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I have many fears, and one of them I faced last night: going inside the barn when it is dark.

Ever since Dad and I built the barn, I have barely stepped foot inside without any source of light. Earlier in the fall, when we had a critter try and break into the barn, I did not even go close to the barn in the dark.

Last night, we were late coming home from my grandmother’s, and Bill needed put away. So I marched up to the top of the hill, unhooked Bill (note: he had the ability to go in and out of the barn as he wished) and watched him run off to the bottom of the hill, in the exact opposite direction I wanted him to go.

I glanced into the barn, and it was pitch black inside. Sometimes the only way to convince Bill to go inside is for me to go inside, and although I knew I had to go in, I still tried calling for him. The closer I got, the further he pranced away, and if I tried walking towards the barn, he ignored me.

I stood at the door, trying to listen for any signs of any sort of critter inside. I put one foot in the door, and I felt my own fear rattle my knees. It’s a foolish thing to fear, I thought to myself. I ducked in, and stood right on the inside, waiting.

I could hear Bill’s bell jingling as he came up the hill, but he stopped. I had to go in further.

Slowly, I walked over to the feed bins. What if a snake bites me? I thought again. Copperheads are a real threat here, and for the second or two as I was shuffling over to the can, all I could picture was a snake biting my ankle.

WHUMP! The sound of Bill’s hooves hitting the door-ledge brought me back into reality. Sooner than later, he was propped up on the box around the cans, nosing around for some grain. With Bill beside me, I felt a lot better. I gave him food, and then I clambered out of the barn, unafraid.

I shut the door behind me, and resolutely walked down the hill, thinking Bring it on, chupacabra.