[Short Story] I’m Not Scared

Creative writing assignment from 2008. The prompt required us to have a character get over their fears. I had a bunch of trouble keeping within the word limit.

Peter pulled his jacket closer to his body, trying desperately to get warm. Oh how he hated his mother’s car, they never really had enough money to get a good quality one with the working heaters and with his father dead their financial situation wasn’t going to get any better. Sighing, Peter looked out of the side window and absently watched the trees pass by.

“Mum,” Peter spoke, lazily looking toward his mother, “Are we there yet.”

“Nearly,” she replied, looked over and grinned cheerfully.

“Oh,” Peter looked back out the side window and sat up more.

Trying to find something at least interesting, Peter looked out towards the road which they were travelling along. He spotted a house, yes it was similar to the others but it had a feel that was… different to the others. Yes it was old and worn down, a perfect candidate for a haunted house but that oldness sent shivers down his spine. It was stupid right? To get so worked up about it, but these thoughts did nothing to quell the growing panic. Peter pulled the jacket even tighter around him, almost suffocatingly tight; the fear consuming all rational thought. It was just like that night, the night he watched that monster kill his dad.

“Dad,” Peter called, “You there?”

Peter looked around nervously, he always hated the dark, but there was nothing that could hurt you. His dad told him repeatedly that there were no such things as monsters and that there was nothing out there. It still didn’t do anything to stop his fear.

“Over here,” Peter heard his dad through the shadowy hallway of their creaky, ramshackle home, feeling relieved he ran towards his dad’s voice.

Peter stopped to see his dad standing a few feet away near the bathroom door, being completely unfit Peter stopped and caught his breath again but before he could go up to him. He heard his father scream as a blade cut through his father’s chest. Peter watched numbly as his father fell to the ground, he knew his father was dead. He also knew he should run away but it was like he was paralysed, he stared into those glowing… ‘Wait glowing? But monsters don’t exist…’ red eyes. Slowly, Peter regained control of his legs and with all his might ran down the shadowed hallway.

“Peter?” Peter snapped back to the present and saw his mother’s worried gaze, “Are you alright?”

“Y-Yeah,” Peter replied shakily, heart still beating fast.

Her worried look quickly melted into a loving and reassuring gaze, “We’re here, sweetie,” she said, softly.

Peter nodded and looked out and saw the house.

Peter swallowed, “We’re going to live here?”

“Yes,” His mother looked out toward the house, then back at him, “Don’t worry, it’s only temporary arrangement.”

Peter nodded numbly, not at all reassured. His mother was the first to leave the car but he quickly followed, making sure to slam the door shut on his way out. It had never really closed properly without force, he learnt that years ago when everything was stolen.

They made their way through the untrimmed jungle of a garden toward their doom… ‘Stop being so morbid,’ he mentally scolded himself.

His mother knocked lightly on the door and waited. The door opened, not a lot just enough for them to see half the face of a teenager. A teenager that seemed unnaturally pale but to Peter, what really stood out was the blood red eye that seemed to be highlighted by a thick line of black. ‘He looks just like that… that,’ Peter thought utterly shocked at the resemblance, ‘No,’ he shook his head, ‘That monster was taller.’

“What do you want?’ the teen asked coldly, eye narrowing, giving off a very hostile feeling.

“Hey, Adam,” Peter’s mother greeted the teen, ignoring his hostility, “You remember me, your Aunt Leah?”

The door opened fully and the teen, no, Adam scrutinized them both. The eyes softened, “Hey Leah, uh… who’s this?” He asked, motioning to Peter.

“Oh,” his mother laughed sheepishly, “This is your cousin Peter,” She looked at Peter, “Peter this is your cousin Adam.”

Peter waved awkwardly; he never was good at meeting new people.

“Come in then,” Adam smiled, motioning for them to come, “Mother’s in the kitchen, Leah.”

They parted ways after they had all made their way into the hallway, Peter followed Adam and his mother went to the kitchen.

“Follow me,” Adam said without looking at him, “I’ll show you where you’ll sleep.”

“…kay,” Peter replied.

