The Dark Side


Human Nature/Life Death, Art Institute...

Image by christine zenino via Flickr

Do you have a Dark Side? You may think you don’t. But I have news for you. If you are human then you do have a dark side. It is part of human nature. Does that make you dark in nature? For some the answer here may be yes. For most, the answer will be no. I am sure you are wondering where I am going with this. Well let me tell you.

Today in one of my online writing groups one of the writers posed an incredibly interesting question that got me thinking. Part of the question is why we write? I have been focusing a lot on this over the last few weeks. For me, writing is cathartic.  But I also believe it serves a tool in giving a voice, in a safe environment, to people who feel they have no voice. 

The question also explored why one writes in a specific genre. A lot of my writing explores the Dark side of the world and/or human nature. Is it because it fascinates me or repels me? I would say both reasons would be correct. For whatever reason people who have been severely hurt in life are drawn into my inner circle. I believe that everything in life does happen for a reason even if at the time a person cannot understand it or explain it. This I believe includes the Dark Side of life. 

Do I believe there are evil people or do I believe that there are just people who commit good and bad deeds? Again my answer would be yes to both of these questions. I have had a brush with a really evil person in life. It still haunts me to this day. But I am thankful for that experience. I will not go into too much detail here but I will share a bit. When I was growing up, there was a spate of missing girls in the same age group as I was. (early teens) We used to buy milk cartons that had the girls’ pictures on and asking for people to phone in with any information. It was something to be feared especially because the police had no leads on why these girls went missing or what the link was beyond their similar age brackets. The girls were taken over a large area and over many years so police did not connect the dots. I remember numerous news casts warning young girls to be vigilant.

During a school holiday I was visiting a friend and on one of the days we were out walking in the holiday town that she lived in. After a while we noticed a car that seemed to be trailing us for a few blocks. Being a holiday town where people were often driving very slowly and sightseeing, this may not have been unusual. However, something prodded my sub-conscious. 

I have always had an uncanny sixth sense. For many years I viewed this sixth sense as a curse. What is my sixth sense I hear you asking? It comes in two parts. I can tell a person’s true nature within moments of meeting them. I inherently know when people are deceitful or dangerous. You may think this is a great tool to have but it is not. You see, sometimes you do just want to see the surface mask of a person. You really do not want to see any hidden skeletons straight off the bat. That day my sixth sense kicked in.

Something prodded my sixth sense into overdrive and I told my friend we had to get to somewhere with more people immediately. My friend though confused saw my alarm and urgency and agreed. So we picked up our pace but the car just increased its speed to keep up with us but not overtake us. All of a sudden, the car passed us and pulled up onto the curb in front of us blocking our path. An older man got out with a map in his hand. At this point everything in me screamed to run and not look back. Danger with huge flashing lights seemed to be playing over and over in my mind.

What about the man’s appearance triggered this? To be honest, nothing. But when I locked eyes with the man I felt sick to my core. I felt like I was looking at pure evil. I could not explain it but it is just what I felt at the time. He was an ordinary and unprepossessing character. He could have been someone’s kindly  and quiet uncle. In fact on pure appearance he looked trustworthy and non-threatening. But it was there in his eyes. They seemed dead to me. Not without emotion dead but there was a nothingness there, a hollowed inhuman look that seemed to want to penetrate my soul. 

The man started moving towards us and he started saying he was lost and needed some directions. All the time he steadily advanced towards us keeping eye contact all the time. As much as I wanted to break eye contact I could not. My friend started then walking towards him. Being a sweet girl she was always the first to help others. However this time I knew this man did not want nor need help. He did not look lost. In fact he seemed to know exactly where he was and what he wanted. Everything in me told me it was not directions he was after.

I grabbed my friend’s hand harshly and started running with her. She struggled at first and said that I was being paranoid. Until she realised the man had got back in his car and done a u-turn to pursue us. I ran with her to the building nearest us which happened to be a clinic. We ran in the clinic. A nurse came out with us to see what we were running from. There was nobody there. The man in the car had disappeared. 

Though this event shook me and my friend. I eventually put it to one side in my mind. But there was always a niggling reminder. It was not until about 5 years later while watching an emergency news broadcast that suddenly I went ice-cold. The broadcaster announced that there was an emergency announcement from the police. They had solved the cases of the missing girls. The murderer was found after a suicide-murder in which he killed first his partner in the kidnapping and subsequent murders of the young girls and then killed himself. They unearthed the bones of a few of the girls. But many they could not find. The police showed pictures of the murderer/kidnapper/paedophile and his partner. 

I was watching the news with my parents at the time. I turned white as a sheet and almost fell from the edge of the chair that I was sitting on. A cold permeated my being that I could not shake. The picture of the man in the tv was the same man who my friend and I had run away from when we were young girls in a holiday town. It was then that I told my parents what had happened all those years ago. They could not believe it. 

To this day it haunts me that I came so close to a killer who was so evil. I am thankful that I was with my friend that day and that my sixth sense kicked in. I shudder with dread to think what may have happened if I had not been there. She might have been another picture on a milk carton. But it also haunts me that this man went on kidnapping/torturing and killing girls for 5 more years before the police knew who he was. To the nurse at the clinic that day my fears seemed irrational and childish. I allowed her to convince me that I had just over-reacted. What if I hadn’t allowed her to convince me otherwise? That question haunts me to this day.

