# 6 – Gerald’s Game, by Stephen King
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Stephen King from day one. As a lover of poetry and eloquent prose, something in his writing style (or complete lack there-of) has always rubbed me the wrong way. But even I can’t deny the truth – the man is a born story teller, and probably a genius. Although I’ve by no means read his entire body of work, I like to think that I’ve consumed a healthy cross-section, and developed a healthy respect in the process.
Although it may not inspire the bone-chilling physical fear of It or the Tommyknockers, the novel I’ve chosen to include in this list speaks instead to our psychological fears; to our secrets and nightmares, to the most instinctual, visceral corners of our minds. It inspires a different brand of fear. Gerald’s Game tells the tale of the perfect monster, and the perfect victim. Jessie is chained and helpless, physically as well as mentally, and completely isolated. Completely alone. This is the moment that every person fears most. After days trapped in her prison, reality begins to slip. She is haunted mercilessly by the Space Cowboy, the monster born of her own subconscious, leaving the constant question – is he real? And the Space Cowboy isn’t even the most frightening creature in this story; it is the voices that begin to whisper to her after hours of solitude, the illusions that materialise with dream-like quality in her every waking moment, that make this story so interesting. The monster isn’t just inside her; it is her, the most secret and horrifying parts of her.
How can you run from yourself?
Gerald’s Game left me thinking deeply of the evil memories and secret stories that I keep hidden away in my chest, of my own formless monsters. It’s a story that left me aching for physical touch, afraid of the monsters hiding in every darkened corner, and I think that’s why it deserves this spot on my list.