Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jon Jefferson is the final Candy’s Monsters Summer Guest blogger. He’s contributed a MONSTER MEDITATION that I think you’ll find intriguing.
Here Be Dragons
The tale is the same. We sit around a campfire to hear of the old explorers and their discoveries. The old maps were marked with what was known. There were sections for what would be explored. And then the section marked “Here be dragons.” These were the places no one returned from. Only the fools and the overly brave ( same thing really) would venture into these places.
This was our history. We created monsters to give a shape to our fears. Pathogens wipe out a culture, we blame ghosts or witches. Our livestock is found dead in the field, it must be a werewolf or worse a dragon. No matter the story, we created a monster to cover the fear we harbored of the unknown.
Something changed over the past few hundred years though. We got smarter. We discovered the causes of many of the things we once blamed on the evil creatures that lurked in the night. We know what makes us sick. It isn’t some witch that cast a curse on us. No, it was our own forgetfulness to leave the potato salad on the counter all day
Our fear of the unknown still exists. The dragons and demons are no longer in a land far away that we might only run into if we sail off the edge of the map. No, now these creatures are our neighbors. They walk among us. You never know what the girl next door may harbor in her basement. You don’t know if that weird boy is an insult away from coming at you with an Uzi.
We give weight to our fears in our efforts to fight against them. Have you used an anti-bacterial wipe today? This is a new ritual, a new counter for the evil eye. We hear a news report, about an atrocity that baffles and confuses us. How could something like this happen. In our hearts though we know the truth, “Here be dragons.”
We assume we are safe when we stay in our warm homes. The walls keep out the creatures of the night. But we still know, out there in the distance, away from where we live, the dragons are there. They wait for that unwary traveler and they will strike.
We have gone to great lengths to make our old monsters warm and fuzzy. Our vampires now sparkle, demons fight along side angels to bring down greater evils, and witches are sexy and love to party. Maybe this is simply the mask they wear now. A mask that hides the true horrors hidden below the surface.
It is an interesting thought. We claim we are free of our old beliefs. We have no fear of the old monsters that once haunted us. But we see the evidence all around us of their existence. They have simply changed form, taken new masters. Sometimes it is a wonder we can make it outside our door.
In the end, our monsters terrify us as much as they fascinate us. We look to those who chronicle their existence to entertain us with a new vision. Sometimes it is the ones we find on paper that take our minds off the monsters that lurk in the world.
Jon Jefferson is a long time fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy stories in all their forms. He has spent most of his life looking for magic in the every day moments of life. He hails from the tundra of Southwest Michigan. The monsters in his life include his wife, two daughters and a grand daughter.
He writes and maintains the blogs 10th Day Brewing (10thdaybrewing.wordpress.com) and Misadventures in Strange Places (jonjeffersonauthor.wordpress.com). His book Fractured Hearts can be found on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Hearts-ebook/dp/B00DQ9RO0Q)