Perhaps this is why so much of my writing has vulnerable girls thrown into dangerous, whether it be physical/psychological/supernatural. events and having to find a way to survive. Perhaps I am trying to re-write the stories of those missing girls whose pictures haunted my adolescence. Perhaps I am trying to re-write stories where the victims can become victors and take their vengeance or become survivors that can teach/help others. 

But I do believe that our lives and the events and experiences do form us as both people and writers. We all have events that haunt our memories. This event that I have described above has had a huge impact on my life. I shared it because there are some truths that do need to come to light. For me writing is a way to give these hauntings a place to free themselves from the clutches of my memory. Writing these stories and these characters give me a safe way to cleanse my mind of horrific and difficult situations.

  • Do you write to let out your inner hauntings, those memories and events that lock onto your sub-conscious?

Writing and Truth are two-edged swords. The power of the written word can both harm or heal. Much like truth. I believe writers like all artists have a powerful purpose in this world. We can depict truth in all its ugliness and beauty and people can heal through our work. We need to wield our words carefully. We can choose to cut to heal or cut to harm with this sword. It is a task not to be taken lightly.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

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18 Comments

  1. Kim, I believe you were meant to write. Those poor girls are in your mind for a reason and your stories are freeing each one. Your stories will, I believe, help one or more small girl out there to realize she is worth something and can fight for herself. These are the types of stories we need more of.

    Write on, Dear Kim!
    love,
    Denise

    • Thank you my dear Denise! You are my own personal booster/cheerleader! 🙂 It really means so much to me. Believe me, there is no stopping this writer from writing. Hugs Kim 🙂

  2. Scary stuff…Thanks for sharing this & visiting my blog (I am also a She Writes chick…). I will be back…

  3. Hi Kim
    I share not only the instinct to identify darkness but your belief in shining the line on the darkness. I think there is an incredibly organic balance in light and dark . In everything from religion to nature Light and Darkn has to be in perfect symmetry. The slightest imbalance can set one off in a direction you don’t want to go. Even within the human body balance is essential. Hormones out of wack equal any number of issues from depression to hair-loss.
    In life balance within and without is incredibly important. It is so true – I sometimes try to balance the bad that I see with the good but I do fall foul of exactly what you said- I try to see only the good. But it solves nothing. It only condones the darkness in people.
    Light vs Darkness is an eternal human battle. The only way to win a little ground is to pay attention to the voice inside you. Call it Darkness detector, instinct, premonition or the devil on my left shoulder.
    But we have not been let loose among the darkness without weapons. We have been blessed with these instincts and we need to use them.
    As writers we see the big picture- we do not see the world in a vacuum or in an insular manner- so we see the good and the bad because we refocus our mental viewfinder,
    That is what you do best my friend.. Your strength and courage is inspirational.
    So write on!!!!
    Hugs Tee

    • Thank you my faithful friend! Yes it is too easy to turn a blind eye to the darkness that is in the world. But the world is not seen as whole if you look at it with rose-coloured glasses. There is evil and there is darkness. But it is incredible what a lit match in a dark auditorium can do. The darkness flees. I truly believe all artists, whether we call ourselves writers, musicians or painters/sculptors; have the gift to see the world in its entirety. The more one denies the existense of darkness, the more strength that very darkness obtains. Darkness needs to be brought to the light. For darkness and evil likes to hide in the dark corners of this world hoping people will ignore it. Courage and light is standing up to the darkness and acknowledging it but not allowing fear to overwhelm you. I believe that is why I write what I write. I do write about dark stories and dark experiences but I write about them to bring them to the light. If we as writers can be one small lit match in a darkened auditorium, that is the power of truth and light. Darkness can have no power over us unless we choose to give it that power. In the smallest light, darkness flees. I am quite amazed by the response to this post. Maybe it is time I took this story and really give voices to these girls and give them a story.
      Thanks for commenting so thoughtfully and eloquently. 🙂

  4. Kim, thank you for sharing your story….proof that “gut feelings” truly happen. I’ve taken a variety of seminars regarding different metaphysical disciplines. One common denominator in each class – where there is Light there is Dark, where there is good there is evil lurking about. I’m grateful you paid attention to your gut feelings and lived to tell the tale. You’ve definitely found your purpose in life. Write on….

    • Thank you Pen.:) Yes I definitely believe that light is there to counteract evil. I see my gift of acute intuition now as a gift not a curse. I always follow my instinct now. Thank you for your lovely comments. 🙂

  5. Yikes! Did your friend see the news report when the man was caught years later? Did she ever call to say thank you? What a great friend you are!

    • I am not sure Lia. We lost touch. I had moved away by then and so had she. I am just glad that i was there at the time. My heart aches for all those girls though…there but for the grace of God…Thanks for commenting.

  6. What an amazing post, Kim,

    I had shivers running down my spine. So hard to move on from an experience like that.

    Truth shapes our writing whether we want it to or not.

    • Thanks my friend. Truth is an integral part of us and none of us can run away from it for long. Thanks for commenting Dee. 🙂

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, Kim. Truth does need to be told in whatever form each artist shares it. This was a powerful message from you.

    • Thanks Ree. This is something I feel very strongly about. Thanks for commenting.

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