The Fear I Know

Author’s Note: This is my latest post on Medium. I hope you enjoy it and the message it’s supposed to convey.


Fear, an understated word. A topic for discussion when the nights are dark and the Small Ones still wait beneath the bed, fear manifests with relentless persistence. They’re here. I know, but they don’t know I know. Not this time.

I curl my fingers, ball my fists and await them as I do each night: They won’t take me! They won’t get me without a fight! They scurry under the floorboards scritch-scratching, teasing out the nails with long twisted talons, undoing the screws. A squeak. A scrape. They’re out.

Midnight, always midnight. My clock radio signals their arrival in flickering green like minions of the Riddler, or miniature children of the Hulk, or the swamp devils they are. They don’t know I know, but I do.

I know where they came from, and one day, when they least expect it, I’ll follow them home like they did me. They won’t like it. They won’t want it. But it’s what they’re going to get. One day, when I’m better, when I’m able to run again that’s just what I’ll do. One day.

I slip my arm over my head and collect the crutch propped against my bed like an anorexic Tower of Pisa. The cold handle slips into my sweating palm and I lift it clear of the floor in silence. They stop. I stop. A pause, then the scritch-scratching starts again. They suspect but they still don’t know I know.

The first of them creeps out across my bedroom floor skittish, afraid of the giants that patrol during the day. They’re such cowards! How I despise these marauders of the night, these underfloor pirates, these life drainers. I pretend to be asleep and he passes me by signalling to his army of tiny, green scum.

I wait, I’ve waited so long, until they pool in their glowing transparency, a bacterial slime to inhibit and restrict. Like lightning, I strike with all my might.

Mum rushes in first and flings herself around me, dad next flipping on the light switch with a click.

“They’re back,” I say calmly, measured, in full control this time.

“There’s nothing to fear, my love. There’s nothing.” Mum weeps into my shoulder as dad collects my broken crutch from the floor. Placing every piece regardless of size in the corner of the room, Dad then sits on the end of the bed away from my feet. He tries not to look at my legs but can’t help it. He never can.

“There’s nothing here son,” he says checking under the bed as though he knows what he’s looking for. I know, but I don’t let on.

“When will this stop, Tim? When will you accept it’s just a disease? Anyone can get a disease. Anyone!”

I smile at mum as best I can, but I know the truth. She fears for me, but I don’t fear them: the germs; the bacteria; the illness, none of them. I’ll fight them until they take me. I’ll fight them until I’m dead.

The End

50 Word Stories – Finite

"You mean infinite."
"Why would you say that?"
"Because everybody longs to live forever. The desire to be immortal is inbuilt. If a lifespan is finite, it has a definite ending. You can't mean that you wish for it all to end, to die?"
"Yet, I do. Yet, I am."

City Nights

Streetlights make tangerine marshmallows of the drifting clouds, everything’s unusual, everything’s not right. A rat skitters by and doffs his cap. I don’t think it odd, but do think a deerstalker would suit it better. Is this madness, or just city life? I no longer know. The concrete twists beneath my feet, ragged hedgerows spewing forth birds of litter. A girl with wheeled feet flies off in the opposite direction towed by an ugly dog in a Broncos jacket. It’s time to go home. But, I can’t remember which house is mine, they all look the same. Never mind, I’ll choose the one with the best curtains and go in. What’s the worst that could happen?


Dedicated to my father-in-law

Hidden tumour, revealed
Presses on brain
Squeezes at eye
In detection it resists
Plum-sized abomination
Skull cracked open
And plum scooped out
Ugly, spiteful, diseased fruit
Now, held together by stitches and glue
We joke, when we thought we should not
A plum-sized fruit decays in a bottle
Good riddance


Sorry at my absence,
I’ve been feeling rather ill.
It came down to a battle
Of body against will.
But I think the body’s beaten,
And will has won the day.
At least, that’s what I’m hoping,
As I want to go and play.
My head was down the toilet.
The rest I’m not sure where?
But at long, long last I’m thinking
That I’m almost nearly there.

In Voice: Tenderest Farewell

 “I’ll never leave you.”
 “You’ll have to.”
 “I won’t let it win!”
 “We both know it will.”
 “They could be wrong?”
 “They aren’t.”
 “How can you be so calm?”
 “I’m ready to go. I’ve made my peace. Now you must, too.”
 “You’ll have to, my love, because I want you to leave me now, and don’t look back.”
 “No, it can’t be now, not yet!”
 “Oh, no!”
 “Very soon.”
 “But nothing. I’m ready, or I will be, after…”
 “After what? Anything, anything at all.”
 “After you kiss me.”
 “If my lips kiss you it’ll be like saying goodbye.”
 “Exactly, my sweet darling.”
 “Just do it, my love. Close your eyes, kiss me, then turn and go. Believe me when I say that you’ve the harder task.”
 “I don’t know what to say?”
 “Don’t say anything, just kiss me. “Quickly my love whilst I still can. This must be our tender farewell. We’ll say no more now. Just go and remember me as I was.”
 “See you in a heartbeat. And yes, if you heard me, I lied, I had to say goodbye.”

 (Image courtesy of MskyCarmen on

The Doll

We found her dressed in laces and frills,
Her porcelain face painted to excess.
He had crafted her a bonnet of lace
And roses for her dress.
But his intent lay in her exposed thighs,
The shortness of her skirt.
Finest pearls graced her polished neck,
Only the best for his would-be daughter.
She was crafted in finery, or so he claimed,
For the sole purpose of ornamental value.
We found him hosting a tea party for her.
He was naked.
When we asked of the reason for the doll
He looked at us perplexed!
There was no comprehension in his mind
Other than that of her being his daughter.
In his own way he loved her,
He couldn’t have not the way he doted upon her.
But his way was wrong
And corrective processes are required.
Oh, the doll, you say?
I couldn’t bring myself to dispose of it, sir.
Don’t worry, it’s being very well cared for.
You want to know the exact location
As it is evidence, after all?
My house; my room; the chair next to my bed.

Image courtesy of zemotion on