People are the scariest things out there. Or at least, they have the potential to be.
I’m in Colorado right now for a wedding, and had the chance to get together with some friends and just talk the other night. Since most of us were writers, we started talking writing (obviously) and then started telling stories about the creepiest things that have ever happened to us, or stories that we’ve heard.
I think everyone at some point has a brush with something inexplicable. At least once in their life, and sometimes more. And as we were sharing these stories, about strange figures seen in the middle of the night, fingers waving you into a creepy basement, or scary children with solid black eyes, one of the stories really stuck with me.
A friend of mine was up late, his parents were out of town, and he was all alone in his house. Around two in the morning he shut off all his lights, and passed by the front door to head up the stairs. And there, on the other side of the window next to the front door, was a man.
At two in the morning. Less than five feet from him. We all agreed that even with the ghost stories, a stranger outside the window was the scariest by far.
Like I said before, people are the scariest things out there. I think one of the things that makes urban fantasy novels so interesting is that, at the end of the day, it’s not about the scary vampires, or the blood-thirsty monsters: it’s about the people. On some level we’re conditioned to understand when the monster does something evil. But when it’s an ordinary person? Or worse yet, someone you used to consider a friend? That’s when we really get invested, and where the real fear starts.
In my YA novel, A Touch Mortal, one of the overarching plots of the book involves the war between Heaven and Hell, and some of the kids that are trapped in the middle. But it isn’t the angels in the book that strike a chord with me: it’s the teenagers. Lovable but damaged teenagers who make their choices listening only to the flood of emotions tangled up inside them. Some choose well. And others not so much.
But I think that’s what makes people so interesting. They have the potential to be super creepy, like popping up on a stranger’s doorstep at two in the morning and just STARING inside. Or like a best friend who decides he’d rather be evil than your friend anymore. Or like dating the bad boy who turns out to be REALLY bad. We expect monsters to try and hurt us, and we expect the supernaturals to be more than just a pretty face. We sympathize with their struggles. But at the end of the day, we all have to decide if we want to embrace our inner scariness.
What do you guys think? Leave me a comment and let me know.