The silence was awkward, Peter was unsure of how to even talk to this teen. This was how it was for the whole walk. It was a very long walk; there was a lot of stairs. ‘I wasn’t aware it was even this big,’ Peter thought in awe, taking in the very spacious hallways, ‘It looked so small on the outside.’ Soon enough Adam finally stopped, that’s when Peter found out he was bunking with him. ‘Well I don’t really need my stuff right now,’ he thought, ‘I’ll go get it later.’

Peter sat down on bed nearest to the door and pulled out his game boy from his pocket.

“What’s that?” Peter looked up to find Adam standing close, head bent very close to his face, looking intently at his prized possession.

“A Game Boy,” Peter said, flicking the switch, rousing the handheld from its slumber. The game title ‘Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons’ popped up onto the screen. “Do you want to have a go?” Peter asked him, trying to be polite.

“Uhh… Sure!” Peter pulled Adam down onto the bed beside him and handed him the handheld.

Adam soon learned the basics and went off on the adventure…

“No… Left not right, oh here, let me have a go,” Peter yanked the Game boy off of Adam and fiddled with it until, “There!”

Adam glared at him, “Can you stop doing that!” he exclaimed, “I was just checking if I had missed something.”

Peter was about to protest when, they heard Peter’s mother calling for them. Peter watched as Adam left the room fuming about what he, Peter had done. Sighing, Peter followed. ‘Jeeze, I feel bad. I should’ve just let him do what he wanted.’

Peter took a seat at the table, opposite to Adam, “Sorry,” Peter mumbled looking at the table but he was only met with silence.  They ate in an uneasy silence, ‘Where’s Adam’s dad?’ Peter thought, it struck him as odd that he wasn’t there, ‘Where would he be?’ Adam’s mother cleared her throat gaining the attention of the other three.

“So how as your trip?” she asked pleasantly.

“Good,” Leah answered, “Although it was a bit cold, the heater’s broken again.”

“So where’s Mark?” Leah reached over and grabbed a slice of bread, and proceeded to slather it with butter.

“Downstairs. He’s working on something very big.”

Peter listened to them talk for a bit more before tuning them out all together, he twirled the fork around in the spaghetti, playing with it before eating it. ‘Soooo… Boooored,’ he thought dully. The rest of it was completely uneventful and for luckily for Peter quickly went by. Soon it was bedtime and Adam had still made no move to talk to him.

Peter pulled out his pyjamas from his decently sized suitcase which he had brought it up after dinner. Adam was already in bed reading a book. The title? Peter couldn’t really make out from where he was. He stripped down and put his pyjamas on then he laid down on the bed.

“Sorry,” Peter looked over to Adam, who didn’t respond at all, “Adam, I am really sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude or anything…”

“It’s okay,” Adam responded after a while, which practically scared the crap out of Peter.

“Really?” Peter asked utterly shocked, “What I did was really rude.”

Adam closed his book and placed it on the side table. Then make his way out of bed and over to the wardrobe. “Like I said its okay,” pulling the draw open, he revealed a huge box that read on the side: CHESS, “So cuz, wanna play a game with me?”

“Ow… My head,” Peter sat up, holding his throbbing head. Waiting for the headache to go away, Peter observed his surroundings; it wasn’t the bedroom he was in a couple of minutes ago. No. Instead he was in a filthy dank, ‘hallway?’ he asked himself fully alert now. ‘How on earth did I end up here?’ Peter noticed it was nearly pitch black, the only light source was a ‘ball? How does a ball glow,’ he looked at the ball that lay beside him.

Picking it up, he held it in front of his face and grinned goofily. ‘Huh?’ he looked beyond the ball and dropped it in shock. There. There on the wall were smears of red. ‘Blood,’ he realised horrified. Looking around panicked he noticed it was all around, even on him. Freaking out Peter pushed himself against the wall behind him and squeezed his eyes heart pounding. He knew he had to get out of there but he was too scared. ‘Is there even a way out?’ he thought hopelessly, ‘How did I end up here in the first place? I remember playing that game and going to bed but how…?’ Shaking himself out of his thoughts, he took a deep breath.

He walked over to the ball and picked it up. Peeking open one eye Peter fought off the urge to panic. ‘O-okay,’ Peter started walking down the corridor, lightly stepping over a disembodied head. On and on until found a doorway. Peter entered cautiously but once he had fully entered the room, he was locked in by a large, ‘moving?’ wall.

