John M. Whalen
Shari L. Armstrong
John M. Whalen
Lee S. King
As I write this, it is that time of year again, the time of year I think about various things. The physical cues are all there, from the fleeing warmth and the deepening cold to the shortening of the light and the lengthening of the dark.
It all starts so innocently, but there is an inexorable slide. I think of hayrides and the autumn harvest. I think of the sharing of community on Halloween and the playfully macabre.
But lurking behind the scenes, I feel something else, genuine evil, and it is every day on the front page of the news, and it isn’t. I fear both.
Like many things, fear is a complex thing. Some things are really obvious—the unexplained noise in the darkness, sudden motion out of the corner of your eye, unexpected pain. However, some fears require more thought, which seems like a cruel joke. The more you know, the more things there are to fear—notification of a sexual predator living in your area, a wave of unsolved home invasions, identity theft, soaring inflation, global warming or cooling, as-yet-unknown superbugs.
fascinated more than frightened me. They were so rich in characterization, from Dr. Frankenstein and the pathos of his misunderstood monster to the enigmatic Count, to the tragedy of the wolfman. They were creatures who threatened other people in other places. There was a wealth of story there, tragic love given and lost, even a measure of adventure.
of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the implacable replication of The Thing, the utterly inhuman and unstoppable dread of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
I like how they phrased it in “Men In Black”: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Everything they’ve ever ‘known’ has been proven to be wrong. A thousand years ago everybody knew as a fact, that the earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on it. Imagine what you’llk now tomorrow.“
There it is—what we take for granted today could be completely changed at any moment, our lives upset, the illusion of our shallow confidences shattered.
What is fear for you? Lack of control? Pain? Loss of a loved one? Looming dread? The threat of things outside your ability to prevent or change? Death? Life?
with pain and sorrow, regret and disappointment, endless strings of lonely nights. Our marriage had become one of convenience and habit, but neither
smooth as an iced-over pond. Then, I tossed the glass back and most of the sour drink slid down my throat.
I placed the near-empty glass on the table and looked up as a tall, slender female eased out of the smoke.
Her pale blue skin glowed in the dim light and her hips swayed as she made her way to my table. A skimpy white skirt barely covered her long legs and matching fabric patches were not enough to leave
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