Chuck Wendig: Write about something that scares you.

This week’s flash fiction prompt from terribleminds was this:

“This week, I want you to write about something that scares you.

This can be something overt and obvious (CHAINSAW CLOWNS) to something deeper (“I am afraid of losing my mind to Alzheimer’s”) — but I want you to take aim at it and lay it bare on the page and construct a story around it as best as you can.”

I’m not sure how this fits the “story” structure, but it felt good to write it out. We were given 1000 words, I only used 322.


It’s been seven years, almost to the day since I walked away. I had promised myself when I was thirteen that I would. Finally, at age twenty-nine I did.

It has followed me. They have followed me. I’ve had little to no contact over the last seven years, yet they are always with me. Even with time and from this distance they still live in my heart and in my mind.

Cruel things they were, especially to a child. Though as I got older they continued to break away pieces of me. It had turned out that my age didn’t make a difference. I was different. They didn’t like different. Even when it held their last name. Even when it lived with them. Smiled for them. Tried and tried to fit in. They chipped away from childhood and as I got older I began to crack. Then I shattered completely.

I became a dangerous mess. Sharp painful pieces spread out around me. I didn’t have the energy to sweep it up. Ultimately it consumed me. The cuts on the inside began to appear on the outside. I began to disregard my being in the same way they had. I tried to remove myself from the situation entirely.

It has taken years to put my pieces back together. Like all shattered things I am not quite the same. I’ve been trying to find them and replace them. Some bits don’t match. But overall I have managed to put myself together again.

Sometimes they are still there. They still live in my mind and my heart and I still feel the shame of not being good enough. Of not being one of them, in spite of the term “family”. I am terrified that even though I’ve worked so hard to pick up my pieces that I will allow them to tear me down again. That I will never be able to truly free myself.


About this writing:

I was adopted when I was six years old. I was brought into a family that engaged in abuse. I was awkward and I was different. I was never allowed to forget that. Most stories of adoption have a happy ending and I don’t mean for this to sound like a negative view on that process. This was simply my experience.


One thought on “Chuck Wendig: Write about something that scares you.

  1. A very difficult piece to read (I cheated and read your ‘about’ before reading the story), so thank you for sharing a little of your personal nightmare. Of all the fear-stories I’ve read so far, I think this one touches me the most, because you’ve come through that fear, yet it still haunts you, a constant reminder that you can never fully escape from.

    As for the story being short, I don’t think that affects it in the slightest. Your story is direct, full of turmoil and emotional impact. Sure, you could’ve thrown in more words, but that would only have padded it out and detracted away from the swift punch of fear. Sometimes, less is more. I know, very cliché.

    Liked by 1 person

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