Flash Fiction Challenge: Something That Scares You


This week, I want you to write about something that scares you.

This can be something overt and obvious (CHAINSAW CLOWNS) to something deeper (“I am afraid of losing my mind to Alzheimer’s”) — but I want you to take aim at it and lay it bare on the page and construct a story around it as best as you can.

You have 1000 words.

Story due by 1/20, noon EST.

Post at your online space, give us a link below.

Write your fear.


85 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Something That Scares You”

  1. Hahaha, ummm, killer ants? I wondered if I would get nightmares after reading Invasive (excellent book, couldn’t stop reading… my work productivity went down for a few days).

  2. […] This week’s challenge: 1000 words on the thing that scares you the most. It’s strange, but maybe I was braver when I was younger, or maybe not smart enough to be afraid. As I get older, I find myself fearing things more. Afraid of not being able to pay the bills. Afraid of my children getting hurt. Afraid of something happening to my parents. Afraid of my own aging body. Afraid of my government. So yeah, the trick isn’t to not be afraid, but to let the fear be the emotion that solely drives you. Because a healthy sense of fear is a good thing. It keeps you alive. It keeps you from doing really stupid shit. […]

  3. The guy with the huge saucer-size bloodshot eyes in a twilight zone episode. Still haunts me from my childhood.

    • Absolutely horrifying. It’s one thing to know dementia is a possibility as you get older, but it’s another thing to have it as a co-morbidity with another condition. I’m so sorry!

      • Hey, don’t be sorry… I’ve been told that so long I keep my mind active, dementia may not strike me – or the other two horrible diseases (which aren’t in my family either – but then, they don’t have to be). Being born with a medical condition like Epilepsy, I really don’t know any other life than what I have. I’ve been on about 8 different medications, had the offer for surgery (and wasn’t a candidate) and worked so very hard to get myself back behind the wheel of a car (it took about 20 years to do that! And I’m damned proud of myself).
        All I can really do is live my life as well as I can. Take care of myself. paint, garden, cook, laugh and share my life with all my loved ones until I’m unable to anymore. . But keeping to my medication is the most important thing.
        I am terrified of my health declining this way though… it’s my biggest fear to look at all my paintings and art, look at all my books and stories and poetry and wonder: ‘Who did all this?’ and be told that it was me.

    • Incredible work. The repetition at the end is the perfect nail in the story. This honestly hurt my heart– I’ve got a family member in a nursing home with dementia, and this… well, it’s our every visit summed up. I sincerely hope your fear stays far the hell away from you. Well done.

      • My Grandpa had dementia as well; so I could see it in every visit I had with him as well at the nursing home. He went from a wonderfully intelligent, well-read man who loved Dr Who, enjoyed playing pool, snooker and billiards and was part of the Darling Downs first mouth organ band to a man who could barely remember who I was… he kept calling me Charlotte, Belle… or some Disney character he’d seen on television that afternoon. It broke Grandma’s heart to see him that way.

        It breaks mine to know that my future is uncertain as well. I also hope I keep better in my old age than I’ve been told by my doctors.

    • Thank you for this story and for writing so openly and honestly. I’d say this is a big fear for everyone, certainly it is for me. Keep writing and I wish you all the best!

      • It’s a fear nobody talks about. And I know that one day, I may forget all the great things that I once was… and if that happened sooner than later, it would be a horrible thing.

    • Your story hurt my feelings, in a good way. That sounds super strange considering the topic, but I hope you know what I mean. It really resonated with me, having been there, having picked up the pieces from an attempt… Very well done.

    • I totally get where you’re coming from. Working on a farm, I’ve had quite a few near-misses while alone. Moments where if one factor was changed, I’d have been toast (notably, being knocked down by a 700 steer whose hoof landed right next to my head and getting caught in a lightning strike radius that electrocuted me through a fence I was holding). You captured that oh-shit-I’m-alone feeling very well.

    • I felt your fear very clearly while I was reading your story. There were no wasted words, yet you described the feelings and fears completely. I could definitely put myself in that story, or one similar. It’s a big fear, not only dying alone but in such a manner. Nicely told. Thank you.

    • There are three things that squick me out: cannibalism, (real) serial killers, and what you write about here. We had a flesh-eating infestation on our farm for a few summers in the late 90s that took out a calf and several litters of kittens.

      You do a fantastic job of writing something horrifying calmly, as though you’re channeling the shock you must have been feeling during the procedure. Awesome!

    • Very chilling. When I was a wee spaceperson, probably only 6 or 7 space-years old, a fellow space-student in my class grabbed a newly sharpened HB pencil and, for reasons which are to these days still unknown to me, stabbed it straight down into my left hand, which was laid flat on the desk next to him. I don’t remember the pain, or the scream—kinda wish I did, as I bet it was horrifying for the teacher to hear—but I do remember my space-parents trying to extract the graphite which broke off beneath my skin using a combination of dish-washing liquid and sugar. It didn’t work, and I still have a tiny point of graphite still lodged in the back of my hand, but it’s reassuring to know that those pencils got their comeuppance in your fic. Here’s to many more pencil-less years of peace.

