Retro Tuesday 11-29-2022


House of Fear


“You can’t leave your fears behind,’ he’d said, “until first you live inside them. You have to live inside your house of fear.”― Steve Rasnic Tem, Deadfall Hotel

When typing the above quote (all right, cutting and pasting), the phrase ‘house of fear’ jumped out at me like a bolt of lightning. Living inside your House of Fear seemed a dangerous proposition. Who, after all, wants to live with their fears on a daily basis? And what, exactly, is my House of Fear?  What would lay within its walls? Would it be dark and spooky, like a haunted house, or stark and lifeless with six equal sides, a square of fear? Perhaps well lived-in. Perhaps not. I have, after all, had many years for fears to accumulate, drifting into the cracks and crevices of my life, lost beneath the furniture of my mind- a dusty chair, an unmade bed, a table upon which the book of my life rests.

So what do I fear? What ghosts linger there? I fear rejection, both personally and as a writer. What if I am not strong enough, bold enough, to record the lives of the ghosts whispering in my ear. Spiders – though I am much better now. Opening up to let others inside.  Never trusting again because one person decided it was okay to lie and treat me like I was nothing. Ending up like my mother, locked in a body that, inch by inch, took her life long before she died. My kids never learning how to be responsible adults. Hate and violence engulfing the world. What, then, am I not afraid of?

I am not afraid of dying though, as the saying goes, I don’t want to go today. I am not afraid of having less than nothing in my bank account. I’ve been there and you just have to let it go. I am not afraid of being alone. I know how strong I am, how much I crave being responsible for my own life. I do not fear petty, mean-spirited, people because I know their attitude is their problem and has nothing to do with me. Of course, I could list all the fears I’ve ever had in my life and all the fears I have overcome but we would be here forever. Life is learning to face your fears and becoming stronger for each battle. Do fears leave the house once they no longer linger in my subconscious? Yes and no. They turn invisible and, while mostly they slip away, a tiny misty form remains, ready to spring back to life at any unguarded moment. 

What is your House of Fear?

Response – JSW Prompt 12-5-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 300 words and post it to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.


Hammock Time.

“Scooch over.”

“Is there enough room?”

“It’s a double hammock. There is plenty of room.”

“All right,” while scooching, “but if you dump me out you’ll pay.”

Chris settled down on the hammock, one arm wrapped around her shoulders. “See I told you there was room.”

“Just don’t bobble or we’ll hit the ground.”

“I don’t bobble, thank you.”

She curled up against his side, snuggling in for warmth and comfort.

“Isn’t this the best?”

“Indeed it is the best,” he answered, closing his eyes to feel the sun on his face and the soft curves of her against his side.

“I feel a little decadent, though,” she went on. “Lazing around in a hammock mid-day.”

“What better time?”

“Spoken like a true I-don’t-have-to-be-a-worker.”

“Hey, don’t knock it. If you weren’t so stubborn, you wouldn’t have to work either.”

She pouted. “I like to pay my own way.”

“It shouldn’t matter.”

‘It does matter. I don’t need you to pay my bills.”

“I don’t mind paying them.”

“I know, but they are my bills not yours.”

“When I take you, I take your bills, too.”

“No, you don’t.” She curled her legs over his, tucking her toes in-between his.

He shifted, kissing her forehead through her bangs. “I’ll just take you on a fantastic vacation, just us two.”

“That sounds wonderful,” she giggled with a sigh. “I get some time off after the first of the year.”

This time he sighed. “Ah, the restrictions of the working life.”

“You’ll live, I promise.”

“Maybe,” he agreed, “but it’s hard.”

“Poor baby.”

“I know.”

She laughed. “You are so spoiled.”

“But you love me anyway.” He dripped one foot over the edge of the hammock, pushing them gently back and forth.

Rolling to her elbow, she looked down at him. “I do, Christin Allen Crenshaw. I do.” She kissed him lightly on the lips. “Even with all your faults.”

He chuckled. “My faults are why you love me.”

“Well, maybe not,” she settled back on her side, head on his bicep. “But close enough.”

Sighed again as the October sun poured down on them. “Close enough.”