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  • In Sekhmet, The story focuses on the adventures of sixteen and half year old Kalima and her friends as they battle against the goddess, Sekhmet. Aside from this, the story has the following examples:
    • Myra was sent to the Hyena Island, a place where the crown sends the most dangerous prisoners, while she was pregnant with Kalima and grieving the loss of both her parents. She escaped from the island and challenges Anastasia, her sister, for the queenship. Anastasia is turned to stone and Myra has to take care of her niece, Caterina. Then five years later, Caterina disappears.
    • Imagine how Akela must have felt coming back from his Father's funeral to find his wife missing and his sister-in-law on the throne. Then he can't spend time with his daughter unless he pretends to be a guard.
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    • Frey spent months away from his pregnant wife as she was imprisoned and he couldn't even visit her to make sure she was alright. Then his wife returns and he gets to meet his young daughter. He couldn't even be there for the birth. Then many years later after trying for all of tthose years to have any child, they managed to finally have one. Then she is kidnapped, maybe even killed, by a goddess and your only child is now dead set on fighting that goddess.
    • The children taken by the Rouges are sacrificed and left to rot in the sanctuary of their temple according to Delta while she was forced to relive it.
  • Katt vs. Dogg: For Oscar's and Molly's families, as Oscar and Molly ran off chasing something and got lost in the woods.
  • The Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul:
    • Yazmina is a pregnant young woman in Afghanistan who's husband was killed, was bought by sex traffickers and thrown on the street when they discovered she's not a virgin, and was left homeless in Kabul. She was extremely lucky to find Sunny when she did.
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    • There's also Halajan. She was pining her whole life for someone she wasn't promised to, and is afraid to come out about it because of how deeply traditional her son is.
  • Nineteen Eighty Four, which became even scarier with the passing of the Patriot Act, and every store these days is full of security cameras, or the kinds of private information available to the people who run social networking sites, or that employers have figured out how to access said information. There are real-world countries that emulate the "we are watching you and if we catch you expressing any rebellious thoughts we will brainwash you into submission or kill you" style of Oceania, such as the infamous North Korea.
  • Oliver and the Seawigs: Something of an Inversion, as Oliver is a child experiencing the very adult fear of having his parents disappear along with the islands they were exploring.
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  • In Simulated how do you deal with a serial killer that has the ability to suppress any superpowers you have when you rely on those powers so heavily? Never mind said serial killer can leave you in a fate worse than death.
  • Sky Jumpers
    • For Dr. Grenwood, her son, Aaren, slips on a roof and falls to the ground. And on the way, he slices his belly on a sharp piece of metal that was sticking up. She then struggles to get him to remember what to do while she treats him.
    • The town of White Rock is hit with one when it's invaded by bandits. If they don't hand over all their antibiotics, the bandits will gun down everyone in town. But if they do, they won't have the medicine necessary to treat the case of Shadel's Sickness that's now spreading through the town.
    • Aaren, Hope, and Brock are forced to allow Brenna to come along when she follows them. When they start to trek through the mountains, she starts developing hypothermia.
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake, one of the Little House on the Prairie books. Baby sister Grace gets lost on the prairie. To child readers, it's a somewhat tense scene. For grown-ups with children of their own, it's absolutely horrifying. Grace is found, in a perfect circle of violets. Laura is certain that it's a fairy ring, but grabs her little sister despite being creeped out. It turns out to be a buffalo wallow; the way buffalos roll in the dirt breaks up the prairie grass and aerates the soil perfectly to encourage the violets to grow.
  • Fahrenheit 451 centers around a future dystopian United States where literature and basically literacy itself are taboo and entertainment is derived from the ersatzes of television devices that many residents are addicted to; Mildred in particular is so addicted to her television walls that she and her husband Guy have no love left between them. Think about what books are banned at the schools you've gone to and by your country's government, as well as the addictive, apathy-inducing properties of television, video games, and the Internet.
  • The Impairment:
    • The book is set at a university which is at the center of a two year long streak of unsolved serial murders and it's grown so horrible most of the students have been reduced to crazy levels of paranoia and are desperate that they'd gladly see the freshman whom is the prime suspect (and of whom we're placed in the perspective of where we see not only is he innocent, but watched as the latest murder take place) take the fall if they can sleep easily.
    • The revelation that becomes apparent to Kyle when Bret Cameron makes it abundantly clear that the students are nothing more than inevitable collateral damage as his company, a supposed section of the Government that deals...with matters the public are better off not knowing about, and even when he concedes to Kyle's demands to help save students from the coming massacre, we the readers already understand that, it'll be at the best a very bittersweet victory as students will inevitably die.
  • In the first book of The Thrawn Trilogy, from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Leia is pregnant. She spends some time brooding about whether the twins will turn out like her father, and whether evil skips a generation. More explicitly, Thrawn's Nohgri commandos pursue her all over the galaxy, seeking to capture her without the use of Stun Guns. Stun guns would make these things simpler, but they can induce miscarriage. Meaning that they want to catch her and her unborn children. No matter where she goes, the Nohgri find her, and her escapes get narrower each time. At one point she realizes that Chewbacca and her other defenders would probably be killed, but not her. She'd be taken before Grand Admiral Thrawn, who would smile, and speak politely, and take her children away. When Leia has her third child, the reborn Emperor Palpatine chases after her and the baby so he can replace its soul and take over the infant's body. He doesn't want to kill the baby — he wants to replace it.
  • Coraline:
    • For children, it has fairly standard Aesops about being careful what you wish for and being wary of strangers. For adults, it's about how failing to pay attention to a child can result in the child's kidnapping and death. Word of God states that this was intentional, and indeed, was Gaiman's primary reason for authoring the story — namely, scaring the pants off parents while leaving kids merely a little creeped out.
    • In the movie, it becomes a sobering moment for children (even teenagers) when Coraline can't find her parents. The first time staying alone in your house can be a scary thing. In Coraline's case, she doesn't know where her parents are, if they're even coming back, or what will happen to her. The scene with the pillows in the bed is both heartbreaking and oddly terrifying.
  • In Freaky Friday, near the end of the book, Annabel comes home to find that Boris let her brother go out with a girl he didn't recognize. It turns out to be her mother in her body, without her braces and with pretty clothes.
  • Goosebumps delves into this trope by virtue of being a series where children are constantly victimized, threatened, stalked, abused, or even killed; and every adult is either completely powerless to help them, or is involved with the horrific plot at hand.
