In the creative writing class I’m teaching, I planned a lesson on writing with fear/suspense. Admittedly, this isn’t something I’m great at. Still, it was a lesson I wanted to leave the students with.
We always have a in-class writing prompt, one that I practice a few times in advance to make sure it’s decent. The prompt was to pick a personal fear and explore it for 15 minutes using first person narrative and some techniques from the lesson. I completed the exercise three times and finally gave up after reading it aloud to Chris because he couldn’t stop laughing. Humorous writing, I can do. This? Not as much.
I’m posting it here, so I can look back at it next time I teach the class and hopefully make some personal progress of my own.
My pounding heart wakes me. SHIT. I sit up quickly and listen… nothing. I stay completely still, breathing as quietly as possible.
With a huge sigh of relief, I slowly fall back into my pillow. Instantly my pulse rate slows. I shut my eyes and take a few deep breaths to help induce sleep.
Glorious silence… with the exception of Chris breathing deeply next to me, as he sleeps soundly.
But wait… I hear it again. That slow scratching noise. This is not my imagination!
I start to sweat with uneasiness. What do I do now? Wake Chris yet again and try to convince him there’s something in our closet? The first night he believed me. He leapt out of bed when I yelled that there was someone in the closet. He found nothing.
The second night he shook his head in annoyance, and refused to even check the closet. “Honey, let it go… you’re not hearing anything. Stop reading weird books before bed. That’s all this is… I promise.”
He promises? Puh-lease.
Here we are again… night three. It’s awful, I know… but being single right now would solve everything. I could grab a sledgehammer and tear a hole in the closet wall. That would silence the scratching. Oh wait, would single me own a sledgehammer? Hush brain, that doesn’t matter now.
I slowly inch my way out of bed. I can’t risk waking Chris only to be ‘mansplained out of hearing what I’m really hearing.
My eyes quickly adjust to the lack of light, and I crouch down next to the closet door.
I clench my fists and prepare to wait it out.
The night is still. Until it’s not. “SKRREEEEEK.”
My body trembles, but I refuse to jump back into the safety of my bed. I can do this. Wiping my sweaty palms on my pajama pants, I grab the closest thing to me. A heavy hiking boot. I stand back and gently push open the closet door.
“SKRREEEEEK.” There it is again! Even louder this time.
I flip on the closet light and start pounding the wall with my boot. “BAM. BAM. BAM.”
In a matter of seconds Chris is awake, standing next to me with a wide-eyed stare.
“SARAH STOP IT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR GODDAMN MIND?”
I refuse to look him in the eyes. Instead I reply by pounding even harder on the wall. I pound until I’m certain the scratching has stopped.
Finally, I look up with a satisfied smile. “Next time set a mousetrap like I asked. Otherwise, I’ll pound the damn mouse out of this house.”
He tilts his head and looks at me, slightly confused. I know that look. He can’t decide if he wants to laugh or yell. I ignore the look and continue… “I think that little fucker is gone for the night. We should probably get some sleep.” He slowly shakes his head, laughs and follows me to bed, because what else is he going to do? Divorce me at 3AM?
Maybe I need scarier fears or something, but mice are absolutely terrifying to me. What? Don’t judge. I know people who are petrified of damn clowns.