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Shadow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Marilyn waved and then closed the door behind her last dinner guest. Night after night she invited people over trying to escape the loneliness she felt since her husband's death. Although it was 11: 30, Marilyn decided to begin cleaning up the remains of the dinner party. She collected the plates and glasses off the table and took them to the sink. As she washed the dishes, she heard a soft padded thump. She started and then sighed. She had grown used to the sounds of the old Colonial house settling at night, but now they always frightened her.

Marilyn returned to her dishes accompanied by another thump. Subconsciously she began tapping her heel. Again She heard the insistent thump. In annoyance she reached over and turned on the radio. For a few minutes she was absorbed in a late night talk show, but suddenly there were three staccato taps from upstairs. With shaking hands, Marilyn switched off the radio and listened more closely. Once again she heard them. There was someone upstairs in her room! Marilyn stood paralyzed for a few minutes. She had to go up. Slowly she moved toward the closet and pulled out an old baseball bat. Then she inched her way to the stairs.

Step by step she proceeded up and each time she paused, she heard the insistent thump. Marilyn patted back her hair, ran her hands across her forehead and pushed on. She reached the landing and cowered slightly. Then she gathered her courage and slunk to her bedroom door. Through the crack she could see the silvery moonlight streaming in the window, when suddenly it was crossed by a shadow. Marilyn gasped and jumped back.

Time and again she stepped forward and then fell back. All the while she heard the incessant thumping. Each time it seemed to grow louder and louder until it filled the room with a thunderous clap. Marilyn's heart pounded along in rhythm with the crashes and she had to force each breath. She gripped the bat until her knuckles turned white. The minutes seemed to pass like hours until Marilyn could not remember how long she had been standing there. The crashes echoed in her ears with new volume. Finally numbness spread through her. She walked to the door in an almost businesslike manner. She held back a few seconds, then pushed the door open with all her force, tumbling into an obstinately banging shutter caught on a curtain that was casting long shadows in the moonlight. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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