It’s late at night, and you’re home alone. You’re young and this is the first time it’s happened. You were excited at first but as the sun’s light faded beyond the horizon and darkness covered the outside world, you were compelled to turn on every light in the house. An urging sense of fear overtook you, and now you’re checking every room to make sure you really are alone. Next are the windows. You pull every drape and drop every blind. If a window doesn’t have one, you close the door to that room. You check for any slight crack in the coverings, and now become acutely aware of every subtle sound there is to hear. A ticking clock. Distant traffic from the main roads. A faint sound you can’t label. It was a wisping sound, or was it a whisper? At this point you are terrified, but you don’t know what about. You hear the sound again. It isn’t the wind. It can’t be. It isn’t consistent enough. What is it? You feel like you could die as you stand still in the living room, you head bowed, your fists clenched. All you can do now is listen. The sound comes again. It lasts for no more than 2 seconds, but it echoes in your mind on a constant loop.
You will not survive the night. You are certain of it. You can imagine someone breaking in, or they are already inside, waiting to simply reveal themselves to you. The sound comes again. It is beginning to have a pattern. Maybe it is just the wind, coming in small gusts, or maybe that’s just what it wants you to think. It is no longer an imagined person. It could still be human, but now it could also be a creature, one that has the same intelligence as humans, maybe even more, and it is a predator. Right now, it is slowly driving you mad before taking its action. Is it an alien? A vampire? A demon? An eldritch god? Some other form of entity so terrifying and unknowable that to even fear such a thing doesn’t make sense. You are already dead and don’t even know it. Could this all be a dream? Or are you in purgatory? The sound comes again. This time it brings a wave of relief. At least the sound is something real. It brings you back to the present. Your fear seems to revert. You imagine a human intruder again, come to kill you. But then that fear slowly fades away too. You raise your head to find yourself where you’ve always been, alone in your house. You feel foolish to have let yourself become so psychologically vulnerable. You take your first step in a while to realize that your muscles are sore from standing.
You make your way to your bedroom, sick of the night and wanting to sleep it all away. You close the door behind you, thinking you should turn the lights off, but won’t fear creeps back into your mind and you do everything you can to push it back down. You turn your lamp on and turn the main lights off. It seems darker than it should be, but you know your eyes will adjust. You get in bed and distract yourself by listening to music. It works profoundly well, carrying you off to sleep. But then, you hear a sound. It’s not a wisp, it’s a creak. You look down the length of your bed and your room has become longer than you remember. It stretches away from the lamp’s light into pure darkness. In that darkness you become aware of a presence. It doesn’t make a sound. You can’t see it. There is no way you can know anything is in the darkness, but you know with complete certainty that your gaze into the void is being met right back.
It’s not right, none of it is right. It shouldn’t have come to this. If you were always going to die tonight, why couldn’t it have been when you were standing in the living room? Why did IT wait until you asleep in bed to come for you? IT must have wanted that fear to subside. Maybe it makes a fresh wave of fear even greater? The thought is sickening. It seems sexual- like the act of intercourse being prepare beforehand by foreplay. It’s evil. You hate it. You hate this thing with everything you have. You want to kill it, trash at its throat, screaming the whole time. But as you lay, you are still, and silent. Your mind is on fire. And then…
You wake up. Natural morning light cascades into your bedroom, even against the muffling of drapery, and you blink to assure that you really are awake. The light beside your bed isn’t necessary so you turn it off. You feel like a spell is lifting. You remember how terrified you were last night but can’t pin down about what. Against your own wishes to forget the whole ordeal, you rethink what happened, trying hard to relive every moment. It started with lights, then the windows, then sounds. The fear appears again. It trickles down your spine like a faucet turned off that still had a few drops to release. You catch yourself attempting the same self-destructive imagining that cause you to become so afraid before. But as you do so you still question your own thinking, wondering why you tried to hard to make yourself afraid. And afraid of what? You couldn’t pin that down either. It wasn’t exact. It was a shapeless, out of focus fear. The main thing was that you didn’t know. Whatever it was you feared, you simply didn’t know.
Thank you for stopping by for to another thought piece by me ya boy Joe Van, and the topic today is: Fear of the unknown. I’ve covered fear before, but not like this.