Flash Fiction #11

Terror is a funny word. I understood the concept–fear so debilitating that it physically affected you–but I couldn’t remember ever feeling it. Even when there were monsters under my bed and lurking in my closet, I could always imagine them away.

That’s why, when I finally did feel it, I couldn’t name it. It stuck in my throat like a bitter aftertaste. My eyes welled and utter desolation settled in the pit of my stomach.

I looked around, but there was no one there to share my misery. My hands shook and I tried to swallow, but nothing was working.

My heart was pounding in the roof of my mouth. It felt like the meager breakfast I’d scarfed down while running out the door was going to come back up.

And then, just as it had sprung up without warning, it disappeared and left nothing in its wake.

There was a hollow ache that might be coaxed back into a fervor if I really concentrated, but otherwise, emptiness.

Nothing–No Thing–that’s a better word. It’s the only thing that encompasses the feeling left when every other conceivable emotion has taken its toll.

I much prefer nothing.