art by Tim Stewart
Waiting In The Corners
by Brian Dolton
There isn't room for us any more.
We used to be there all the time. In the background, but there, in the dark corners. We'd come out at night, or when you were alone. When there were strange sounds in the jungles of Cambodia, or on the wild Scottish cliffs. Then you'd remember us, and look around, and be afraid.
Because we were the monsters.
You made us what we were. You wanted to make us. You wanted something to be afraid of, something to whisper about, something you could use to thrill your children, or scare them into obedience.
But there are too many other things to be scared about, now. Too many other things to occupy you. You're clever, but even so, there's only so many things you can juggle at once. Only so many strands you can weave into your lives. You're scared of terrorists. You're scared of the economy. You're scared of the way the world changes so fast. It never used to change, not when we were your fears. We were the teeth in the darkness. We were temptation and terror. We were the rusalki and the loup-garou, the rakshasa and the ifrit.
There are some of us still around, of course. The yeti, the sasquatch. There are even new ones, like the chupacabra. Somehow, we cling on, nestling there alongside the grey, large-eyed aliens, or the men in dark suits, or the wild-eyed men with bombs wrapped around their bodies.
We didn't always make sense, perhaps, but there was a bond we all shared, once; a theme. It's gone, now; everything's fragmented and broken, nothing fits together. The world has grown too small to hold everything. There aren't enough dark corners left for us. Not even your children fear us the way they once did. Their terrors are the stranger waiting to abduct them, or the simple pressure of their peers, the need to conform.
We don't scare you. We don't scare them. And if we don't scare anyone, what are we for?