The Logic of Fear

I blame my mother.
It always starts there, doesn’t it?
Mother was addicted to game shows
like Let’s Make a Deal.
Now, plaid jackets and
cheesy theme music
don’t scare me.

But I tremble and sweat and
my heart hammers inside my chest
at the sight of a door.
I don’t have any doors inside my home,
so don’t come over if you value your privacy.
But it’s not really the doors I’m afraid of.
It’s what’s on the other side.
What will I find when I open a door?
A snarling beast?
A roomful of snakes?
A masked madman?

It’s all mother’s fault.
From way up in my bedroom,
surrounded by the bars of my tiny jail,
I could hear the television blaring.
Women were screaming and howling.
A man was goading someone to choose
Door Number 1 or 2 or 3.
And when he opened the portal
to reveal the horror that lay beyond,
their shrieking raced up the stairs
and found its way into my soft little ears.
Oh, what terrible thing had those women seen?

Mother, oblivious to my cries,
joined in the clamor
with her own yelps and shouting.
I was sure she’d been gobbled up
by the monster behind the door,
until she finally remembered
to bring me a bottle.

My little brain struggled
to make sense of it all, and,
of course, today I know the truth.
But when I was small, I knew only
that doors had things behind them
that made women scream.
And I’ve been afraid ever since.

(The theme:  an unusual phobia) 

About SAS Fiction Girl

Writer of short fiction because I don't have the attention span to write anything longer.
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17 Responses to The Logic of Fear

  1. Evelyn says:

    Okay, one tiny critique–that font is a bit small for my aging eyes. Other than that–I’m having trouble coming up with the perfect adjective to express my delight! You are SO reading this at Writers Group tonight (and if you come down with a sudden case of cramped throat–I’M reading it)! You do realize I’m taking partial credit, as I came up with the prompt! Yes, folks, (this is where I curtsey) I am the poker behind the blaze! You’re very welcome!

    • I can see about fixing the font. I did a copy and paste from Wordpad and, for some reason, it changed the font to what looks like Garamond.
      As for the story, I honestly didn’t know the reaction I would get other than folks thinking this was real. I wasn’t sure it would be well-received, so I’m glad you’re a fan. 🙂

    • nrhatch says:

      A tip I just learned: if readers hit “Ctrl” and “+” the font gets larger.

      • Cool! I did not know that. Thank you!

      • nrhatch says:

        Here’s a tip for you ~ when I’m cutting and pasting, I post it first in the excerpt box below the draft post, then cut again to put into the post. That seems to clear out unwanted fonts.

      • That’s interesting. I’ll have to try that on the next one. You wouldn’t believe the number of work-arounds I’ve attempted, to get my posts to look right. The other day, I nearly ended up publishing a rant rather than the Carmel post because the photos refused to behave. To top it off, I’m running 2 blogs and sharing a third. That’s publishing frustration cubed!

  2. nrhatch says:

    Well done!

    Monty Hall would feel terrible about your inability to encapsulate privacy in your present home by disconnecting the rooms from the Hall with doors. 😀

  3. Are there really no doors in your home? No, this is flash fiction. Right? 🙂 Cute story. Blessings to you…

  4. SuziCate says:

    Fabulous poem with that prompt! Great job!

  5. pattisj says:

    A great read, as usual, Jen. Even better to have heard you read it. 🙂

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