To read part one of this story, click here.
A few days ago, I wrote a fictional story, and I posted it online.
I can’t tell you which website it was, exactly. For one thing, I don’t want you to actively seek it out. However, if you are drawn to the world of horror, and are in the habit of reading horror stories online, there is a chance you may come across it. So you need to heed my warning.
I’ll admit, I hesitated before I pressed the ‘Submit’ button. There was a twinge of fear in my stomach. But those were just nerves, I reasoned. I was afraid of negative feedback.
I don’t know where it ended up, that story of mine. I don’t care about the popularity; regardless, I would go back and delete it if I could. Actually, the more popular it was, the more it ought to be deleted, really. Because that would mean that more people have been exposed. I wish the damned idea had never come into my mind.
So, I need to warn you. You’re in danger, just by seeking out tales of horror to read. Sometimes, you get more than you bargained for. I apologize for the length, but you need to know everything.
Something that I’ll always regret is that I didn’t listen to my inner voice before submitting that story. If I have one piece of advice I can give you before this Unnamed Creature takes me, it would be this:
Instinct; it’s something that is inherent in all living creatures. It is something that is not learned, something that cannot be taught.
Animals have clear instincts and they always follow them. A squirrel doesn’t need to be taught how to dig to hide away food, this behavior comes naturally, even when it has been born and raised in captivity. It inherently knows that it needs to protect its food from competitors, and store away for when food is scarce. An innate protective behavior. Survival. A duckling will instinctively follow its mother-duck everywhere. This is not something it has learned; it is something that is innate, a behavior pre-programmed and hardwired.
Through following its mother, the duckling stays protected from threats, and is guaranteed food. Survival. An infant kangaroo rat will instinctively launch into an escape-jump maneuver when it hears the sound of a rattlesnake; even when it hasn’t ever heard the sound before, or had formed any rational knowledge of what rattlesnakes are. An innate, inbuilt reaction. Survival.
That’s what an innate instinct is. Not learned, not rational, not something you think about. An instinctive response, for the good of your survival.
Us modern humans, though. We’re so muddled up on that front, aren’t we? We pride ourselves on our rationality. Humans know, instinctively, that danger can lurk in the dark – that the darkness is something we ought to be cautious of. Cavernous, deep darkness instinctively evokes a fear response in us – for the good of our survival. Not rational. Just instinctive. But we modern humans, we think ourselves beyond these base instincts, don’t we? We suppress our natural fear. We often even mock and disparage those who do not simply ignore their instinctive fears.
We have constructed these shimmering, glowing cityscapes with tall, bright steel towers aglow with lights. Cities and worlds that never sleep to push away the darkness. We introduced electricity so light can be infused into our homes on-command. Whenever we need it, we can expel the darkness at the flick of a switch. And, in the midst of all this technology, we became dazzled by the bright lights and arrogant in our achievements. We allowed these unnatural lifestyles to suppress and blind our natural instincts. Rationality became a prized domain, and any inclination towards the basic instinct of fear became labelled irrational.
Some of us, we seek to fill the void. To escape the numbness, the unnatural monotony of modern-day living and feel that thrill of adrenaline, the fear. You know what I mean. That’s why you’re here.
Some modern humans, though, don’t understand that it wasn’t mere intellect and rationality that brought us here. Equally, it was the irrational and unexplainable gut feeling of fear that contributed to the success of our species, too. Listening to your natural, innate, inner voice, even when it arises independently of the rational centre in your brain is just as important as being logical and intelligent. But we have gone so far the other way so as to become both ignorant and arrogant of this.
It has gotten to the point now where we feel an instinct, and we dismiss it. Or we’re so used to suppressing such feelings, that we muddle things up and incorrectly interpret them. We’ve forgotten our native language, and so now it’s all too easy to mistranslate.
That’s what happened to me, that night, before I hit the ‘Submit’ button online. I incorrectly assumed that I was afraid of rejection, afraid of mockery, and then I focussed my efforts upon this mistranslation of my fear. I assumed that my fear was due to being afraid that no one would like my writing.
But, I ignored the part of my brain that was looking out for my best interests. Trying to secure my survival. A network of neurons, entirely independently of my rational frontal cortex, had picked up on something and were firing and communicating and lighting up my limbic area, my amygdala, making me feel afraid, signaling for me to run. Protecting me, warning me, for the good of my survival.
And I did it anyway. I pressed the ‘Submit’ button.