If you're anything like me, you know that sometimes it's fun to be scared. Maybe this time of year you do a corn maze or haunted house, or watch scary movies.
But we enjoy this because of the control we have over our fear. If I choose to put myself in a "scary" situation, that's a lot different than true fear gripping me against my will.
With that in mind, I wanted to share something that, for me, straddles that line. I enjoy listening to it around Halloween, but the content of this particular story gives me a taste of that utter loss of control - which is maybe the scariest thing of all. Also, there are lions.
The story in question is called The Veldt, and it was written by Ray Bradbury. It begins with a wealthy couple, living in an automated dream-house. They've shelled out a lot of money to give their children a virtual reality nursery which is linked directly to their imaginations. But lately, the children have been spending a lot of time in the African simulation... and it seems perhaps a little too real.
Earlier this year I discovered a radio drama version from the 80s. Brigham Young University and NPR produced a series called Bradbury 13, in which 13 classic Ray Bradbury stories were dramatized. If you like this story and are looking for more, I highly recommend the rest of this series - especially Kaleidoscope, A Sound of Thunder, and Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed.
This is a beautifully crafted, unsettling story, and definitely worthy of a listen. So curl up next to someone special (cough, lion fodder, cough) and experience the mystery of The Veldt.