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What scares you the most?

Is it the obvious things: spiders, being buried alive, grinning button-eyed clowns?

Or is it the more abstract terrors like loneliness, suspicious glances from strangers, creeping madness?

With horror films becoming both violently sadistic and jump-out-of-your pants scary to almost nullifying effect, perhaps it’s the more unexpected things that really scare us these days.

For me it’s ‘sudden unexpected faces’. And by that I mean: picture an ordinary winter’s evening. The chill makes every sensation all the more keen and the darkness is that all-encompassing complete night only evident at this time of year. It’s just another evening in your life where horror films only exist on the screen and there is nothing more scary than the blandness of the gas bill. It’s in those moments of simple prosaic comfort when you are at ease and settling in for the night. You turn around to do something utterly mundane like pour a cup of tea and there, pressed up against the window, is a face with dark, bruised cavities for eyes and a knife slash for a mouth, smearing itself against the glass only inches away from you. Its purpose is nothing more than to come after you – to be behind you in the bathroom mirror in the instant you glance away to spit your toothpaste out; to thrust out of the darkness as you stumble to the toilet in the middle of the night; to be there beside you in the bed when you first open your eyes in the morning, only to be gone again a second later.

Its purpose is to be your reflection in the mirror, to make you realise that the thing stalking you has been hiding inside you all this time, and you touch your face and find bony sockets where your eyes once where, and a sewn-up gash for your mouth. You run, screaming inside, but no noise emerges from your torn throat. You run blindly until you find yourself at someone else’s window, peering in while they quietly read a book, unaware of the horror staring at them from outside.