This is dark people. Very dark. And sad. And depressing. Just want to warn you.

I didn’t mean it to end up that way…actually, this piece took a turn I didn’t even see coming.


A single moment can change your life forever.

Before sending my son outside to play that morning, I remember thinking “It’s a beautiful day”.

Counting my blessings, I opened the door to the backyard and watched him run towards his swing set.

Dirty dishes sitting in the sink called my name, and I decided to take care of them before going out to join him.

Even from the kitchen window, I had a full view of the backyard, and I watched him play.

Feeling content, I settled into my chore.

Gates are supposed to protect little ones from wandering outside of the watchful eyes of their parents, not allow predators to come in and snatch them away from the only world that they know.

How I didn’t see him wander to the gate to talk to the man that the neighbor had saw him talking to I have no idea.

In the blink of an eye or the drying of a plate or the putting away of a cup, he was gone; I was right there at the window watching him play and enjoying the beautiful day and somehow missed it.

Just like that, my world was devastated, completely destroyed and no longer worth living in.

Knots of grief and anger now fill my heart and brain at all times.

Laughter is no longer part of who I am.

My thoughts are encapsulated into one solitary thought: him.

Nothing can fill the void of my son missing and then found dead.

Only darkness and death are my constant companions.

Pressure to “move on” because “time heals all wounds” is bullshit.

Questions…so many questions that will never be answered about who he might have been or what he might have accomplished.

Reasons of why I should just kill myself and be done with it; the number one reason being I wasn’t watching.

Seeing him run out the door over and over again, and not saying that I loved him one last time.

Turning away from the window for a split second….things that cannot be taken back, forgotten, forgiven.

Unable to come to terms with his death.

Vaguely aware of those around me: husband, family, friends offering their support and not just leaving me alone.

Wanting to die.

X marks the spot where there is a huge open gaping wound that my heart was ripped out of, never to be closed up.

Yesterday’s sweet memories consume my thoughts when death doesn’t (which is always).

Zest for life is gone, and I want to be gone too.

And so it goes…

I also wrote this prompt for Red Writing Hood in response to the prompt: “Write a short piece – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatevs – in which each sentence starts with a the next letter of the alphabet. Starting with “A.” So, yes, your finished product will consist of 26 sentences.”


  1. Wow, Very sad. I cannot imagine this being me. We cannot always protect them or keep them close enough. Great job. I felt every stinging word.
  2. DIAPERS in the DESERT says:
    This was so vivid and a chilling reminder that you can never say I love you tooo many times to the people you care about most. I wish we lived in a world where no one would ever experience that kind of pain.
  3. Well done, Natalie. This is really good. Very dark and riveting. What an awful awful scene to walk in on. Let's hope it NEVER happens to any of us.
  4. You just captured my worst fear. Haunting.
  5. Dana @ Bungalow'56 says:
    Wow, I wouldn't have even known the alphabet was involved as the short story moved seemlessly from one letter to the next. That, takes talent.
  6. my heart is racing so fast. That was amazing! Now i need to run up stairs and hug and kiss my kids.
  7. omg...never has the alphabet brought me to tears. this is hauntingly beautiful.
  8. MommaKiss says:
    Nat, this is by far the stuff of nightmares. Your writing is incredibly 'in the moment' and I pray none of us ever has to experience it.
  9. Oh, pure terror. Fantastic job with stirring emotions. Another incredible post where I don't even notice the letters.
  10. The Sharp's says:
    NIGHTMARE! It can happen that fast and is the unfortunate reality of some. It could of happened to me last spring, but thankfully someone was watching out for us.
  11. I....don't ever want to think about this!
  12. This is so powerful and just grips the heart. I hope that this is fiction.

