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I Was Afraid of the Dark

Mist rises from the firehole

Mist rises from the Firehole as dawn breaks in Firehole Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Actually, I still am sort of afraid of the dark. If I let loose the dogs of my imagination? Yeah, totally terrified. When the sun goes down, I have to keep those dogs on a tight leash. Otherwise they render a good night’s sleep impossible, either by keeping me from sleep or invading my dreams.

Childhood fears are pretty universal, hence movies like Monsters, Inc and books about the stuff lurking under the bed, though I didn’t know that until I got older. It’s not like I ran into my sibs while making that panicked dash to the parents room at two a.m. Nope, that hall was long, lonely and filled with ominous shadows.

Fears totally absent during the day when all appeared harmless, even safe.

For instance, the sibs and I would frequently crawl around under the bed. Hiding. Playing. Accumulating dust bunnies. Getting in trouble for those accumulations. Despite knowing almost every square inch of under my bed, when the sun sunk in the West, under the bed became alien territory. Same with the closet. If I forgot to close the door and had to get out of bed in the dark? Trauma time!

And then there was the math! What was the “safe” distance from what was under the bed when leaping from said bed? With a good head start, what was the best pace to outrun it? I may not have known the physics of my short legs, the height of the bed and the distance to safety, but I felt them (which may explain my distaste for all maths?).

It should not come as a surprise that both under the bed and closets featured in my nightmares. As did long halls to the parents room and safety. It did not help that my brothers delighted in feeding my fears. Or that my fears were given a close (though in hindsight benign) encounter with a bear. FYI, I consider a fear of bears to be quite healthy (they can eat me!), but the way they invaded my dreams—and in those dreams my safe places—resulted in what my family used to call my bear-mares.

When I got older, I realized the benefits of a good imagination (writing books!), but I still have to take care how and when I let those dogs off the leash. They still like to runaway with me at night. When I’m alone. And forgot to close that dang closet door…and I can’t jump as far as I used to…and my parents are several states away….

What about you? Do the echoes of childhood fears still flicker in your brain at night? What do you do about it? I’d really like to know, because yeah, covers are magical protection, but the sleeping! I need the sleep! And if you tell me your secrets, I’ll enter you into my drawing for an awesome-sauce, AnaBanana gift basket filled with goodies ($25 value). Winner is announced the first blog post of the new month.

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Perilously yours,

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“A highly suspenseful, should-be-a-movie, totally entertaining tale of derring-do, The Last Enemy defies categorization–at least by me. All I can tell you is: I enjoyed every word and was sorry when I reached the end.” Very Highly Recommended, Under the Cover Reviews

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“I’ll see you in your nightmares, Dani….”

You can buy this book on Amazon right now. (Prime members borrow for free.)

This book is also available in audio and in the Lonesome Lawmen collection and in the Lonesome Lawmen Mini Book Bundle (Books 1 and 2)