For Chuck’s Flash Fiction Challenge, the writer is challenged to write about something that scares them. While I have a couple fears that could easily be fun to write about, I’ve decided on one I know really is a part of my character: not being able to protect those I love from harm. 

It was midnight once again when I found myself still struggling to go to sleep. I thought I’d be able to go to bed now, but my eyes refused to close. I know I’m tired and need this sleep so I can get up for work in the morning, but I just can’t seem to close my eyes. No matter what I do, my body refuses to rest. I feel hyper, like I’ve taken a sip from an energy drink I never bought. Almost as if I could stay awake for the rest of the night. 

Finally after what seemed like many hours later, I felt my eyelids droop. I could hear the sounds of my restful breathing as I inhaled and exhaled the air around me. It was peaceful and comfortable in my bed to the point where I could hear my mother snore from her room downstairs. 

I drifted into a dreamless sleep for the next hour. Then all of a sudden, I was having a nightmare. In this horrible nightmare, those I love were being harmed in some way or another. And there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. I felt helpless as I found out my best friend was dead and watched my mom and sister being hurt right before my eyes. I tried reaching out to my loves ones in this dark nightmare, but there was nothing I could do to stop it. 

Then all of a sudden, I’m lurched awake from these terrible visions. I wake up, tears streaming down my face with no recollection of what just occurred. All I know is that my dreams were of the people I love being taken away from me, but can’t remember anything other than feeling completely helpless and hopeless. I feel like I’m being punched in the gut, yet can’t find the cause of this type of violence against me. 

It takes quite awhile for me to realize what I just saw in my sleep was all just a dream because it all felt so real. So real, like it actually happened. 

So real that even when I’ve finally calmed myself enough to go back to sleep, the tears are still streaming down my face with no sign of stopping. Because while it was all just a dream, it’s something I truly feel could happen and it scares me.