As most children do, Matthew had a fear of the dark, and it wasn’t only at nights. He would never dare go any place where there was no light. His mother could not get him to go into the basement, or in the tool shed around the back, or even to turn off his lights at night. She had to get him a night light so that he would go to sleep-he couldn’t fall asleep in the dark. He would always see shadows on the walls, or hear sounds outside his window, or scraping sounds on the roof. He would continuously run to his parents’ bedroom every night.
Every day that he went to school he would fall asleep in class because he just could not sleep at nights, even with the night light. He would keep hearing sounds that kept him awake. His teacher sent home a letter one day, concerned that Matthew was sleeping so much during the days. His mother returned a letter telling the teacher that he was afraid of the dark, so he did not get to sleep much at nights. The teacher told her that something had to be done about it because he was falling behind in class.
One day, parents of Matthew were inside the house, cleaning and cooking. There was a strong wind outside so it blew the door shut with a loud bang. Matthew was in the yard playing when he heard the sound. He went and tried to open the door but it was stuck. He could hear his parents inside trying to get the locks pulled, but it seemed to be broken. His parents were stuck inside, and he was stuck outside as well. Father told him that there was an axe in the tool shed that he would need him to get. He would have to burst through the door. Matthew got scared because he did not want to go into the shed, but what was he going to do. If he did not get in, soon it would be dark and he did not want to be in the darkness outside. He decided to go for the axe. He opened the door to the shed, and peeped inside. He kept the door wide open to let in some sunshine. He looked around him for the axe, but because he was so afraid he kept bumping into things. Finally he found the axe and ran back outside. He gave his father the axe and soon the door was down and he was inside. He was very happy that was over, but he also realised there was nothing in the shed to be afraid of. He eventually started sleeping at nights, but every now and again he would be frightened out of his sleep by strange sounds. When he did check, he realised that they were only branches after all.
Be confident enough to face your fears-when you are able to confront them, they will disappear.
By Kerry Ann Stewart
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