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Tag Archives: fear


“Buggy!”

“It’s just an ant.” I remarked calmly as I felt it crunch beneath my shoe.

“Buggy! Buggy!”

I picked my foot up and watched as maimed and dying ant twitched and tried to run away. My son screamed at the sight of it and fled to his bedroom. I couldn’t understand why he was so afraid of insects. Especially ants. He was eight years old for Christ’s sake.

He watched from the doorway to his bedroom, hugging a blanket, as I plucked the dead ant off the floor and took it over to the trash can.

“You do realize that when you go outside, there are literally millions of insects out there with you, right? When you’re playing in the front yard, there’s probably hundreds of ants around you, you just don’t notice.”

“I’m never going outside again!” he declared, slamming the door.

“You’re being ridiculous.” I said through the door.

“I hate buggies!”

“You love caterpillars.”

“They don’t count.”

“Look, just use a shoe or a book or something–”

“I’m not going near them!”

My wife Lisa came up behind me. “What’s going on?”

“Brandon saw an ant.”

“Oh. Brandon, honey, it’s lunch time.”

“I’m not coming out! There are buggies out there!”

“I killed the ant, Brandon.” I said.

“Are there more?” He opened the door and peeked out.

“Not any that I can see.” Lisa said, pushing his door open the rest of the way and holding his hand. “Now, come on and have lunch.”

I didn’t say anything as she lead him away, but I watched him looking all around desperately, sure that he was going to see another ant coming at him. Every spring, our house develops a bit of an ant problem. I don’t know where they get in, but we kill them left and right until Lisa gets fed up and calls an exterminator. They pop up for a couple more days afterward, then eventually disappear for the rest of the year.

It was just the start of ant season. Read More »

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I got this package in the mail from my dad: brown paper wrapping, large but flat, with the word “FRAGILE” written on it in black ink. When I unwrapped it, it was this big, acrylic painting, framed in some sort of bronze-gilded plaster.

The painting itself was of this long hallway full of doors, kind of like you’d see in a fancy hotel. The walls had edging about halfway up, the upper part was painted sort of an off white while the lower half was a crimson red that blended into the carpeting. Between each door was an up-turned light, as well as on the far wall at the end, where the corridor seemed to connect to another hallway running perpendicular to it, disappearing around a corner. Read More »


I saw something back in 1990 that has haunted me ever since.

We were a boy scout troop of sixteen boys between the ages of 13 and 17, going on a two-day hike along a trail that ran sixty miles from Richmond to Marion in Indiana. Three adults supervised us the entire way. They gathered us up on the north side of town one Friday after school in late September, checked our supplies and gear, then off we marched.

Most of the journey that evening followed an old, abandoned railroad track through farmers’ fields. We managed to reach a small bit of forested area just before it got dark, and we pitched tents there, gathered wood for a fire and had our meals. After we ate, the grown-ups got out a couple bags of marshmallows to roast and we all sat around the fire where people had a chance to tell ghost stories. Read More »


It was my friend Tommy’s 11th birthday and my first sleepover. My mom dropped me off at his house in the afternoon. It looked modest from the front, but when Tommy led me inside, I discovered that it was actually fairly big, with at least five large rooms on the first floor alone.

“My mom set us up in the basement.” He said, leading the way to a small door just off the kitchen pantry.

I envisioned a dingy cellar like the one my family had. Ours was a single, tiny room that looked like miners were still in the process of digging it out. Nobody spent the night in our basement unless they had eight legs and six eyes and shot webbing out of their ass.

Tommy’s basement was like a whole other house. There was a small room with a couch at the bottom of the stairs, but in the far wall was a swinging door leading into a kitchen almost as big as the one we had just left. In the basement kitchen there was another door leading out to the back yard, and a long hallway that extended deep under the house.

“Jesus,” was all I could muster.

“The basement was set up as an apartment to rent out by the people who lived here before us.” Tommy explained. He pointed down the dim hallway. “The first door on the left is the bathroom. Second door is a closet. We’ll be sleeping in the bedroom on the right.”

“What’s the door at the end?” I asked. Read More »


I wrote this while working on a new persona to share stories on Reddit. I didn’t feel like there was enough interest to keep it going after two stories. This was the first of the two.

The year was 1989. The McCallisters had just moved to the small town of Northfield. Todd McCallister had finally gotten his teaching license along with a job teaching history at the high school. Maria was content to stay home with their two children: Alexis, a rambunctious four year-old, and Franklin, who had just learned to walk. When the children were down for their afternoon naps, she got a little time to herself, which she spent neatly stitching together a variety of plush animals.

The town was quiet and peaceful, nestled in a shady valley, mostly bordered by forest. The noisiest it normally got was when the occasional train passed through on its way to other places. The biggest story the police blotter ever got was a drunk and disorderly.

Read More »