Afraid Of The Dark, Armed To The Teeth, And Completely Ineffective

Tell me your fear-of-the-dark story

Daniel Williams
8 min readNov 27, 2022


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To help me conquer my fear of the dark, mother would say, “There’s nothing in the dark that isn’t in the light.”

But she would also say, “When you’re scared, read the Bible.”

I did, and my fear got worse.

Because I found this: “Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.”

This explained why our cats showed up every morning with blood on their hands. Because cats are beasts. So are wolves and bears. Suddenly the darkness was a puzzle and every piece was a beast. Pieces that moved like gears. This interlocking system of teeth could easily grind up a small boy no matter how much Bible reading he’d done.

And I found this in the Bible too: “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

Whatever that meant. I asked what it meant. Mom said it meant bad people didn’t want to be caught, that’s all. This I understood. I hated being caught too. But my older brother, Joe, said it meant evil people love the dark because it’s their camouflage. It helps them kidnap, murder, and eat children without being seen.

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Mom stared at me, her pale and trembling son. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“No,” I said, “just the Bible.”

I had a friend who fought his fear of the dark by defying it.

At night, while walking upstairs from a darkened downstairs, he’d get that awful feeling. You know the feeling: Something’s behind you, its long fingers spreading, reaching for your ankle. As soon as the feeling started coiling around his heart and throat and ankle, he’d stop right where he was on the stairs and wait. Without looking back.

Breathe in.



Daniel Williams

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.