Fear is… waking in the middle of the night with your heart racing because something cold just brushed up against your hand. Switching on your lamp, finding the area clear, and putting the experience down to a strange dream you were having about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Fear is… hearing a small sound, like something dropping down from your bed onto the floor. Thinking, “Hmm, I’ll check the vivarium, just to make doubly sure everything is still where it’s supposed to be.”
Fear is… finding the door of the vivarium open by well over an inch, and your almost 2ft long California Kingsnake gone.
Fear is… putting on clothes and switching on every light in the vicinity, because you have no idea where your snake has gone, and the idea of a nude snake-hunt in the dark is entirely unappealing.
Fear is… not knowing if you’ll find your snake before it either: 1) Finds some dark nook to slither into and spends the rest of the winter hibernating in, 2) Finds some way under the floor and down into the foundations where it will be irretrievable and will freeze to death in the winter cold, 3) Finds some way to leave the room and seeks out your Malshi puppy or your half-blind, half-deaf, twenty year old cat.
Fear is… finding your missing snake, putting it back in its vivarium, returning to bed—still fully clothed, because GAH!—and wondering whether the snake will manage to perform another feat of Great Escapery.
Fear is… lying in bed wondering how a 1.5cm wide snake managed to open an almost 2 inch gap in its vivarium door in the first place, and whether it’s worth investing in a new vivarium… one with a deadbolt. And a padlock. And a keypad with a retinal scanner.
Fear is… considering the possibility that your house may be haunted by a malevolent poltergeist.
Fear is… wondering if you’ll ever dare sleep in the buff again.
This story was inspired by last night. And to give it a happy ending…
The antonym of fear is “cute puppy wearing Christmas outfit.”