SECRET ANXIETY

The Darkness Keeps Coming For Me

Plagued by untold intrusive thoughts

Claire Franky
5 min readNov 29, 2023

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Photo by Zach Guinta on Unsplash

Content warning: thoughts of infant mortality.

“Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.”

A happy screeching noise came from the back seat of the car. I glanced in my rearview mirror to see my daughter’s content face in the baby mirror. She batted her long eyelashes, waiting for my continued singing.

Setting my eyes back on the road ahead, I pushed my sunglasses away from my face and into my hair, and continued to sing as clouds filled the greying sky.

“The clock struck one, the mouse ran down.”

I smiled as another happy screech filled my ears but I kept my eyes focused in front of me this time. The roads were busy for a Wednesday mid-afternoon.

“Hickory dickory dock.”

Risking another glance in the mirror to see that four-month-old baby smile, I was rewarded. However, my smile faded as I noticed the large SUV coming up fast behind us.

Slowing down for the traffic light, my focus stayed with the SUV. I came to a complete stop in front of the red light, with an intersection ahead of me. Noticing the SUV start to slow, my eyes found my daughter once more who hit playfully at the rattle hanging from her car seat.

My heart stopped.

It was the noise that startled me first. A crushing noise. Almost like an aluminum can being crushed in a hand. But it wasn’t a can.

It was my car.

My car was being crushed from the back by the large SUV that had hit us, pushing us into the middle of the intersection. I tried to scream but no noise came from my throat as I saw a truck hurtling towards the left side of the car. The side my daughter’s car seat sat.

I stopped breathing as something worse than fear, worse than panic took over. Something so dark it cannot be explained.

“Beep.”

“Beeeeep.”

I was staring at the light in front of me. It was green now. The still SUV behind me was beeping at me to move. My daughter continued to slap her rattle in the backseat. Gulping…

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