He was sitting in moonlight and candlelight, scratching the head of some beast that looked to Vevay a cross between a lion and a bear. It had black pelt, a flat, broad, fanged face, a powerful bulky body. It seemed to be purring. It cast a smoldering red glance at Vevay then closed it eyes again, leaning heavy against Felan’s knee.
“What on earth is that?” Vevay asked.
“I’ve no idea,” Felan said. “It came out of an old book I was reading once and it never went back in again. It seems harmless and is very obliging: it let the students practice transformation spells on it. It eats strawberries when it can get them.”
If you have never come up against Nothing you have no idea how it can scare you out of your wits. When I was a child I used to be afraid of Something in the dark. I know now that the most fearful thing about the dark is that we may find Nothing in it.
―Howard Spring, The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories
You are mad to be spending the summer in the country, where the days are too quiet and you have so much time to think. In the city you live on Broadway, where the noise is so thick your scary thoughts can’t get a word in edgewise. But here in the county, there is only space. On the stone bridge by the stream. On the mossy rock at the edge of the yard. Behind the abandoned trailer where Art, the old man with the glass eye, used to live. Space, space, space, and you can scare yourself into thinking your thoughts are more like voices.
―Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”
A game like sardines is scary, not so much for the hider but for the seekers. It’s scary because you lose your companions and the whole world creeps up quiet and you slowly realize you’re going to stumble upon a secret place where everyone will jump out at you. And then, when you are the very last seeker, you start to wonder if you’re the only person in the world. If the hiding place somehow sucked up the players and the last one has to decide to run away or get sucked up, too.