‘Okay so I’m stuck, there’s gotta be a way out,’ he thought as he searched for an exit or hole, anything to get out. Up, he looked. ‘There!’ there, in the ceiling was a trapdoor. ‘But how can I reach that?’ he thought uselessly looking at his arms, ‘I’m too short.’

Giving up, Peter sat against the wall. ‘I wonder where mum…’ his train of thought was cut off as the room jerked and the walls started to close in, the room seemed to get smaller because the trapdoor within minutes became reachable. Peter reached out his arms, opening his hands wide to grab a hold of it of the handle. But at the same time forgot about the ball of light in his hands. It dropped to the ground and rolled along until… ‘Click’. The floor started to rumbled even more and then he was falling. For a second then he jerked to a stop as his hand held onto the handle. He realised that couldn’t support his weight as it fell open, leaving him dangling above a pit of spikes.

He could see them even in the darkness because the ball was stuck between them; it gave off a ghostly glow, highlighting the bloody rotting guts of past victims. Swallowing, Peter moved his other hand to grasp firmly onto the handle but he could feel the door slowly start to come away. Tears pricked his eyes, this was the end. He knew it.

“Peter!” Peter looked up to see a shadowed figure leaning over the edge, a hand stretched out towards him, “Grab my hand!”

Peter shook his head and closed his eyes. That monster was back, ‘I want my light back,’ he thought pathetically. Slowly the door came loose and he was falling. Falling, until he was stopped, he opened his eyes to see the figure holding his wrist tightly, the glowing red eyes locked directly onto him. Peter grabbed onto the hand and was pulled up.

Holding onto the figure burying his head into the other’s chest he cried. The figure whispered words of comfort to him until Peter realised who it was.



“What’s going on?” Peter asked, sitting up away from him.

Adam scratched his head, “My dad sorta wants to kill you.”

“What!?” Peter exclaimed, “Why?”

“He’s just like that; he never really liked his brother. And since you saw him when he killed him, he had to do away with any evidence. Red eyes are a very rare trait,” Adam explained.

Peter numbly nodded trying to process the information.

“So, are you alright?” Adam asked.

“I’m fine now, just a little scared,” Peter replied.

“Of what, the dark?”

“Yeah,” Peter responded feeling slightly embarrassed.

“It’s okay to be a little scared,” Adam said, softly.

“I suppose,” Peter looked away.

“Okay, I think we should go find your mum,” Adam suggested as he stood up.


Peter picked himself up and followed him. Adam led them through a windy route of twists and turns until they came to a very pitch black room. It wasn’t much different from the hallways but Peter had lost ‘sight’ of Adam.

“Adam?” Peter asked a little panicked.

“Over here!” Adam called over.

‘This is stupid,” he thought to himself as took a deep breath, ‘There’s no point in getting worked up. I need to be brave; I need to get over this.’ Peter gathered up whatever courage he had left in his body and forced himself to move.

“Adam, where are you?” he called out.

“Over here,” Peter felt a hand grab his arm and almost jumped out of his skin.

“I’m sorry,” Adam said, sadly.

“What for?” Peter asked, confused at Adam’s sudden change of behaviour.

“She’s gone.”

‘Mum?’ “S-she’s g-gone?” Peter bit his lip to stop himself from crying.

“I’m sorry, so sorry,” A pair of arms wrapped around his waist.

“It’s okay,” Peter choked out, “Let’s just get out of here.”

Peter found himself through a lot more tunnels before he saw light. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen but even the freedom couldn’t stop the tears from pouring down his face.

“We have to get going, Peter,” Adam warned him, “My father will come soon.”

Peter nodded, wiping the tears away. He followed Adam until they reached a boiler room; Adam and Peter quickly put as many flammable things as they could find into a pile. Adam handed Peter a lighter and Peter lit it. The fire quickly spread which caused Adam to grab Peter and drag him out, down the stairs and onto the front garden. Peter and Adam watched as the house quickly caught fire.

Peter turned to see Adam’s mother in the car, waving frantically for them to get inside. This time it was Peter who was the one dragging. They both entered the car and off they went; the burning house disappearing into the distance.

‘The dark isn’t the scary thing,’ Peter thought numbly, ‘it’s the things lurking there, that are.’

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