    • The Night of the Living Dummy series. As several people, along with the blogger himself, pointed out on the snarky Goosebumps blog, the Night of the Living Dummy series may be creepy as a child, but as an adult, a completely different layer of creepy reveals itself. The living dummy in question is obsessed with making preteen girls (and it's always girls, never boys in these books) into his slaves. When they refuse, he punches and slaps them - a rare act of physical violence for this series - and knocks one girl unconscious. In Bride of the Living Dummy, he goes further, demanding a 12 year old girl as his bride (instead of the female dummy), and calling his violence against her a "love tap". From adult eyes, it takes on a whole new meaning that flew over our heads when we were kids, with some really disturbing subtext...
    • In the TV adaptation of Night of the Living Dummy III, it is shown that Slappy has demonically possessed or at least is using his powers on a young pre-teen boy. The effect is no less creepy than it was with the girls.
    • A Night in Terror Tower is also a notable example, as its two child leads are lost American tourists in London. They find they have no acceptable currency, they are completely at a loss for their parents' names or physical descriptions, and, to top it all off, they are relentlessly pursued by a ruthless man who's actively trying to kill them. And adding onto that, it's revealed that they're actually a pair of royal siblings who were sent into the future, without anyone to help them, in the hope that they'd be able to escape being executed.
    • However, no one has lived up to this trope any more than the penultimate novel of the original series, I Live In Your Basement. First off, a 12-year-old boy gets smacked HARD in the side of the head with a bat, and what makes it worse is that not only do we get to actually read the graphic detail of the character's pain, it's told in first person, which gives the reader a vicarious experience on the pain themselves, which is even more unsettling. On top of that, this is a child who got smacked in the head with an object hard enough to possibly kill him, and he is even revealed to have dreamed everything that happened in the first 18 chapters while he was in a coma. In addition, the whole novel deals with psychological fear, with Creepy Child Keith appearing everywhere the main protagonist is and constantly calling him, which tends to play on people's fears of madness, one that is very difficult for anyone to escape from. Needless to say, this novel was considered VERY EXTREME for this series.
  • Stephen King draws on this a lot.
    • The Shining deals with Jack Torrance's fear of hurting his wife and son, of failing as a writer, of becoming crazy and/or an alcoholic, etc.
    • Carrie's mother, Margaret White was raped by her husband, now she wanted to abuse her daughter to make her suffer. She won't let Carrie to go outside excluding school, tried to kill her when she is a baby, and never allow her to talk to strangers (such as a woman who talks about her breasts).
    • The image for this trope comes from The Film of the Book of King's Pet Sematary which is, as heart, a prolonged riff on the very adult fear of the death of a child. In fact, what gives the book its emotional gut-punch is the knowledge that everything goes to hell just because Lewis Creed loves his little boy... a bit too much.
    • In The Dead Zone, Sheriff Bannerman is investigating the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl. Not only was she in the same class as his own nine-year-old daughter, not only did they know each other, but his daughter walked along the exact same path the victim did, where the killer was lurking waiting for his next victim, not once but twice that morning, even meeting the victim as she was leaving the school building and his daughter was returning to it. If his daughter had been walking alone instead of with a friend, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that Bannerman would have arrived at the crime scene to find his own little girl horribly raped and strangled.
    • In From a Buick 8 Sandy Dearborn just told the kid about the titular Buick and was too late to realize, what kid had in mind. Next time he sees him inside the Buick, with a canister of gas, lighter in one hand and gun in the other, ready to launch a suicide attack on parallel world. On top of that car telepatically taunts him, saying, that it will teleport a child into another reality, simply because it wants to.
    • It is, naturally for a horror story where the protagonists are children for most of it, built on this, but there's a unique Fridge Horror aspect to it. Since the story starts with the characters as adults and then follows their recollection of their childhood together, some of the most awful, frightening things in the book come from the perspective of only having context for horrible things after you've outgrown childhood innocence. Special mention goes to Beverly's mother asking if her father has ever been "inappropriate" with her: she has every reason to suspect that her husband is lusting after their daughter and it's strongly implied that he did, but Beverly doesn't understand the question and she can't be more specific without revealing the reason she asked in the first place. This leaves Beverly's mother unable to get a straight answer or strong-enough basis to accuse her husband, and Beverly doesn't realize the implications until long after IT has had an opportunity to threaten her with it.
    • The Jaunt is entirely built on adult fear. Scariest thing is how sudden it is - one second you're sitting in a waiting room with your children, getting ready for teleportation and telling a story to pass time - next your son is gone insane, it's partially your fault and there's nothing you can do about it.
    • Needful Things: Preteen Brian commits suicide, in front of his younger brother, and his mom is too addicted to Gaunt's products to care or even notice.
    • Misery: This book really captures the mundane horror of being badly injured and completely reliant on somebody who is totally unstable and willing to hurt you more on a whim.
  • A Clockwork Orange: In addition to the aforementioned elements shared by the movie, the book features, among other things, a chapter in which Alex rapes a pair of young girls, and graphic descriptions of the World War II footage he is forced to watch as part of his "treatment".
  • Two Weeks with the Queen is told from the perspective of the young Colin, who takes a long time to understand what's going on. However, the focus on the book is still a very adult fear: living knowing you are going to lose your brother (Colin), your child (his parents), or your life partner (Ted).
  • The Harry Potter series, despite being aimed at children, has plenty of moments that scare the parents more than the kids, and a lot of them have to do with child abuse, Parental Abandonment, and not being able to protect or take care of your own children. Most of this probably came from Rowling's own fears as a mother (and especially as a single mother, having broken off an abusive marriage).
    • In the very beginning of Deathly Hallows when Hermione has to erase all of her parents' memories of herself so Voldemort can't torture them for information, it gives a parent a sense of failure to protect their child, that they're weak and powerless.
    • It's very easy to see why Molly Weasley goes full Mama Bear during the Battle of Hogwarts. After all, we saw her Boggart in the fifth bookher family dead. She lost her two brothers in the last war, one of the twins has just died, and the daughter she so desperately wanted after having several sons is apparently the next one...
    • Fenrir Greyback. In the book he manages to rival Bellatrix Lestrange in the bone-deep creepiness category. In the movie he's downright disturbing, especially with Hermione. This was entirely intentional on Rowling's part. Notably, there's the fact that Greyback prefers attacking children, both to get back at any parents who angered him and because he enjoys corrupting children young and having them grow up to hate regular people. We find out in the sixth book that he bit Lupin when he was very young, and the books make it pretty clear that being a werewolf put huge mental, emotional, and physical strain on him, plus the fact that (due to discrimination against werewolves) he's generally unemployed and dirt-poor. Greyback set him up for this life because Lupin's father offended him.
    • In the first part of the final film installment, Greyback's part is downplayed... but they play up the character of Scabior, one of the snatchers. To children in the audience, Scabior is frightening because he's feral-looking, gross, cruel, and hunting down the main trio. And to slightly older viewers, particularly to women, his predatory demeanour toward Hermione is a lot more frightening.
