Shadows

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Photo by Mason Kimbarovsky on Unsplash

Shadows

By

Azuka Odiah

Bang!

The sound of a shutting door shook him back to reality. He inhaled sharply –a little too sharply, almost gulping down the foam of toothpaste in his mouth. Quickly spewing the residue into the sink, he turned on the faucet, gathering water in his cupped palm, and sipped just enough to rinse his mouth. His eyes were wide and vacant as they stared back from the cabinet mirror just above the sink, engaging with his reflection, he raised his fists. He felt his back strain as he stood upright.

What the heck? I’m getting old, he thought with a smile, he was only eleven.

His watch read 10:47PM when he walked down the hallway to his room. He saw a crescent moon as he turned off the lights, he had not noticed it until that moment. The window was across the room and the moon glinted brightly, he slipped into bed. He stared at the moon, he began to shut his eyes, the moon appeared to be a static faceless smile? His thoughts began to drift. Shadows pressed lightly against his skin.

A heavy greying cloud of images was conjured up as he drifted to sleep. What did I see? A rabbit? A raccoon? A rat? Squeak! He heard it again.  Louder now. His eyes shot open and he was unsure what to expect. Another hooting owl, or creaking cricket? But there was no hooting or creaking. Just silence.

Squeak!

He sat up in his bed, squinting at the window as his eyes adjusted to the brightly lit night, and blinked as he locked eyes with something –someone!

A silhouette. An unusually large and rectangular head, with hollow eyes pressed against heavily contoured flesh, stood under scanty wisps of hair. The dark beady eyes glinted as they blinked.

“Ahh!”

The Boy screamed, violently tumbling out of the bed. The world spun around him. His heart was ablaze as if he was running at a sprint, his hairs stood on end as he tried to remain still. He looked towards the window again, but only dim skies stared back. He felt his eyes begin to moisten when his door suddenly burst open. His father charged into the room, turning sharply between the corners of the room and the disheveled bed, before finally resting on the carpeted floor where his son sat on the floor, distraught, shakily breathing and wide-eyed.

“What –”

“There!” he motioned at the window. ‘I think I saw someone.’

Without thinking, his father dashed to the window and looked through, surveying the empty street. “Nothing there.” He whispered.

“Just outside the window. I swear, dad, I saw someone. Staring right at me!”

His father nodded. “I believe you.”

He twisted the knob to open the window, it let loose a slight squeak.

“—Honey.” His wife called out from the doorway. “What is it?”

They exchanged glances.

“What do you say we go take a look around the house?” His father said. The boy walked into the hallway, watching as his two older sisters stood behind, observing with a mix of curiosity and fear lingering in their eyes.

The whole family went downstairs, all the doors were still locked. As far as they could tell, no one else was in the house. His father gently pats his shoulder.

“Get some rest, okay?” His father said.

The next morning, the family was leaving for school and work, the boy was first, his father right behind him. Near the garage. The boy suddenly stopped short. His mouth gaped open slightly as he stared at an orange extension ladder leaning against the house, about twenty feet high, just beside his window.

“What the fuck?” His father said behind him.

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