Afraid of the Dark

She hated the night. She was terrified of night. Gibbering things with nasty little voices taunted her: “You’ll never amount to anything. None of your dreams will ever come true. You are worthless. You might as well die.”
Every night the gibbering things whispered their lies. But just because they were lies didn’t mean they could be ignored. Lies are like the fishhook that caught in her palm as a child. Her daddy carved it out with his pocketknife, digging deep into her flesh. The pain was almost more than she could bear, and there was blood everywhere. Blood and pain—like the gibbering lies. No wonder she hated to turn off the light. No wonder she tossed and turned every night. No wonder she fingered her rosary frantically, praying for daylight to come.
But one night, in addition to the gibbering voices, she heard, or thought she heard, another voice, almost a whisper. Well, more like a breath. And the Breath seemed to say: You are the daughter of wisdom and light.
Wait, she thought to herself, am I not worthless? Am I not a miserable excuse for a human being? Shouldn’t I just die and be done with it?
But the Breath persisted: You are the daughter of wisdom and light. You know what is right. In you mercy and goodness dwell.
Was this a trick? Was she just imagining things? She must be. She was worthless, and she knew it, and she was afraid of the dark, for the darkness told her that she had nothing to offer the world but her miserable, wretched existence.
Then she seemed to hear the Breath again: Sleep, child. Even though you are terrified, I am here, and you are safe.
And so she slept. For the first time in years, she slept through the night. And her sleep was good.


Story © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
The poem on which this story is based can be found here: A Voice in the Night
More A Pantry of Prose #3 at Poets United

Posted on May 5, 2019, in Poets United, stones, storytelling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. It’s so wonderful when light is persistent within. Hope was there in Pandora’s box too. Nice.

  2. I LOVE this story, love that wise whisper, “you are the daughter of wisdom and light.” Love that she finally slept. What a wonderful tale!

  3. The dark can be a terrible thing, especially for a child (and adults, too) with real things to fear, to relive and expand through imaginings. What horrors, those gibbering voices. But how wonderful, that the Breath was stronger and linger longer. Thank goodness for good sleep.

    I really like that “off the light” and “turned every night” bring in a bit of a lullaby, which works perfect for a story of sleepless and fear of the dark.

  4. I feared the dark as a child… but no voice came to me… I just stopped running one day (night)

  5. Thank goodness for the Breath! We all need someone / something to give us that feeling of safety in the night.

  6. Thank goodness for the voice/whisper/breath that pulled her out from the clutches of darkness! 🙂

  7. I adore this story! I actually found it more powerful than the poem, as in this telling was able to enter into the emotions much more.

  8. I enjoyed both the poem and the story. How wonderful that she listened to the hopeful inner voice and felt peace. This is such a good story.

  9. Fear of the dark is something most of us can identify with. These days I embrace it and need it to sleep but I remember being afraid of what I couldn’t see. You convey the fear so well through the gibbering things with nasty little voices and it’s interesting that what they say is what abusers and bullies would say and so implies so much about the character. The fishhook analogy is powerful. I was relieved when the Breath gave her hope and the comfort of a good night’s sleep. Was it the memory of her father that gave her strength?.

  10. How well you tell tales Magical, and how grateful I am for a childhood which despite the war years was happy and adventurous with loving parents and hope for the future.

  11. An intense story for sure, but that whisper of hope and wisdom that changed everything. I think we all can relate to the fear of the dark and the sounds we can end up hearing in the midst of it.

  12. Susie Clevenger

    So thankful for those calm encouraging, peaceful voices that help us through the night. Lovely story

  13. Lisa at Greenbow

    This is heart wrenching.

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