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Fear ~ Micro-Fiction and Poetry

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.


Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.

— Veronica Roth, Divergent

Inspired to Write About Fear

The inspiration for this collection of musings is once again Brenda Arledge and her weekly word prompt. For this week 32, the word Brenda provided us with was “fear.” In fact I can’t think of a better word to get the mind working and the ink flowing.

”Fear” has been the subject of countless stories, fairy tales, and poetry since man first started carving on cave walls, and will continue to be so. We all have a fear of something and there is the name of a phobia to suit every one of those.

The reason this subject is so popular is that we love to be scared. It gets the fight or flight receptors working and our adrenalin pumping. While we may not like being afraid and fearful in “real life” we love it in books and movies. They can scare our pants off, but we can put the book down or turn off the TV afterwards, and be relieved that it was just a story and we weren’t actually enduring it.

In fact, we don't have to experience extreme terror to be fearful. We can simply fear the unknown, the dark, the thought of death or dying, the consequences of revealing a secret or saying something that may upset a friend or loved one, or that puts us on the spot and forces us to commit to something we aren't ready for. We could be frightened of public speaking. I know I am, but I can do it if I am forced to.

Fear is an emotional response, sometimes it is founded, other times it isn't, but to the person experiencing the fear, it is very real. For instance, I know that a grasshopper or praying mantis can't hurt me, but that doesn't stop me from jumping three feet in the air and waving my arms around if one lands on me or clings to me.


What Is Fear?

We fear what lurks within the dark,

Those things we cannot see.

False courage soon deserts us,

And the unknown makes us flee.

Our minds often assume the worst,

Imagination can be cruel.

We think we see things that aren’t there,

Just like tormented fools.

What we can’t see won’t hurt us,

Though I think that’s too naive.

There may be sharks beneath the waves

Waiting for a tasty feed.

“What is fear?” You’re right to ask,

“Is it just a state of mind?”

When faced with things we do not know

Our bravado tends to hide.

But we can’t spend our lives in dread,

Fearing what may come to pass.

Each day is a risk in itself,

And our lives go by too fast.

So, be brave and show some courage,

Take a chance and forge ahead.

Make new adventures every day,

It’s too late when we’re dead.

Image by 631372 from Pixabay

Image by 631372 from Pixabay

My Phobias

I know I’m being paranoid

but I am scared of snakes.

Just a photograph of one

makes me sweat and shake.

And I am also scared of bugs,

I don’t like clinging critters.

They grab you with their spiky feet,

that feeling gives me jitters.

Spiders, they just make me run,

not into a web I hope!

This world’s a terrifying place,

I don’t know how I cope.

I don’t mind sharks, they have their place,

and that is in the sea.

If I need to swim I’ll use a pool,

so they don’t bother me.


To me, Fearless is not the absense of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.

— Taylor Swift

FEAR ~ an Acrostic Poem

Forbidden treasures act as bait

Enticing those with greed

Awaiting, though, a fearful curse

Reeking havoc when it’s freed.

Stairway leading down: Image by Eduardo Vieira from Pixabay

Stairway leading down: Image by Eduardo Vieira from Pixabay

The Cavern of All Fears

There is a trapdoor in the floor,

A staircase leading down.

Cobwebs line the step treads,

You descend it with a frown.

At the bottom of the stairs

A wooden door awaits,

And on the ancient door, a sign,

"BE SURE!" is what it states.

Will you open up that door,

Enter the dark beyond,

Or retreat back up the stairs

And to your fears respond?

Carefully you unlock the door

And bravely push on through.

Are you a hero or a fool?

One or both are true.

You cannot see beyond the door,

There's darkness all around.

Tentatively you inch ahead,

Something scuttles on the ground.

Turning back you try the door

But it is tightly closed,

You can't return from where you came,

You're frightened and exposed.

A wooden door awaits

A wooden door awaits

You feel your way along the path,

Hands pressed against the wall.

With no idea what's on the ground

You daren't chance to fall.

An eerie shriek comes from your right,

"Protect me Lord!" you pray.

Terrified, you hurry left

But something blocks your way.

Stumbling back, no choice of path

You shed an unseen tear.

The tunnel walls constrict on you,

An agoraphobic fear.

You have to stoop to progress on.

Where will this tunnel end?

The words, "BE SURE!" run through your brain,

You should have turned back then.

Suddenly, the ground gives way,

The path just disappears.

You plunge into a deep abyss,

The Cavern of All Fears.


Fear robs you of your freedom to make the right choice in life that can bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. On the other side of fear, lies freedom. If you want to grow, you need to be brave and take risks. If you're not uncomfortable, you're not growing.

— Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Those Three Words ~ a Micro-Fiction Story

Her big brown eyes looked back at me with anxious anticipation, but my own refused to offer her the answers she sought.

If I am skilled at anything it is hiding my emotions. That can be good or bad depending on the situation. To her, it was totally unacceptable, and she pressured me to be more open.

It felt like she was begging me to say those words … those three words I dreaded. How hard was it after all? If I just open my mouth and form the words … it will be over and done with in a second.

Her small soft hand was in mine. I squeezed it gently, reassuringly (for myself more than her), as I closed my eyes, trying to pluck up courage. My bottom lip trembled fearfully as I tried to talk.

As my mouth opened, I hesitated … I started to speak but my voice was breaking up like a weak radio signal, “Um … I …. ….”

( I will leave it up to you dear reader to fill in the three words. Please let me know your suggestions/guesses in the comments.)

© 2021 John Hansen

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