Monsters and demons are what I write about. I’m not sure when the fascination started. Maybe it was when I began to worry vampires lived under the covers at the foot of my bed, waiting for me to uncurl my legs so they could bite my toes. Or, maybe it was when I found the Time Life series on the occult when I was in middle school, checking out the book on ghosts fifteen times in one year, scaring the crap out of myself with imaginings of a run-in with my doppelganger. But, whatever the catalyst, I became fascinated by monsters.
I’ve read enough books to understand the basic principle that all societies have their share of creatures who lurk at the fringes of desolate places, forbidden areas, and the edges of reason and logic, providing an outlet for our primeval fears – darkness, death, and even being eaten alive. Most people in our modern society go on about their lives, only occasionally aware of the possible existence of these denizens of the dark (usually occurring right after a spectacularly gory horror flick). But I did take notice and found something inexplicably comforting in the potential existence of monsters.
As a child, my hopes of participating in a magical world were shot down – Santa, the Easter Bunny, trolls, unicorns, and mythical lands of happily-ever-after all fell to the wayside as my belief in their existence was explained away by reality. Even as I write, there are the crypto zoologists trying to spoil my delusions, attempting to justify the existence of Bigfoot and Ogopogo through evolution. These specialists say monsters are simply animals yet to be classified. What they don’t understand is, as soon as Bigfoot gets a scientific name, it will become just another animal. No longer a fearsome monster. Nothing special.
I long for the special, the incredible — the supernatural. I don’t want to walk in a world of just humans. I want to step down a dark street, instantly on the alert for vampires lurking in dark alleys, or hike into an eerie wood, ever watchful for werewolves tracking me through dense thickets, or walk on the shores of a dark river, eyes sweeping the sandy edge for kelpies waiting to pull me down. I want to believe there are things our eyes can’t see until they wish us to (which would probably be just about five seconds after “too late”).
But, there are problems with my wishes. The foremost is, in reality, I’d be food. I’m fairly certain there’s no vampire on the face of the earth who’d want me hanging around for eternity. So, there goes the idea of being bitten and turned into one. The second is, I have no means by which to destroy my demonic attacker in an epic battle of good vs. evil – no matter how nice the notion sounds to my ego.
No. I’d be a giant, walking appetizer.
So, I exist with monsters the only way I can; I write them into my stories. There, I have control over them. I bring them to life and, just for a moment, they inhabit the same time and space as I do. They do their demonic worst, and I manufacture the heroine who can kick their collective asses. She puts a hurting on them, and I put them away.
But, they continue to walk with me, my monsters. I hope they always will.