    • The flashbacks to the night Lily and James Potter were killed. The two died in total fear, but doing their best to protect their infant son. In the end, they weren't able to hold back the guy who broke into their house at all. If it weren't for The Power of Love and Lily's Mama Bear Dying Moment of Awesome, they would have had no way to protect baby Harry at all.
    • When you're a kid, the scene in the first novel with Harry seeing his family in the mirror is interesting and sort of sad. When you're older it kind of makes you want to cry.
    • Xenophilius Lovegood is a whole lot more tragic in Deathly Hallows because of this. "They took my Luna, and I don't know if I'll get her back!" The poor guy nearly blows up his house trying to catch the trio, but not out of ill will towards them... but only so he can save his poor daughter from being imprisoned by Death Eaters.
    • Narcissa Malfoy's most prominent and sympathetic role in the story comes from her attempts to save Draco from the power of Voldemort. So much that she managed to lie to the face of Voldemort so Draco would live.
    • Draco's arc through the last two books will resonate with anyone raised in a strict conservative fundamentalist home: he learns that the godlike figure he was raised to revere is a cruel, vindictive sadist who couldn't care less about him or his family...when he's in too deep to back out.
    • In the fourth book, Harry is trapped in a room with someone he thought he could trust, a teacher no less. Only for said person to try to murder him.
    • Order of the Phoenix: there's a catastrophe looming in the horizon but the government is too scared/incompetent to do anything about it so it just decides to pretend it doesn't exist, manipulate the media into discrediting those trying to warn people about it, send bureaucrats to force institutions to toe their line which has the side effect of leaving people less prepared for the catastrophe and finally just start arresting people who keep talking about it. And at the center of it all is Umbridge, who is nothing less than a walking personification of incompetent, cruel and power tripping authority figures everywhere. Small wonder she is one of the most loathed villains in all of fiction: unless you live an extraordinarily charmed life, you either have or will encounter someone like her, whether it's a boss, a teacher, a government, even your family.
    • From Chamber of Secrets:
      • Molly Weasley must have suffered when, in the middle of the night, she found three of her sons gone, with no note or anything explaining where they went or why, and the family car gone as well. Granted, they did have a good reason for sneaking out, but her anger at them for doing so is completely justified.
      • The Weasley parents get word from Hogwarts that their eleven-year-old daughter was kidnapped into the Chamber of Secrets. Since nobody knows where the chamber is, there's no chance of finding her and everyone generally has to assume that she's dead. Thankfully Harry and Ron find the chamber in time, but it was still very close. Then, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley find out that this all happened because Ginny was befriended by a stranger who she thought was a kind person interested in her well-being. In reality, not only was he completely manipulating her and using her for his own gain, but he was a younger version of the genocidal Big Bad of the series. What terrifies an adult reader is that leaving out the magical element the scare does not leave, as the experience is too much similar to pedophiles, human traffickers and other predators luring your underage children to a trap through online chats or just gaining their trust under the disguise of a friend.
    • Harry gets to see no less than three people he knows well get murdered before his very eyes: his Fire-Forged Friend Cedric in Goblet of Fire, his Godfather Sirius Black in The Order of the Phoenix and his mentor Dumbledore in The Half-Blood Prince. While the former was done by the Big Bad, the latter was by one of Harry's teachers, which made Harry so furious that he tried to assault him in revenge. Strangely, the latter is relieved a little because Dumbledore knew he was going to die sooner or later and actually asked Snape to deliver a Mercy Kill. Then again, being fated for a near-future death (such as from a terminal illness) is an Adult Fear for the victim and those they know in and of itself.
    • The Death Eaters-run Ministry in Deathly Hollows, which involves the hunting of Muggle-born wizards and witches. It's a terrifying parallel to real-world scapegoating dictatorships past and present.
    • Any time when it becomes terrifyingly clear that the Hogwarts teachers are powerless to protect their students. This is especially prominent in the seventh book, when Hogwarts is essentially run by Death Eaters. There's one horrifying part where one of the Carrow siblings suggests letting students be tortured by Voldemort to cover up a mistake he made. McGonagall firmly tells him she won't allow it, only for him to smugly inform her that she doesn't have the power to stop him. Fortunately Harry is able to knock him out. Not forgetting how part of the new curriculum involves casting the Cruciatus Curse on First-Year students with detention slips.
    • Having a disease that makes people a violent threat to everyone around them, sometimes. It can't be cured. The ill person can only be locked away, gaining some measure of control with medication, or both. You're going to spend the rest of your life being ostracized unless you keep it a secret. Does this describe mental illness, lycanthropy, or both?
    • What happened to poor Ariana Dumbledore is absolutely horrifying. Harry, Ron, and Hermione hate hearing the story as much as Aberforth hates telling it and she's been dead for a century. When she was six, she was outside playing and some muggle boys saw her doing magic and "attacked" her. How exactly they attacked her is left open to the reader's imagination but none of the implications as to what it was are charming. Whatever it was was so bad that their dad attacked them and willingly went to Azkaban under the guise of Fantastic Racism so he didn't have to tell the truth about why he attacked them. It caused her to go mad and not be able to control her magic. According to Aberforth, most of the time she was sweet and docile but when she had an episode, it was really bad. She even accidentally killed their mom during one. Then she got killed on accident, maybe by one of her brothers. Something like that happening to a kid is any parent's nightmare, no wonder neither one of her brothers ever got over it.
  • Discworld invokes these quite often.
    • In Hogfather the entire reason the Boogeyman, the living embodiment of the "monster under the bed" type scare, became the Tooth Fairy was to protect children from real monsters like Teatime.
    • Lords and Ladies - The Fairy Queen's threat to Granny Weatherwax is all the more chilling when you realize it's a reference to dementia/Alzheimer's disease.
      You'll be left alive, to dribble and gibber and soil yourself and wander from door to door for scraps. And they'll say: there goes the mad old woman. . . . inside I'll keep just a part of you which looks out through your eyes and knows what you've become.
    • Thud!. Sam Vimes has a son, and he's going to be home at six o'clock no matter what to read Where's My Cow? to Young Sam. He has nightmares about not making it. He also has nightmares about coming home to an empty crib because of the enemies a police chief makes. In this book, he makes some more.
  • Imajica has an extreme example, as the fear becomes a painful reality. The child under one's protection gets abducted, raped (or worse) and killed right in front of it's protector. Let's just say he has trouble dealing with it.
  • Many of Bentley Little's novels deal with these sort of themes, including the nullification of personal identity (The Ignored) and the destructive power of consumerism (The Store).
  • The premise of The Lovely Bones is based on the worst possible outcome of the "Oh, shit. My kid was supposed to be home hours ago; what if they're dead?" fear.
