My child woke from a nightmare the other night, or was it early morning?
“What’s the matter, love?’ I asked.
“I thought I heard a scratching,” he answered.
“And what do you think you could have heard doing this scratching?” I continued.
“Maybe a big rat” he answered, “or something else more scary…with sharp claws!”
“Where was the scratching coming from?” I asked, trying to zero in on the epicentre of his fears.
“Behind the wall,” he told me, right behind the wall, behind the headboard of my bed.”
I smiled and nodded my head, knowingly:
“There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.” I told him, trying to sound convinced of this myself.
The next morning, after he’d gone off to school, I called pest control.
We take the burden of fear upon ourselves, to spare our children.
I wrote this short fiction for dVerse prosery, where host Merril asks us to write a prose piece of not more than 144 words to include the following lines from Lisel Mueller’s poem ‘Drawings by Children:’
“there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles”
I chose a dialogue-based short fiction, even though I always struggle writing dialogue. I hope it doesn’t come across to clumsily.