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.
I love dialogue based fiction and this piece is no exception. Sometimes feelings and fears can be conveyed beautifully in the ways we speak.
Thank you for the vote of confidence, Jaya!
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.
Thank you, Lisa. If it had been a spider not sure I’d have been that brave 😱
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.
Thank you for your kind words, Merril 😊
You’re very welcome!
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.
I can imagine! 😳
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!
Thanks Kim 😊
Not clumsy at all I really enjoyed it.
Thank you 🙏
I really enjoyed your story Ingrid.
Thank you Linda 😊
I really enjoyed this piece. I adore good dialogue, and I use it often in my own writing. This could be a children’s book, it is so well scribed.
Well I will take that as a compliment Glenn as I am impressed by your dialogue writing skills!
Mother to the rescue! Well written!
Thank you, Beverly: I also enjoyed your tale of a wise mother!
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….
But those claws 😱
A story with a message! Excellent take on the prompt, Ingrid!
Thanks Eugenia 😊
This is incredibly heart-stirring! 💝 You portray eloquently the pains .. parents go through to protect their children.
Thanks Sanaa – we do our best 😅
What we won’t do to protect our children. Well written Ingrid.
Written with great understanding for a child’s fears but also not ignoring just in case. Lovely write.
Thank you 😊
This is marvelously told with a maternal wisdom underpinning the dialogue. Enjoyed it, Ingrid 🙂
Thank you Dora 😊
What a wonderful interaction between parent and child (and yes that scratching in the wall is probably a mouse…) (K)
great one, I loved the conversation form you’ve used :))
Thanks, Jay – I’m pleased it came across well!
Oh I thought it was for sure one of your children Ingrid.. nice job!!1 not clumsy all.. excellent!
Thanks Cindy ❤️
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.
It’s not always that easy but we try our best!
It’s good to push ourselves outside our comfort zone. It’s also hard to make a line of poetry sound like ordinary prose. I think you slotted it in well here.
Great dialogue Ingrid, parents will go to great lengths to reassure their kids!
Good to flex your writing muscle, you did well
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 😅
you do it well, keep going 🙂
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.
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 😉
I love the line about the space behind the wall! That could start or end a whole slew of stories.
You might enjoy this little story. https://wordpress.com/post/petersironwood.com/5413