Clowns and Snakes

It was late at night and four longtime friends were gathered around a fire on a night out camping in the woods. The four friends were really close and came out to the woods once about every two months as a sort of tradition. They used to tell each other scary stories, have a couple of beers, set up their tents, and spend a night before coming back to town. Mike and Diane had recently gotten into a relationship. Rob had moved out of town to finish his studies and Daniel hadn’t really seen any of them since the last time they met up for camping, so they decided it was about time to go out camping and catch up. It was late, Rob was slightly drunk and the conversation was flowing.

Due to the lack of terror on Diane’s face, as contrary to what expected by Mike after telling a scary story, Mike looked over to where Diane was sitting and asked:

“What are you afraid of?”

“Clowns are the scariest thing. Have you seen the videos lately?” said Diane.

“Yeah I saw them; still not scary. What about you Rob?” said Mike.

“I think snakes are the worse man, they’re sneaky” said Rob

“Snakes? I’m not scared of anything!” exclaimed Mike, trying to impress Diane.

“What about you Frank? What are you afraid of?” said Mike.

“Me? Um, I guess I’m scared of…” said Daniel slowly and stopped halfway through.

“What am I afraid of?” the words bounced though Daniel´s mind during the brief pause between his words. He had never taken the time to stop and think about his greatest fears. He couldn’t give a quick premeditated answer. But clowns and snakes? Nothing like that really scared him. He had to give an answer. He could maybe ignore the question or laugh it off, but he was completely mind-boggled by the question and had to respond.

“What am I afraid of?” the question repeated itself in his mind. His conscience was consumed by the question. He was about to panic when suddenly thoughts came rushing into his brain and these words, these voices kept reminding Daniel what his greatest fears are.

God, unfaithfulness, the darkness in someone’s eyes when they have given up, the crippling depression that accompanies a person through their everyday, the loneliness when you need someone, the existence of god or oblivion, the psychopathic thoughts that consume a sane person’s mind before committing a murder, the thoughts about death, the temptations towards death, the death of loved ones, the violence between loved ones, the look in his father’s eyes and the sound of his mother’s voice, forgetting and being forgotten…

Every second thousands of horrific fears being repeated by the dark voices in his brain, absorbing his mind in a loophole which left him completely paralyzed. He didn’t know what to do. He wanted to cry and scream. He wanted to leave that place and never talk about that again. He wanted to run away and disappear. He hoped the universe would just swallow him and everything could end.

“So? Daniel? What are you afraid of?” asked Mike again.

 Daniel snapped back to reality and slowly turned towards him and said “…spiders”.

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