Ever wake so slightly in the night? When it is far too dark for you to see? What is it in the dark? While everything else is deadly quiet, except for the scratching in the wall? Or the tapping on the window? What’s that howling in the night? What do you do? Do you try to go back to sleep? Do you attempt to ignore the sound and calm your nerves? But it persists doesn’t it? And you simply can’t ignore it? Doesn’t it seem much louder than it ought to be? What on earth is it?
Is it a simple rodent crawling in the walls? Could it be nothing more than a tiny mouse, searching for a bit of food? That isn’t so scary is it? But how close is that mouse to you? Why is it so loud after all? A very large mouse perhaps? Would that explain the sound in the dark of night? Have you ever heard a mouse make that much noise? I thought the term goes “as quiet as a mouse?” This tiny mouse isn’t very quiet though is it? What if it’s something more?
Maybe it is only a rat then? Aren’t rats larger? Wouldn’t they make more noise than a mouse? But are you afraid of rats? Why? Do they seem more frightening than a mouse? Are they more dangerous perhaps? Will they sneak into your sheets and bite you in your sleep? Will you scream? Will you ever be able to rest after that? Will you always think of the rat in your bed? Could you ever get that feeling out of your head? Maybe it isn’t a rat?
What if it’s a ghost? Is it haunting your house? Is it the ghost of someone murdered? Or could it be the killer himself? Can he still torment the living? What if he can kill from beyond the grave? Was he sent by something more sinister? Is he there to torment your spirit? Perhaps he brought friends? Are they going to feast on your soul? Is there anything you can do to fight them? Are you helplessly alone in bed? Shouldn’t you investigate? Or would you rather be dead? But ghosts don’t exist do they? Isn’t it something else? But if it’s not a mouse or rat or ghost, what is even left?
Could it be a monster? Are monsters even real? Perhaps it lives in your nightmares? Does it stalk you in your dreams? Does have sharp claws and teeth? Does it snarl or snap or howl? Can it devour people whole? Or perhaps tearing you limb from limb is its goal? How many arms does it have? How many eyes? Does it look like a massive spider? Or maybe it is more like a reptile? Is it really scary? Are you frozen with fear? Can anything save you from this monster? How often is it here? Has it followed you from your childhood? Has it been there every year? Is your heart pounding? Are you breathing too fast? Or are you holding your breath? How long can that last?
It’s probably not a monster is it? Or anything to fear? A lot of things scratch in walls don’t they? Couldn’t it be anything? Or nothing at all?
But what if it really is the thing you fear? Will you face your fear once and for all? Or will you let your fear continue? Will you let it have control?
I love writing, and when I do, I especially enjoy writing fantasy fiction. Hero versus villain, good versus evil, it’s often a genre that can highlight the extremes in human nature. Heroes can highlight the best characteristics we are capable of; loyalty, courage, bravery. On the flip side, villains can highlight the dregs of human nature; selfishness, deceit, hate, greed. Indeed, we have in us tremendous potential. Either for good or evil. Fantasy allows the writer to invent literal monsters to represent those characteristics. Fortunately, as a writer, I have seen monsters first hand.
I’ve seen people who lack all loyalty burn those they claim to love to protect themselves. I’ve witnessed people lie to everyone including authority in an effort to guard their position or their reputation. I’ve seen parents abandon children. I’ve seen children turn on their parents and attack them in hurtful ways. I’ve seen friends destroy friends socially, betraying their trust and lying then laughing at them while they suffer in pain. There is literally no end to the pain a person will inflict on another person.
In my own world, all of that has been done to me and more. Indeed, I’ve been broken by the depth of betrayal and lies created to wreck me. I’ve had someone tell me they love me while working to bury me and leave me ruined. I’ve endured campaigns against me based on a fantasy invented to cripple me. I know monsters well.
I saw a mother, unable to deal with parenting, pour more and more drugs down her child’s mouth leaving her forever damaged and altered. I saw a wife call police on her husband because he wouldn’t accept her lies and then use authority to put him in check. I have seen people lie in court, under oath, to judges to protect their egos and cement a false narrative that served no one except the person who invented it. I’ve seen monsters.
I’ve seen people use and violate other people then blame them for the hurt they caused. I’ve seen an abuser spin the truth into a sick web that ensnared the very person they wounded. How easily do evil people dress themselves in victims’ clothing and appear so meek and mild? It seems wolves can wear sheeps’ clothing comfortably. I’ve seen monsters.
Truth endures, however. Justice finds a way. Monsters are real. Evil is real. I will ever write and fight…monsters.