Shadows

The lights in the hall switch off. Darkness consumes the space.  She runs with arms outstretched. Her fingers encounter wood.  She fumbles for the lock.  Finds it and  opens the door in a panic. She jumps onto the threshold.

Exhale.  The street lamps bring momentary relief.  But the street is deserted.  She is alone.    

She takes a step forward, looks left and right.

All is clear.  Another step. Left and right again.  Still clear.

Then she senses a presence behind her.  She is about to scream but there is no one out there to hear.  Her heart is in her mouth, she is about to break in a run, but fear is paralyzing.

She turns instead, ready to face whoever, or whatever, but there is no one there.

She barks out a laugh, drunk with relief.  She takes a step, almost gingerly.  But four crisscrossing shadows move with her and her heart jolts again.  It is the moon, the street-lamps, they play tricks.   There is nothing to fear.  She releases her breath and strides forward towards her car across the street, one eye on her shadow.

She is almost calm, until a doubt creeps into her head.

She jerks her head back.  All clear, still. There is nothing to fear.

The car is close.

Two more steps.

There is nothing to fear. 

Keys.

Lock.

Door.

She jumps in, checks the back seat and checks the front.  Her heart pounds.  Her fingers tremble.  She looks wearily at the rearview mirror.  Only her eyes stare back.  She physically checks the back again; not everything has a reflection.  She turns on the ignition and starts the car.  One eye on the road, the other on the mirror.

The streets are empty.  It is a clear night, the moon is bright.  It is nine o’clock in the evening.  It is spring.  And strangely, the streets are empty.

She steps on the gas pedal.  More shadows at the back.  The rearview mirror is not clear enough.  She turns her head to the back seat, often, just to make sure.

There is nothing to fear. 

Her head half turned to the back, something moves in the front.  She catches it from the corner of her eye.

A black shadow is stationary in the middle of the road.  It is happening.  It has started.

She screams and swerves.

The car skids and crashes into a lamppost.

There is no one in the street.  No one sees.  No one hears.

A cat inspects the crash.  Sniffs.  It is uninterested and walks off leaving blood marks where its black paws thread.

The lamp flickers and goes off.  The moon gives off one shadow. black-cat-wallpaper

No more tricks.

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2 comments on “Shadows

  1. deanabo says:

    This is hauntingly good!

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