Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This week we were to write a story about perceived fear, either triggered or based on a phobia.  We also were supposed to include the following words:  Dark, Crunching, Eerie, Monster, and Fear.  The genre was open, and the word max was a sinister 1,313.

Fear can be quite beneficial in some cases.  If it doesn‘t feel right to cut through that dark alley to get home a few minutes earlier, it‘s probably best to trust that instinct, pass it by, and stick to the main thoroughfares.  Unfortunately, in others, it can twist itself into an almost all consuming power over those it controls…


I first found out that I was the one who was going to be forever hunted when I was 6 years old.  I had an older brother, who informed me that he had it on good authority that the monster who lived in our shared closet had been placed there to eat me.  I remember asking him why not both of us, since both our belongings were stored there.  He told me that the creature itself had come to him one night in the dark and explained to him that only I was to be his next meal.  No specific date or time had been provided; the event would occur in that vast realm of time and space known as ‘some day’.

Sometimes in the night, I could hear crunching sounds, and I always checked my feet to make sure I was not being munched on from the bottom up.  When I told my brother about the noises the next morning, he would always laugh.  I knew then that he and the monster were in it together, and that’s why I killed him.  It was easy, really.  He always took his bath with the radio on, so he didn’t hear me when I came up behind him.  As soon as I hit him in the head with the bat, he went under.  Doc Schultz said he most likely slipped trying to get out and hit his head on the side of the tub.  Mama bought a bath mat after that and told me to take showers.  There was never any more crunching in my room at night.  I figured my monster found somebody else’s big brother to join up with.

Fear has always been the driving force in my life, and quite a necessary one.  People don’t understand that being afraid is a good thing--it’s what keeps you alive.  It makes you aware, alert, and always on guard.  Folks are out there to get you, and you must always be ready when they decide it’s time to take you down.  That way, it’s them that get put down and you go on.  There’s always someone out there after me for one reason or another, but I always come out ahead, because I’m smart.  And ready.  Always.

I have to admit that I was quite shocked and saddened when I realized that my own mother had joined the crusade against me.  I never knew my father--he had died just before I was born.  I’ve always wondered if he had been a part of my life whether things might have turned out differently.  I like to believe that he would have protected me from any and all determined to bring harm to me, but the poor man never stood a chance.

I finally came to realize that his so-called accident by being run down by a bus with faulty brakes had actually been an event carefully planned and carried out by his own wife.  I wasn’t there, of course, but in my heart, I know she pushed him into the street.  When my mother’s dementia was in full swing, she told me it had been my fault.  She said while they were waiting to cross at the light, I had started moving around and kicking her, and she lost her balance and fell against my father just as the bus rounded the corner.  Unborn, and already I had become the world’s scapegoat.  Apparently, my mother had been the third point on the triad of evil with my brother and the monster in our shared closet.

She was easier than my brother though; a slight nudge at the top of the stairs.  She had already taken a few falls around the apartment.  Everyone said it was only a matter of time.  I have never crossed a street on foot or taken a bus.  I take no chances and I go on.  Always smart.  Always ready.

I sold the house after Mama was gone.  It was hard, but I finally convinced the city to tear it down.  I told them there was a lot wrong with the foundation and it would never be safe.  They said they didn’t really want to since it was in the middle of the block, but I knew they were lying.  They were all minions of the monster, and my brother, and my mother, and they wanted to terrorize and destroy whoever moved in after I left.  But there was no way I was going to permit them to continue their ungodly mission.  The next family might not realize what’s happening until it’s too late.  They probably won’t be as smart as me.  Or as ready.

