Fear

Space Mountain, thought Daniel, absent-mindedly pressing the point of his pen into the muscle between his thumb and forefinger. The dull pain was pleasant and he thought about going fast. He thought about the good kind of fear.

Boris was looking at him. Daniel wasn’t supposed to call him Boris but he did sometimes, secretly. Boris had chosen his own nickname. It was B-Man, and everyone at work called him that. Daniel waved a little wave. Boris looked at him.

“Going somewhere?” asked Boris, nodding his head towards the small suitcase under Daniel’s desk.

“Disneyland, Paris,” answered Daniel.

“What?” asked Boris, as he always did.

“Disneyland, Paris,” said Daniel again, louder. “I’m staying at the Santa Fe hotel. Just over the weekend.”

“Alone?” asked Boris, with the smile that Daniel hated because whenever he saw it, he knew that he had said a stupid thing and his face started to itch.

Space mountain, thought Daniel on the train. He looked out of the window at the green that was rushing past in a blur. He looked at the sky which was turning purple. Friday was disappearing. He looked at the speed happening outside his window. He thought about the kind of fear where you forget who you are. Then he thought about the fear when all you can do is think of who you are. Who you are, what you can do, and what you’ve always done. Then the man next to him with the tight vest and the expensive headphones started talking to him. Daniel’s face began to itch.

In his ranch-themed bed, Daniel thought about Space Mountain. Years before, he had held his mother’s hand and looked at it. Space Mountain. He had heard a bang and the sounds of screams. He had begun to cry and his mother had taken him instead on Smee’s Silly Train. It was slow and went in a circle.

A few months ago, he had held his mother’s hand as she lay in bed. She told him about all of the things she had been afraid to do. And then she was gone. He thought about fear.

He looked at Space Mountain. Years had passed and he had grown bigger, but it still seemed as large as he remembered. A huge white dome. He heard a bang, a rush of metal and the sounds of screams. His heart felt light and fluttery in his chest, but he balled up his fists and walked towards it.

In front of the entrance to the queue were a group of young men. They were not queuing, but were stood in front of it, kicking their shoulder bags at each other. They were drinking from cans and laughing too loud on purpose and belching, then they would kick their bags as hard as they good at each other. They were laughing and talking to people as they entered the queue. They were bothering people and punching each other in the arm, and leaning over at people.

“Alright, mate,” they would say to people as they passed, occasionally reaching out and touching their sleeve.

His face was itching. He heard a bang, and some screams. He thought about holding his mother’s hand.

He sat on Smee’s Silly Train as it went round and round. He looked over his shoulder to see if the men had gone. They hadn’t yet.

“Would you like another go?” said the woman with the name-badge, smiling at him in that horrible way.

“Yes please.”

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