Irrational Fears

What Scares You?

I never thought I'd see her again

Written By: Amanda Luciano

I have always been a fearful person, call it a rough childhood or anxiety but nonetheless i have always been scared. Attending a private baptist school didn't help. It was some ridiculous bargain my drug addicted parents had made. Send me to a nice school and maybe it would make up for the negligence and abuse.

Maybe they thought putting me somewhere close to God would help me, if only. It did however provide me with a good foundation to care for my two younger siblings who were probably much more fucked than i was on surviving the shit show that was our household. Imagine never feeling safe at home. Dad was stuck on cocaine and mom loved her pills... but that's not the story i'm here to tell you.

The night terrors started when i was only 7 years old. Every night, i would have a different version of the same dream. Something heinous and unidentifiable would hunt and kill somebody that i loved. At first it was my childhood friend, Ali. Then it was my teacher. Then it was my parents. No matter what, every night when i fell asleep i was sure to have some version of that nightmare.

I could never identify what it was that was killing the people i cared about, always some dark shapeless figure that seemed to swallow up my loved ones whole and leave nothing but bones and blood. I remember the first time i saw it's eyes, it was the first night terror i had that my dog died.

I was in a village center in front of a large fountain, it almost looked like the fountain that belle sat on in the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. We had been running around the base of it when the clouds rolled in, menacing as they came i could almost feel what was coming. The sounds of the screams around me were enough to start the tears. I sat motionless as the shadow grew darker and larger around me.

Barney was vigilant in protecting me from impending doom, standing on all fours with fur raised and barring his teeth. There was no hesitation, no falter as the creature moved in and proceeded to gut my dog in front of me. I had never noticed its arms, rigid and inhuman. It looked right at me and i swear i stopped breathing. Not like the hold your breath kind, like my lungs were unable to locate any bit of oxygen. It was the rawest form of panic i have ever felt in my life.

It stood there in horrific victory and i couldn't look away, i couldn't breathe. I couldn't do anything. I could only see it's eyes and they were never-ending. A shade of black i had never seen before, I was almost unable to comprehend them. I woke up to falling out of my bed and scouring my nightstand for my rescue inhaler. I didn't understand what it was but i knew that i was terrified of it.

When I told my parents i got quite the underwhelming response. It was almost like they had heard the story before. My mother being the more compassionate, as the pills made her, took me to a therapist to try to resolve my increasing trouble sleeping but the nightmares only continued to get worse. For 5 years the night terrors continued and every single one was a more gruesome disaster than the night before.

At some point my therapist had determined it was a manifestation of the turmoil at home but i knew that wasn't changing anytime soon. I thought that this would go on forever and at some point at the ripe age of 12 had decided that i had had enough. Suicide is a big decision and i was weighing it heavily. I couldn't sleep and my life while i was awake was not much prettier than those fucking nightmares. Everything changed the night my mom left.

I remember coming home from school and seeing the luggage by the front door, i was confused to say the least. I thought in my state of sleep deprivation i had missed that we were leaving for a vacation and struggled to put the pieces together. My mom was alone in the living room and she looked terrified. I dropped my backpack before i even closed the front door and proceeded to step slowly towards her, i wasn't sure why i was scared but i could feel the tension and was not looking forward to whatever she was going to say next. I sat down cautiously and waited for her to offer me some sort of explanation.

"I have to go away for awhile" She said solemnly. "What's wrong Mom?" I was barely able to force the words out and i was very visibly shaking at this point. "Mommy is sick, honey. I am going to get help, so i can be better for you." She stumbled. "Mandy, I'm sorry. I am so sorry baby." She started to cry and i was over come with a heavy sadness.

Was this it? Would she finally realize how horrible it has been to grow up here, was she going to acknowledge the pain she had caused us in her opiate utopia all these years?

"I should have never let her" She said through tears. "Mom, what are you talking about?" We were interrupted by my father. He was ready to take her to the airport but i wasn't satisfied with the explanation. "Mommy, please! Tell me what's going on!" I screamed, i could barely breathe through the tears.

I was forced down by my fathers hand. He was in no mood for my emotional outburst. He gripped me by my wrists "You're only making this worse. You always do." He almost growled. With that i stopped fighting and watched as my mother gathered her things and left me.

I couldn't sleep that night, for the first time in a long time it wasn't for fear of a night terror. I kept coming back to my mothers words to me earlier. What had she been apologizing for and who was she talking about. "I should have never let her" She had said.

I racked my brain for hours but could come up with nothing other than some sorry excuse for getting so dependent on her pills. I finally drifted off to sleep, likely from exhaustion. My dream was different that night, i was chasing my mother through a large hospital. Every time i rounded a corner i saw my mother take another turn.

I just kept yelling for her and i could faintly hear her apologizing over and over again. I pushed through lifeless doctors and nurses and kept fighting to try to get closer to her, to see her face and then finally i caught up to her. She was at the end of the hallway facing a different corridor. She was talking to someone.

"I take it back, please leave her alone." she almost whispered. I yelled for her then and she stepped forward, when i came around the corner i almost fell on my ass.

There she was, not my mother but the creature who had haunted me for the last several years and she was looking right at me. I had never seen her this close before, she wasn't old but she didn't look like she belonged here. She was pale and gray and was shrouded in shadow. It looked like she was wearing a coat made of shadows and her eyes were that same black, the shade i have never seen anywhere else.

She did nothing and i was frozen with fear, the same feeling rose in my chest as i desperately searched for any oxygen to get me up and running and the fuck away from her but i couldn't move. I couldn't look away and in the back of my head i heard my mothers voice. "I should have never let her"

I woke up in a panic, in the pitch dark desperately searching for my inhaler and once i calmed down i tried to make any sense of the dream but i couldn't. Albuterol always makes me feel empty. That's probably not the best way to describe it but it's almost like you can feel little bubbles running through your veins.

I sat in the dark as the sensation set over me and focused on my breathing. I hadn't paid any attention to my surroundings in trying to reason this all out in my head but i noticed that my door was cracked.

That's different.

In all my time of having an abusive father i had never once left my door open when i went to sleep, not that closing the door would stop him but i almost felt that leaving it open was some sort of an invitation.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed and took a deep breath and stood up, it was only then that i saw her. Standing in the corner behind the door, my living nightmare. She was staring right at me, i hurried to look away but couldn't do it. I felt the air leaving my lungs slowly and tried to muster a scream but i was silent.

"Mommy says Hi." The creature groaned. It took hold of my throat then, my head started to spin and i was sure that i would die here but everything just went dark. Completely dark. When i opened my eyes again it was bright in my room and i had a splitting headache.

My mom never came home. When i was older my father explained that she had gone to a rehab center in a neighboring state but he never heard from her again. Any attempt to press the issue was unsuccessful and i always had a line i wouldn't cross with him for fear of getting my ass kicked.

After that night i also never had another night terror. It was almost as if my mother took them with her. I haven't talked about it in so long but figured i needed to now because for the first time in 15 years i had another night terror last night.

The only difference was when i came face to face with the creature, she looked just like my mother.

I might have just written it off but i received a letter from my mother today in the mail, no return address. Only a single sentence.

"Mommy is coming home ."

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