There is a moment in every good horror movie, and most of the bad ones, where the camera pulls away and you see the character from behind a stairwell or through a hole in the wall, and of course this is not meant to simply be a cheap trick of cinematography; you are there, you are watching, you are about to strike.
There are four ways to inflict fear on human kind that never change.
The first rule of great drama is start small and build. The first rule of great terror is knowing too much and, at the same time, knowing far too little. The most perfect blend of ignorance and knowledge.
In his third year in the Watchers, Methos wrote a dissertation on a concept he invented four thousand years before. He won Researcher of the Year. He completely changed the way the Watchers viewed headhunters.
Methos got drunk on the Watchers's dime and had nightmares for a week. It took months to get the images out of his head, the bloodlust, the power rising in his throat as he gave a primal scream into the night, claiming it as his own.
His hands shake, sometimes. The first question Joe asks him, it's clear the Watchers think he's a junkie. Methos doesn't care. They're more right than they think.
The second rule of terror is never be predictable.
Methos has married mortals sixty-eight times because he knows it will not last. It's a painless pill to swallow after all this time. He loves, he loses, he moves on. After five thousand years, it's as practiced as reviving.
Methos plays with words so he can tell himself he has never married an Immortal.
Kronos is his brother because he tells himself it will never end. What they have, words have not been invented for. What they have is a meeting of like minds. What they have, is power.
Methos does not marry Kronos because he tells himself it will never end. When four thousand years later, it does, he wishes he had.
The third rule is go above and beyond the bounds of decency. Always be worse than the darkest dreams.
Methos has not felt fear since the second century, when Kronos had pulled a knife on him, laughed, and attacked truly and not for play. Years later, Methos will become wise. He will say, fear is simply a lack of knowledge. He will say, ignorance should be pitied, not coddled. He will say, it's only tricks. All of it, only tricks.
When he fought for his life, he never felt so scared or so alive, and when they fucked, Kronos would not stop laughing.
The fourth rule is to never bow to excess. Keep it simple, stupid.
Kronos had never understood, when Methos would rein him back. He would cross his arms and call Methos a coward. He would ask, where is your vaunted cunning, brother? He would call him lazy. He would tease him with a knife until Methos would explain, as if to an idiot. And he would never, ever understand.
If Kronos had understood restraint, Methos thinks darkly, watching MacLeod walk away, he would still be alive. If he had understood anything, anything at all, he would have known when enough was enough. Kronos never learned, he simply existed in a holding pattern, killing and burning and killing and burning, like feeding an addiction.
Once, Methos knew: Live without fear and the world will fear you. For there is no greater perversion.
Methos watches horror movies and laughs.
The fifth rule is only theoretical. Methos had dreamed it up in an abandoned monastery, hiding out a snow storm that covered the world in white for nine days. The fifth rule, the hypothetical rule, is to know your limitations.
Kronos had loved him. Kronos had been in awe of his mind, of his genius, of his plans.
Kronos had said, let Methos alone, let him dream. And from his dreams had always come plans and from his plans had always come spoils and from the spoils had come riches beyond their wildest dreams. They had owned the world. Kings bowed to them, warlords feared them, and it had all been for the taking.
But when the world had changed, Methos had changed with it.
He misses it. Sometimes.