Freak Out

Turkey scented the air, teasing my stomach. And mashed potatoes.

I walked toward the dining room table, as nonchalant as possible. My hand sneaked out, snatching a deviled egg and popping the entire thing into my mouth.

Six other empty spaces on the tray spoke of the crimes committed.

I watched my cousin execute a similar move; we exchanged looks and grinned.

Soon.. soon the game would be on.

Dinner arrived, only five eggs left to share. Innocent whistling as accusations and teasing found its mark.

A halfhearted attempt at Scrabble. War via the deck of cards.

Darkness fell.

It was time.

Board games discarded, I raced into the unfinished basement, my sister and younger cousin not far behind.

The cold walls and floor greeted us, the temperature plummeting – socks and shoes a must, or your toes would freeze. We rounded the corner, reaching the laundry room. I flipped its light switch.

“Okay!” I yelled to my cousin still at the top of the stairs.

The main lights clicked off, the only light from the bulb above.

Feet thundered down the steps, as he appeared before us.

He would be It.

“One. Two. Three. Four. Five…” He counted, the light rapidly going off and on.

The three of us scattered into the open space. I found the perfect spot, wedged between two cardboard boxes in the main room, and tucked myself into a ball. Dust tickled my nose and I fought back a sneeze.

“Nineteen. Twenty.” The flickering stopped and the basement turned black.

Only a hint of light filtered from the main floor down the open staircase.

The quiet shuffling sounds of my cousin vanished as the furnace kicked on, hiding his actions.

Was he here?

Was he in the other room?

Was it safe?

My eyes adjusted to the dim and I scanned for hints of movement.


Slowly I eased out of position, creeping towards the laundry room, hunched down onto all fours.





In the other room I heard a yell, as my older cousin found his sister.

From the main level, I’m told we sounded as if axe murderers chased us.

To us, it was our game.

Freak Out.

Always played during the winter holidays, because summer nights were too long for the proper level of darkness.

Best. Game. Ever.


This week, we want you to recall the games you played when you were young.

Did you love Monopoly, Yahtzee, or Uno? Or did you prefer backgammon, Trouble, or Scrabble?

Write a piece that explores one of your memories.


I’ve played and loved many board games, but those are not what I remember from childhood. Instead, it was the game we created, Freak Out, that brought us so much joy.


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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14 Responses to Freak Out

  1. tsonoda148 says:

    Loved playing IT in the basement. Awesome memory! Fun post!

  2. Leigh Ann says:

    Love this vivid memory. Holiday games with family are always the best.

  3. Kir says:

    ooh I would have hated this game, I was scared reading this….Eeek!
    but I love how you brought it alive for us,. how you had me hiding with you behind that box.

    Loved it!

  4. Carrie says:

    Awesome! That sounds like such a great game

  5. angela says:

    I was too much of a fraidy cat to play something like this. I was the kid that sprinted up the basement stairs like something was going to get me, heart pounding out of my chest. But you made this sound so fun 🙂

  6. What a great memory. I enjoyed reading this! Great job on the prompt : ) Signing up for your feed, too.

  7. Jackie says:

    Sounds like fun! Kinda like a cross between tag and hide & seek!!

  8. Galit Breen says:

    Love it lady! And seriously adore how vivid the memory is! I can so, so imagine my kids getting into the screaming factor! No teaching them! 🙂

  9. Jackie says:

    That sounds like a fun game, especially in the basement darkness!

  10. Alison Lee says:

    Ooh, sounds like a really awesome game. I love the thrill of it, you described it so well.

  11. This just completely reminded me of playing the card game Speed as a kid. You know, back when Speed was not a drug.

  12. Natalie says:

    Holy crap! No basements here, but definitely would’ve been the!!!

    I will admit, I’d never play now, though. WAY too chicken!

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