Monday, February 2, 2009

Write about the first time you were afraid. Prompt, 19 – Jean Rhys

A giant patch of darkness stretches out between the lamp on my dresser and me. This darkness is huge, almost liquid. Cool. Pure black, top to bottom. Nothing specific. Just that.

The hall light’s on, sure, but for some reason the light stops short, right at my bedroom door. From there on in I’ll be on my own. I’m a decent jumper but I can’t make it all the way to my dresser. So I stand here under the dim hall light, feet scared, hands sticky, tapping my fingers together, and thinking, thinking… Should I run real fast? Jump as far as I can, then run? Where is everybody, anyway?

I take a deep breath … ready? ... Ready? Wait … wait. I can’t do it. How am I going to get in there? Rats. Wait.

I know this room. Theresa’s bed is against the wall on the far right, and, if I make it, Donna’s and my bunk beds will be behind me. There’s a closet to the left and the painted blue dresser is directly across from the door and a tad to the right. It has three long drawers, one for each of us. On the far side of the dresser sits the lamp, the heart of the room. It’s a tiny little thing with the switch about half way up, just under its dingy shade. I just have to get there.

OK, I can do it. Here goes … with deep breath and a scream, I take a giant jump, Aggghhhh! Then another quick step and I grab the light, nearly knocking it off the dresser before switching it on.

Whew. Safe at last. Now, that wasn’t so hard… was it?



  1. This is a nice description of the way children think of the dark and the challenge of getting to the lights. Something so small becomes almost insurmountable. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I agree that this is such a universal feeling for a child. I remember that moment right before you reach the light, where you are praying that all those scary things you imagine to be "out there" in the dark don't leap onto you. I like your darkness/liquid swimming in the darkness of your bedroom!

  3. This could be worked into a longer piece about a different kind of fear--even the sexual assault piece. What was it about the nature of the dark that scared you? Can you be even more specific? Are there shapes in the dark that seem frightening? Is it that you can't really see? Or is it something else? What do you think will happen in the dark?


Please feel free to jot down your thoughts. I would appreciate knowing your reaction if any, to what I've written, and/or your feedback on how I've written it. I am actively trying to be a better writer.