  • The Anita Blake series has an example of this in the first book, Guilty Pleasures. Anita is hopping through, having a genuine Worthy Opponent moment with Jean-Claude, who can actually roll her, if briefly. Then she meets Nikolaos. Nikolaos doesn't try to convince Anita that she's seeing something she isn't. She tries to convince Anita that she is someone she isn't. And Anita is conscious enough to realize what's happening, but not quite enough to stop it on her own. It's a boogeyman doing bad things, yeah...it's also someone putting you in a position where even someone who was as calm as Anita was incapable of fighting back, and has no reason to expect help. Oh, and Nikolaos looks like a child, and was springing between innocent and B-Movie villain before that.
  • Battle Royale (and by extension, Survival of the Fittest and any other works based off of it). The plot revolves around a middleschool class being sent on a deserted island and forced to kill each other. And there's nothing you could really do about it, as well; two of the adult characters protested against it in the book and manga, resulting in one getting brutally killed and the other getting raped to silence her. Yikes.
  • Thomas Ligotti's short story "The Frolic" plays into both this and existential terror with the walking, talking slab of undiluted Paranoia Fuel that is "John Doe". Think of the worst thing that someone could possibly do to a child. Now, think of someone who does this. Often. Someone that does this without even knowing that it's even slightly wrong. Someone (or rather something) that may not even be human. His capture, he says, is merely time for him to rest. For what ever reason, he just knows that you have a daughter...
  • A Little Princess is about a young girl named Sarah who is forced into a life of servitude after her father dies and leaves her apparently penniless and with no other living relatives. And his closest and most trusted friend and business partner believes it's his fault that he supposedly lost the fortune and drove his friend to die. He wants to find his friend's daughter (Sarah) and take care of her because he feels he owes her father that much, and is worried for her safety. But he has no idea where she even is, or even if she's within the country! His search for her lasts years. It's even worse in Cuaron's movie version, where her father is alive and living next door, but due to his injuries and trauma he's suffering from memory loss. When Sarah is running from the police and hides in the house, she recognizes him and starts crying and trying to get him to remember her as she's dragged away to be arrested. He remembers her at the last minute, but still!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Has its own page.
  • Bridge to Terabithia, period. The idea that a cheerful, friendly, imaginative and full of life child suddenly dies in a freak, senseless accident (best swimmer in a class drowning in creek shallow enough to walk through) is utterly terrifying to parents, especially since said child did nothing to deserve death. "Bonus" points for this being the only child. Another terrifying point is that the whole is Based on a True Story. It was a lightning strike in reality making it even more tragic. One minute that little girl is happily playing on a beach, the next there is a corpse...
  • In The Stones of Green Knowe, the protagonist, Roger, at one point sees what he thinks is his own village being massacred, with his family slaughtered. Despite the fact that Roger is only a child in the story, this would have been a very realistic fear for anyone at the time the novel takes place (the twelfth century), as well as in parts of the world today.
  • Die Wolke ("The Cloud") by Gudrun Pausewang describes what would happen to a country if a nuclear plant would go fully caboom.
  • Die letzten Kinder von Schewenborn (The Last Children of Schewenborn) describes the aftermath of an implied nuclear war with all its horrors (the protagonist's family save his father dies one after another while suicides, murders, radiation sickness and starvation deaths happen all around him).
    • Der Schlund (The Abyss) is set in a Germany that falls pray to another fascist regime a la Third Reich. The protagonist here loses her entire family to the regime and essentially commits suicide-by-proxy at the end.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • The book centres around Katniss who takes on a motherly role for her young sister prematurely due to her father dying in a mining accident and her mother's ensuing depression. To feed the family she breaks the law and increases her odds of being picked for the deadly games. But because this is a Crapsack World, the sister is picked for the Games anyway, so Katniss volunteers as sacrifice, knowing she'll never win and her family will be left without a provider. Harrowing enough but then her younger sister dies in the revolution Katniss starts - likely at the hands of Katniss' best friend.
    • Outside of the Games themselves, there's the fear of mental illness making you unable to care for your children. Recovering, and knowing that your kids nearly starved to death while you watched and did nothing, knowing that your daughter doesn't even trust you anymore. The horrible guilt- and unlike the Games, it actually happens.
    • A torture method that takes your most treasured memories and poisons them, making you fear the people you used to love to the extent that you want them dead. And there's no known cure.
    • For Katniss herself this trope is a big part of forming her personality and her outlook on life. She doesn't ever want to fall in love because she's seen what it did to her mother to lose her father. She's even more adamant to never have children because they might get reaped. Even after the Games are over and the rule of Snow has been overthrown it takes fifteen years for her to get over that fear and start a family. She also spends a long time ignoring/denying her feelings for Peeta.
  • Three Days by Donna Jo Napoli focuses on an eleven-year-old girl visiting in Italy with her father. All is well until he suffers a heart attack while driving and passes out...and then the girl ends up being kidnapped. So now in addition to watching her father get a heart attack and probably die while they were driving and she was right next to him, she's trapped in a stranger's home, surrounded by people who don't speak any English, in a strange country that she doesn't even know her way around.
  • From The Raven: What about never being able to see someone you love - ever?
  • The Knight and Rogue Series has a woman who collects mentally handicapped children to experiment on, since the law is more likely to miss perfectly normal kids or adults.
  • Warrior Cats deals with this a couple times.
    • The forest is dangerous, so it's always frightening to the characters when a young cat disappears... one mother has to deal with the fact that her daughter's hindlegs are paralyzed so she'll never live a normal life and might die early... another mother's kits go missing, and she's forced to realize that her mate may have kidnapped them to live with him.
    • There's the scene where a kitten is seized by a hawk, carried off into the sky, and nobody is fast enough to stop it, even though they see it happening. We never see that kitten again.
  • Those That Wake had everyone forgetting about teenage Laura, even her parents. And at the end of the book, they still don't remember.
  • School Crossing, by Francis King, is about a child-hating headmaster bitter after being sacked from the school where he worked. Whenever he drives anywhere near the school, he begins seeing the ghosts of children on the crossing outside. After being told by a doctor that he is hallucinating and should drive at the ghosts to prove they're not real, he does - only to run over and kill several children. The "ghosts" were a premonition. This is a fear instantly understandable to anyone with kids or who drives anywhere near places where children gather. The author has stated that he began having nightmares about it after acquiring a large, powerful car that he found difficult to handle. The doctor who gave him the advice presumably didn't handle the outcome very well, either.
  • House of Leaves has many scary things going on, most noticably the Nothing Is Scarier aspects. But perhaps the most insidious facet of the book's creepiness is the fact that these terrible things are all going on in a family home. And then the children start changing. And also the claustrophobia, and the steadily escalating insanity that's probably the only thing of these that's actually happening.
