First, let’s talk about fear. Fear is what makes your hands sweat and the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Fear is what makes your heart race and forces you to breathe fast and hard as the air turns heavy around you. I’m not talking about the fear that makes you jump in surprise as your heart stops for just one moment. No, I’m talking about the terror you feel when you face your deepest and darkest fear, when your mind goes blank and your body tenses. It’s the fear that paralyzes you in pure horror at what lies before you as your brain tries to comprehend how you got into this situation. To call it fear is an understatement; it’s the chills that run up your spine when you’re in a room alone and the tiny feeling of eyes staring at you and watching when you’re alone. Most fears people grow out of because let’s face it, the boogie man isn’t under your bed, or in your closet, for that matter. But some fears are there for a reason and you should be afraid of what could be out there. One fear is the dark, the inky, black, cold dark that scares many children.
Now, when it comes to being afraid of the dark there are two kinds of people. The first kind of people aren’t afraid of the dark and the second kind are scared of the dark. Then there’s me and I don’t really know what to call it because it’s not the dark I’m afraid of. When you’re afraid of the dark you can fix it with a flashlight and the dark can sometimes be scary. It can morph pillows into terrifying creatures with skin made of slime, teeth like needles that are the size of your finger, and eyes filled with hunger as if it’s ready to pounce. But the dark isn’t what gets me though, but I sincerely wish it was and I could fix my fears with a measly flashlight.
Sometimes I wake up in the dead of night, as the moon creates dancing shadows on my blue carpeted floor on my second story bedroom. Usually, I just roll over and fall back asleep, but when I don’t I just have to use the bathroom or need sustenance. That’s when the fear creeps in like an ooze that floods my mind like thick red blood. Slowly, I reach for my phone trying to find it before “it” gets here. I grab it and quickly turn on my phone light. I shine it at the floor right where it meets my bed as the bright phone light covers the dancing shadows the moon once visibly casted. I slowly set one foot on to the cold soft carpet standing as my mind reels with fear. I slowly walk to my closed door as my light shows the dents and holes on its white wooden frame. I grab the cold metal doorknob and turned it as the door creaked and moaned as it slowly swung open. If I go to the bathroom, it isn’t as scary. I slowly walk down the narrow hallway as the walls seem to close in on me. I tread down the hallway as the floor groans under my weight. The bathroom door is open, its lightless space with no windows to give any relief from the darkness that swallows me whole, is standing there before me.
My mind starts to go to what could be lurking in the shadows of the darkened room and what horrible thing could be waiting in the dark. Usually, it’s spiders, giant spiders with their hairy body shaking as its beady eyes stare at me. Its long bent legs slowly move toward me, its pointed feet clicking as it hits the tile slowly walking closer and closer and closer until its right in front of me. Slowly, I shine my light into the bathroom and sigh, as the room is empty. Leaving the bathroom, I turn of the light and the fear starts to creep in again as I feel the spiders legs start to crawl over my shoulder and its furry body brushes against the skin of my neck. I run to my room and jump into bed and try to fall back asleep.
Then there’s my need to go to the kitchen in the middle of the night. As before I turn on my light and open my door with a moan. The stairs are fine as I go down and the fourth step creaks as I put my weight onto it. I make it to the end and my living room, with no door, is to my right, my dining room is in front of me and beyond that to the left is the kitchen. The living room is dark and cold and I quickly flash my light in there to make sure no one is there. I turn from the living room to face the dining rooms slimy green walls. I can feel someone standing behind me as their breath touches my neck. I slowly walk into the kitchen and turn on the light forcing the person hides back into the dark corners of my mind. I grab what I need and turn the light back off. The person comes out of hiding as I struggle to put my flash light back on. They walk up to me ever so slowly as if they aren't ready to get to me yet. Then finally my light comes on and they’re gone. They've run into the living room to hide until my back is turned and I’m vulnerable. I slowly walk towards the stairs as I feel them creep back out of the living room while I face the stairs.
The stairs are the worst. I step up the first one as I let my imagination get the better of me. The person is right behind me and is breathing down my neck. Step two, things come out of the sides of the walls on the stairs. Step three, the room fills with spiders as they pour down the stairs trampling one another to get to me. Step four, is when I lose it and the step creaks and groans as if its life depended on it, screaming as loud as it can into the dark, cold night. I run as fast as light, stepping on spiders and jumping over the arms reaching for my feet to pull me into the wall. The only thing that follows is the unknowable person that mimics my every move. It’s always there behind me waiting to strike, waiting for the right moment. Its shadowy figure is always there in the corner of my eye but when I turn to look at them, they're gone. By the time I get up the stairs, there are spiders are all over the couch each one doubling in size by the second reaching for me coming closer as the swarm tumbles over itself. I run into my room and shut the door leaning against it.
My mind reels at what could be behind the door. My heart is beating like a drum and blood rushes through my head as I try to tell myself it’s going to be ok and that I’m finally safe. But deep down in the darkest, shadowy corners of my mind, they’re waiting to come back and it’s just a matter of time before they do.
I know there isn’t anything there at night, but I fear that I’ll wake up to someone in my living room or to a house filled with spiders and that sends chills down my spine with just one thought. The worst part about my fear is that when it’s dark and I get out of bed, the flashlight only lights up what’s in front of me. Whatever’s behind me coming closer as my back is turned to its ever changing form, is something I cannot see. I don’t know what it looks like or what it’s capable of and that terrifies me. No my fear can't be fixed with a flashlight because what I'm really afraid of is what I can't see behind me because if I can’t see what’s coming, how could I possibly stop it?