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The Only Thing There Is To Fear Is Fear Itself

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“Daddy, I don’t want to go down there, that’s your job!”
“Sam, you are mime years old, and you need to start helping me with Lakota, you can feed her this morning.”

“Daaaaaddyy, it’s dark and cold outside, I don’t want to go, it’s way too scary.”

“There is absolutely nothing to be scared of.”

“Yes, there is! There are mice and it’s dark and… Why do I have to go?”
“There is a saying that goes, ‘The only thing there is to fear is fear itself’. So don’t worry about the mice. They are more scared of you than you are of them. Don’t get all discombobulated over such a miniscule thing.”

“But dad-“
“No.”



And that was the end of it. I thought it would make my dad happy, me getting ready before we actually had to leave, especially since I am usually the reason we are late, or not as early as he would like us to be, in my dad’s case. And I suppose it did make him happy, happy that he didn’t have to feed the horse this morning. But I hated feeding Lakota, even when my dad was with me. Ever since my mom told me about the time she reached in and touched a mouse that was inside of the cold, metal grain container, I have had mini panic attacks every time my dad asks me to get her food. But I have to do this. He said so. I can’t let him down, no matter how much I want to.

So I make sure I really do have everything ready, on the off chance that I forgot something that would prevent me from having to go to this. No such luck. I reluctantly slid on my shoes and struggled into my coat. As I pushed the door open it squeaked, like it always does, expect this time, it made me even more uneasy about my journey down to the barn. Once I am outside, I look around and listen to all the sounds that I am suddenly more aware of. Crickets are still chirping. And leaves are rustling around in the tree tops. I start walking down the driveway that leads to the dirt road that leads to the barn. Maybe if the walk to the barn wasn’t so long it wouldn’t be so scary, but it is so I hurry. As I take my first step onto the dirty, gravely road, I realize that I am truly alone. I enjoyed the sound of gravel crunching beneath my feat with each step that I took and, to calm my nerves a bit, I decided to focus solely on that.

Before I knew it, I had arrived at the barn. I looked at the handle which was painted white a while ago and now seemed to be chipping a bit. The rust was starting to show through. I gripped the handle. It was so cold that it sent chills down my arm. I shook them off and twisted it open. Forgetting where the light switch was for a second, I freaked out, but then remembered where it was and ran to turn it on before the door closed behind me. I needed to do this, fast. I turned the corner and saw Lakota’s head poking out of her stall. She exhaled and smoky air filled the area around her nostrils for a second then disappeared. I looked at her and said “you better enjoy your food because I am freakin’ out”.

Cobwebs lined the corners of the barn and it smelled of hay. The run down door behind which the grain was located seemed to glaring at me. I didn’t know what was behind it. Walking toward the door, I started to panic. What it mice came spilling out and started to all chase me? What if… well, that was really the only thing I was worried about. About five steps later, I arrived at the door. I kicked the door about three times, a trick I learned from my mom. She said that it scared all the mice away so we wouldn’t be able to see them. I wasn’t sure if this actually worked or not, but it made me feel a touch better. Slowly, I opened the door. I took the top off of the metal container, reached in and filled up the teal scooper. I sprinted to Lakota’s stall, dumped out the grain, sprinted back to the grain room, threw in the scooper, slammed the door, and sprinted back all the way home. I was out of breath, but I was safe and home.





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