Black Asher Preface – The Mystery of Fear

There is a grammar of fearful things — a finitude to fright that can be analyzed and understood. Without this, man would fall into the vast abyss of true terror — into the blind terror of the ultimate.

A grammar: First, there are the nouns – fear of a living creature – perhaps a psychotic killer or a vicious animal, or a place – like the Bermuda Triangle or a haunted house or a basement or the woods, a thing – it might be a car or a computer, an event – Halloween, for instance, or April Fools day.

Then, there are the verbs – fear of an action, the adjectives – fear of a kind or number . . . Combining the parts yields the language of fear with all it’s creative guile. Really, though, it breaks down to fear of the parts or combinations of the parts.

The art of the detection of fear is to find the commonalities in these parts – the mystery of fear, you might say – without straying too close to the ultimate, and so becoming lost forever in the nightmarescape, losing one’s grip of the elusive grammar of hope.

Asher closed the lid on the laptop, tapped the dottle from his pipe, and watched it disintegrate into pale dust. ‘Remember,’ he thought, ‘what you are.’ Then he stood, hissed back at the rustling fire, and pulled his overcoat around him, crossing and pulling tight the belt, as if it were a bathrobe. He strode out into the night, snatching a cane by the door, and making a little sound that told the Dobermans to follow.


originally 12-20-2003

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