I am a morbid bitch. This probably won’t come as a surprise to you if you know me. I have noticed that many of my ideas for short stories are rather dark. Meaning, I like to explore our troublesome, disturbing psyches. I tend to look at the dark, the disturbing, the negative of situations and ideas and things and people. This world is messed up. And before you say it, yes, I know, we humans are also capable of beautiful and astounding things. But for every beautiful thing, there is a not-so-beautiful thing. For every light there is a dark, it’s the way of the universe.
It’s like the ocean. We’ve explored only so much of it, but once we get to a certain depth we can go no further. Lurking, right there, are unseen and unknown and unexplored creatures and habitats. It’s pure darkness, so dark some fish don’t even have eyes. They don’t need them. If we tried to reach such depths, I think our eyeballs would pop out of our eyes. Our lungs, our bodies, would explode, be crushed by the tremendous pressure. It is simply too much for us to handle.
The same applies to the darkness that lies within ourselves, within our culture and society and world, the darkness of man – we choose to not acknowledge it, for if we fully wrapped our minds around what it is we are capable of, we’d implode. We act upon it, but we all ignore it, sugarcoat it. Because it’s hard to admit that we are animals, and that for all of our rationale and education and cognitive abilities we still do our very best to be harmful and destructive.
There’s a palpable, undeniable darkness in an old man looking a little girl up and down as she sits across from him on the bus. His eyes search her small body longingly. He cannot control his hands from moving wildly with excitement. He licks and bites his lips.
There’s a suicidal, reckless darkness about a man taking the law into his own hands and chasing and fatally shooting a young Black man wearing a hoodie simply because he looked out of place. He shows no remorse afterwards, and continues to consider himself above the law, a demi-god.
There’s a completely mad, deepdeepdeep darkness which goes along a woman taking her children and drowning them in the bathtub one by one after calmly folding the laundry. In her head, she is certain she had to do it for the greater good of humanity.
There’s a savage, unjust darkness in a man being jumped and brutally beat on New Year’s Eve as he was making his way home and being left for dead in the middle of a dark and lonely Central Falls street. While the rest of us celebrated, cheered, and kissed one another, he took his last breaths.
Why do these things happen? Why are they everyday occurrences? It’s because when it’s not us we don’t care much. We hold a boycott or two, say “how horrible!” but then go back to things that really matter and lift up our heads only when another more devastating Breaking News catches our attention to yet again lament, “how horrible!” Furthermore, we’d have to admit that we all fucked up somewhere along the line, that we have left issues and problems untreated. And even furthermore than that furthermore, we’d have to admit that we, all of us, are capable of the darkest of things.
“He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision – he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath – “‘The horror! The horror!’” – Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad