The thing about fear: an excerpt

The thing about fear: an excerpt


Image source Wikipedia commons

This is from a new short story, I am writing but I am stuck with it for now. I do not know how to end it. Well, that is not true, I know the ending I just do not like it right now. Well, here is an excerpt. Hope you like it, I like it thus far.

The man looked at the boy carefully, watching his movements. He was not just a spiritual counsellor,  he had graduated with a psychology degree and then later he had joined the parish, adapted a life of celibacy and was now close to retirement.

He was trying to register anything odd but so far all he had seen was fear. The boy was afraid, terribly. This was troubling. The man knew first hand what fear could do. It was the strongest element to break one’s spirit; fear was something that each man had. It was probably the only thing which all men shared in common, regardless of their race, color or creed. Fear was the curse that humans had when they were born but the strange thing about fear was, it was different for everyone. Some fears were harmless, he knew that. But even a harmless fear, when it starts to eat you from the inside, is a dangerous one. A single mother termite could eat a full scale wood home in nine thousand years. And that was how fear operated, slowly and surely. Sometimes, the damage done was irrecoverable.

He hoped the boy would tell him. Most of the times, children are afraid of their own imagination. Just past month he had convinced a child that there was no such thing as a monster under his bed.

In part he was telling the truth but he had also lied. It was true there was no monster under his bed, the boy had just seen two scary movies back to back and so he was afraid.

But the man also knew that monsters existed, not in the same sense as people assumed them to be but nonetheless. They were mostly seen by children too. He had come to believe that children had a special ability to see the spirit world but only a few children ever realized that and it was good, because more often children see the bad rather then the good. He had often thought about this. In the end, he reasoned it was because there was more bad in this world then good and children could register this at a very young, cognitive level. At that stage, they do not reason with words but feelings and emotions and in their world, things are either black or white, there is no more reasoning involved. If something felt good, it was good. This is how children were not afraid to see the bad beforehand until they realize it. This is what made them so venerable because they perceived everything to be natural and they did not question it until they experienced it. And this was the reason why children could always see a shadow in the house or a ghost in the hallway or a monster under their bed. Unlike adults they do not question the existence of such things because to them, these things come naturally and like all children, they need to register this entity, not with reason but with emotions; and when they do, they come face to face with the feeling, we call fear. It is a new emotion for them and initially they do not know how to counter it but if it persisted it could grow and it was something that was not good.

This is what the man felt at the time he looked at the boy.

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