Deep in the night, I watch my child sleep. Hot, flushed cheeks, slow breathing, sometimes a smile passing over his young face. At his feet lies the little dog, curled up, asleep as well. The night is quiet. Even the toad that lives under the house must have gone to sleep. Few cars drive through the neighborhood at this hour. The rain stopped.
I peer outside between the blinds. Blackness stares back. I don’t like to look into the black that veils everything. It makes me realize how small my world is, how frail…
Thoughts creep up. Somehow, the black stimulus lured them out from the long-forgotten inner fringes of my memory. Thoughts of horror stories that I read when I was a teenager. I have never liked horror stories. Yet, then, they captivated me for a short while. Short, but just long enough to let the pictures sink into the deepest memory, there, where the brain is never busy, and from where they need a special thought process to be revived and dragged back up to the surface.
Tonight they sneak out. They depict monsters lurking outside in the dark, monsters with the “Scream” face: white with hollow cheeks, empty eyes, and the terrified expression draped around the screaming mouth. Another thought pokes my reality: “what if…”
Resolutely I turn my back to the darkness outside, not without a shiver…
What if I’m watched?
These doors and windows could not resist any halfway confident burglar, or an assault. Bits and pieces of newspaper articles come to mind: “assault…,” “home invasion…,” “beaten…,” “dead…”
Deep in the night I count my blessings, but also realize that it is all held together by a small thread: decency, civilization. Without it, what would my life be? Our home is a very small and fragile island in this city. How could I keep my little family safe if there were, indeed, monsters outside the door? The human kind of monsters…
At times, I’m overwhelmed by these thoughts. I feel very inadequate and fragile. How could I defend my child if I had to?
I am blessed to live here, in Boise. No major threat is lurking outside my home.
Many people in Japan must have had thoughts like mine, and then they were swallowed by the black wave. Those who survived are now assaulted by the invisible monsters of radiation. They would probably gladly have dealt with the “Scream,” if only they could have escaped these two very real beasts of nature and modern times.
I wonder if radiation will make it over to here. I wonder if natural disasters could strike us here as well. I wonder if decency and civilization would break apart if there were a natural disaster here. Or if war would break out. War and chaos, where men become beasts…
I look back outside.
The dark is still frightening. My thoughts are scary. Human condition is frightfully small and fragile if one stands alone, confronting with bare hands the nightmarish monsters that creep out of the deep of the night.