Mister Nervous

Ellie’s voice in the darkness. “Mommy.”

“What is it, honey? You have another bad dream.”

In answer she crawls into the warm bed, face wet and hot. I hold her slim back as she sobs.

I stroke her hair. “You want to tell me about it?”

“It’s Mister Nervous,” she says. “He comes in because he’s a-scared of the barn.”

It’s the same nightmare she’s had two or three times a week since we moved to the farm.

My husband and I are having them, too.

A sad boy.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of him swinging from the barn rafters.

Friday Fictioneers


I just realized that I posted a remarkably similar story  in 2017.  Both are based on truth. My youngest daughter saw Mr. Nervous when we moved to an Iowa farm fifteen years ago. We had many an unexplained occurance for the first few months we lived there, including seeing a hanged boy in the barn. Such things leave an impression. I started a YA horror novel based on this that is about 20k words in, but was set aside for other projects. I hope one day to go back to it.


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  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    The backstory makes this even more intriguing than it already is. Yes, you should revisit. I understand though. The book I’m currently working on, about a woman battling anorexia, languished for over two years after my only getting four chapters into it. Too painful and personal. Now that I’ve been able to step back and add lotsa fiction, it’s moving forward. Just passed the 30K mark. :D



  2. granonine

    I know a mother who found her young daughter swinging from a barn rafter, saw the pain, anguish, confusion in her face and eyes. That made it hard for me to really enjoy your story, which is truly beautifully written and makes one want to know more.

  3. bearmkwa

    Some places are like that. There was one room in my Foster parents farmhouse that was “haunted”… I say this with ALL sincerity. I couldn’t be in that room alone, EVER! I saw things in there… beyond words. Evil. Still, just the memory of it brings shivers. No one was home the day the fire took that house, but it started in that very room, in the chimney. Even after the fire gutted it, I still could not step over the threshold.

Don't just stand there.