Mom and Dad would wake up in the morning and start complaining. Someone had left the hallway light on all night. It had to be me or my sister, they hadn't left their room all night. Didn't we know how wasteful, how expensive that was? Naughty, naughty children.
Actually in a rare moment of accord, it was both of us. We never confessed it to either parent, but there was something really Evil and Scary downstairs. Something about the way the cool air creeping up from the family room would wrap around your ankles as you went to the bathroom at night.... We turned on the lights. Small comfort, but at least we felt reassured. If we couldn't see anything, there was nothing there, right? We each had rituals to stay in the light as long as possible, shutting our doors as soon as we could. Interestingly, no one in my family would sleep with the doors open in that house, although we had in the past.
I was back in the house for my sister's wedding recently. At one, still awake, I realized I couldn't hold off and had to go to the bathroom. I opened the door, and at the age of 26, sober, and well aware of all the silly things that don't exist for adults, I immediately turned on the hallway light.
I didn't feel much better. And I didn't look downstairs into the darkness, to see if anything wasn't there, either.

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