FFF - Week 9 - The Deeps
October 29, 2015
This week's challenge from FFF is to write about your fear.
Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone, or something, is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
The key word here is ‘belief’. Naturally, our personal trepidations are all completely rational in our minds. But, let’s look at this realistically for a moment. Is what would keep you up nights or prevent your walking into a dark room alone something that could happen in the real world, or is it something your imagination concocted to force you to keep that nightlight lit?
This week, confront your fears head-on, whether the world considers them rational or foolish. It’s YOUR ‘belief’ that matters.
Prompt: Freak us out with a tale about having to face your greatest fear. We’d also like to know if you made it out in one piece, or…
Genre: Horror, of course. How could it be any other?
Word Count: 1,500 or less
My story is under 500 words, but I think it captures my basic idea. And I was out of town, so have an excuse ;-)
"Grampa, are you coming"
"No, you go ahead, I'll stay here by the dock."
It wasn't that I couldn't keep up with my grandson, although he swam like a fish. Pretty good for only 10, I thought. No, it was his destination, over to the foot of the cliff. Where the waters, in spite of a bright sunny sky, plunged blackly into the depths, depths my imagination filled with monsters. Cold pale monsters, with staring eyes, sharp little teeth, and long, clutching tentacles.
It was a silly fear, really, a secret childhood fear but one that I did need to confront eventually. Maybe in tiny steps. I waved to my grandson. "Nate! You go ahead, I'll take the rowboat over. Then if you get tired you can hang on to the side."
He laughed. "That old wreck? Are you sure it will make it this far?"
At first, things went well. Nate yelled directions as I tried to steer a straight course, and the hot sun and smell of the pines distracted me from thoughts of what lurked below. I stopped to peer over the side. Yes, it was pitch black, with imagined shadows just barely visible in the depths but it was there and I was here. I was getting better.
It was then that I noticed my feet were getting wet. Very wet.
Damn. I was sinking. I started to turn the boat back for the dock, but before I knew it the water was over my ankles.
Nate was right beside me, hanging onto the side of the boat. "Grampa, looks like you're swimming with me after all."
He was right. No way would I make it back to safe waters. I sat in my seat, clutching the oars, as the boat sank under me, down into the inky depths. As it disappeared, I followed, and let the icy waters close over my head. I felt a slimy grasp around one ankle, dragging me down,. I looked up toward the light, reached, and fell a small hand grab mine and pull me up.
"Grampa, swim!" There was panic in Nate's eyes, as he grabbed at me, then choked on some water.
This was stupid. My dumb fear was my problem, not his. I needed to suck it up and be the adult. I smiled back at him, started treading water, and took a breath. "No problem, little buddy. I'm good. Let's head back and figure out how to tell your dad I lost his boat."
We made it back to the dock easily. Nate helped me out, then handed me a towel. "Are you okay, Grampa? What happened?"
"I'm okay, it was nothing," And it was really nothing. Maybe I'd confide in him, and have a chat about facing fears in life.
"Grampa, what 's that?"
He pointed to my ankle. At three red circular welts.
'Short and to the point'? Oh yeah. It's the reason you should never swim in murky rivers or in the ocean at night. Too, never let your hands or feet dangle over the edge of your bed. It's because there's things under there -- waiting.
Take my word for it, there's enough here to run a chill up your spine. I do so love a good scare!
Posted by: Joyce Juzwik | October 30, 2015 at 12:18 PM
Writing short-short stories is a skill all its own and you definitely cracked it! Plenty of tension as we feel Grampa's fear and relief as he overcomes it. Really liked the twist at the end.
Posted by: Rose Green | October 31, 2015 at 03:28 AM