This one is the only one so far that does not fit my 212
word format. This is because I turned it in for a "Suspense
Story" assignment in a Language Arts class. Well, I think
it's good and so did the teacher apparently because I recieved extra credit.
Jim and the Culmination of his Fears
In his life, Jim had experienced many disturbing experiences. He had much experience with experiencing disturbing experiences. At first, it was the simple things in life that plagued him. While they behaved for other people, simple school supplies like scotch tape, chalk and pens caused disasters for Jim. Then appliances such as soda machines and toasters, while they served others, seemed to cause unmitigated disasters for Jim. Because of these simple items, he had almost bled to death, nearly drowned, been burned to a crisp, suffocated, and even electrocuted. Jim now lived in constant fear of everything around him, never knowing what inanimate object might strike out next.
Fear consumed Jim as he walked down the road that day. The shadows of park benches, lampposts and parking meters played tricks with his mind. He could hear them calling to him, laughing at him, convincing him that next time he would not be so lucky as to escape with his life. He had to get away. Jim broke into a run and the voices followed him, becoming louder than before. Jim fled down the street, running so fast it seemed as if he was falling. And then he was falling, and the darkness consumed him as he landed with a splash. Jim looked up at the circle of sky above him and realized that he had fallen into that open manhole he had seen earlier.
Jim tried to compose himself. He tried and tried to convince himself that his fears were irrational, but he always came to the conclusion that the world was out to get him. This was why he did not trust the ladder that led out of the open manhole. If he chose to do so, he would climb, his hopes rising with every step, but then cruel fate would cause the ladder to break sending him tumbling into the depths again. No. It was a certainty. So Jim trudged through the murky waters below the street, away from the open hole that he had tumbled through, from his best hope of escape.
Jim continued until he could not take another step. The light from the world above no longer aided his passage. Without light he began to feel deeply alone and afraid. He knew that within his pocket he had a small flashlight, but he could not bring himself to use it. His mind raced through all the terrible things that it would do to him. No, he could not trust the flashlight either, so onward he went. Jim was now lost beneath the street which he had fallen through those many hours ago. His heart raced, beating and beating and beating and beating until he fainted up against the sewer wall.
As Jim slept, he began to dream. He was trapped inside what seemed to be a white void, the mist circling through the cold air. He was running, his footsteps echoing off of unseen walls. Suddenly the mist ahead of him began to take shape, and the ghostly image of a roll of scotch tape was before him. Jim was afraid, but still he ran, right through the image of the tape as it faded away. More images formed. All the inanimate objects that had haunted his life stood before him but still he ran on. Then he saw a beacon of color before him and ran harder and faster than before until he was nearly there and then . . . blackness.
Jim woke up screaming and sweating and sweating and screaming only to see an open manhole above him. Jim held up his arm to block the blinding light of the sun. Then a rather large man in a hard hat appeared above the open manhole. " 'Ere! Grab 'old a this, mate!" said the man, throwing a length of rope down to Jim.
Jim hesitated as he regarded the rope, but then he remembered his dream. He had overcome his fear of inanimate objects. They had challenged him, but he had met their challenge and passed through every one of them. Now with confidence, Jim grabbed the rope and the man began to pull him up. I've made it, thought Jim to himself. I've overcome my fears and I'm going to be all right. Jim was nearing the top when he heard a slight stretching sound. He looked at the rope in front of his nose and realized with horror that it had been fraying the whole way up. He was now hanging on by mere threads. Jim closed his eyes and hung his head down. He knew that his curse would remain unbroken. A few seconds later, Jim heard the unmistakable snapping sound as the rope gave way, and he plummeted silently into the murky depths below.
"Sorry, mate! Bit a bad luck, eh? Tell ya what, I'll get'cha me ladder then, shall I?"
Jim Stories Page
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