Shadows

March 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm (Short Stories)

This post is a response to the Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge “I’ve chosen your words”. It can be found here.

My story is called Shadows, and the words he selected are in bold.

———————————–

Myron woke up feeling watched. This wasn’t altogether surprising, he often felt watched in his home. Sometimes he would be washing the dishes, lost in his own thoughts and he would feel a sharp finger of dread crawl down his back. He always stood for a second afraid to turn around, afraid that he would come face to face with a nameless beast of legend. He always turned around though, suddenly and violently, twisting around like a mini tornado, hoping to surprise the unseen watcher. There was never anyone there, much to his chagrin and he would return to his washing flushed and sheepish, but he always kept casting looks over his shoulder just in case he’d missed seeing anything the first time.

His  house was old. He’d bought it ten years ago with big dreams and goals. He planned to turn it into his own little paradise, but aspirations without motivation have a way of turning into dead dreams. The stairs still creaked whenever he walked on them and the doors still groaned when opened. The bathrooms that he’d planned to remodel still had mold and mildew stains and the hot water taps often doubled as a second cold one. It settled at night too. He woke sometimes in the middle of the night to the sounds of squeaking floorboards and creaking stairs, wondering if there was someone in the house.

This time something felt different though, the house was completely still. Too still. He lay unmoving on his mattress afraid if he moved too much the springs on his dinosaur of a bed would squeak, he felt safer if he still looked asleep. There was a bit of light leaking into the room from a street lamp outside, it glowed a sickly orange and flickered weakly but still produced enough light to illuminate a corner of his room and attract a few bedraggled moths. There were shadows all about and each one seemed to hold its own secret. In one corner of his room he thought he saw something crouching, hulking shoulders throbbing in dark. He recoiled back involuntarily, but on second glance he realized it was only a pile of clothes. There were too many shadows, all hiding secrets, all refusing to divulge them. His ears strained for any sound but he could only hear a squeaky gate slamming in the night wind outside. He closed his eyes again, attempting to fall back asleep.

This time he heard something too. A faint intake of breath. A slight gasp as if in excitement. His eyes popped open again and he searched the room for any sign of movement. Then he saw it. In the corner by the closet the shadows were a little more solid, they had more shape than the rest and at the very top of that solidity were two eyes. They glowed faintly green in the reflected light from the street lamp outside and they stared at him with a feverish intensity. They swayed slightly like the eyes of a snake about to strike, and then, they were gone. Myron stared into the dark corner as hard as he could, maybe he had been imagining the shadows seeming more solid there. Maybe he had drifted off to sleep and been subjected to a horrible nightmare. The shadows just seemed like shadows again. The creeping feeling of being watched dissipated and he heard a familiar creak of the settling house out in the hallway. Slowly his pounding heart began to return to a more respectable rate. He settled back into his pillows exhausted, laughing at himself for his stupidity, and pushing away the lingering seed of doubt that still remained. He snuggled underneath his covers pulling them up under his chin and assuring himself that nothing could attack him in his safe blanket haven. He rolled over onto his side in order to get more comfortable. The eyes were peering over the edge of his bed at him. But this time they were in the face they belonged to, and what a face. The skin was deathly pale, sickly white in the glow of the street lamp. Where its jaw should have been there was nothing but trailing tendrils of torn and rotting skin and its hair was falling out in in clumps leaving patches of hair and bald interspersed across the head and face. The eyes were the only part that looked alive, gleaming out of the darkness with that same intensity that they had before. The face made the same breathing sound he’d heard before, a small exhale of breath. It smelled like roadkill. Myron began to scream. He screamed because he didn’t know what else to do. He screamed because once he started screaming the creature leaped up and used his blanket to pin his arms to his side. He screamed when it leaned over him and its tongue dangled precariously from its cavernous mouth. He screamed until its cold, moist hand covered up his mouth and no sound could escape him. He drew in a deep shuddering breath, everything smelled like death. His eyes were wide and staring at the thing leaning over him. It moved its hand.
“What… what do you want with me?” He asked.
It smiled at him, a ridiculous mockery of a smile with only the top corners of its lips remaining.
“I saw you looking for me. You knew I was here. You looked so alone.” It slobbered when it talked, using its throat to form the words, in the absence of a jaw.
“So I came to introduce myself. You won’t ever have to feel alone again.”
It smiled again, removed its hand from his mouth and slid into the shadows. He heard the gasping breath again, and then silence.
Myron lay there in the darkness, spitting to try and get rid of the taste of rot that filled his mouth. One thing was certain, he didn’t feel alone anymore.

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1 Comment

  1. noctem93 said,

    “But aspirations without motivation have a way of turning into dead dreams.” – Great line!

    I liked your description of the monster; I could definitely see and hear him clearly in my mind.

Go ahead, make my day.

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