The most benign objects and places take on mysterious new meanings in shadow. I’m sure there’s something in our deep, dark pre-history that sends a shiver through the reptilian vestige in our brains. Fables, fairy tales, myths and thousands of years of storytelling give names to the fears and help us form pictures in the fluctuating gradations of darkness.
What lurks in the shadows?
We all have an answer or we did when we were kids. Mystery (horror, suspense and speculative fiction) writers must hang onto this shadow language from childhood and cultivate the uncomfortable feelings that accompany shadows. I’m a realist, most of the time, but I’d be stymied when writing if I couldn’t connect with the little girl in me. She was terrified of the dark, certain that horrors lurked in shadows and haunted by vivid nightmares.
I still dream and recall my unconscious adventures a few times a week. I even have nightmares. Anxiety rising from my real life, slipping into the cocktail shaker of scary memories and lurid fears — the result is a grown up version of the nightmares of my childhood.
What about you? Do you still scare yourself imagining what you see in shadows?