    Because, wow. A parents worst nightmare

    But great writing.
  13. Wonderful job, but oh my stomach is in knots. This is such a nightmare put into words!
  14. Ah yes. Something every mom fears, so deeply. Read and cringe and hope - never, never my kids!
  15. Wow. I pray this never happens to any of us. Natalie, you did such a great job on this.
  16. This is too real & truly what my nightmares are made of.
    I pray none of us never experience this firsthand.
  17. Megan (Best of Fates) says:
    Holy frickness. So well written and such a terrible, terrible story.
  18. I am incapable of reading about dead kids. Puts a pit in my stomach, can't do it.
  19. Mrs.Mayhem says:
    Haunting is the perfect word to describe this story. How many times has each one of us done the exact same thing, watching our kids play from the window? Excellent writing; so touching that it hit a nerve, causing me to flinch.
  20. If SHE can figure it out.......... says:
    It's the scariest thing for a parent to imagine, and you've captured all the grief and horror perfectly. Well done! p.s. I finally decided to try Red Writing Hood today! Thanks...
  21. It is amazing the dark places our mind will go if we let them. So many times I've imagined my son running off, or falling in the lake. Thankfully, we can work these out by writing about them.
  22. Not Just Another Jennifer says:
    Chills!!! I know exactly what you mean about it going a weird, dark way, though. Mine wasn't really that dark, but it did take a negative turn I wasn't anticipating. Great post!
  23. REALLY nice job, Nat. Who came up with this prompt? I'm reading every last one.
  24. slightlyoffbalanceblog.com says:
    Oh my gosh! Amazing writing! I am going to go hug and kiss my children!
  25. Sippy Cup Mom says:
    Very good writing, it gave me chills. My worst fear.
  26. Natalie,

    omg...someone above said this was "seamless" and I agree totally....while this was definitely hard to read (because I can relate and need to be more careful), I was glued to my screen and have a huge lump in my throat now...
  27. Ericka @ Creative Liar says:
    Incredibly good!
  28. I don't even know what to say, the possibility is to scary to think about.
    but the writing is wonderful :)
    seamless is the perfect word to describe it.
  29. WTH am I Doing? says:
    Oh, ouch. Beautifully done. Really.

    But ouch.
  30. I had to scroll down to make sure you were doing a red dress prompt and that this wasn't something that really happened. Scared me, girl.
  31. WOW!! Seriously, that was so so good!
  32. The mad woman behind the blog says:
    Yeah, nightmare stuff. Wonderfully written but made the hair stand up on my neck.
    Dude, I have to go find my happy place and get this out of my head.

    Yeah, it was that kind of good!
  33. Leigh Ann says:
    This had my stomach in knots the entire time! Counting my blessings now as they are all safe and napping in their beds. Excellent piece.
  34. moveovermarypoppins.com says:
    So, I am not the only one for whom this went in a different direction...
  35. Good grief, woman! You captured all of our worst fears with this. Chilling and scary and i applaud you for letting it take you unexpected places.
  36. WOW! Impressive! What a fabulous piece!

    BTW, thank you for directing people toward me and my little blog design business. I have been overwhelmed with the amount of emails I have been getting! I LOVE IT!

    I am also back on my blog writing again! I thought I would eventually!
  37. Whew...powerful and painful...yetso very well written. Bravo!
  38. SharleneT says:
    The saddest part of all is that it can and does happen -- and, often... It's one of the reasons I had a German Shepherd when the girls were young. No one, I mean No ONE got near them, when they were in the yard... Otherwise, you have to be with them in today's world... and, actually, that's the saddest part of all... Natalie, this was wonderful. You have such a riveting gift and it shows in everything you write... I so look forward to your posts... Come visit when you can...

    Oh, just changed my blog to a domain address at http://mainstreamsolarcooking.com in case you want to fix your link.
  39. Chills.
    This was my greatest fear as my daughter was growing up.

    And I feel it again with the grandbabies.

    A testament to your skill that I my stomach is churning.
  40. Babes Mami says:
    Amazing and definitely a nightmare, worst fear, everything you can imagine terrible feeling.
  41. Ilana @mommyshorts says:
    Heart wrenching. So glad this is a work of fiction. Well done.
  42. This WAS a great piece! I missed that it was one of the ABC posts until I read some of the comments. Well done!
    And yes, it would certainly be a parent's worst nightmare. I wish all such stories could be labeled fiction!
  43. This is my worst nightmare and my biggest fear! It's sad that something like this is even anything that we need to concern ourselves with!

    Despite the darkness, it was beautifully written!
  44. Your warning did not help much Natalie.

