Fear (Short Story)

It was the kind of thing that would just stick in your craw. A thought, a fleeting memory that you just couldn’t quite get a grasp on. That aching feeling inside that turned into something a little bit fearful. Like you were forgetting something really important. Hugely important. Turning-point-of-your-life kind of important.

It nags at you while you’re walking through the grocery store, the squeak of the shopping cart wheel that keeps sticking in the background of your thoughts and suddenly you catch a second of thought. Of memory. Your brain almost gasps at the thought and your skin prickles with goosebumps as a feeling of absolute dread takes over.

What is it? What have you forgotten? Your brain races through that list you always keep near the forefront of your mind. Is this feeling because something has happened to one of your loved ones? Your kids? Your spouse? Your parents? You start to wonder about your pets at home. About your home. Your house. 

What is your mind trying to tell you? Did you forget to turn the stove off? Is one of your children hurt and needing you? What if it’s something worse? Horrifying? What if there is danger that you’re not seeing because your mind is too busy trying to figure out what you’re missing? 

You realize that you’re standing there in the middle of the grocery store, staring into space, making people walk around you and give you hard looks. They probably think you’re on drugs, but you are perfectly sober. Just wracked with a terror that you couldn’t possibly explain. A cold seeps into your bones and you know that something is terribly, terribly wrong. A child cries out in the aisle next to yours and jolts you out of your thoughts. Galvanizes you into action. You look around, that frantic feeling growing stronger by the second.

A sob starts to build in your throat and you stumble out of the store, your half full cart abandoned in the middle of the aisle. Stepping out into the glare of the sun shining down on your face almost has a calming effect, for just a split second. 

The feelings are racing back, chasing you as you run, stumbling to your car. Keys in hand, you fumble to get the door open, cursing yourself for not replacing the battery in your key fob. Such a stupid small thing, but what if this is the split second that keeps you from helping? From saving… what? Your brain screams at you as put the key into the ignition.

A new rush of dread fills you as you realize you have no idea what to do next.

Something horrifying is happening and it is all your fault. And there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. You start to cry, silent tears running down your face. Deep, gut wrenching moans come up from the depth of your soul and your mind cracks. You won’t be helping anyone, anywhere. Not anymore.

Cover Photo Pixabay

Writing Prompt from @FreewriteHouse on Weku

Crossposted to my Weku Blog