The Origin of Fear

“Humans have got things right, more or less. There was an explosion to start the universe – a Big Bang as it were. Not the biggest of bangs mind you. A rather tiny bang actually, in the context of the multiverse, but I will grant it was a large bang from a human’s perspective.

And from there, the formation of stars and planets from bits of matter condensing, coalescing, creating their own fields of gravity. Add in a few billion years of evolution and you’re basically at where – or perhaps when humans are today.

Even their physics is getting there. Leaps and bounds beyond what it was a century ago. The string theorists, little do they know, are actually onto something. But yet, their math is still too rudimentary to see the full consequences of their early discoveries – to see the full expanse of the multi-verse – to see beyond what is seen.”

Excerpt from: “A tiny book on the multi-verse’s cutest invasive species: Homosapiens.”

It’s easiest to think of dimensions like frequencies, like the radio. If you had an inter-dimensional receiver, you could simply scan through the different dimensions, picking up this and that from the respective vibrations. The key difference though, between radio and dimensional vibrations, is that even if you do not notice what is coming through, it reverberates through your body nonetheless. The 15th dimension, intertwined with the 23rd, carry the vibrations of love. The 13th caries the vibrations of both hate and fear. Humans experience these emotions but find it hard to determine where they originate. Some turn to the remarkably accurate writings of astrologers.

Excerpt from: “A tiny book on the multi-verse’s cutest invasive species: Homosapiens.”

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” — Friedrich W. Nietzsche, after reading his horoscope.

Have you ever stared into the blackness for a touch too long? Have your eyes, met with no light, filled the void themselves? Have you – in the corners of your basement, in the depths of an alleyway, in the blackened woods beyond the edge of firelight – have you felt something out there, in the darkness?

Educated adults will tell you it’s just your imagination working itself into a frenzy. Nothing truly lies in the shadows, they say. “Everything will be okay.”

But children know better. They see what lies in the shadows. They feel it in their tiny little bones, a creature – ethereal, eternal, infernal – that has gone by many names: frică, in Romanian; angst, in German; rädsla in Swedish. I’ve always been partial to the Swedes and their glögg, so we shall call him Rädsla from here.

Rädsla is made material in only one realm, that of the dead. Centuries he spent as a mere shepherd for souls lost after passing, helping to guide them from earth to this place and that place, traveling throughout the liquid cosmos (the dark matter humans refer to and know nothing about is actually a liquid of sorts in other dimensions, with similar consistency to Jell-O, and with similarly strange physical properties – I can’t make heads or tails of it myself).

Rädsla, born of fire, enjoyed his job, and unlike others of his kind, he enjoyed humans. He found them to be fascinating creatures with curious motivations. Love, hate, fear – this, to Rädsla, seemed to be the cocktail that propelled humanity. He, being forbidden from exploring any dimension beyond his own, often interrogated humans on what it was like to feel these emotions course through them, to feel pulled by them. But their words could never satiate his curiosity.

For centuries Rädsla performed his duties well, always getting humans where they deserved to be. That is, until he met another twisted and terrifying creature born not from fire but from ice: a Russian.

This is how the story goes:

“Ohehe, you were a bad one friend.” Said Rädsla, searching through the memories of his passenger as he often did.

“Excuse me?” Said Vladimir.

“Your life on earth – truly wretched. Can’t say I’ve met a human like you before. You know, usually it’s just the run of the mill wackos, terrorists, dog abusers – you know the type. But you! Oh man, you really take the cake — that’s the expression right? Take the cake? I’ve been trying to learn more human aphorisms.”

“I fought for my country and my party with every breath I took.”

“That you did my friend. And look where it got you? On a boat with me sailing on to the Infernal Place.”

Vladimir Kryuchkov brewed toward the back of the vessel which seemed to float without friction through the liquid cosmos. He knew he’d lived a good life, that he had supported the USSR, and he’d be damned if he was going to end up in hell. (Literally.)

“How long until we’re there?” Vladimir asked, growing impatient from the hours he’d already spent with Rädsla.

“Oh, not long now. A few minutes perhaps. Or a few years – it’s really hard to say. You know how it is in this economy.” Rädsla said with a smile to himself.

Rädsla dipped his obsidian oar into the shimmering starlight below and pushed them onward. Vladimir looked over the edge, seeing the stars swirl in the oar’s wake much like the famous Van Gogh (which was in fact, inspired by his brief ride with Rädsla after a botched suicide).

As days passed, Vladimir came to find that his only option was to steal the vessel and sail toward the nearest light. A foolish plan, but people do foolish things when faced with eternal damnation.

Vladimir slowly inched his way toward the back of the vessel, then stood and charged Rädsla, throwing his full weight into Rädsla’s back. And that was that. Rädsla toppled forward out of the vessel and into the liquid cosmos.

He fell, through space, through eternity, through the Jello-O of this dimension, for 23,042 years. His sanity slipped away after the first year. His consciousness, thoughts, and predilections dissolved into a soup of nothingness. He found himself anchored by nothing, bound by nothing, forever adrift within his broken mind.

By chance, in 23,042nd year, Rädsla fell within the well of a black hole that connects the realms began and to orbit it. On the 242nd day after entering orbit, he crossed the event horizon. The block hole pulled his essence apart atom by atom stretching it across infinity until his thread was intertwined with the fabric of the universe itself.

At the same time his body was being ripped apart from its molecular structure, Rädsla was also experiencing the nexus of dimensions, and for the first time in his existence he /felt/ something human: Fear.

Rädsla clung to this fear because it was the one sane feeling he’d experienced in millennia, and because he finally understood what it was like to be human. And this feeling of fear twisted within joy is all Rädsla felt as his being was stretched out to infinity. It was in this moment he became the medium through which fear traveled through the cosmos.

And so when children look into the dark of their rooms and feel something in the shadows of their closet, it is Rädsla they are feeling vibrate through their tiny bones.