    It is scary, just the thought of something happening like this.
  45. I can't believe you started these prompts sayin you don't do fiction. Wow Nat. I promised myself I'd read at least one novel a month if I continued blogging, now I don't feel so guilty for not starting yet.
  46. Wow! What's so scary about this is that things like this really do happen! Just a reminder of how closely we have to keep an eye on our children. And not just the babies...all of them...teens and tweens too!
  47. DIAPERS in the DESERT says:
    I was just reading some of the comments and I didn't even realize it used the alphabet!! Wow, that's amazing... your writing was so captivating and well written that the alphabet just seamlessly blended.
  48. Dysfunctional Mom says:
    That was amazingly well written, and so chilling.
  49. connieemeraldeyes says:
    That almost happened to me when I was little. My mom said I was in the front yard playing. A man stopped his car and was out of it with his door open. He was almost to me when my mom ran out the door yelling at him. He turned an ran to his car and sped off. Good thing she saw him when she did.
  50. Sometimes these dark places are deep inside our minds...worries, nagging reminders, things that bother us in some way. Buried in there.

    And then you start writing. And they come out.

    This is a great take on this prompt, Nat, and I'm glad you warned us it would turn dark!
  51. adriel, from the mommyhood memos says:
    great writing and so creative! you've got some talent there girl. word.

    p.s. i'm so, so glad it's fictional.
  52. A mother's worst nightmare, isn't it? Great job with the ABC post - seemed effortless.
  53. Stephanie says:
    This is definitely my worst nightmare. It was intense, seamless, flowing. If I didn't know you, and this prompt, I would have thought it really happened to you.

    The guilt of what ifs...

    I'm also glad to see you growing. It takes great brevity to write the dark thoughts that harbor in the corner of our brains. Bravo, Natalie. A job well done.
  54. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    Whoah! That is a very chilling piece and especially impressive because of the writing prompt you used with the alphabet letters. I'm stunned. It totally made me want to die inside too. I hate to think that mothers have actually gone through this. It's too awful to think about really.
  55. This post made me call my kid's preschool just to check on him. I've never done that before. He's fine. But now I'm sitting here wanting to cry. I'm also very impressed with your writing here. I didn't even notice the alphabet thing until I got to the end.
  56. Ok, I do dark, but I have yet to delve into "my" worst nightmares dark in my fiction. This makes me want to never let my child out of my sight. Do you like concrit?
    • mommyofamonster says:
      Yes! Please feel free to give concrit - I need it and very much appreciate getting it!
  57. Concrit (suggestions only, I'm still learning on this): "How I didn’t see him wander to the gate to talk to the man that the neighbor had saw him talking to I have no idea." - I found this a bit wordy and it drew me out of the story. Cutting unneeded words: "How did my neighbor see the man talking to my son at the gate when I did not?" I used () in the next paragraph to show words not needed - the message is communicated clearer without them, IMO. "In the (blink of an eye or the) drying of a plate or the putting away of a cup, he was gone; I was [right there] at the window watching him play and enjoying the beautiful day (and somehow missed it). --> You already said she missed it in the last sentence, you don't need to state it again. The following are all your words, I use () to cut extra words and italics to add or suggest alternatives. Knots of grief and anger (now) fill my heart and brain at all times. Reasons of why I should just kill myself and be done with it; (the number one reason being I wasn’t watching.) --> A little cluttered. Could be more concise by saying " my guilty conscience the number one reason." Seeing him run out the door over and over again, and not saying (that) I loved him one last time. Turning away from the window for a split second - (things that)it cannot be taken back, forgotten, forgiven. Vaguely aware of those around me: husband, family, friends offering their support (and not just leaving me alone). --> Saying they give their support means she isn't left alone, so it is redundant. X marks the spot (where there is) of (a)the huge open gaping wound (that) my heart was ripped out of, never to be closed (up). This piece was excellent. It gave me fear, made me want to wrap my children close and never let them out of my site. The concrit suggestions for for tightening purposes only, a way to make a dark and terrifying piece possibly pop even more. I hope this helps. As always, feel free to ignore or listen to them - I'm still learning too.
  58. I just read today's post and wanted to come back to read the beginning and, just like the post from today, this ripped my heart out of my chest. Even though it's fiction, it drew me in because it's relatable. Every parent fears this happening to their child. You take your eyes away for only a second and you're left with a lifetime of unanswered questions and grief. Very powerful stuff, Natalie.


  1. [...] post is fiction, and was a follow up to another red writing hood prompt I wrote called “Darkness“. As I wrote the this post, I cried…that’s never happened to me before. I hope to [...]
  2. [...] Darkness Blog: Mommy of a Monster and Twins Twitter: [...]