Fire Snakes

Like any self-respecting cubbyhole, this one was dark and oppressive. I was determined though; I’d stand tough this time…

… until the fire-snakes appeared.

I screamed; ‘It’s me, mum. I broke the vase!’

For Trifextra.  ‘Give us a confession’, they said, ‘could be fiction or fact.’

And this is a…

Fact.  It’s a memory that’s still floating around in my head.

I was about six or seven when this happened and at that age I was particularly … well, let’s say ‘hyperactive’… and I used to do a lot of things that my mother…well, let’s say ‘she didn’t approve of’.

If I got a spanking, the effects usually lasted precisely the amount of time it took for my bum to stop hurting.   Mum, therefore, needed to find a more effective way of disciplining me.

And she did.

I’ve always been terrified of the dark (I’m twenty-six and I still sleep with a night light!). I could always see all kinds of shadows; hunched and crawly things creeping up towards me from the corner of my eye.  And snakes.  There was always snakes (There still is).

As a punishment, therefore, my mum devised this ingenious plan.   She would lock  me in the closet (after removing the light bulb from its socket) until I:

1)  admitted to what I had done;

2) was sorry enough to scream my apologies through the door.

It never took longer than five minutes; the creepy/hunched shadowy snakes always coerced me into admitting to whatever mum wanted to hear.

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29 comments on “Fire Snakes

  1. DonettaS says:

    I am 36 and hate the dark. Not due to punishment because I would have told on myself before the door closed. I just have had horrible nightmares since I can remember and they still seem the same. Sigmund Freud would have had a field day with this. I do like how descriptive your memory is.

    • Sandra says:

      Does fear of the dark ever stop for an imaginative mind?
      Hope not, actually, as it gives me good stories! thanks for your comment, Donnetta.

  2. ann bennett says:

    I had a little brother that would confess to anything. so convenient. I can understand being afraid of the dark, however, once you get used to it, I live in the country, you feel a little safer in the dark. You know where the furniture lies and the boogeyman doesn’t. lol, enjoyed it.

  3. Mike says:

    I love the idea of a ‘self-respecting cubby hole, dark and oppressive’ – is there any other sort?
    Like Ann above I always think of bogeymen when I think of the dark – fire snakes I think I could cope with.
    A great response to the prompt Sandra.

  4. Lane says:

    I sure hope you never ended up in the box (the lightless closet) for something you hadn’t done… that would be horrible. This is a great response to a very relatable experience (for most of us, I’m sure).

  5. Catherine Louise Gurganus says:

    I was terrified of the dark as a child. I still don’t care for it, though I can usually talk myself out of panicking if I find myself in total darkness. And this just reminded me of a childhood incident that would make a great post…off to do some writing!

  6. barbara says:

    hmmmmm – too bad I didn’t have a dark cubby to shift my own little harrys into . . . not that I would, of course. great use of the prompt.

    and . . . shame on you. (jk) 🙂

  7. Sarah Ann says:

    I like your piece. I’m not so sure I like your mum’s form of punishment!

  8. jannatwrites says:

    Traumatizing! The dark itself doesn’t freak me out…it’s the unidentified noises that do it 🙂

  9. Nicely done, Sandra. You’ve captured the fear of a child who has done something wrong but wasn’t sure how to admit it.

  10. First, I feel the need to say how terribly sorry I am that you went through this, Sandra, and how I don’t believe this is appropriate punishment for anyone, let alone a child. I know sometimes parents make mistakes and try to justify bad decisions (such as ‘it’s better than physical abuse’); but when children are being mentally tortured in a manner similar to what is written against in international combat documents, it can’t be right. I know a man who was locked in the cellar as a child for wrong-doing and who has suffered from disabling mental issues for this and similar abuses his entire life, so I can’t find it justifiable. I would strongly encourage you to find some healthy activities in the dark (with trusted company, of course) & possibly even visit a petting zoo with a snake, if these things still cause issues for you. Of course, I’m no psychologist – I’m suggesting my own ‘common sense’ approach; but I think facing fears and seeing how things are not always as frightening as our minds have been trained to believe they are can be liberating – even if you decide to never do it again. All my best, -j

    • Sandra says:

      I am suddenly very afraid that I have written out my punishment much worse than it actually was in real life. I mean, true, I used to be terrified, but when the same thing was tried on my brother he didn’t even flinch – then again, he does have the imagination of a stick! My phobia of the dark, and snakes, started much before this thing with the closet began. I would like to cure myself of both, though. And I might try the face-to-face with a snake one day; I’m actually planning a trip to Morocco soon so I’d expect I’ll have quite a few of those encounters. I’m sure I’ll have more posts about this, so you can see the progress.
      Thanks a lot for your concern. Jody, I really appreciate your comment.

  11. Draug419 says:

    zomg that sounds traumatizing! >__< I would never misbehave if that was me!

  12. Wow, that’s some scary nightmare fodder there.

    Thank you for linking up! Please don’t forget to return for the voting!

  13. Fortunate for your mom she didn’t live in Sweden… all punishment on children is against the law… and as you said it didn’t really help anyway..

    Thank you for sharing this…

    I recall whan I had been stealing I saw my father cry of disappointment, and I have never been stealing since.

  14. Thank you for sharing a very traumatic personal experience with us. As I always say I never got a spanking I didn’t deserve.

  15. This sounds like a harsh punishment for someone with a vivid imagination and a fear of the dark! I like your piece, especially the mention of the ‘self-respecting cubbyhole’.

  16. KymmInBarcelona says:

    Love fire snakes.
    You transmitted all of the later explanation in those 33 words. Great post.

  17. betarules says:

    The child’s imagination. Better than any threat. Well done. (RogRites)

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