Okay, so, I have a favor to ask. If you are reading this, all I ask is that you give me a single word reply to this post. One word, no questions asked. If you feel the need to explain, please do. If not, no sweat. I just want to ask you one simple question.
What are you afraid of?
See, I figure “What?” is a simple question. Much simpler than “Why?” It is much easier to describe WHAT frightens us than it is to describe WHY it does so. Even if the fear we feel doesn’t quite reach the phobia level, most people can usually pinpoint one or two things that cause them genuine discomfort to even think about, much less experience. For example, studies show that 78% of people are afraid of public speaking (I am not), and 10% are afraid of heights (I am), and 31% are afraid of spiders (I am sometimes, especially when I find one crawling on me).
Recently, I have stumbled upon an unprecedented amount of happiness in my life. More than I could ever have imagined possible. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. But, I have this lingering dread that this happiness has sapped my already meager stores of desire and ambition, to the point where I don’t write anymore. Every waking thought is devoted solely to enjoying a feeling of joy I never thought I would possess. My one regret is that it seems to have damaged my creative spark in some way.
I still love horror as a genre. I think it is woefully underrepresented on the whole and desperately want to contribute in some meaningful way. I believe I possess the ability, but question whether or not I possess the motivation. Because of this, I have started a far flung search for inspiration. Trust me when I say that this post is not the first attempt at finding some, nor will it be the last. But I think that it could help.
And, just to show that I’m not just doing this to be mean, I will provide you with an answer of my own.
Q: What does E. W. Morrow Fear?
Yes, you read that correctly. Ants. “But E W”, I hear you ask “Why are you afraid of ants?” Well let me tell you why.
In case you don’t actually want to go read those articles, let me summarize
Siafu are the ants you saw in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. You remember the scene? The one where men fall off of humvee’s and are swarmed by insects and then are instantly devoured? Well, it doesn’t happen quite like that, but let me tell you, Siafu are real. They are actually native to Africa, and one of dozens of species of “army ants”. Army ants are mobile insect colonies that can band together, linking bodies to create paths and bridges that no other land bound insect could cross. They are the only animals ANYWHERE that are able to do this. Not only that, but Siafu (and other army ants) are also the only insects that actively hunt humans as prey. That’s right, ants are coming for you and intend to eat the shit out of you. Oh, and in case you were expecting a pleasant, slow death, you should be warned: the cause of death from siafu attack is either internal bleeding or suffocation. That’s right, the ants actually crawl inside your mouth and nose and eat you alive from the inside out.
Now let’s move on to the Bulldog ants. Bulldog ants are native to Australia, the only continent where every living thing is actively trying to kill you. And I mean ACTIVELY. Bulldog ants are among the most aggressive of all insect species (behind Africanized Killer Bees, I believe), and, what’s worse, a single sting is enough to kill you. One sting from a bulldog ant can cause a human body to overload on adrenaline. That would be bad, but Bulldog ants are fucking ANTS, and ants live in COLONIES! Colonies that, say, build back doors to their anthills so that they can attack from behind should the call be raised. Yeah, that’s right, bulldog ants actually create tunnels specifically to outflank you and your pitifully weak human flesh.
Which leads me to the Bullet Ant. First off, I want you to imagine the most painful experience in your life. Got it? Good. Now, unless you are a trauma amputee or a battle scarred war vet, I want you to forget it. Why? Well, because, chances are you are like me and you’ve never experienced real pain. But, if you ever get the inkling, take a trip to South America and tangle with a Bullet Ant. Bullet Ants are listed as the most painful of all animal stings on multiple sting pain indexes. Essentially, the insect got it’s name because a single sting from this ant is like being shot. With a gun. I, personally, have never been shot, and I hope that I never have to live through that experience, but the mere fact that a single insect can cause as much pain as the culmination of thousands of years of violent human invention is….well….frightening.
So, there you go, I am afraid of ants. Even now, with thoughts of ravenous swarms of miniscule invaders rampaging through my brain, I am vigorously swatting my arms and legs as each individual hair is subjected to some minor sensation. The small, reptilian portion of my brain insists that each sensation is a new, terrible threat to my person, and no amount of rational thought can quell the fear.
So, if you are feeling brave, let me know what you are afraid of. I’d appreciate it, and I promise not to make fun of you for it.
Thanks, as always.