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Rated: E · Short Story · Dark · #1667495
There is a man who locks up fears and sells them. But fear can't save anyone.
He's afraid of dark places. He's afraid of speed. He's afraid of loneliness. He's afraid of lies. He's afraid of deception. He's afraid of his fears, as they whispers in his head in different voices, Expand

He's afraid of dark places. He's afraid of speed. He's afraid of loneliness. He's afraid of lies. He's afraid of deception. He's afraid of his fears, as they whispers in his head in different voices, everyday, carefully distracting him, confining him in a bubble protected by his fears. He is afraid of himself, though he's going to say what he shouldn't, he'll do what he wouldn't. He wears his fear as a talisman. He wears them under his skin. He captures his fears and keeps them locked. He treads his fears.

He has a small, clean, almost empty shop full of small cabinets jutted out from the walls like ribcages. He sits alone in the middle under a dim light. The little shop smells of sweat, hesitation, fear and melancholy. The cabinets have a menacing calmness about them, like soon they will barge out open with a thundering shout. He cleans his room with a ceaseless vigil. Nothing should be scattered here. He opens the cabinets only when he has a customer. He knows exactly which cabinet to look into. His visitors treat him as a God. He is their saviour, they say. He is their protector, they say. He smiles. " I do not protect you, I protect myself. My fears protect you". He sells them their escape. he sells them fear. His own fear.

A little girl, hairs tightly curled back in a red ribbon, with kind eyes and a curious face, she looks into this shop everyday, always surprised. she pulls the veil a bit and looks inside curiously and disappears suddenly, as she's playing hide n seek with him. He doesn't move from his chair. One day she came in, looking around with her kind eyes, her curious face being more curious, smelling the room. She doesn't yet understands the smell. She looks at the cabinets. There are no dolls here, no toys, no chocolates. She asks him, "What do you sell people ?"

He smiles, "I sell them fear."

"Fear !? But how you can sell fear?"

"Fears come to me everyday. I capture them in a bottle and sell them."

"But who wants to buy fear?"

"People who are afraid. People who can't control their fear. They come to me. They tell me what they are afraid of. I sell them fear."

"But why they want to buy fear when they are afraid?"

"You want to know? You've seen that man just going out of here when you came. He steps in from a luxurious car, wears the finest suits, he comes in. At first he says nothing. I give him time, enough time to speak, to talk about his fears. I know he's hesitating, most of them do. People are more scared of admitting their fears than the fear itself. Then he says he's afraid one day he'll lose all his money. I give him a bottle of my fear. He takes it home. He puts it in a closet and locks it. He locks his fear and throws away the key. He's not afraid of losing his money anymore. He's safe now."

"What happens if someone opens the bottle?"

"The fears will come out and devour him."

"You are scaring me."

"Tell me, do you want any fear? Like losing your toys? Your dolls ? I can give you one. I've plenty of them."

"No, I don't want them, I am not afraid of losing my toys."

"Ok, if you ever want any fear come to me. I'll give you one."

"Ok, I'll tell you later if I want any. Now I have to go."

"Bye sweet doll, and I pray that you never need a fear from me. Bye."

She came again the next day. The next day. Everyday. Looking strangely at people who came to visit him, to buy their fears. One day she asked him, "You keep your fears in those cabinets?"

"Yes, they are full of the containers, full of fears. When I need to take out one I open the door slightly and bring out one quickly."

"Can I look into them?"

"No."

"Why? The fears are locked in a bottle. I'm not afraid of them."

"No, if you open the cabinet, the fear will scream from inside their confinements. They want to come out. They want to be free. They want to subdue someone. if you do not have a strong will and if you've too much curiosity they will force you to open them and they'll jump out and grasp you in their hold. And you will never escape. They'll swallow you. They will take over you. They'll kill you."

"I'm not afraid of anything. I've no fear."

"Those who do not dread fear are a fear by themselve."

"Then you could lock me in your cabinets."

"No sweet child, you do not need fear. No fear will ever take you. Now go home. You are late."

She never came for a few days. He never wanted her to come. But she came one day. Her kind eyes looked strange. Her curious face was shadowed.

"I want a fear from you."

"Why? Oh, Why? You do not need them."

"Yes, I do."

"So what you are afraid of?"

"I am scared. I don't want to lose my mommy and papa."

"You'll not. I'll give you one. Take it and keep it in a safe place. Lock it and please do not open it. Show it to noone. Do not talk about it. You are a brave girl. You understand what I say !"

"Yes. I'll do exactly what you say. I love my parents."

"They are safe now. My fear will protect them."

She took a bottle carefully and went home. She never came again. He thought his fears saved one more. He was wrong. She came back, suddenly, with tears, with rage, with hatred, with sadness. Her kind eyes were red and her curious face was pale.

"Oh, what happened to you my child?"

"You said your fears'll protect my parents."

"Yes, they'll. Unless you open them. Tell me what happened ?"

"They died. Both of them. I never opened it. I kept it safe. But mama came cleaning my room and she broke it. She broke it. Your fear couldn't protect them. Your fear took them away. Your fear swallowed them. I never knew the fear was there untill I bought it from you. Now they're gone. Your fear was supposed to swallow me. But they killed my parents. You said I'm a fear by myself. You were afraid of me.Your fears were afraid of me. So they took them. Why you did this to me? I hate you. I hate your fears. More than that I hate the fear that I am. I hate myself now."

She ran away, leavin her anguished and tortured words behind. The room was smelling of hatred, anger, sadness and something he couldn't figure out.

It is a new smell. It wasn't here before. It is...It is of losing something dear. It is of a heart that stopped believing. It is of a burden of a lose that crushes the soul. The smell was becoming more strong as he opened the cabinet doors. And when he uncorked the last of his bottles, he was deaf to the jubiliant roars of fears surrounding him. And when they engulfed him he was still feeling that new smell.



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