Horror Writers Association

MHI: AGORAPHOBIA by Kerry E.B. Black


Trigger Warning: This piece addresses mental health

The HWA is pleased to launch its Mental Health Initiative, a coordinated roll-out of events, resources, and activities intended to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. The initiative, run by the organization’s Wellness Committee, launches in June, and includes the following blog posts from Of Horror and Hope, a downloadable anthology of poems, flash fiction, and personal reflections on mental health by HWA members.

Kerry E.B. Black

(Wishing peace for those afflicted, especially my little Bear.)

From an early age, she feared him,
The Boogeyman of the unknown.
He hid around the next corner
lurked beneath access ramps—
The only safe place, home.

He distracted her mother
Waylaid siblings, too,
To provide the opportunity
To snatch her from their midst—
Relentless, he pursued.

He knew her daily schedule,
Could read her grieving mind
Mapped out opportunities
To capture, crush, consume
She lived life terrified.

Her insides roiled reaction,
Hives assaulted skin,
Stomach secreted sentences,
Dizzy, disoriented disorder—
Fight and flight kicking in.

So the best action to take
Was challenge every outing,
Balk at leaving home,
And hunker down to hide—
Until the danger’s passing.



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