True fear is a most powerful and paralyzing experience. Every person has a small (or large) list of things that they are scared of: the dark, spiders, airplanes, etc. In the grand scheme of things, for most people, these are merely trivial things that can be overcome with a little effort. Deep fears, the ones that whisper through your body and make you tremble, that keep you lying awake at night are the ones that people keep hidden in the innermost depths of their heart.
We all occasionally allow our imagination to run away with us. It’s hard not to with tales of horrible things plastered all over the evening news and the internet on a daily basis. Most of the time, we just try to nonchalantly shrug off the thoughts because they aren’t real. Right?
But…what if they were?
We can speculate all the day long about the actions we would take in a horrific situation, but no one genuinely knows how they will react until they find themselves in a position where they have no choice.
One summer evening when I was around eleven, I was relaxing in our small living room with my mother and my toddler brother. We were full and fat from dinner and we were settling in to watch and episode of Jeopardy. This was one of the few shows we could all enjoy together on our small television because our rabbit ear antennae didn’t pick up many channels. It was one of those nights that seem to go on and on at the end of the season and we settled into our seats and waited for that classic theme song to play.
As the show began and the contestants were introducing themselves, our two dogs who were chained up outside by their respective doghouses began to bark and howl loudly. My mother glanced out of the window to see what was causing the commotion, and after a few minutes of peering out into the dark, decided that the dogs must be reacting to an animal that had skittered through the yard. We went back to our television show, yelling out our answers to the screen in hopes that somehow our voices would magically transfer through the airwaves and into the contestants ears when they answered incorrectly.
About fifteen minutes later, the dogs started another ruckus, louder than the first time.
What is going on?
Before my mother could reach the window to look out, there was a terrifyingly loud pounding on the door. It sounded like someone was trying to beat it in, using their entire body as leverage. I became frightened, and my brother began to cry.
My mother slowly inched over to the peephole as the pounding continued, and when she looked through it and turned around, I knew that this fun family night was coming to a dramatic end.
“It’s him.” she said.
My whole body went numb and my mouth went completely dry. The world seemed to be falling out from beneath my feet.
My mind began to churn, thoughts exploding at a million miles per minute.
What is going to happen? What is going to happen?
What do we do?
Is this real?
My young brain felt like it was going to implode, trying to both process what was happening and also to plan an escape.
We were in trouble. Serious trouble.
Read Part Two
Read Part Three
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