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Because there aren’t too many things that scare me, if you ever actually see or hear me startled, it’s most likely because I came face to face with a shark, or I was surprised by one or both of the two children in my home who walk and talk in their sleep.

For one, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear my daughter Madeline is a Pentecostal vampire. In other words, it’s not all that uncommon in the evening to travel past her bedroom and hear her speaking in a conversational voice, uttering the kinds of gibberish you might hear at a tent revival. But brace yourself as you stand there in her doorway listening to her speak in tongues. At any moment, she may sit straight up and slowly turn her head toward the doorway, reminiscent of Michael Myers from “Halloween,” or the undead master vampire, Kurt Barlow, in Stephen King’s ’Salem’s Lot. Perhaps more terrifying is that even with her eyes closed, she somehow knows who it is that’s standing in her doorway.

“Daddy!” she says with a forceful whisper. “Can I have another hug and kiss before bed?”

“Go back to sleep, Madeline,” is my typical response, which is really just an evangelical way of saying to her, “No way I’m giving you hug and a kiss right now. You’re creeping me out. And besides, I’m not interested in becoming your next meal.”

Harrison is another story altogether, although a similarly creepy one. There have been times when I’ve walked by his bedroom and found him standing in the middle of his room in the dark with his eyes wide open. A distant stare and barely blinking, he’s eerily cognoscente that I walked by, and so with that, he turns toward the door to ask a question, something like, “Where are the birds for the soccer game?”

“They’re in Nevada by that rock that looks like a coffee maker,” I might say, because it really doesn’t matter what answer I give. “Now, go back to sleep, Harry.” And then he does.

In moments like these, instants that occur after sundown, moments that involve ominously pale children stirring from motionless sleep to hover in tenebrous spaces, I’m a little on edge, and so the only darkness I’m willing to venture into is a deep ambered whisky like the Bowmore 15-year-old Darkest edition.

A gift to me from a friend visiting Scotland, the nose of this sampler dram actually entices one into a peaty shadowland of smoked citrus fruits and vegetal meats. With a sip, the dusky end-of-day somnolence turns to a crisp and wide-eyed night of smoke, sweet and sour oak, and Werther’s soft caramel chews.

The medium finish speaks in tongues—of men and of angels—with peppery washes of singed and salty fruit, it grabs hold tightly and pulls you back for another sip.

That reminds me…

I think that one of the creepiest, and perhaps most humorous, of the sleepwalking occurrences so far was when Jennifer and I were watching a movie and Harrison suddenly appeared out of nowhere—as if he’d emerged from the darkest corner of the room. He was wearing sleep pants but no shirt, and with a semi-literate mumble, he complained that he was cold. Wondering how in the world he made it down the stairs without us seeing him, I told him to go put a shirt on and get back into bed. He did. A few minutes later he emerged from the same dark space again to say he was still cold—except this time he was wearing a shirt but had taken off his pants.

It was all very spooky. Jen, of course, asked me to shepherd him back to his room.

“No way, José,” I said with certainty. “This is all a trick to get one of us alone in the darkness—like that creature from ‘The Thing.’ As soon as I’m distracted and pulling the covers up and over him, his face will split open and tentacles will fly out and pull my head clean off. I’m sure the little sleepwalking ghoul can find his way back to his room on his own.”

Getting the look, I attempted to negotiate.

“Okay, I’ll take him to his room, but just to put him in it and then close the door. How’s that?”

“I’ll do it,” the loving but foolish mother replied with a sigh.

“Yeah, you will,” I whispered, well after she had already departed, of course.