The thing that goes bump in the night. The reason you won’t ever let your right foot hang too far off your bed while you sleep. A nightlight to ward off the monsters lurking in your closet.
If you had a normal childhood, your mother most likely tucked you into bed, read you a bedtime story full of princesses and princes and a magical land filled with dragons and fairies, and then planted a kiss on your forehead before saying good night.
My childhood, however, involved no such thing.
Instead, my mother read Bony-Legs. This was my first introduction to horror at the ripe age of 5.
The Story of Bony-Legs
If you haven’t heard of Bony-Legs, it’s an old Slavic folk tale about a witch who lives in a hut, perched on chicken legs and enjoys devouring children. You know, for the flavor.
One day a little girl named Sasha is sent out to find a needle and thread. While on her journey, Sasha comes across Bony-Legs and is captured. Sasha is able to outsmart the evil witch and escapes with the help of a mirror and comb that is given to her by the witch’s cat and dog. Sasha turns the mirror into a lake and the comb becomes tall trees that Bony-Legs could not pass (my favorite part of the story), allowing Sasha to make it home safely.
“Bony-Legs was a horrible, bad witch. She could run very fast on her bony old legs. Her teeth were made of iron, and she liked to eat little children. She lived deep in the woods in a hut that stood on chicken feet.”
—Excerpt from Bony-Legs, Written by Joanna Cole, Illustrations by Dirk Zimmer
I’ve since asked my mom why she thought reading a horror story at bedtime was a good idea and her answer was pretty straightforward: she thought the story was funny.
Thank you, mom, I slept with a nightlight longer than I’d like to admit. I should really start billing you for my therapy sessions.
Horror Into Adulthood: We Don’t Belong Here
As an adult, I have vehemently avoided horror at all costs. Blame it on Bony-Legs.
It’s honestly the last genre I thought I’d ever write. However, when I heard we were looking to create a horror podcast I jumped at the opportunity.
I wanted to help create something in a space where for too long people of color have not been given the proper space to be involved.
Working with fellow Brown Geeks Tamara Syed and Ryan Thomas Riddle has actually brought on a newfound love for the genre. I’m excited to share what we’ve cooked up, for our listeners to dive deep into our character’s psyches just as we have in the past few months.
Take a listen, starting tomorrow (10/27/2020), if you dare.
And to be sure you don’t miss it, please subscribe here.
(Header Image Artwork by Eesha Chavan)