Fearless: short fiction #dVerse

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.

48 thoughts on “Fearless: short fiction #dVerse

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  1. You responded to the cry. You listened. You acted. You can allay your child’s fears when he comes home. This is good parenting. A kind and teaching story, Ingrid.

  2. I thought the dialogue sounded very natural, and since I’ve heard you on dVerse, it even came across in your voice.
    And that last sentence is so perfect and loving.

  3. I think parents are there to reassure their children even if it means a little lying… and rats behind the wall is not fun. I hope the rat doesn’t decide to die there… the scent is even worse than the sound.

  4. The best way to improve dialogue-based fiction is to write it, Ingrid, and you’ve done a great job. I agree with Merril, it’s natural, and I heard it in your voice. Thank goodness for pest control!

  5. The dialogue came across well. I found it added refreshing variety.

    It could’ve been Skip on one of his nightly jaunts (looking for a lady friend). I know his claws can be scary but tell your boy he’s harmless. Has a heart of gold has Skip….

  6. This is incredibly heart-stirring! 💝 You portray eloquently the pains .. parents go through to protect their children.

  7. The picture kind of creeps me out! As a mother myself, this piece does resonate. I think the child was scaring the mother with the idea of maybe a big rat, or maybe something else more scary… But your tone of voice throughout the dialogue was proper reassurance from a good mother who wants to always stay strong.

    1. It’s important to try different techniques even if we’re not comfortable as that’s (hopefully) how we improve! There I go trying to sound wise again 😅

  8. Very realistic dialogue! You’re correct….so important to listen to our childrens’ fears and try to allay them as best we can while at the same time, acknowledging that for them, they are real fears.

  9. Oh I love this! And you have brought me back to the day when we had a mouse in our walls… it would scratch above my bed, not far from my head and I used to bang on the wall to get it to move! I was a teenager so not overly afraid 😉

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