The secret isn’t not to feel fear. It is to embrace it.
The secret isn’t to ponder what scares others. It is to know what terrifies you.
The secret isn’t to hide your own terror under phantasmagorias designed to frighten others. It is to flay yourself bare before the audience, to scream of your own gossamer demons and ask others if they see them.
The secret isn’t in a fountain of gore sprayed across a parking lot. It lies in the single, gleaming ruby that drips from the faucet a minute before midnight.
The secret is no shrieking demon, covered in fire and blood. It lies in the eyes of your mother, your lover, your brother, your friend, as they plot against you.
A hundred madmen wielding chainsaws, guns, knives and drills don’t have half the knowledge of the secret that a single lonely, lowly dog howling in the night for no reason does.
The secret is to push yourself to the edge of madness, to step to that internal well where we hide every frightening memory from the time we leave the safety of the womb until the day we go into darkness. To stare down into it, and send the bucket down. To have the will to pull that poisoned water back to the surface, the old wheel driving splinters into your hands while the chain clanks mercilessly against the rim of your subconscious, to grasp that infernal cup and drink deep. Drown yourself in your own fears, your own inadequacies, your own failures and nightmares.
The secret is to then, like the old rusalki, to stretch your corpse-white arm up above the tides, and beckon to others, pleading for them to come, to save you, to release you from the prison that you yourself concocted… and then drag them down.
Down into the dark, where there is only you and your fear.
Together. There, in the dark, you can talk. Tell stories.
Whoever screams, loses.