An entrance into the Underworld
When I was a child, I suffered a life-altering experience at age 3. So indelibly etched it was upon me that I have some memory of it. When children experience PTSD, they’ll often suffer dreams of unrecognizable content. I went through night terrors. Years later, I see the connection between these somnolent horrors and the triggering event.
My night terrors were irresistibly powerful experiences. I lay down in a chamber of immense proportions. It overwhelmed me with its openness, its vacancy. I’d wake screaming, mom and dad rushing to my bedside, asking what was wrong. I couldn’t tell them a thing. I didn’t know. I had no words for what welled up from a place within excavated before words were acquired. They call these preverbal memories, and children cannot talk about them.
In other nocturnal images, floating musical notes – translucent, ephemeral – held the psyches of children. Innocent souls drifted, lighter than air, down the sidewalk in front of our house. Light trapped in matter. Without warning, a vast, immeasurable weight, embodied in a stellar material heavier than the densest objects on earth, crushed the notes like boulders splatting bugs. The weight crushing my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I’d wake clutching my ribs, finally able to emit a child’s scream. My parents came rushing again to my bunk, exasperated that I couldn’t tell them what was wrong.
A horror novel, The Mind Altar, is ultimately about these nightmares suffered by a child. Containing elements of mystery and science fiction, The Mind Altar covers the poltergeist experiences suffered by a group of seven misfits who must venture into a labyrinth excavated beneath a desert mountain far removed from civilization.
As diurnal creatures, we fear the darkness. Most of us turn instinctively away from caves. Who wants to be cut off from air and light? The primal terror of enclosed spaces, of suffocating, of being buried alive. The Mind Altar deals with these elemental fears. The expedition is stalked by abyssal creatures in the formless depths. These are the instinctive horrors which the expedition encounters. They’re tasked with uncovering why no one in a subterranean supermaximum security prison has been left alive.
It might keep you up at night to read it. Like my own terrors kept my eyes anchored to the post of the waking world when I was a just a child. Yet maybe, by exposing ourselves to our childhood fears with our adult selves as our guides, we can make peace with our shadows. Available through amazon. Click The Mind Altar – Kindle edition by Just, Michael. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
To read an except, click https://justmikejust.com/excerpt-mind-altar/