What’s Really Out There in the Dark?

Fear is one of those ingrained emotions or feelings that affect everyone at one time or another in a lifetime.  Fear drives us to do many things, to push us through the near impossible situations or to run and hide.


“Fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; it is the feeling or condition of being afraid”.


As a writer, I count on fear to drive emotions with my characters as well as in the reader.  My heroine character Emily Stone is often pushed to the limit in harrowing situations.  She uses her fear to accomplish her mission, bordering on being an adrenaline junkie and doing the right thing.  In Dark Mind, Emily was pushed to the extreme psychological limits both mentally and physically.  It was an exhausting process to write, but I loved the challenge.

I was a funny little kid who wasn’t afraid of the dark, even with two older brothers who liked to try to scare me.  I didn’t have a night-light near my bed and I didn’t keep the bedroom door cracked open for a little bit of light.  I felt that the dark was fascinating and never worried about what lurked in it.  Even today, I’m not afraid of the dark or to be home alone.  I’ll let you in on one my psychological quirks, I’ve been known to watch scary (spooky, paranormal, slasher, etc.) movies alone and completely in the dark.

Now I have you thinking…

What I find interesting about fear is that it drives a host of other emotions.  It’s actually multi-faceted.  Think about it, fear can drive other emotions such as courage, homicidal tendencies, anger, and even humor depending upon the situation.  This is fascinating because it opens up more aspects and opportunity for depth with fictional characters.

My approach to fear and the dark probably fueled my interest in the thriller and horror genres.  Recently, I’ve published First Watch, a short story, which delves into the familiar fears of driving alone, cops, monsters, and what lurks in the dark.

At least my own personal take on them…

What started as a routine traffic stop on a deserted country road, turned into a terrifying battle of life and death. Could all the horror stories be true?

The chase is on…

First Watch Excerpt:

I ran northeast to the railroad tracks through the night in pitch-blackness.  I knew they would track my whereabouts with their keen animal senses and unrelenting proficiency.   There was a shortcut to get to the next county down a winding rural road, but only scattered memories of the roundabout trail would be my guide.  As the intended target, it propelled me out in the middle of a hellish nightmare and straight into the bowels of the undead.

Now my life boiled down to just one defining moment, but the dire reality of the situation loomed – a chance for survival.

The frigid night air choked my lungs.  The drastic drop in temperature fought against my body’s constant movement to keep my heart pumping.

I kept my focus on the path ahead never averting unnecessary attention to the hunters closing in fast.

Every second counted.

My footfalls clipped the dirt and gravel path with quick, dull thuds.

As I ran, the handcuffs affixed to my right wrist dangled and painfully whipped back and forth.  There had been no time to pick the tiny lock or even pry the cuff loose.

The path turned uneven and forced me to slow my speed.  I was acutely aware that the next step could land unstable; spraining my ankle, or worse, leaving me sprawled out unable to defend myself once they attacked.

I stumbled, feet flew straight out and I hit the ground, smacking my head as a sharp pain radiated from the lower lumbar and up between my shoulder blades.  I dared to sit still only for a moment to assess my injuries.

Tiny razor-sharp pieces of gravel poked through my jeans and embedded deep into the palm of my left hand and the back of my scalp.

I averted my attention to the night, expecting to hear them approaching.

The explicit chill of the air seemed to momentarily increase in temperature, like an oven preheating for a Thanksgiving feast.

The stillness of the outdoors prickled my spine with small goose bumps.

I scrambled to my feet, slipping and wavering, resembling a drunken partygoer before I could gain my bearings once again.  Moving forward, I kept my focus straight ahead and sprinted on.

My mind spun back to the series of events that formed my fate up to this moment…

 To read more:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

  * * *

Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/
Crime Watch Blog: http://emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase
Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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3 Responses to What’s Really Out There in the Dark?

  1. AS a horror lover and writer, I thoroughly enjoyed First Watch. Unfortunately for me, I’m still wary of the dark. I’m not scared like I was as a child, but I’m still cautious of the night. I suppose I watched too many horror movies and Twilight Zone episodes while growing up as I kid.
    The street I live on now has very few street lights so I’m concerned about human monsters in the dark. But in all honesty I find myself worrying about the other things that aren’t so human or even mortal. I guess, I’m afraid that what I write may manifest one day.


    • Jason I didn’t see you as a “afraid of the dark” person 🙂 I know what you mean about neighborhoods that aren’t well lit — I live in a rural setting and boy it can be really dark. But it makes for good storylines. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Pingback: My friend, author Jennifer Chase, with an excellent article on how fear influences us in writing – and in life…:) « Thomas Rydder

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