The Human Abyss

Darkness . . . it is one of our earliest childhood fears.  I can remember many a night, laying there, covers clutched tight beneath my chin, fearful of what lurked in the shadows.  It wasn’t so much the fear of the unknown, or what could have been there in the room with me, but what was.  Long, black masses stretched from floor to ceiling and inched across the walls, their limbs twisting like gnarled branches in a storm.  These silent wraiths would visit nightly, and each time the light went out, I held my breath and shuddered with fearful anticipation.

There is a delicate balance in this world.  Our time is measured with one part light and one part dark.  The sun and moon engage in a graceful tango, their dance one that creates forces of great destruction like gravity.  Falling stars may be beautiful, but what about the tidal waves that surge past the shores?  Human nature is even less defined, for each of us holds the same capacity for good as we do evil . . . at least at birth.  And, I think, to be truly honest, each of us has, at one time or another, had an ugly or cruel thought flitter through or mind, no matter how fleeting.

Sure I’m afraid of evil clowns, of aliens and spiders, of demons and vengeful spirits.  Most of us are.  But what exceeds that fear, what lingers at the top of my list evoking unease at all hours is the fear of humankind.  We, as a species, possess the capacity to inflict the most harm.  It is the people without conscience and morals who pose the most danger.  The cold-blooded killers who walk among us, many of them undetected until it is far too late.  Jack the Ripper, BTK, the Green River killer, Ted Bundy . . . the list goes on and on.

In today’s society, in these brutal times we live in, horror writers need not depend on mythological creatures to scare.  We need not create fictional monsters who are indestructible.  The truth is: they walk among us, every day.  Some walk the thin line between dark and light . . . some grasp that fragile rope between good and evil by only a single thread.  Their lifeline is frayed and one never knows when it will snap.

But even they serve some purpose.  They remind us life is uncertain.  People are uncertain.  Nothing should be taken for granted.  Beyond inspiration and fear, they prove darkness and light can exist within each one of us as well.  One cannot exist, nor be fully appreciated without the other.  Our choices can and do impact others.

There is a Nietzsche quote that I think most of us have heard.  ““He who fights monsters must take care lest he become a monster. When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes into you.”

I, myself, am also fond of this one:  “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

I leave you to ponder these words with the hopes that they inspire.  Take care, my friends . . . and be careful not to gaze into the abyss for too long!



11 comments on “The Human Abyss

  1. Joseph Pinto says:

    I wrote about this not too long ago, Adri. Very few are willing to look within themselves & realize the delicate balance that exists; fewer still realize just how lucky they are to keep that balance in line. Good post!

  2. Jason Darrick says:

    Very well said! I adore the monsters and boogeymen when they creep about, but I too have a rather morbid fascination with the more human evils of the world.

  3. douginator says:

    “In today’s society, in these brutal times we live in, horror writers need not depend on mythological creatures to scare. We need not create fictional monsters who are indestructible. The truth is: they walk among us, every day.”

    This has never been a truer statement.

    When I was a child, I was never scared of the darkness. It was what was in the darkness that was waiting for me. The horror, if you would, was the element within it. Not knowing, or in many of my case, knowing what was in it and waiting to strike.

    I won’t get too personal about my tragic childhood. But the monsters for me, were those living among us as they thrive among society today in the darkness, just out of the light of revelation of what they truly are, and until they are brought forth into this light and dealt accordingly.

    Another wonderful and thought-provoking post, Adriana.

    • Adriana Noir says:

      Thank you, Doug. I’m fairly good at reading between the lines. Let me just say that I hope your monsters are brought forth. I truly believe we reap what we sow…if not in this life than the next. Karma, my friend, is often a beautiful thing to behold.

  4. Hunter Shea says:

    Great post! You know, as a kid, I was afraid of the dark, but it wasn’t monsters in the pitch that worried me, but thieves and murderers. Even when I was 5 I knew my odds of being killed by an evil person were exponentially higher than by a werewolf or a zombie. For me as a writer, I prefer to write in the world of monsters because I want my books to be an escape from the walking horror show we all see on the news every day.
    I see you’re reading Evil Eternal. Hope you can appreciate the tongue in cheek style. I played Wagner’s Ring cycle while I wrote it so I could keep my head locked into the grand, larger than life scheme of that world. 🙂

    • Adriana Noir says:

      Thank you, Hunter! I, myself, tend to dabble with a bit of both. But then again, my brain is often all over the place.
      I am reading Evil Eternal, and so far, it’s fantastic! That Cain is certainly something!

  5. maramcbain says:

    The human monsters are far more frightening than any blood sucking, undead shuffling, moon howler could be. They can also be a true delight to write. *grins* The way their minds work never fail to fascinate. *shivers*

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