Take My Fear

By: Ayah Abdul-Rauf

DIM… DIM… DIM… DIM… DIM… The soft, high note of the last key on a piano rang through the night repeatedly… and it was keeping someone up.

Freisha sat up in her bed with tired eyes, muscles still aching to sleep some more. If she heard that infuriating DIM from the piano one more time, she’d surely go mad. There’s only one person I know who would do something like this in the middle of the night… she thought, climbing out from under the covers and pulling her robe on.

She tiptoed quietly across the lavish carpet to the drawing room and opened the door. “Montagh,” she whispered harshly, “quit playing that piano!! You’re keeping everyone up!”


Freisha walked forward decisively and grabbed his firm hand. It was cold and clammy. The sound ceased. And the silence was deafening.

“Okay Monty… what’s wrong this time?” she prepared herself for a wild explanation. Montagh was not your ordinary fellow. He pulled his hand away from her grasp and gave it a quick shake, as if she were poisonous.

“I had a nightmare,” he said.

There was a pause. “Well, when people have nightmares, they tell a friend, or write it down, or go back to sleep-there are a number of things you can do, but most people don’t go playing the piano in the middle of the night!”

He blinked at her frankly. “I do.” Freisha just shook her head and sighed. “Come on,” she said, “I’m tired, just go to sleep, please?” She started to walk away but he didn’t move.

“You know what people fear the most?” he said darkly.

Freisha clenched her fists and spun around, exasperated and worried. He was staring at the ceiling. It was so dim in there and she couldn’t see his expression, but she knew he was looking at the ceiling by the dark silhouette of his profile.

“We fear the unexpected…” his voice faded out, and he looked at her. “I can’t go back to sleep. I won’t.”

I wish I knew what was wrong with you… she rushed over to him and put her hands on his shoulders, trying to return him to his normal senses.

He looked up and grinned at her. “Do you like my nightmare?” he said.

The silence was still ringing. Freisha drew back sharply and watched him with unease as his hand stroked the side of the piano, as though it were a pet of some sort.

He looked dully at the key he had been pressing only moments before. And then… It moved. DIM… DIM... DIM... DIM…

Freisha’s pupils dilated and she stepped further away with her hands over her mouth. “The… piano…” she said breathlessly, “it’s… playing itself!”

He watched her drearily. “I’ve told you so many times…”

“Told me what?!” she exclaimed, looking wildly confused.

He blinked and turned back to the piano, watching it.

This can’t be him… something weird is going on, this has to be a dream! She ran toward the door to try and open it to find that it was now completely smooth, and without the doorknob that had been there only moments before. She slammed on it, kicked it, bashed on it with desperation; but it wouldn’t budge. Now her breath was coming in short gasps and she swirled around, hoping against hope that Montagh would reveal that this was all meant to be some sort of well planned joke.

But he was still staring at the haunted piano, and the sound of the DIM was driving her mad. Then she heard the clicking. And then she saw the sight that confirmed her horror.

A large tarantula was slowly making its way across the carpet towards the piano. A black skeletal horror with tiny sharp bristles along all eight of its legs. Though the appearance of the tarantula had both surprised and frightened Freisha, she had never been known to have much of a problem with bugs of any kind. Montagh, however, possessed a severe case of arachnophobia. It was bizarre; he reached down and picked up the creature, letting it crawl along his arm.

Freisha’s vision began to get clouded. This wasn’t him, it couldn’t be him; it was an imposter. An imposter that had somehow snuck into the drawing room to put a curse on the piano and,... spiders were coming in the swarms now, from corners and cracks in the wall, gliding down from the ceiling on silk strings from their newly formed webs. Freisha found herself in a terrifying panic, so scared that she lost her voice and didn’t dare to move. Montagh stood, then walked toward her calmly, the spiders scrambling in his wake. His eyes were inspired as if from a demon.

“There,” he said, “Now you have my fear.” He kissed her on the forehead. “Good night!”

Her breath caught, and she went out cold.