Short story “Childhood fears”

From the darkness men arise.

With the lights on, they’re invisble. But as soon as the light switch is flipped, I can see them.

They move.

Never did I let them come closer, since turning on the lights drives them back to their shelters, instantly.

Watching me constantly, they hide in the clothes that are on the hooks of the back of the door. They hide under desk, behind the chair legs. They hide behind the curtains. I know the last one sounds cheesy, but I’ve seen them hide there. They’re there.

They wait, silently, not showing any signs of life, until my parents have kissed my goodnight. Then, from the corners of my eyes, I see them moving. But when I look at them directly, they’re gone. Not really gone, but they are never at the spot that I’m looking at. As if looking is like pointing a flashlight at a shadow: you know that the shadow is gone, but it will be back as soon as you point the flashlight to some other spot.

That’s why I never stop looking.


About this short story
This short story (flash fiction) was as an exercise from the book Q&A a Day for Writers: 1-Year Journal. In this book, for each day there is a different writing exercise. The short story above was written for 28 February’s exercise: “Inhabit a moment of fear you had as a child and write it out”.