[I wrote this after scaring the hell out of myself listening to Ray Porter’s performance of Richard Matheson’s book Hell House. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should read it again, preferably at night when it is so easy to believe. ~Meghan]
The moments before dawn are my favorite time of day. That brief period of time where the sky lightens from black to blue in gradual beauty. Dawn is a daily miracle. It brings order to the chaos that can only happen at night. It drives away monsters, reduces them to silly and comical.
Like that moment when you reach your hand around a corner, your fingers fumbling for a light switch in a darkened room.
You know there could be—probably is—a monster lurking beneath the switch plate, waiting to grab your normal human hand with its clawed one. He lives for this one single moment, panting heavily in his anticipation, waiting for you to be foolish enough to forget that he is there, he is real, and you will pay for your mistake when he grabs your arm and rips it from the socket.
Your fingers scrabble across the wall, frantically searching, searching for the switch
(Oh dear God, where is it??)
We can see its pebbled red skin, its green eyes burning in the dark, and its teeth, dear God, its long sharp teeth like knives that want to bite and bite and bite. He doesn’t growl, he doesn’t snarl.
He is silent, and the silence is somehow worse.
You know he is there. Convincing yourself that he is not there will only result in pain and fear and, oh, here’s a happy thought, who will care for your children if you die?
Then the light comes on and we laugh. There was no monster.
But for that moment, that small space of time between the light being off and the light being on there is the possibility of a monster. It is the possibility of him that we will remember each time we flick a switch in a dark room, or walk the dog at night, or, heaven help us, look under the bed to see what made that thumping noise. He could be there, and if we look hard enough, we just might find him.
The moments before dawn are like the moments before we flick the bathroom light on.
They are the cusp that holds potential for anything—anything at all.