Prompt: Tell me a story which makes me afraid of the light.

It is only in light that shadows appear. I know that now. If the world were pitch black, life would be good. But it’s that in-betweenness that irks me: when my eyes adjust to the half-light and I imagine that there are monsters and ghosts in my peripheral vision, edging closer to me so they can strike. And that isn’t even in the full-light. In the full-light, it’s much worse.

You see, our parents tell us about make-believe monsters and aliens when we’re young so we don’t realise the true horrors of this world. They make up dragons and zombies not for their own enjoyment, oh no – it’s to take our minds off the things that keep them up at night. It’s the humans which are the scariest.

And they’re out all the time in the light.

There are the politicians and the thieves, the rapists and the murderers. In the light of day, we all look the same. Hell, you could be sat next to one on the bus right now (don’t look at them though – just in case they show you their true colours). And that I find the scariest thing of all, for there is no “otherness” about them; no sign on their forehead saying “look at me, I’m going to steal all your money and stab you if you don’t comply”. No. It is something different to the fear of the unknown. It is the fear of the unexpected more than anything else.

Now this might not be a story per se, but think back to a time when you were deadly afraid. Maybe a robber (though he looked like an ordinary person… you get the point) walked into the bank you were working in and threatened you until you handed over the safe’s code. Maybe you were walking home after a wonderful afternoon at the park only to see a couple of people beating a man up right outside your house. Maybe you turned on the TV and saw news break that a politician had been hoarding the taxpayer’s cash, or else a rapist had escaped from a top-security prison.

I don’t need to tell a make-believe story because we’ve all seen the horrors of this world before. And it stands there in broad daylight with a smile on its face.

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