  • Fay Woolf's short stories "Slowly" (about a child being trapped beneath a fairground ride - engineers try to free him but then discover the machine sliced him into a pile of body parts, which rain down upon the rescuers) and "Sideshow" (about a boy suffocating to death during a party game at a school fair.) The events of both stories are described in such a way as to hold off the full horror until the end, and they are reasonably unlikely to happen - but still perfectly plausible and possible. Not fun for any parents reading.
  • Someone Else's War examines the life and world of a child soldier from the inside out. It's a harrowing read in its own right, but if you have children of your own, you will find yourself unconsciously putting them in Matteo's place. Or Asher's. Or Otto's. Or Ruth's. And weeping with terror. And then you remember that there are real children going through this.
  • Słony from Kroniki Drugiego Kręgu has to hide his daughter on a remote island — and be very careful with any visitor he has — in order to keep her safe from an organization that would otherwise kidnap and experiment upon her. The organization finds out anyway and forces him to spy on a bunch of people or they will kidnap, rape, and force her to give birth to children they will further experiment on. No wonder the guy spends his night obsessively checking if all of his children are alive in their beds.
  • Galaxy of Fear mostly serves up Goosebumps-style horrors, but not entirely.
    • Tash and Zak Arranda are kid survivors of Alderaan and lost everyone there. In Eaten Alive Tash is shown to have some degree of separation anxiety/abandonment issues, half believing that if she's parted from her one surviving family member, he'll die too. After Alderaan she sank in despair, only deciding to engage with the world because her brother was there and needed someone to watch his back. The book skims over her reaction to everyone, including Zak, disappearing later. City of the Dead has Zak going off by himself and apparently dying; he wakes up at his own funeral and hears her crying, but can't move or speak himself. This book mostly has him as the viewpoint character and he's more concerned with paralysis and being Buried Alive, so again Tash's reaction isn't given any focus... but it's pretty awful to think about.
    • In The Nightmare Machine, Zak has to face a number of fears thanks to the titular horror, and it takes his worst fear to escape it.
    "My worst fear isn't being attacked by technology, or eaten by a rancor, or even losing Uncle Hoole. Tash, my worst fear is losing you!"
  • The Emigrants:
    • The near-documentary depiction of a group of people who emigrate from Sweden to America during the mid-19th century. The fear of not being able to feed or clothe your children, your children dying from hunger or disease, sailing across an ocean knowing that some of the passengers will die during the journey, fear of being a stranger in a strange land and not speaking the language so you can't communicate even if your life depends on it... The list is very, very long.
    • Special mention goes to two situations involving Karl Oskar and Kristina's two eldest daughters:
      • Their first-born, Anna, finds the grain porridge meant for her baby brother's christening and eats almost all of it because she is four years old and starving. The porridge proceeds to swell in her belly and rupture her stomach and bowels and she dies in agony during the course of a very long night. The worst part? Being only four years old she believes that she's in pain because she was bad, and so if her parents only forgive her the pain will stop. But because they can't take her pain away she dies believing that her parents didn't forgive her.
      • The second situation happens when they are travelling through America to reach Minnesota, and the river boat they are on stops for a while at a port. Kristina and Karl Oskar go ashore, bringing their eldest children with them, but when it's time for the boat to leave they discover that both of them though the other had Märta, their now eldest daughter. So Märta is missing, the river boat is about to leave any minute, they don't speak English and can neither communicate to the river boat crew that they need to wait, nor ask anyone ashore if they have seen their little girl. And they can't just get off the boat either, look for Märta and then catch another boat once they've found her, because their three sons and all their earthly belongings are on board that river boat. It's pure Nightmare Fuel to read about.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Going away on a business trip while leaving your lover behind. Then, while being there, your best friend shows up without warning, to tell you that your lover was just murdered. Then you find out that it was an enemy of yours, the same man who tried to rape you once, but you didn't tell anyone about. In other words, the love of your life is dead, and you're responsible.
    • The Harringtons knew that when their little girl joined the Navy she may one day be killed in battle—but having her captured by the enemy and watching her execution on TV is one of the most heartrending passages in the entire series—even though, by this point, the reader already knows it's completely fake.
    • During the Oyster Bay sequence, one brief POV is a father traveling with his children. He has just enough time to realize that a) his children are going to die and b) that he can't do a damn thing about it.
  • A Shadow Girls Summer Of Love And Madness has Eliza being kidnapped by someone her mother, Kala just invited into their home. Kala is killed by the kidnapper and dies not knowing if her baby will be taken to safety.
  • The Bell Jar contains a Young Adult Fear, when Esther realises that while she is intelligent, she doesn't have any idea what to do for a career and fears that life is passing her by. This will hit close to home for many teenagers and twenty-somethings.
  • Ivanhoe: Being part of a subjugated race? Check. Having arrogant aristocrats able and willing to do whatever they want to do to you with the approval of the law? Check. Having a Corrupt Church tell you that you are supposed to be subjugated? Check. Being mocked because your ancestors lost a battle? Check. Having ones loved one kidnapped by a would-be rapist? Check.
  • In the Aunt Dimity series, once Lori becomes a parent, these sorts of fears start to figure into her reactions. This gets a humourous treatment when she's an overprotective new mom, but it also drives her more serious investigation of the possible pedophile in Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter.
  • A Long Way from Chicago touches on things like losing one's house or become penniless and destitute. It doesn't help that the second book is set during The Great Depression. The second book also has a frightening chapter where Mary Alice has her first encounter with a tornado, and hides in the storm cellar with her grandmother and their pets.
  • In A Macabre Myth of a Moth-Man, Nina spends an entire year missing her boyfriend and wondering why he isn't contacting her and if it's somehow her fault or even if he's dead. The boyfriend was taken advantage of by a pharmaceutical corporation, illegally experimented on, and basically was broken so badly he felt he could never go home again.
  • The first six books of The Black Company series deal with the Company combating various Evil Sorcerors and following a pair of grand quests. The seventh book, Bleak Seasons, deals with the annalist's personal tragedies while enduring a siege, grappling with famine, disease, and betrayal.
  • For a sweet, charming series of rhyming books for children, the Madeline series is full of parent fear.
    • Madeline - The little heroine comes down with a sudden, life-threatening illness that requires emergency surgery.
    • Madeline's Rescue - She falls into the Seine and nearly drowns.
    • Madeline and the Bad Hat - A little boy is mauled by a pack of dogs and just barely rescued with serious injuries. (Granted, he brought it on himself by provoking them, but still...)
    • Madeline and the Gypsies - Two children. Accidentally left behind at a carnival. At the top of the ferris wheel. In the middle of the night. During a thunderstorm. And by the time the adults realize they're missing and (presumably) hurry back to find them, the carnival people have already left, taking the kids with them. Readers know that they're happy and well cared for by the gypsies, but Miss Clavel certainly doesn't.
