Fear

Fear

I would be hard pressed to guess what invokes absolute and unrestrained terror more than the plausible reality that at any given moment any one of us could find ourselves face to face with a sociopathic, sadistic paranoid-schizophrenic murderer.  Well, not really hard pressed.  It would be more terrible and horrific if we were roused from our sleep by one, or caught off guard by one in the middle of a peaceful defecation.  Yeah, that would be worse.  The point is that for any one of a few hundred reasons, a seemingly random experience can pull the trigger on certain reason-challenged individuals and cause them to perpetrate unbelievable and indescribable acts of violence against their fellow human beings.  I mean, as you sit here reading these words there may be a psychopath ready to burst out of the nearest place you hadn’t checked when you sat down to read this, who’s been hiding and laying in wait for as long as it took for you to let your guard down, who’s face and hands will be the last you see on this earth as he plunges his hunting knife just far enough into your eyeballs to make them pop like dried jellyfish, who will shove something in your mouth and then proceed to feast on the flesh of your face and hands as you feel your lifeblood seeping down your shirt, who will share your final mortal memory as he strangles you to death while raping you in the place where you least want to be raped.  This kind of randomness – no, to be fair I should say the fear of this kind of randomness is what keeps that old family revolver in the drawer of your nightstand, or was the tipping point in deciding to get that pit bull, or why you make sure you make a routine of checking the doors and windows before you retire for the night and then once you are in bed worry that you forgot to put the chain on the door until you make yourself get out of bed and check only to find you had put the chain on, or gives us ulcers and makes us distrust strangers and causes us to look around our immediate environment and locate anything that could be used as a weapon just in case.  It is this precise area of the human psyche that I hope to stimulate when you read OOBERS because I’m willing to bet you have never read a book that made you throw it across the room because it went so far over the line that it burned something in your mind you hadn’t even known existed, and even worse, that it was the cerebral equivalent of the aforementioned brutal (and might I add drawn out) slaughter.  I mean, isn’t that precisely why you enjoy reading horror, to fulfill some primal compulsion to imagine the most gruesome thing that could ever happen and then be shown the door beyond that into unimaginable terror?  Look, if you just want to get scared I suggest you curl up with a Woody Harrelson documentary about the dangers of an industrial-military-corporate complex taking over the world.  If you want real fright, though, you’ll get it in spades with OOBERS.  To be sure, blood will be spilled in the novel.  There is something visceral about being witness to the death of a person while their life spreads out into the carpet.  Personally, I would much rather be shot than stabbed, and would much rather be stabbed than sliced open.  There’s just something about the flesh being violated, like a thick crack in your only water jug in the desert that causes the precious fluid to escape into the sand.  I once worked in an operating room for a couple of years and have seen pretty much every kind of surgery you can imagine.  I’ve seen exposed brains, beating hearts, slippery bowels and a wide assortment of other legal assaults.  After awhile I became used to seeing the human body’s innards exposed, and could and did on many occasions eat lunch directly after assisting in a colon resection or a partial lung removal or an amputation.  I never did, however, get used to that initial cut from the scalpel onto virgin flesh.  There is just something primitively wrong with the act, and on a very deep and mythological level I sense a sort of outrage, as if the integrity of the flesh is suppose to be maintained for survival.  Now, one doesn’t have to be necessarily bled to be killed.  There are traumatic crushing and pulverizing injuries that can bring life to a slow and agonizing halt, as well as the unmitigated horror of being burned, just to name two.  There is actually a whole cornucopia of slow deaths which don’t involve the shedding of blood.  You may and probably will find me employing any one of them in future novels.  In fact, dear reader, I will let you in on a device I promise to insert into every single novel I write.  (This came to me once as I browsed through an artist’s work who always without fail, regardless of the subject of the painting, had a teapot somewhere within its borders)  Someone will die a bloodless death.  Why, you ask?  For no other reason than because I can.  If you must have an inner purpose, than consider it a token literary revolt against the initial slice upon our precious flesh, because as you know the first cut is the deepest.  Whenever you read any of my books, regardless of genre, I will sacrifice a character in such a manner so that you may know that I am doing what I can to counterbalance the amount of blood being shed not only by myself but by all the other authors who stab and rip and tear and pierce and gore and cleave and scratch and slash and shred and rend and lacerate and slice and impale.  Your doom may be reading this over your shoulder right now.  If you’re afraid, I’ve done my job.

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