Of Monsters and Men

I’m afraid of monsters.

I know that they exist, but not in the way you may suppose.

The fairytales are full of fantastical descriptions of monsters. Grotesque. Larger than life. Inhuman. But they don’t scare me.

I believe that those traditions were developed to cope with a fact that the reality of monsters is much more terrifying.

The real monsters are people. They look like anyone else. The folklore monsters, if they existed, would be so much easier for the ready identification they offer.

They’re next to us on the bus. They have the workstation down the hall from ours. They have the desk one row over in the classroom. They may even share our house or our bed.

They’re invisible to most, and that means that there is a language of the monstrous that their prey understand. They’re the tells of the monsters that betray their impending actions. It can be things like the time between the door closing and the footfall indicating they reached the stairs, the sound of the car engine as they come up the driveway, and so forth.

Understanding the language of the monsters is part of survival.

There is one fictitious monster that I wish did exist: the Vugudlak, the “undead vampire horse wolf” that “runs faster than a cheetah, has teeth sharper than a butcher’s knife” and is possesed of an unquenchable thirst for the blood of the monstrous in our world.

(Note: “Vugudlak” is my best guess of the spelling for a mythical creature from an episode of Adult Wednesday Addams. As told in that source it’s an amalgamation of a few mythical creatures, most apparently several European traditional myths of werewolf and vampire type creatures. In many of the local languages those creatures are named similar to the word used here.)