Marianne Williamson once wrote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."
To which my Artful Dodger hero, Victor Standish, snorts, "Bullshit."
And me? What do I say?
"A child's fear is a world whose dark corners are unknown to grownups.
It has its sky and its pits without bottoms, a sky without stars, deep caves into which no light can ever reach."
Denise Covey and Yolanda Reese are doing the WEP HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE starting October 21st.
To start the fun you can:
1. share a favorite frightening tale, movie, novel, photograph or painting that will leave us quaking in our boots
2. in a short paragraph describe how it scared you, and why it did and or still does today.
I've already written my 1000 word entry, but I thought I would share with you my worst fear from childhood and the genesis of Victor Standish.
Mother was half-Lakota and my first teacher. She told me over and over:
“Courage is not the absence of fear,
but rather the knowing that something else is more important than that fear.”
"What is that something else, Mother?" I asked the first time.
She tweaked my nose and smiled, "You will find that out when you have to be brave for another."
But Mother was human and fell in love with a man who turned out to be alcoholic and mean-spirited.
She tried to make the marriage work but finally divorced him. Shortly thereafter, he charmed my baby-sitter into taking me.
He left me on the worst street in Detroit.
I remember running after his car, screaming, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
As the air burned in my lungs, I saw his car become tinier, tinier, and finally disappear.
Then, I noticed the rough street punks noticing me, and I remembered something else Mother told me:
"Running only makes you taste better to the wolves."
I stopped running and forced myself to walk slowly in the direction my Father's car had gone.
I was six years old and all alone on the street in Detroit that claimed a life every night.
With dry mouth, I saw several of the street thugs were following me.
I decided walking a little faster wouldn't hurt and letting them catch me might hurt a lot.
I heard a little dog yelping in pain around the corner.
As I rounded it, I saw another punk kicking a small dog as an old woman in a wheelchair screamed.
"Leave him alone!"
I wanted to run away when I heard Mother in my head.
"You will find that out when you have to be brave for another."
My hand went to my right pocket, and I fingered the weapon Mother had given me for when she had to work.
Our own street was rather rough, too.
I forced myself to speak loud, "Leave the dog alone!"
The thugs behind me snickered and slowed to watch the fun. The dog-kicker glared at me. "Who's gonna make me?"
I pulled out my water pistol. "I will."
He laughed,"With water?"
I shot him smack in the eyes and took the handles to the old woman's chair and pushed for all I was worth.
I figured the dog had four legs to my two and could make do on his own.
The old woman added her own hands to the wheels, and we sped down alley ways until I was dizzy and lost beyond all hope of finding the street where my father had dumped me.
The dog kicker suddenly had other things on his mind.
The others were too busy laughing at the guy clawing at his eye and screaming to chase us.
That was how I met Maudie and little Tufts.
She irrationally feared uniforms,
and it took her six weeks to overcome that fear enough to lead me to the local Salvation Army branch.
I still dream of that time sometimes when my sleep is troubled. That dream country is always the same.
It is a country where it is always turning late in the year ...
a country where the buildings are fog and the streets are mist ...
where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay forever.
That country is composed mainly of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from people and knives.
It is a country whose people are winter people, thinking only winter thoughts.
Where people pass at night down slick alleys
and sometimes there are cries of pain and the sound of a body hitting the wet pavement.
A part of me still lives frightened and shaking in that country and always will.
I tip my hat to Maudie and Tufts in FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS.
And that is my memories of childhood horror.