Prompt: Write About A Scare

Discussion questions: Write about a scare. What has been the scariest moment of your life? Have you ever had a near-death or near near-death experience? A medical scare? A particularly creepy visit to a haunted house? What’s the scariest piece of literature you’ve ever read? The scariest thing you’ve seen on a screen? Go to the comments to share your scariest moments.


A few weeks ago we had an excellent and intense discussion in the post “Write About A Scar.” Some of us came by our scars in horrific fashion. And then, somehow, in the post “Write About a Scent,” a few of us wrote about some of the car accidents we’ve been in.

Now, with Halloween approaching (and the Yak Babies starting our annual Halloween Spooktacular), I think it would be fun — and by “fun” I mean not fun, but hopefully vivid and spirited and emotional — to tack an -e at the end of “scar” and to write about a scare.


This week, what I want to know is:

What has been the scariest moment of your life? Have you had a near-death experience, perhaps, or a medical close call? A particularly bumpy plane ride or ugly car wreck?

Or if you’d prefer to keep it lighter:

What’s the scariest piece of literature you’ve ever read? The scariest movie or TV show? The spookiest haunted house you’ve ever visited?

Or if you want some middle ground:

What scares you the most about the current climate (political or environmental or viral, or choose your own)?

Let us know in the comments!


As for me, my nearest-death experience happened before I was conscious; umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, I was yanked out with forceps just in the nick of time. I… don’t remember it.

Here’s one I do remember:

Denver, 1998, I ran a red light against the fiercest sunset I’ve ever seen and was T-boned by an SUV. If I’d had a passenger, that passenger would probably be dead. My car spun a few times and came to a rest on the shoulder. After shaking off the daze, or some of it, I approached the SUV to see if the driver was OK.

Upon reaching the SUV, I caught a peek into the back. In it was an empty baby seat.

I started scanning the ground surrounding the accident, looking for a baby amidst the broken glass and metal.

The driver, still strapped into her seat, didn’t seem concerned, and slowly I came to my senses enough to realize she was traveling sans baby. She looked at me, gave a crooked smile, and said, “Light was a little red, wasn’t it?”

We both had a little whiplash, and I was sore for days. If she’d built up just a little more steam, it could’ve been a much different story — I probably would’ve plowed right into her. And by “her” I mean her, not her car.


Here’s a scary moment of a different stripe:

My parents are out to dinner, leaving my sister and me alone. I’m guessing we’re around nine (her) and eleven (me) or so, which puts us around 1988-1990. All is going well, until our dog, a little schnauzer named Lucy, begins barking. Creepy enough, I suppose. But when my sister and I locate Lucy, she’s standing in the front hallway, howling at the door.

And no, not the front door.

The closet door.

A coat closet definitely large enough to hold a human being of any size. Or most types of monster. After a quick committee meeting, we agreed that I’d fling open the door, definitely scaring the hell out of whomever or whatever was inside.

Meanwhile, Lucy kept at it.

After probably peeing my pants, I grasped the knob, turned, and whipped the door open.

Of course nothing was inside but coats and umbrellas.

And Jeffrey Dahmer!

That’s a joke, of course, but loyal readers might recall that Dahmer was running loose in my city in those years, though we didn’t know it at the time, and in retrospect he makes for an easy bogeyman.


What about my scariest book? Pet Semataryof course. Listen to last week’s Yak Babies to find out why.


david blogWriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

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