    • Madeline in London - A horse runs away with the same two children on its back.
    • Only Madeline's Christmas, the last book by the original author, avoids this trope.
  • Happens in the Tortall Universe, sometimes as a result of previous protagonists reaching adulthood.
    • Trickster's Duet: The main reason George won't let Aly become a field agent in the spy corps (despite her skill and desire for it) is because he knows exactly what dangers spies face and he couldn't protect her. Word of God says he took her to a meeting with a contact as a little girl that ended with knives drawn.
    • Beka Cooper: Hoo boy. First, you might be unable to feed your family. Second, you might be so hard up for a job that you have to take a really shady one and then get killed at the end of it, leaving your loved ones penniless and thinking you've abandoned then (the Fire Opal murders). Third, if you do have some item of value and sentiment, your child might get abducted to extort you for it and killed if you don't pay up (Shadow Snake). Fourth, your child might be sold into slavery—maybe even by your own spouse or lover, as nearly happened to Beka's sister. Fifth, you might wind up with a wallet full of counterfeit money and not only is it worthless, you could be tortured or executed if you accidentally pass them on (Bloodhound). Sixth, Domestic Abuse.
  • In Of Mice and Mooshaber, Linpeck's mother is absolutely terrified when Mrs Mooshaber, a person employed by the state agency Care of Child, appears in their home and says she was asked to investigate and make sure Linpeck won't roam any more.
  • Orphan Island: Jinny gets hit with a double-whammy at the end of the book.
    • First, Ess wanders off looking for a bracelet made of her shoelaces during a rainstorm. Jinny fears she might have gone to the cliffside at the prairie and fallen into the sea since the wind no longer just blows her back onto land now. Sure enough, Jinny's fear that she went there is confirmed, but Jinny is able to get her down from the rocks before she can go over the edge.
    • Second, moments after they find Ess, they realize Loo isn't in sight. When they find him, he's staring down a snake ready to strike. Loo screams, and the snake lunges forth and bites him in the leg, causing it to swell up.
  • In The Pied Piper of Hamelin, the eponymous character rids the town of its rat infestation, but is denied the gold he'd been promised in return. In response, he lures their children to go with him, and their fate afterward varies depending on the version - but in almost every take, the children are never seen again.
  • In Pinocchio’s Sister, It's even lampshaded at the start of the book that the "scary story" in the book isn't about monsters under the bed. Where to begin? Being ignored by your parent, being deserted by your spouse, realizing your child is missing...
  • Lolita: An adult man has a sick sexual attraction to young girls, kidnaps his Conveniently an Orphan step-daughter, rapes her, and kills a man who also rapes her. And there's Domestic Abuse, Abusive Parents, Death by Childbirth, and a horrible case of Villain Protagonist.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Isengrim's lover, Hirsent, can face down Chimera with aplomb and marches off to war without hesitation, but she is terrified by the prospect of miscarriage. Understandable as she has already lost two children. She becomes very protective of Pinsard as a result.
  • The king and queen watch their oldest, favorite daughter die in horrible pain on her wedding night in The Kingdom of Little Wounds. Sophia is only the first loss, and by the end only two of the original seven children are left.
  • Losing Christina is packed full of adult fear due to the psychological nature and setting. Two teachers play psychological mind games on innocent young female students. The main character, Christina puts her self in really serious danger through much of the series. The first book she has to save her friend, Anya from drowning her self by running through a dark cold and rainy night in the second book she slips into school in the middle of the night and is nearly crushed by retracting bleachers. Later another one of Christian's friends, Dolly is kidnapped and Christina and Dolly run for their lives to keep from drowning out on the mud flats. And in the third and final book she and another girl, Val, are trapped in a house that is burning down.
  • In Wings of Fire, Thorn has her infant daughter stolen from her, by someone she thought she could trust. She searches for years to find her. This all happens in a Wretched Hive, during a civil war.
  • Parental Substitute Darry in The Outsiders was terrified of the idea that his younger brothers Ponyboy and Sodapop would be taken away to a boy's home if he was found negligent after their parents' deaths. And when Ponyboy ran away after the argument Darry had with Ponyboy, Darry worried himself sick, not knowing if he would see Ponyboy again.
  • The Giver:
    • Seeing your friends and family indoctrinated by the government to the point that they no longer know how to think for themselves.
    • Your loved ones being euthanized without your knowledge.
    • The Giver's relationship with his daughter Rosemary. He must give her the memories, she can't handle it, and it hurts her to the point where not only does she ask to be Released, but insists on injecting herself.
  • Good in Bed features a pretty unnerving example, for a work of Chick Lit. Cannie Shapiro becomes pregnant, and eventually has a confrontation with the father's new girlfriend in an airport bathroom. During said confrontation, Cannie falls and strikes her pregnant belly against one of the sinks. After a lot of bleeding and undergoing a hysterectomy, she very nearly loses her daughter, Joy, because of a forced premature birth. There's an especially depressing scene where Cannie finds Joy, who is tiny and struggling to breathe, hooked up to a ventilator. She laments that she's so close, and yet unable to hold and comfort her daughter.
  • Spectral Shadows has a few instances of this. There's the reason why Christine lost her memories, and Father Mouse massacring the school full of innocent Webbertonian kittens would work.
  • MARZENA: What would be scary enough to put in a horror book? Money and jobs in a world where even robots are out of jobs, and the incoming Robot Nazi economic apocalypse. Is there anything worse to fear than another global recession? If you're a mind doctor, then it's one of your patients showing up in the news as a mass murderer. "You should at least be feeling something by now." Or maybe you are just yourself Alexithymic and don't know your own feelings?
  • Faerie Tale: One of the protagonist's children becomes horribly ill, and the doctors are mystified and unable to help He's been replaced by a changeling.
  • Ingrid, the middle school-aged protagonist of Echo Falls Mysteries gets put through a lot of situations that would make these books painful to read for adults, but she always gets out okay.
  • Crystal Arbogast's short horror story "Hobnail" uses this rather subtly. It involves a young girl and her mother being followed home by a headless corpse, but it manages to derive most of its scare potential from how the girl finds out at the end: after she gets home safe and sound, she overhears her mother telling her father that she could see the corpse the whole time, but refused to say anything to the girl because she didn't want to frighten her. In spite of its overtly horrific elements, the story is essentially about the very real fear of our parents lying to us to protect our innocence.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, Bogna is terrified that her son will inherit her supernatural abilities - I See Dead People and Vein-o-Vision - leading to him being shunned by his peers. To make matters worse, over the course of the story he's attacked by magic wind. Both she and mother of another attacked child are terrified - how can you arrest wind?
