recognized the gargoyle had wings.
The gargoyle eventually became a part of our everyday lives. He was positioned between our house and Meesha’s daycare. We started telling her that the gargoyle was friendly and during the few months that he was actively moving, we would make up words that he was saying. We would say in our gargoyle voice, “Meesha, I’m going to tickle you!” In the next year or two, she started making up words that gargoyle was supposedly saying to us.
A decade later my youngest, Marcelina, also became fascinated with the guardian of the entrance, only then it was a dragon. We told Marcelina, “Dragon sees you. He said, ‘Hi Marcelina!’” Of course we used our deep dragon voice.
When Dragon was not moving, we told Marcelina that he was sleeping. After the Halloween season, Nightmare on 13th covers the creature over the entrance. I explained to Marcelina that Dragon is hibernating.
One year, the covered Dragon disappeared for a few months. We drove around town calling his name out of our car windows. Three-year-old Marcelina determined that the other haunted house in the area had taken Dragon and chained him up. He needed to be rescued. She asked her older brother for swords. One day after passing the other haunted house, Marcelina turned to me and said, “I’m not going in there, Mom. Will go by yourself to rescue Dragon?” I bravely agreed.
A couple of months later I saw that Dragon was back at Nightmare on 13th. I was so excited to tell Marcelina. I picked her up from daycare and told her that I had rescued Dragon. We drove by Nightmare on 13th and she saw him. I told her that Dragon is no longer red. He turned greenish-blue. She told me that I rescued the wrong dragon!