Fear is the most complicated of the eight core human emotions. Simple in its original purpose, yet made complex by its modern use. Biologically, fear serves as a survival instinct. A boost of adrenaline, an increase in heart rate, a narrowed focus on the danger, all readying us for fight or flight.
Like six of its seven sisters (sadness, anger, disgust, surprise, suspicion and concern), fear is an uncomfortable physiological state. The discomfort intended to motivate the host into any action that will successfully eliminate the internal stress.
And yet, unique to the other six emotions, fear has become more akin to happiness. An emotional state many seek out in various forms—from thrill rides to horror movies, to game shows, to those intense Halloween horror houses. A strange journey to discover experiences and situations we are genetically engineered to avoid.
Perhaps it is because, in our modern world of strong walls and brilliant lights, science has killed the Boogey man and reason have dispelled superstition. We are free to enjoy the emotional rush without consequences. We can relish in the feeling while knowing it is just an illusion. After all, it is Just A Movie, and the roller coaster will stop safely, and the man with the chainsaw is only an actor.
Or maybe these little tests of nerve and fortitude are also an ancient program. A desire to keep fit through this emotional calisthenics in preparation for the possible return of those long ago forgotten things that still await in the darkness.
I fell in love with horror at the age of five. It’s a dark love affair that has endured almost five decades. Our courtship began on a nineteen inch black and white television, it matured within the pages of short stories and then novels. We’ve cuddled in the soft blue light of VCR tapes and DVDs, and we’ve spent exotic fearful moments seated before the big screen.
But alas, with each new experience, that shared blanket of fear became thinner and more threadbare. And so we looked for more, wished to go deeper, and longed to recapture the pleasant, safe, dread.
And then I discovered. . .
That the homage I pen to fear in my books and stories is where our passion runs deepest. To embrace the fear that is of my own creation…that is the greatest depths of love and the summit of commitment.
Nightmirrors is my place for commentary, introspection, and the analysis of the things that go bump in the night. From the psychology to the literature, to the movies, Nightmirrors is a weigh station between the voice of reason which insists these things are not real and an ancient whisper that warns all is not as it seems.
The original Nightmirrors is where I began my blogging journey. Now it is a forgotten place filled only with ghosts. But those ghosts still sing bittersweet. They have not yet quenched their desire to be heard. Their cold hands again guide me to the keyboard. And so, as I have since my youth, I relinquish my Saturday nights to their insistent hauntings. I’ll again indulge their desires for monsters and myths and the quiet insanities of the darkness.
And I’ll hope that some of you will come with me as we slip down that shadowed hallway until we reach that forgotten room. And there, beyond the safety of light, in the musty scent of dread, we’ll hold tight to our sanity and peer into the Nightmirrors.
So on this first Saturday night, we welcome Nightmirrors to Writers After Dark with a short verse. A before dinner drink of sorts to set the mood. A small libation to remind us again, why we love to discuss horror.
A young boy hears his mom calling him into the kitchen. As he heads down the stairs he hears a whisper from the closet saying “Don’t go down there honey, I heard it too.”
By Raymond Esposito
Raymond Esposito is an award-winning dark fiction author and Amazon bestseller. His articles and interviews have appeared in a variety of publications including Family Circle and Sanitarium Magazine. He has a degree in Cognitive Psychology and has spent over 28 years as a criminal behaviorist.