I didn’t enter the Nightmare on Query St. contest because I don’t think my manuscript is ready to submit to agents yet. (My greatest fear is submitting something before its ready. ) But have no fear (ha!) what I wrote for that contest will not be in vain.
I’ve decided to share some writing with you today. Its Halloween week, so in the spirit (pun intended) of the season, I’m going to share some of my characters greatest fears with you. These are 100(ish) word answers to the question, “What is your greatest fear?”
I’m not ready to reveal specifics yet, but I hope these will give some hints about the characters and the world they’re living in.
I’m easily one of the smartest guys in the room, no matter which room I’m in. I’m not bragging-it’s the brain upgrade. It’s strange that I’m able to dismantle and reassemble any kind of technology you put in front of me, but I can’t seem to figure out something as simple as telling a girl I like her. That…terrifies me. Every time I’m about to say something to her, my mind conjures an image of her laughing at me. Then I’m tongue-tied. Maybe if girls would come with instruction manuals, they wouldn’t be so scary.
Soldiers don’t fear. Our training teaches us to face our fears and overcome them. So no, you won’t get me to make a list of things that could scare me like snakes or spiders or heights. But if you really want to know what scares me I’ll tell you. The people who refuse to do what is right for our country-the unvaccinated-they’re the only threat there is. They turn my dreams into nightmares. Understand this-I will do what I can to eradicate each and every one of them. Maybe then we’ll all sleep better at night.
I’m scared we won’t find an answer. What if this is how it all ends? They say we’re hurting them. We know they’re hurting us. I feel like we’re playing a cosmic game of tug-o-war between two cliffs and whichever side loses tumbles into oblivion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go like that. I want to find a way for us to all get what we want without hurting each other. Maybe I’m dreaming too big-it wouldn’t be the first time. Part of me wonders, though, if I’m not dreaming big enough.
My parents snuck me in to Coney Island for my sixth birthday. It wasn’t hard since the place was abandoned after the outbreak. My dad rigged it so we could play boardwalk games like SkeeBall and ring toss. It was awesome until we got to the game where you squirt water into clown mouths. Those clowns wore these creepy grins that had been chiseled into their frozen faces. One look and I was too petrified to squeeze the trigger. The squad would laugh if I told them about it now. But since that day, clowns are no laughing matter to me.
I’m not afraid of dying-been there, done that. I’m pretty sure I won’t feel it when I die the next time anyway. What I’m really afraid of, what lurks in my regenerated heart and forces tears out at night is, the thought of being alone. Not like afraid to be in the dark alone, but the other kind of alone. The one that says you’re not bound to another person. The one that says your existence is like a doll left abandoned on a playground. Unwanted. Unattached. Alone.