Every day I made a fuss and finally, they knew they couldn’t wear me down, so before you know it, the house was gone.  Kids play ball in the empty lot between the houses now.  Thanks to me, they are all safe.  My work here is done.  I don’t know why this duty has been placed on my shoulders, but I accept it willingly.  Fear is my constant companion, yet together, we seek and destroy evil wherever we find it.  With my house and its closets gone, at least I am free from the eerie and dangerous presence that used to reside there.  Or so I thought…

I did some research and made some calculations and learned that if I moved 1,417 miles from where the front door of my old house had been to the front door of my new home that the evil wouldn’t follow.  Evidently, I hadn’t allowed for the extra footage between the front door of my building and the actual front door of my specific apartment.  I knew I should have selected the calculator with the square root button on it.  It would have set me back only an extra $1.84.

In addition to myself, there were six other tenants and the Building Manager who lived there.  At first, they seemed resigned to keeping to themselves, as am I, but lately, the cycle of evil has begun anew.  Mrs. Carmichael, who lives in 4A, has a widowed daughter, Mrs. Danover, who lives next door in 4B.  I wondered why they didn’t just live in the same unit since they were family and then the reason became apparent.

The mother started coming to my apartment, bringing me muffins and telling me how her daughter was available and saying how well we would get along.  She said I should go to her daughter's apartment since she was expecting me.  I’ll just bet she is.  With all her closet doors open…

Well, back to the calculator.  I never liked this city anyway.  My move will occur not a moment too soon though since the Manager, Mr. Jeffries, who lives in 1A next to me, has asked me to meet him in his basement office around 5 to sign my lease termination papers.  I told him I would be happy to join him down there.  Me and my 9mm Glock.  Yes.  I’m smart.  And ready.  And armed.

Was I right, or was I right…  They were all down there.  Mrs. Janofski from 2A, Mr. Miller in 3B, Mrs. Carmichael and her widowed daughter from 4A and 4B, and even Mr. Nowicki in 2B and that odd Miss Canaday from 3A--all waiting.  For me.  I had a full mag so I dropped them all.  When I walked in, they had all yelled ‘SURPRISE’.  It was indeed.

When Mr. Jeffries fell, he landed on a cake on the desk.  It had ‘Happy Birthday, Leon’ written on it and two rows of candles.  Clever bastards.  Today IS my birthday.  The candles probably would have exploded when I blew them out…


  1. Got through half of the story but have to run to the school to pick up my sick daughter. What I have read so far is great and will read the rest once things calm down here.

    1. Hi Beach, I'm so late responding here and I apologize. I always appreciate it when you stop by. First things first though: I hope your daughter is well and it was nothing serious.

  2. Nicely don, fear IS his friend. Just keeps getting worse and worse until they all conspire to get him, I like the build up.
    I think I met this guy in my local last week.

    1. Ravens, So glad you enjoyed this. It's like the old comedy routine, Niagara Falls. The one that begins 'Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch...', with the words 'Niagara Falls' the trigger. I bring that up because of the great way it builds up bit by bit.

      I think there's a guy like this everywhere. I believe I even dated one once...

  3. Was finally able to finish the story. Nicely done, I like the way you had the character rationalize his fear as a central facet of his life. It became as normal to him as the air he breathed making his actions seem logical. I wonder how many people in real life do the same thing?

    1. Beach, That's what I was after. I wanted his fear to be as natural and logical to him as any other one of life's activities, like eating, sleeping, watching out for conspiracies...

      Unfortunately, I think there's more of those out there than we realize--or that we'd be comfortable with.

  4. Replies
    1. Glenn, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. So glad you enjoyed this. I wanted it to be wild and dark, yet fun. Perhaps not exactly whimsical, but still...

  5. I always look forward to your writings, Joyce. This is amazing! The character's personality is so well developed and I love how you didn't break the fourth wall - you stayed in character and described events through his eyes and let us figure it out on our own. He really almost had me convinced his mother killed his father!

    1. Carmen, Thanks so much for taking time to read and for your comments. I really appreciate them. I'm glad you enjoy my stories. My stories are primarily character-driven, and I love putting myself into their world and seeing life through their eyes. Just while I'm writing the story, mind you...lol!