other writers / writing

What Scares Daniel Kraus?

What scares you? That’s the question I asked YA authors for this blog series featuring frightening—even surprising—fears.

Our surprise guest for Halloween is Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters, Scowler, The Monster Variations, and more.

What scares Daniel? I have to warn you, it’s kind of terrifying…


Guest post by Daniel Kraus

What scares me is that we are bags of meat. Hold up your fist. They say that’s the size of your heart. Picture a gray fist flexing right there in your chest. Be still. Can’t you feel it? Runny liquid slurped through opaque tubes. It’s worse than that, even. The tubes are fibrous. You can’t fix these things. It’d be better if the heart were cradled in bone. Instead it’s just suspended in there. That’s worrisome. Heavy things that are suspended pull against that weight. Things snap. People can talk all day about the miracle of the body or the beauty of its engineering. Nice try. Your heart is dangling from strings of bubblegum, jostling with every motion, making wet noises as it slaps against lungs. The potential points of failure here are innumerable. Remember when you held an uncooked chicken breast, soft and slick and malodorous? Your cavities are filled with such things. Give us a poke and we split like trash bags, lots of work for the night nurse, lots to clean for the janitor. We aren’t repulsed by the scabbing. How is that? It rises from nowhere in the manner of maggots. I’ll grant you this: There is magic in the brain. I’ll be damned if it’s not alchemy, the transmutation of raw sausage into electronic telegraphs. Don’t get romantic about it. Peel off your skin and scoop out the muscle and you’re a jellyfish. Meet your jellyfish tentacles: your drapery of veins and your purses of bile. How did we get so good at disassociating our viscera from our brain? You know how many things have to squirt and spasm for you to have a single thought? The worm—now that’s good design. The human is not. We’re an inside-out flystrip for stupid clots and dumbfuck cancers. We’re future spoilage. We’re spoiling right now, overdue to be scraped from the plate. These bags we call bodies keep our cankers from staining the floor, that’s all. Yet look at us go! We feel emotions and have opinions and do lots of other curious things. This is darling of us. Isn’t it? We are not who we think we are. This is scary.

Thank you for sharing your fears with us, Daniel! I find what you said… alarming. Happy Halloween, all!


Daniel Kraus is the author of Rotters, The Monster Variations, and the upcoming novels Scowler and Trollhunters (with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro). You can find him at danielkraus.com and twitter.com/DanielDKraus.


Here, if you want to scare yourself further, are all the posts in the What Scares You? series:

Happy Halloween!

Series art by Robert Roxby. Email to contact the artist directly.

About these ads

One thought on “What Scares Daniel Kraus?

Comments are closed.