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society is full of this, both in-verse and to readers. Mr. Benedict doesn't like risking the lives of a bunch of children but realizes that his tasks can only be done by kids. The main characters are constantly in danger. A day after deciding to join Mr. Benedict and his friends they nearly get violently kidnapped in their own home. Constance, who is an incredibly precocious two year old, gets electrocuted and stuffed in a bag. She's fine in the end but still. Oh, and by the way, there's a man out there who is kidnapping children and taking away people's memories, while broadcasting secret messages designed to prevent anyone from searching from them. After all, "the missing aren't missing, they're only departed."
  • The Fairy Rebel has several.
    • After Tiki promises to help Jan have a baby, Jan and Charlie are very worried that Tiki will get mixed up and cause the baby to be born with very strange hair or skin colors or otherwise with strange powers.
    • The entirety of Bindi finding the magic wand counts. Jan's feelings about leaving it lying around are explicitly compared to leaving a gun or bottle of poison out in the open, but she's so frightened by it that she can't bring herself to move it. Under the influence of the wand, Bindi lies to her mother and her friends, starts associating with a boy at school who is clearly not nice, and shoplifts candy bars. Her mother only learns about the dark power influencing her daughter when Bindi is trapped in her room, being buried under a mountain of toys she summoned, screaming for her mother. Jan can't get the door to open and can't do anything besides call for Bindi and ask what's wrong. Making it even worse is the fact that Jan has an injured leg and can't run quickly when she hears Bindi screaming. The narration compares it to how it always seems to be impossible to run in a nightmare.
    • The fairy queen's treatment of her subjects is a disturbingly realistic depiction of brainwashing and abusive relationships. There's no magic involved. The fairies are just told to love her and to not be lonely or unsatisfied and to act as the queen wishes. If they don't, she locks them in unsafe places and sometimes forgets about them, leading to their deaths. Tiki and Wijic accept this as a completely normal and reasonable way of living. Near the end, it's revealed that the queen punished them by cutting off their supplies of magic and leaving them starved and in rags. Even then, they both seem completely unaware that something bad's happening, with Tiki apparently convinced it's winter. It's not until they see each other that they realize the queen's hurting them, at which point Jan nearly breaks down over their treatment.
  • The villain in Shaman Blues is a ghost who can strangle people with its Mind over Matter powers. It targets newborn children in a hospital and the staff is powerless to stop it.
  • One of the recurring theme of Heretical Edge Children being taken away from their parents, or parents having to leave their children behind for their safety.
    • Flick's mother Joselyn cannot catch a damn break with this. She's been forced away from no less than three of her four children over the course of her life. And there's not a lot of solace she can take in being near her fourth kid for... a number of reasons.
    • The Akharu warrior Tiras had to leave his wife and daughter behind in order to fight a war against a race of enemies that would kill them for being part Akharu. He hasn't seen either of them in over two hundred years. Centuries later, his wife Jiao gave her younger daughter (by a different man) up for adoption in order to protect her from Heretics. She was worried enough that she didn't even name her baby for fear of leaving any trace that could connect them.
    • Haiden and Sariel Moon were both flung literally worlds away from their twin children, one of whom was also sucked into the same dimensional portal that took them. They haven't been seen in a decade.
    • An argument could be made that Crossroads Academy and Eden's Garden kidnap their Bystander students. That's probably how their parents would see it if the schools didn't modify their memories to make them think they sent their kids to a prestigious private school (Crossroads) or a military academy (Eden's Garden).
  • The Obituary Writer, being a novel that addresses the subject of death and loss, is naturally full of these moments. Among them include a neighborhood child being abducted and killed, Vivien's pressing fear that her beloved died during a disaster or is left stricken with amnesia, and Claire losing her unborn baby as a result of an impulse-prompted sledding accident.
  • The Spirit Thief deals briefly with how The Runaway tropes looks for the parent the kid has ran away from when discussing Eli's backstory with his father. Imagine that your twelve-year-old son runs off into the woods after a heated argument and you decide that the little brat will come back soon enough after he cools off. Now imagine that he doesn't come back that day, or the next, or the day after that, or ever, because unbeknowst to you, he's been kidnapped. This quote from Eli's father is telling:
    The day I saw your wanted poster was the happiest day of my life, because it said you were still alive.
  • Everything, Everything basically runs on this.
    • Madeline's mother lost her husband and son in a car accident when Madeline was only a baby, and Madeline has a rare illness that makes her so susceptible to illness that she can't even leave her house without risking dying. Even one slip-up could end with Madeline dead.
    • At the climax, Madeline has to deal with an even scarier Adult Fear of her own: she's not really sick. She's spent eighteen years unable to leave her house, because her mother was lying to her the whole time.
    • The entire book was inspired by an Adult Fear of the author's. After the birth of her daughter, she found herself wondering, how far would she be willing to go to protect her?
  • Twilight of the Red Tsar has so much to chose from. Famine? Check. War? Check? War Crimes? Check. Genocide? Check. Nuclear warfare? Check.
  • Les Miserables has many examples of this:
    • In the very beginning of the book. Fantine, Cosette's mother, is abandoned by her lover while she's carrying his child. She leaves her daughter with the Thenardiers, who seem respectable but are actually incredibly abusive, exploitative pricks.
    • Fantine obtains a legitimate factory job that is nonetheless poorly-paid, sending the Thenardiers 88% of her paycheck in order to ensure Cosette has a place to stay. She doesn't know that the Thenardiers are severely abusing Cosette.
    • Fantine gladly sells her hair and her teeth to provide money for "necessities" manufactured by the Thenardiers, like medicine and winter clothes; however, that money is spent on Eponine and Azelma, while Cosette herself goes around barefoot in the dead of winter.
    • When Fantine's supervisor discovers that she's an unemployed mother, Fantine is fired from her poorly-paid factory job and is forced to go into prostitution to support her daughter. She is then arrested for prostitution and contracts tuberculosis, at which point she begs Jean Valjean, who was her previous employer, to take care of her daughter while she tries to recover.
    • Jean Valjean gets arrested before he can remove Cosette from the Thenardiers' custody. The doctor lies about Cosette's whereabouts in order to help her recover; however, she discovers that Cosette is still with the Thenardiers when she overhears Jean Valjean asking Javert for a few days to fulfill this final request. The fear and shock prove too much for Fantine, which causes her to have a seizure and then die.
  • Quite a few of Roald Dahl's books:
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Buckets are poor to the point where they can barely buy food. Then Mr. Bucket loses his job. The narration makes it clear that Charlie is starving to death in front of his parents and grandparents and they are unable to help him.
