A short ghost story: My son is afraid of the dark

My son is afraid of the dark. He never used to be, but now every night he screams in fear. He complains of shadows, sounds. Ghosts. How does a three-year-old even know about ghosts? From some cartoon Halloween special I suppose.

I try to comfort him. I lean down over his bed and whisper, “It’s okay, sweetie. There is nothing to be afraid of.” But he wants his daddy. And his daddy comes as he does every night saying “it’s okay” and believing it.

His dad is scared too, but not of things that appear in the dark. He’s afraid of paying the bills, getting the chores done, doing school drop offs and pick ups on time. I put my hand on my husband’s shoulder. He doesn’t react. He is focused on the boy.

After hugs, assurances, and a sweet—albeit out of tune—song from daddy, the boy is calm. My husband goes back to bed.

I wish I had the power to sooth my son’s fears like that. I wish I could put my arm around him and tell him everything is okay and he’d believe it. Instead he turns to me still lurking in the room. He looks at me with fearful eyes and points accusingly.

“Ghost,” he says, and the truth breaks my lifeless heart.

My son is afraid of the dark
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY

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I originally told this story as a part of a Speakeasy Ghost Story Salon. The same people who organized that are doing another scary storytelling event on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 8 PM at the Beans & Bagels Annex, 4660 N Rockwell, Chicago, IL. Admission is free and so are the nightmares. More info is here.

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For the month of October, Listing Beyond Forty is Listing Toward Halloween, featuring posts related to or inspired by Halloween. Read all the previous posts here.

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