It’s About Being Afraid

I wanted to write something, but spent a relatively uneventful day about the house doing nothing in particular and certainly nothing inspiring. Then watching the X-Files made me wonder about fear.
Sitting here, alone in the house, I started to wonder what fear was all about. I have to say that as fear goes, I am not one that is frightened by much. Oxford defined it as ‘a painful emotion caused by impending danger or evil’, but there seems to be more to it than that, based on how I (and I am sure others) feel about different things.
I am trying to think of something that frightens me – something that instills a sense of fear. Being alone? I live alone, and it isn’t a problem. Alone in the dark? I usually wander about in the dark and don’t bother with lights, so that in itself isn’t a problem either. What might be is what the dark might contain: the unknown.

You are sitting alone in the house, in front of your computer. There is a lamp on the table and the bulb, without warning, blows. The monitor and street lights provide a little relief. You know the layout of the room, so you move quickly to the main light switch without incident, and try it. Nothing happens. The computer monitor now turns off, leaving you with nothing but the glow from outside street lights which, one by one, also extinguish. Now it’s dark – very dark. You are standing waiting for something to happen: the power come back on, perhaps? You sigh at the thought of the torch in the drawer that you kept promising yourself to buy batteries for.
You stand there and listen the wind outside and another, unusual, sound coming from another room. You know there is no-one else in the house, and the sound is like nothing else you have heard before. You turn slowly, trying not to make a noise yourself, and inch your way towards the source of the sound. Your hands feel clammy, and your heartbeat seems stronger. Your mind races, trying to imagine what could be making the noise that you can still hear.

The mind will try and fill in the blank. It will sort through everything you know that might make a noise such as the one your hear and eliminate the possibilities one by one. But there are things that will influence your thoughts. You are alone; it is dark; you are haven’t heard a noise like this before. These conditions allow your mind to run riot, and the most improbable ideas come flooding in. Now it’s not just a moth, that might somehow have got in through a window left ajar. Now there is someone, or something, there that really, really shouldn’t, or couldn’t, be there.
What does it for you? At what point does fear, irrational or otherwise, take over? When the lamp blew unexpectedly? When you found yourself in the semi-darkness, or maybe when the main light refused to come on? Or maybe you aren’t so much worried about the dark, but the thoughts that come to you when you go looking for the source of the noise. It might be that moth. It might be some unearthly entity that has chosen to cling to you, and now is trying to make itself known. And alien visitors don’t need door-keys, do they?
As irrational and improbable as it might be it is actually the last one that does it for me and, as far as I know, it’s the only one.
I do believe that we are not the only planet in the universe supporting life. And without going into government cover-up (today) I do believe that we are being visited, and there is nothing we can do about it. I know people are going to sigh and wonder what planet I myself might be living on, but now is not the time to defend myself on issues such as this.

The darkness and what it might contain is, of course, just one way that fear might be induced in a person, and there are many others – some rational, others not so. Sometimes you can trace a fear to its root-cause (aracnophobia, for example). Other times it’s a fear that exists deep in the subconcious, and might be one that is not easy to pinpoint. And what about fear of fear itself?

What causes your skin to go cold, and the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up straight in fear and fascination of what you are anticipating? Maybe it’s that something that is making its way slowly, silenty, to your feet as they rest on the floor as you read this. Something that shouldn’t, or couldn’t, be there.

You’d better look, just in case…

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