    • Matilda: Children at Cruncham Hall are both physically and emotionally abused by the Trunchbull. Matilda even notes that the kids who complain to their parents will be met with disbelief because what the Headmistress does is so over the top and thus she can continue hurting kids. Also take into consideration that she is all but stated to have murdered her brother-in-law for his wealth and abused his daughter for her entire life. The worst part about that is Miss Honey's father INVITED the Trunchbull to live with him to help care for his daughter. Yeah...
    • James and the Giant Peach: After the deaths of his parents, James is forced to live with his abusive aunts. Spiker and Sponge have no problem forcing their very young nephew to do all the chores around the house and beat him if they are displeased with him. James is both a) separated from other people so NO ONE knows about his situation and b) placed with his aunts because they were his last living relatives. Be careful who you chose to entrust with the welfare of your children.
    • The Witches: Ooooooh, boy. Witches are constantly stalking children, are able to blend in perfectly with ordinary humans, and make it a point to "squlech" (i.e. kill) one child every week. Witches have turned children into mice, pheasants, snails, chickens, and even stone statues! As someone who used to hunt witches, the grandmother is very careful about educating her grandson about them in the hopes he will be safe from them. It doesn't work (though he does end up better off than the other victims).
  • All over Heretical Edge.
    • If a given plotline doesn't appear to involve children being taken from their parents or parents being forced to cut themselves off from their kids you aren't looking hard enough.
    • Joselyn Atherby/Chambers lost her first two kids to kidnapping and was forced to surrender to her worst enemy at the time to keep them alive, lost her third when she traded herself for her daughter and watched helplessly as her fourth was raised into a monster.
  • The Crocodile God gives a personal spin to the Foregone Conclusion of Spain's conquest of the Philippines, and the resulting Death of the Old Gods, by invoking this trope hard. Haik the Tagalog sea-god rocketed over the Despair Event Horizon after a Spaniard shot his pregnant wife Mirasol and caused his daughter's stillbirth—and as Chapter 8 notes, he'd already thought the other gods were dead, among them his cousins, his aunt and uncle, his older sister, and at least two in-laws.
  • The eponymous game in Erebos is very addicting, causing several students who start playing it to fake being sick to get some more play time during school hours. Naturally, one of the teachers starts worrying just what is getting passed around, as the players are forbidden from talking about it. It gets worse once the players' tasks shift from simple things like "Carry a box from A to B" over to "Poison your teacher".
  • While One Fat Summer is about protagonist Bobby Marks trying to overcome his perceived flaws and gaining some much needed self confidence, to do that he has to deal with a potential psychopath who stalks him, mugs him, kidnaps and humiliates him, and finally tries to shoot him. Did we mention he's only fourteen at the time?
  • Nina Tanleven: Discussed in The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed. Nine's been put in danger multiple times, and while this marks the first time a ghost has potentially endangered her, her father talks to her afterward about how while such things do concern him, it's the more mundane dangers that tend to worry him the most, such as her near run-in with an apparent prowler, being out after dark or being out where she can be hit by a car.
  • Renegades has this in spades, mainly thanks to the book employing Death of a Child right out of the gate.
    • The prologue sees Nova's entire family, including her infant sister, killed while she - six at the time - is hiding in the cupboard.
    • Adrian's team has their first confrontation with the Detonator inside a public library while a group of middle-schoolers is on a trip there.
    • In general, Adrian's entire Renegade career is rife with this for his dads, as not only does he go out to patrol the city for criminals, he's also the prime target for anyone out to hurt Captain Chromium and Dread Warden. This is part of the reason why he doesn't tell them about his Sentinel alter-ego.
  • In Lawrence Block's Tanner's Tiger Evan's ward Minna disappears while they're visiting the Cuban Pavilion at the Montreal Expo. It doesn't get any better when he and Arlette discover that the Cubans have been kidnapping people for unknown purposes and actually have a freaking dungeon underneath the pavilion for temporary prisoner storage.
  • Raise Some Hell: A child randomly disappearing, or dying at school when the defenses don't quite hold up.
  • The YA novel Secrets Not Meant to be Kept has sending a child to a preschool that has been in business for nearly twenty years, run by a respected pillar of the community, and later finding out that the preschool is a toddler sex ring.
  • Lions & Liars:
    • Frederick accidentally sends himself sailing down river in his friend's dad's boat without a paddle or a motor.
    • Ant Bite runs away from Camp Omigoshee after a fight with Frederick, and there's a Category-5 Hurricane heading their way.
  • In the second book of Crazy Rich Asians, Astrid's spouse slowly begins changing in personality, starting with emotional and verbal abuse to their spouse and even to their own child. It eventually escalates to Domestic Abuse, locking their child in a closet for hours and threatening to hit their spouse. No matter how Astrid tries to deny it and make excuses for their once loving spouse' behavioural changes, everyone else can see that Michael has changed for the worse.
  • The Essex Serpent: Young Naomi Banks goes missing and only leaves a note saying 'Here I come, ready or not.' Her father and most of the villagers are convinced she has been taken by the serpent. The supernatural part is just their imagination. However, a lost child, presumed dead, is a very raw feeling, one of the worst nightmares people can experience.
  • Near the end of Yours Truly, Lauren goes missing. The entire town leads a hunt for her. She's ultimately found in Frankie Freeman's tomb
  • In A Boy Made of Blocks, Alex loses sight of his autistic son Sam in the crowd outside the Tower of London. While searching for him, he finds Sam's ear protectors lying on the pathway.
  • In the Fairy/Oak series:
    • Several older characters express their fear of growing old and watching their loved ones die.
    • The heroes have to fight against loved ones and ancesrors who turned into minions of the Enemy.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Hippolyta's daughter runs away from the safety of their paradise Valhalla-like home and gets killed while someone Hippolyta trusts hides that Diana ever left. While Diana is able to return, this time as a true Amazon as she died in battle protecting others, the fact that her daughter went through such hardship and danger and it was hidden by someone who she trusts to tell her the truth and advice is no less nightmarish.
  • In the second Forges of Mars book, Vitali Tychon’s daughter Linya is badly burned in an accident and needs to be hospitalized. While Vitali maintains a constant vigil at her bedside, eventually his duties call him away. When he returns to the hospital ward, he finds a scene of carnage, the staff and patients slaughtered. Horrified, he races back to Linya’s room, only to find the massacre’s perpetrator standing over her lifeless corpse.
  • Tien in Vorkosigan Saga awakens adult fear. It is hard for most people to imagine being a real vilain. It is way easier to imagine being a weak and incompetent spouse. And to be hated by one's partner after one's death is a horrible thought.
  • Violet Evergarden:
    • Watching soldiers returning from war attempting to adjust back to civilian life and failing.
    • Fear of your new business failing, like with Hodgins.
    • Seeing your daughter slowly die of an illness, which is what happened to Oscar.

Alternative Title(s): Light Novels

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