There lies within me – within us all – a gate of horror. That pulsing, quaking thing that shakes inside us when we bear witness to the things that crawl in the darkness. The unknown. The things that skitter and scratch along the surface of our experience.

True horror is subtle. It doesn’t wear the face of a man in a bloody hockey mask, or exist in robots that scuttle through shopping malls covering the floors with rich, red blood. True horror is that tender, loving touch on the back of your neck – the cold chill that blossoms along your skin, bringing your teeth chattering as you witness the soft, quietude of the aftermath. After the screams have passed, and you’re just left with the reality of life’s end. How easily things die, their bodies shrinking as they expire slowly, leaking that precious crimson fluid out onto the broken pavement beneath them as the poignant moments of their life progress through their mind’s eye in a vivid flash of color. Electricity shorting out the conduits of the neural synapse as the body twitches, surrendering itself to the soul night beyond.

True horror is a sigh of release. It reminds us that we still live, but forces us to see the delightfully dreadful possibilities that may yet lie in the wake of the passing wave of life ahead. It reminds us to tread gently, lest our footfalls call attention to our presence as we pass through – insuring that those who squat in the darkness, hungry and eager, follow us home to consume our fear.

This is the love, passed on from mother to child. The love for a genre that fills the night with wretched, wailing song, and makes me strong.

For all the fondness I have for horror, I have to thank my mother – an odd bird who began reading Edgar Allen Poe at the age of 4. The crotchety old bitch growling in the corner? That’s her – and I adore her utterly. This she knows, and I hope that she always will.

Love you, mom.

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