Frisson (noun)

Photo by Anne Nygard, via Unsplash


  1. A brief moment of emotional excitement: shudder, thrill

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 12 July 2020)

Use it in a sentence

I mute the TV and at first there’s silence. Then a scuffling, rustling noise, just outside the window. The remote is frozen in my outstretched hand and I hold my breath. It’s the moment I’ve dreaded since I moved into the new flat by myself. An intruder. Potentially a rapist, murderer, abductor, sadist. I look down at my bare feet and picture myself running across broken glass like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. My hands shake as I scrabble under the cushions, looking for my phone. When I find it my finger hovers over the emergency button. I cock my head to the side, straining to hear what’s going on.

The scuffling becomes more insistent and I feel a frisson of dread and terror.  Is this person trying to pick the lock? Jimmy open the sash window? My heart beats hard and fast as I flash back through all those true crime stories I’ve watched recently. At the same time, I make mental notes – scratch to draw blood so that they can use the DNA, scan for distinctive markings, look for tattoos or scars. Damn it, I’ll make sure they get this bastard. No matter what happens to me.

I hear a low noise, almost a growl. Bloody hell, what’s that? I unclench all my muscles and get off the couch. I flick off the lights and tip toe over to the window. I’m desperately looking around for something to defend myself. There’s a half empty bottle of vodka on the coffee table. I’m prepared to smash it into a jagged weapon. I’m trembling but determined. I pull back the curtain just a little…. And… Eyes! Eyes staring straight at me, fierce and vicious. I scream and leap backwards, my arms flailing, my throat dry, vodka splashing everywhere.

And then I look again.

It’s that bloody cat from next door. He’s sitting on the window sill, impertinent as you please.

He blinks and flicks the tip of his tail. ‘Meow’.

I close my eyes, press my hand to my chest, feel my breathing slow down.

I scowl at the cat, who meows again.

‘You know what you can do, you little shit? You can….’

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