Horror Audiobooks and Work Don't Mix

May 10, 2024 by HL Bernabe

Listening to audiobooks is a pleasant way to make my workdays go faster. I like to listen while I do paperwork when it’s slow and I don’t have any customers. I prefer listening to an audiobook over listening to music on the radio, and it’s often the only way I can get my reading in when I’m busy with life.

This last week, however, I learned that horror books and my job don’t mix. I suppose if I worked with other people, and I wasn’t alone, perhaps I would have been fine. But no, I work by myself. I only see people during shift change, or when customers come. Normally, I listen to fantasy, but that day I was in the mood for something grittier, something with teeth.

There I was, listening to the first part of the book where the author sets the tone, layering on the weirdness, that dark and eerie feel. The characters were stuck on an island in the middle of Lake Superior, marooned until someone came to rescue them. Weird things kept happening. Then they found the caretaker’s body…

And when I sensed a figure looming in my peripheral vision, I jumped. You know that jump, squeak, clutch the chest trope? Yep. I did it. Sure enough, there was a maintenance guy outside the window. He hadn’t knocked (which might have been even worse because the noise probably would have sent me through the roof), and was waiting patiently for me to finish counting the stuff I was working on. He said he didn’t want to make me lose count!

Oh, my goodness. My heart had nearly gone through my throat; he startled me so badly. I hadn’t heard him walk up! Then, he worked on the gates outside, and I continued listening to my book. Despite me knowing he was out there working on stuff, I still jumped a few other times when he loudly clanked metal against metal or dropped something. Each time was like a little mini-heart attack.

So, yeah. Lesson learned. No more scary books when I’m at work. I get too jumpy.

(In case you’re wondering, the book was Hemlock Island by Kelley Armstrong. Overall, it was okay. I liked it well enough. The narrator, however, did a fantastic job with the voices. Kudos to her performance!)