I’m doing some research for the story I’m writing…for me, this means asking questions of people who are more knowledgable than me. Hi Mom!
So here’s the research: my story is a ship-wreck story and part of it revolves on the characters’ differing reactions to the terror.
Whenever I’m scared, and I mean truly terrified, my mouth fills with the taste of gravel and dust. It’s so thick I can hardly swallow and breathing does not clear the sensation: it’s as if the dust is in the air and each breath I take just brings more into my mouth.
It’s a sensation I’ve only had a handful of times in my life (the tornado, for instance) and I can remember each time with painful intensity. The surrounding circumstances often fade in my memory, but that sensation stands out like the jagged edge of a broken window.
I can remember the first time I had this sensation…the first time I was ever truly scared. It was the first week of my short-lived and ill-fated foray into the world of emergency response. An EMT I was not meant to be.
One of the calls involved concrete dust and for the rest of the day, I was gulping water, trying to drown the taste of dust and terror. Ever since, this taste of dust marks terror. During the tornado, the situation didn’t feel real until we were all crouched along the wall of the church basement and I could taste the dust in my mouth.
Some weeks ago, I was talking to Mom about this and she told me that whenever she’s terrified, all the fear morphs into pure anger.
So here’s the question: what does terror feel like to you?