Scared By: Janet Durbin


By: Janet Durbin

I wake up from my nap to discover I am alone. The last thing I remember before slipping into the land of slumber was Mom sitting in her chair, like usual, watching the television. Stretching, I curl over and look around the room. I don’t see her anywhere. Her glass of tea remains, along with the dirty plate used for her lunch, on the small table beside the chair; but she is nowhere to be seen. The television is still on, though the people talking about the storm coming our way are different. It is a repeat of the same information talked about several hours ago, before I fell asleep.

At first, I am not concerned. Maybe Mom has gone to the bathroom or decided to take a nap. I decide to check it out. Getting off the couch, I make my way across the living room. A flurry of activity to my right, in the back yard, catches my attention. The sliding glass door is partially covered with a large piece of wood but I can still see the trees above. The branches bend over to one side as far as they can before suddenly whipping over to the opposite side. I watch in fascination, amazed they do not break. Leaves fly past, carried by the blowing wind, speeding along as if they are late for supper, and dark clouds cover the sky like a blanket of fluffy soot covered snow.

A scratching noise in the back of the house catches my attention. I spin around. Is that Mom? The noise stops. No matter how hard I listen, nothing more is heard.

Hurrying across the dining room, I stop and listen again when I reach the entrance to the hall. The hall is long and narrow, shadows covering everything. Looking up at the light switch, I wish I could grow tall enough to reach it, like Alice did in Wonderland, before having to enter the long dark scary tunnel ahead. I hear the noise again. It is coming from inside mom’s room. All the other rooms are shut tight.

“Mom? Is that you?” No answer.

I stand there trembling, imagining all kinds of things. Could it be a monster scratching itself after eating her? One with long sharp teeth and claws? Could it be trying to get me too? After several deep breaths to build my courage, I start down the hall to save mom.

I pass the first door as fast as I can, praying nothing will jump out to get me. Nothing does. Before I get to the next one, I realize I have been holding my breath, afraid whatever might be in the end room will hear me. Letting it out slowly, I realize I don’t hear the scratching noise anymore. I want to call out, to see if mom is okay, but I am afraid. Finally, I swallow my fear and call her name.

“Mom…are you okay…mom?”

My voice echoes down the hall, bouncing off the walls like in a vast canyon. I cringe in anticipation. Anticipation that whatever is in mom’s room is now forewarned and waiting for me. Inching forward, I can just see inside. The bed is tall, so tall I can’t see the top.


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About the Author

Janet Durbin is a full-time cardiac Registered Nurse and a mother (of one son and several cats), and in her spare time has authored three novels and numerous short stories. She is also quite the handy-person and reportedly has an open account at her local Home Depot. Her next home improvement project is to build a new back porch (the cats need somewhere to sun themselves!). Check out her books at
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