Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
I spent my entire childhood being scared of somethin’. My brother always used to tease me about my fears. It used to annoy him to no end that I was scared of stuff. See, my folks didn’t have a whole lot of money and me and Jimmy had to share a room. Jimmy didn’t want to sleep with the lights on ‘cause the bright light would keep him awake, but ‘cause of me and my tantrums, he didn’t have no choice. My fears were louder and stronger than his objections. Jimmy didn’t want to sleep with the door open ‘cause the noise Momma would make doin’ dishes would keep him awake. Again, my fears won in our battle of wills and the bedroom door would remain open every night. Then, there were the daily requests from Momma to go down to the cellar and get a jar of somethin’. Didn’t matter what, I wasn’t goin’ down there. Not even for a jar of peaches for her famous cobbler. No sir. Nothin’ was worth facing my fears and goin’down into that basement; somethin’ might get me.
Then one day, when we was a bit older, my folks had saved up some money and moved us to a new house; a bigger house, big enough for me and Jimmy to have our own rooms. Well, if you think my fears would allow that, think again. There wasn’t no way I was about to sleep in a room by myself; somethin’ might get me. Oh, man, did Jimmy put up a fight. But, he was no match for my fears. My fears fought long and hard and won the battle. Momma said he couldn’t have his own room after all. Said we’d have to keep on sharin’ a room ‘cause making me sleep in a room by myself was “too traumatic” for me. That’s when he called me a ‘yellow-bellied coward’. Eventually, he just quit using my name all together and just called me Yellow. Then, Momma and Daddy and everyone we know started callin’ me Yellow. I didn’t care. I like the color yellow. It’s bright and warm. Not like my fears, which are dark and cold.
As I grew, so too, did my fears. I feared strangers, public places, germs. It got so bad I wouldn’t leave the house. I couldn’t risk running into strangers and, if you look around while you’re out, they’re everywhere! And going out in public? That’s just crazy; somethin’ might get me. But germs, they’re the worst. They’re everywhere. They’re the worst kind of somethin’. Not only are they outside the house, they’re inside too. I had a fix for that though. I’d wash my hands a hundred times a day. I’d vacuum the house at least five times a day. Not to mention wiping down the counters, wiping down light switches and door knobs. Heck, I’d give the toilet a good scrub down every time before I used it. It took up all of my time to keep the germs at bay. But, I wasn’t about to let them get me.
Then, one Sunday morning, when Momma, Daddy and Jimmy were all at church, I was busy doing my daily cleaning. I had just emptied the soot from the fireplace into the trash when the trash ignited in a blaze of fire. There must have been some embers left in the fire place and I swept them into the trash! The flames grew higher and higher and leapt to the curtains. The trash bin fell on its side, sending flames racing across the carpet and onto the sofa. I ran to the front door, but couldn’t make myself open the door; somethin’ might get me. I raced up stairs and crawled under my bed. I curled up into a ball and wrapped my arms around my knees and, as I began to lose consciousness, I conceded . . . somethin’ got me.
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