The Absence of Light
October 8, 2015
“Darkness falls across the land; the midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of blood; to terrorize y’awls neighborhood. And whosoever shall be found without the soul for getting down. Must stand and face the hounds of hell and rot inside a corpse’s shell. The foulest stench is in the air; the funk of forty thousand years. And grizzly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom. And though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver. For no mere mortal can resist the evil of The Thriller!” Quote from Michael Jackson’s Thriller, rapped by the original master of terror Vincent Price (1911-1993). Welcome to Hell-o-ween!
Are you afraid of the dark? Well, are you? That wasn’t a hypothetical inquiry or random statement. That was an actual direct question directed directly at you the reader. So...are you afraid of the dark? It’s OK to answer truthfully, this is a safe place…show us on the doll where they touched you…or show us where the doll touched you. Stop touching the doll!
For those who openly admit their fear of the dark you are to be commended. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it is a perfectly rational fear and you are not alone. Statistics show that 6.3 out of every 10 Americans are afraid of the dark. Guess the point 3 represents the remains of those who the dark got. The number increases dramatically when you include children. Most kids develop and express a fear of darkness between the ages of 4 and 9 years of age. Usually they relinquish their fear with age, though some will carry it well into adulthood.
Being afraid of the dark at any age is not only rational, it’s logical and natural. It is a fear of the unknown because what else is the dark but the ultimate representation of the unknown? Fearing something you can’t understand or truly see isn’t foolish, it is a sign of intelligent caution.
However, the truth of the matter is even if you are admittedly afraid of the dark you really aren’t afraid of the dark. If you were truly afraid of “the dark” you’d jump at every shadow. You’d get squeamish near dark corners and shudder each time you passed an unlit room. It’s not the dark you’re afraid of; you fear the potential of what the darkness holds.
In bed, in the dark of night, you awaken. You remain virtually motionless, as your eyes slowly adjust to the present darkness. Picking out and using the faint bits of light present. Your eyes rove about the room and you notice the bedroom door is slightly ajar. Not much, maybe just two or three inches. Beyond it lies total darkness. It’s no big deal right? It’s only open just a bit, just a crack really; one that’s just the right size for someone to be peering at you from the other side. You stare, trying to force your eyes to see more and at some point sleep finds you again.
You awaken and now the door is completely ajar. Subsidence you figure, maybe a fluctuation of air currents from the A/C. So why hasn’t it fluctuated before now? Don’t think about it. There’s a perfectly good and logical reason why that door is open. Nothing is going to come darting out of the darkened hallway that lies beyond it to get you. Of course nothing will come out of the dark hallway. Why should it? It’s already in the room. Should you turn on the bedside light? No because then you’ll have given away your position and there might actually be something there.
So just be cool, roll over and go back to sleep. Ah, there we go. Flip it to the cool side of the pillow on your way if you like. Now with your back to the door just snuggle up and…did you forget to close the closet door? No, no you’re sure you closed it right before you got into bed. Well guess what? It sure as hell isn’t closed now. You tell yourself it’s fine. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Whatever you do don’t think about the guy hiding in the closet or the pale child with black eyes staring at you from the corner. Whatever you do don’t think about the woman in the long nightgown with long black hair covering her ghastly face who will rush you the moment you turn on the lights. Just close your eyes and…you have to pee. That means leaving the safety of the bed, stepping into the darkness and crossing the hall. Maybe you can just forget about it until…nope you will wet the bed if you don’t move soon.
Fear is the motivation for some of the most spectacular bedroom gymnastics (not the fun, sex kind). Launching from the bed you slam the closet door shut. Followed by a backwards roll back across the bed, dismount, flipping to land well out of reach of whatever lies beneath. Now it’s time for the wide sprint across the hall and the safety of the bathroom light. The return is equally dramatic as you dive from the doorway, pushing the door closed with one foot to land back into bed rolling and letting your momentum pull you and the covers into place. Ah. Relieved, relaxed and worn out, it’s time for some rest. There’s just one thing…you didn’t get the door completely closed. It’s no big deal it’s only open a bit, just a crack really…sweet dreams.
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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!