      • Wee Spaceman – Holy Cow! What kind of Crazy Illuminati nutso behavior is that? I bet that person’s on some wanted list somewhere… and see? Now you can tell people you actually knew him! Well, my friend, I raise my glass to your horrifying youthful graphite experience. Thanks for stopping by. Your Space Presence welcome at all times.

    • Your story hit home with me in the way you describe your anxiety and the way it manifests itself. I especially liked your phrase “my heartbeat filled my ears,” it’s very relatable. I understand how getting past such powerful feelings can be an ongoing battle and you tell it very well. Keep on keeping on!

  4. I’m making my way through everyone’s stories, and I’m realizing that so many of us are more afraid of what’s lurking inside than outside. Very interesting to see.

      • Thank you. My paradox here is that writing in English was not as loaded and scary as writing in my native French. I’m enjoying this challenge tremendously: I’ll be reading everyone’s story as soons as I get a chance.

        • So English is your second language? Wow. I didn’t even notice. I thought the intro was just a famous quote…ah now I see in your post “I usually blog in French.” Well, you’ve put us all to shame writing creatively in two languages lol. Well done!

  5. Mine’s not as dramatic as some of these others. I went more along the lines of regret. Oh, and the theme of this one seemed so familiar to me, like I’d read something similar a long time ago and can’t remember. Let me know know if you do. Thanks. Enjoy.

    Bibilography: http://roktyping.blogspot.com/

      • Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! (i’m interpreting “haunted” as good lol) Yes, ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted the rolling ladders in a library. Someday….

    • I can definitely see the fear in this one. Big Brother is not only watching, but controlling—blatantly and subliminally. I really do hope this one never comes to pass. In fact, this story would be equally good in last week’s Non-Standard Apocalypse category, too. The end of the free world is an Apocalypse in itself. Great story!

  6. I tried to upload this last night, but I think my internet froze mid-way – trying again.

    This is only the second challenge I’ve done here at Terrible Minds. Facing your fears isn’t easy, writing about it isn’t either. I hope mine is up to par. I would appreciate feedback or comments if you have ’em – here to learn and practice! Thank you for the challenge, Chuck.

    Fear and Life Lessons: https://michelle-wordplay.blogspot.com/

    I’m off to read your stories now!

    • I can’t comment on your site as I’m not registered, however, you asked for feedback, so here it is!

      I love the concept of the world you’ve created. At first it seems Fantasy, then a blend of Fantasy and quasi-dystopian sci-fi future. I like as well that these Daemons seem to come in different forms, and that you don’t launch into long narrative to explain what they are and how they came about. Just straight down to the action, which helps with the immersion.

      The biggest piece of advice is one which gets thrown around a lot but is always useful; Show, don’t Tell. For example, your line: “I was annoyed at being called boy.” Instead of telling us the character was annoyed, could you show us instead? Maybe his hands curl into fists? Maybe his eye twitches? Maybe he imagines himself pummeling somebody’s face at the perceived slight? If you an show something that we associate with annoyance, you won’t have to say it outright.

      A second piece of advice relates more to your descriptions of combat/action. Consider your sentence: “I left the tent and froze as I witnessed its towering frame standing on four of its legs and knocking over a watchtower with the remaining four.” This reads very clinically, with little or no emotion attached to the action, almost like a police report of a crime (“I proceeded down the street and witnessed the perpetrator committing acts of violence…”) Action, I find, is one of the hardest things to write. To really get a reader interested in it, you need to try and make it more visceral. You’ve got the sights down pat, but what was your character smelling? Did he feel debris patter against his skin? Did he hear screams? The grating, pandemonious wail of the tower’s concrete and iron skeleton being twisted and warped as the tower was razed, perhaps? And yes, pandemonious is TOTALLY a word.

      It’s also fine to mix up the start of your sentences a little, to give some variety. Instead of just “I saw this” and “I did that”, you can start with an action. For example, instead of… “I left the tent and froze as I witnessed…” you could go with: “Gathering my courage, I left the tent—and froze as I witnessed…” It just helps to prevent the feeling of repetition and spice up your writing by allowing sentences to have different beginnings, which again to help with that Tell vs. Show feeling.

      Overall, an interesting read with a world that feels very real even with the nod to fantasy and mythology. Keep writing, and you’re sure to find helpful hints and tips from other writers along the way.

      • Thank you so much for this feedback and for reading my story. This will help me so much. I will return the favour if I find one of your works.

  7. I’ve tried to post mine twice. I keep getting eaten by the spam filter me thinks. I’ll see if it will post without a link in it. My story is up at kathleencolins. Net if anyone wants to read it.

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