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from The Brightest Firefly by Dacia M Arnold

Sunday School Crossing

Sunday School Crossing






In 2018, the Horror Writer’s Association chose to resurrect the popular children’s book “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. I took to social media to ask women what their fears were. That was when I met Cheri. She leant me her childhood fear which mused my entry for the horror collection. While I ultimately did not make the cut, I gained a friend and an interesting perspective. Thank you, Cheri, for being vulnerable and honest.


Cherry spent all night fussing over her green dress with sunflowers on it. She cleaned her shiny white shoes at least four times. Mitchell, her fourth-grade neighbor, and best friend invited her to church. He said there was ice cream at the end of the children’s service. Even if Cherry had not had a crush on him, ice cream was enough motivation to go. She woke before her alarm that Sunday despite having only a couple hours of sleep.

Cherry had been inside churches before. She attended weddings, and once a funeral service of her father’s uncle, whom she had never heard of. Otherwise, her family was not the church-going type, as her mother put it. Cherry understood the concept of God but never learned the major details of religion. It did not take long for the Sunday school teacher to have Cherry’s full attention.

“The devil is clever but wants nothing more than to lie, cheat, and destroy everything you hold dear. He is like a little voice that tells you to do things that might not seem naughty, but could hurt you or others.”

The more the teacher spoke, the clearer Cherry’s vision of the devil became until she could physically see him, in the corner of the small classroom. He sat with his hands together, holding them against his curled smile. Then he waved. Cherry looked around her to see at whom. When she turned back to him, he nodded at her and motioned again. Terrified of making him angry, she waved back, low and small. After all, according to the teacher, he was evil and dangerous. Cherry did not want to provoke him.

“God has sent down his angels to watch over us. To be his eyes. They are like his soldiers following his every command,” the teacher continued.

Another character formed on the other side of the room, opposite of where the devil sat with his sinister grin. The angel was a towering golden figure with a heavy brow that seemed to scold her. The angel of God. He must have seen her wave at the devil. She just knew he would report the transgression back to God. She would never be allowed in heaven if she made friends with the devil.

“Jesus died so that we will be saved from the ...

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