Shadows of the Night
The old joke about someone being afraid of their own shadow didn’t make a whole lot of sense to Francis. It was supposed to intimate that someone was overly jittery or jumpy and needed to, in a way, ‘sack up’ and grow some spine. It just didn’t resonate, though. For Francis, his shadow was the most terrifying thing in the world. He had gone base jumping and skydiving and even run into a building to save a kid from a fire that one time. He didn’t consider himself to be a frightened person. It’s just that his shadow wanted him dead.
Well, that wasn’t entirely accurate. It was that all shadows wanted him dead. It just so happened that his shadow was the tip of the spear, in a way.
It hadn’t been obvious to Francis at first. Just little things happened at the outset. He would trip over nothing except his shadow. He would walk past walls and hear a loud scraping. When he would turn to look, his name had been hacked into the brick. Sunny days were basically an invitation for him to slam into things without knowing it. He started to yearn for the overcast and the rainy days. Those days he would be free to go about his business.
It was night time, though, where the pranks would turn malicious. He would wake up in the middle of the night to see shadows dancing on the ceiling, twirling and shifting in ways that did not match the light coming from outside. They would slide down the walls, collecting the darkness, before slithering onto the bed. The weight they held could be painful and he frequently found himself waking up from an uneasy sleep in the morning with bruises and welts from where he had been loaded down with darkness.
Still, in all those moments, the pain was superficial and didn’t last long. It was annoying and concerning, but nothing more than that. It was when the shadows graduated, in a sense, to more dangerous antics that Francis really became worried.
The first time he was awakened by a searing pain in his arm, he thought he was having a heart attack. It was only when he flipped the light on and saw the seam of blood slowly expanding from where he had been cut that he realized differently. From that point on, he tried to avoid being in shadow as much as he could. It was silly, he knew, but he had no other explanation for what had been happening.
Turns out, shadows don’t like being ignored. Many of his bones have been broken and he’s covered from head to toe with gouges and slices. He looks like he’s been in a train wreck most mornings, but he still tries to ignore it all. He hopes it will go away.
Tonight, though, he will not be able to ignore the shadows.
Tonight, his throat is exposed.
Tonight, the shadows will swarm and collect their due.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.