The Midway

Fran Wilde, "The Midway" in Screams From the Dark, ed. Ellen Datlow (Tor Publishing Group: 2022).

The horror theme of "human beings are the real monsters" may be an old one, but here we get something more一we get what it is that makes human beings WORSE than monsters.

Oma’s insight into monsters: 
  • They are different from us. 
  • We don’t communicate in the same ways. 
  • Monsters don’t know anything beyond their own wants, nor that what they want may keep you from being alive. 
  • They may all be gone now, like everything else good.

Neither Alan, Mr. Lloyd, Pops Staley, nor Mora are monsters; they are much, much worse. For they do know things beyond their own wants—they know yours. And unlike monsters, they interact through manipulation. The horror is, these characters aren't different from us. The good ones of us step into the sea and become monsters. 

"Now I ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, and play by day amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka … I almost welcome the bitterness of alienage.” (The Outsider, Lovecraft)


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