A couple of days ago, I had an incident with a rat that gave me the most horrible nightmares.* Every time I woke up, I felt like my heart was being clenched by some giant, invisible fist. And no matter how many times I told myself “it’s just a rat,” I couldn’t seem to stop my brain from unraveling in a series of rat-related paranoid episodes.
See, that’s the thing about fear. It doesn’t care about rationality.
Still, that isn’t the worst thing, is it? The worst thing is, fear breeds. All it takes is a single upsetting moment. Then you start to doubt. Not just one thing, but everything. Like demonic possession, it opens a door to the darkest part of a person’s brain. And at night, it triples. It’s then that things get really bizarre. I don’t care how well-adjusted or rational you think you are, when you wake up in the middle of the night and you’re still half awake, there really are monsters in the dark. Some people choose to close their eyes and hide under the covers.
But in case you haven’t noticed before now, I’m a bit of a weirdo. I tend to squint my eyes and peer intently into the darkness–admittedly, while clutching my blankie for tactile emotional support–and silently call out “Hello? Is anyone there?” (I know what you’re thinking. And you’re probably right. I would be the first to die in a low-budget horror flick. Well, maybe not first, but right after the girl with questionable morals and the token minority character.)
But I also learn a lot about myself, and about the monsters in the dark, this way.
See, that’s the thing about monsters in the dark.
They really do make for great stories.
And now, a few words on the value of fear, from my man Edgar Allan Poe:
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before.”
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”
*Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I’ve been re-watching Supernatural over the past few days, while I revise. I can’t help it, I love me some thriller man candy. I also love thunderstorms and creepy old ruins. In case you were wondering.
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