's 2017 Horror Write-off:

What we fear.

Submitted by Tyron Stewart (email)

My eyes, my very two own eyes were forced to gaze upon its vast emptiness that sat before me. In much the same way the dark void of the ocean, or the endless depths of the night, it gazed back at me, hungry. Those who came before it fell easily to my notes of enthusiasm. Time after time their number receded, becoming reduced. Yet, it was only the weak that fell. The first few fallen; were too young and inexperienced in scale to cause any fear inside me. It was only after the initial encounters that I realized that they were not to be feared. My posture, once erect and mighty as the towers of old, became slumped and broken, just as the ancients had. The first stood only to reduce me, brake me, for the final vastness.

My exploits and experimentations began in a room as brightly lit as my hopes of greatness. My most recent findings find me in the same space, yet of a different environment. The walls and floor had not changed nor been moved. The shift in them, as in myself, had come from within. The lights dimmed, for the shine abused my tired sight. The floor, before being the symbol of unshakable ground, my solid defense, stood beneath me as a defiant podium of my failings. Walls; throughout history stand as a symbol of protection and security, choke me as the bars of a strangling cell.

My hand, once strengthened by the weight in it, became burdened by the pen of my dimming future and fleeting hope. My dreams, back when sleep came easily to me, were filled by the muses of charitable voices, reaching out to me of the promise wonder. In the paintings of my sleep, promising imagery spoke to me, filling my mind with motive. My dreams that presently arrive due to hard fought sleep are narrated by hungry fangs and itching claws. In these hollow dreams, I am unable to conjure the plentiful imaginings that had once been with me. These beasts and fiends that haunt me are neither from the wilds nor the jungles, but are conjured by the same, now empty and exploited, enthusiasm that believed me able to fill and conquer the vast emptiness that watches me.

My thoughts, I had once trusted them, believed them to be freedom, had become my uncaring warden.

I have attempted, many times, to leave. Many chances have I taken, containing both great risk whilst being free of physical danger. There lies no consequence in escape. Punishment entails the chance of success. The weeping walls mocked my mental stagnation as the unmoving waters of thought caused agile to rise upon my imaginings.  Once a free flowing river of thought, my mind and hand had become walled and separated from my once vast creativity. Blankness in the place of written abundance.

Vastness. I knew nothing of eternity, though I foolishly thought I was. What I once thought to be an endless well had been realized as an empty crack. True eternity, true endlessness is empty. The only thing that can ever hope to withstand existence is the lack of existence; emptiness.

I knew nothing of eternity, until the day it stared at me with unflinching endlessness. Men of the sword fear the beast which they are unable to harm by means of violence and might. Yet, such a beast is a blessing compared to that which haunts and burdens me. For, if a hunter or soldier is unable to slay that which they face, it kills them. It will end them where they stand. Their suffering will be over in an instant, in comparison to mine and those of my trade. Tearing sinew and shattered bone are none when matched with the ever stabbing blade of an empty adversary. Physical pain is mortal; pain on the psychic is immortal. Those who live in the present only die there, when they lived. Those who live for the future, whose goals are not meant to be seen when they breathe but long after, are dead for all memory if their goals are not met. Only those who wish to be remembered immortally truly know the fear of an empty death. The wielder of the sword; they can only die when they have met their goal, to face and to fight. A man of the pen; faces the ever present death before they have even begun to write a legacy. The death we fear is not truly physical. The death we fear is the death of our minds, stagnation, emptiness. The blank page.
























This is our fear.