The Fox in the Henhouse


Johnny had become chairman of the Committee on Federal Operations and chairman of its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, with a budget of two hundred thousand dollars a year and an inculcating staff of investigators. He grew sly, in the way he worked that staff. He would sidle up to a fellow senator or another member of the government placed as high and mention the name and habits of some young lady for whom the senator might be paying the necessities, or perhaps an abortion here, or a folly-of-youth police record there. It worked wonders. He had only to drop this kind of talk upon five or six of them and at once they became his missionaries to intimidate others who might seek to block his ways in government.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Colleague With a Gun

When she’d been a fledgling reporter with dreams of conducting hard-hitting , insightful interviews with heads of state, Arlys had imagined herself in life-and-death situations, and how her courageous and intrepid on-the-spot reporting would impact the nation. Now, as she faced a drunk, potentially crazy colleague with a gun, her mind went blank. Panic sweat rolled greasily down her spine.

Year One (Chronicles of The One) by Nora Roberts

Childbirth Can be Terrifying

After the film I asked Theresa about her own birth experience with me and learned that she had entered the hospital alone and frightened, whereupon she’d been whisked away to a room neighboring other birthing rooms, a harried nurse running back and forth between Theresa and two other women, all of them afraid and calling for the nurse’s attention. Theresa recalled the intense pain of labor, having little understanding as to what was happening with her body, with no one to explain anything or provide any comfort, all the while begging the nurse not to leave her alone as, through the walls, the terrified screams of her neighbors penetrated. I came into this world after some hours of the torture she described to me, pulled out with forceps, silent, possibly stillborn, Theresa had thought. The doctor held me by my feet and slapped my bottom a few times until I let out a small weak whimper. Theresa’s story shocked me.

Synanon Kid Grows Up by C.A. Wittman

Monsters Stealing Sleep

Sara’s encounter with Curtis cast a shadow of uncertainty over my world. In Synanon I had not worried about rapists in the night or child molesters hanging around churches, luring young girls like Sara and me to their homes to do sleazy things under the guise of an interest in our hobbies. Curtis had seemed harmless, but he wasn’t. That night, I couldn’t sleep. Fearful thoughts clamored through my mind, a parade of every possible thing that could happen. I finally got up and went into the kitchen, opening the drawer where Theresa kept the spatulas, serving spoons, and kitchen knives. I took the biggest knife I could find and went back to my room, where I shoved it under my pillow, climbed under the covers, and finally drifted off to sleep.

Synanon Kid Grows Up by C.A. Wittman

Lies We Tell Ourselves


Casimir had been a typical vampire—the quintessential vampire, in fact. And look what had happened to him! Whereas I . . . well, I was different. I was active and empathic and dependable and involved. I wasn’t anything like Casimir. It’s funny what lies you tell yourself when you’re scared to death.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Protective Bedtime Monster


“Stay with me, please, and always protect me,” Rikki says, beginning to yawn again.

“Of course I will,” her monster says.

It sits guard over Rikki for the rest of the night.

My Bedtime Monster by Annelies Schwarz and Kveta Pacovska

Brave Enough to Stay Smart


“Be careful, Dave.” My voice cracked; I didn’t want to be left on my own. “Don’t open any doors unless you know what’s behind them.”

“It’s okay,” he assured me. “I’m not brave enough to do anything stupid.” Then he began to descend the staircase.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Thrill of Facing Fear


I keep climbing, not only because I can’t back down without falling but because I feel so good all of a sudden. I faced my fears and won.

If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

Troubling Mirror


“...there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you—of how you were brought into this world and why—and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro