tiny monsters

here’s a little thing i did for a creative writing class not too long ago. i found it when i was looking through some files. it was a stream of consciousness writing assignment about something you’re afraid of. i’ve made a few minor word choice changes and broke it out into paragraph form to make it a little easier to read, but this is pretty much what i turned in. enjoy:

Those small things, not even an inch long, yet my hands get clammy and my forehead breaks out in a cold sweat, and my breath comes fast but heavy like I’m underwater. You would think such a small thing wouldn’t affect me so, these tiny monsters, but they do: fat and fuzzy or long and skinny, black and yellow or just black, it doesn’t matter which it is they all cause this dangerous beating of my heart. It feels like it will fall out of my chest and hide in the comfort of my stomach, but that too is turning, twisting and roiling. I freeze, I can’t move, I’m a statue, just breathe, just pretend like they’re not there.

Picture a warm sunny field full of wildflowers. No, there they are again, those angry swarming buzzing things. Instead picture home—but when I was a child they were there in the walls. They bored their way out and filled the living room like a black and yellow cloud. We had to shut it off and call in a man in a heavy suit with a sprayer full of poison on his back and stay away, stay upstairs, don’t go down, don’t go near they might get out. The poison in his sprayer might get out and fill my lungs and then my breath will come fast but heavy like I’m underwater.

No, out of the house; a grocery store, that will be safe. I’ll get the honey crust wheat bread off the shelf like my mother says. I reach for the yellow and black plastic wrapped loaf and feel a pinch on my palm. I pull my hand away and there it is, stuck, its wings flapping violently as it tries to escape. I scream and my mother is there, and I’m screaming, I can’t stop screaming. The manager in his black dress pants and white button-up shirt covered by a red apron comes running up, they pluck the monster from my hand.

I am crying, wracked, and my face is twisted. I know it is, I can see my reflection in the mirrored glass as they carry me through the door —I always wondered what was behind that mirrored glass—and my arm is swelling, swelling to my elbow as they soak my hand in salt water in the back room. They tell me it will get out the stinger, but it can’t stop the throbbing that is up into my shoulder now. He gives me a Baby Ruth and pink pills that will help, they tell me. Then slowly, oh so slowly, my balloon of an arm begins to deflate and I can just move my fingers again. I will never, ever again get the bread from the shelf without checking for monsters first.

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