Shadow Lurker

October 9, 2008
“Hey Coop, you wanna come over this Sunday for Easter?”
Dave was always one to want to help out his friends. He was way too good to me.
“I’ll think about it Dave, I have a lot of work to catch up on. But hey, thanks for the offer.”
“Alright, but if you get lonely, my door is always open. Come over sometime”
         “Will do mate. Will do. Oh yea, thanks for the ride back to my place.”
As I opened the door to get out of Dave’s brand new Lexus, the coldness of the night seeped under my skin and nestled itself around my bones. I could feel a storm beginning to settle in. You can always tell when a storm is about to begin in the country-side. The birds stop chirping and the animals all take shelter. Everything is silent.
         It really did get lonely out there. Four Acres of forest on all sides of this little old house. It was only temporary of course. My brother allowed me to stay here until I can get back on my feet after a nasty little breakup with my girlfriend. It wasn’t much, but it was home. It’s two stories high, just enough windows so that during the day it will light up enough so I don’t need to waste electricity on lights, and is basically your everyday, run of the mill, house.
         As I made my way up the drive-way, fumbling for my keys in my pocket, I noticed something dart across the front window. Now this hard to describe, because how do you describe a shadow in an already pitch black room. It’s almost impossible to imagine. Something black moving in a black room, ridiculous, but I most certainly saw it.
         I retrieved my keys from my front pocket and cautiously approached the front door with every urban legend and camp-fire story flooding my brain. A low whistle swept through the trees, signaling the onset of the storm. Wrapping my jacket closer around myself to ward of the chill, I fumbled for the correct key on my massive key chain.
I hurried into the house, forgetting all about the mysterious shadow, and now was more worried about the oncoming storm. Besides, I was too old to be afraid of shadows.
         A thunderclap echoed throughout the empty dark house as I stepped through the door. A high pitched powerful gust of wind slammed the door shut behind me. The wind was blowing so hard that it sounded like a freight train was about to plow the little cottage over. Well first things first, it was time to send the shadow’s back into hiding. Reaching over to the light switch, I flicked it on, smiling as the darkness now ran from me, hiding wherever it could…under chairs, desks, and in the corners of the room. A low rumbling sound emitted from my stomach letting me know that my body was craving food. Sadly in my absentmindedness I forgot to stop by the store and pick up some food.
         With nothing else to do but watch TV and munch on a breakfast bar I found lying in the back of cabinet, I slowly relaxed back in a chair. It had become considerably colder since the beginning of the storm. I figured I might as well wrap myself up in a couple blankets and lie down while watching a movie, maybe even get a lil’ shut eye. The only problem with that wonderfully sounding plan was that…well the blankets and movie cabinets were in the basement. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem if it were any other house, but just thinking about making that beginning walk down the steps made my skin crawl. I didn’t even want to think about the rest. 30 steps all together. 10 steps down to a platform then it makes a sharp turn right. No way to be able to see around the corner. From the platform there are 20 steps more to the bottom of this narrowed, cloistered in by walls on both sides.
When you reach the bottom of the steps you can make an immediate turn to the right into a small compact room. The only furniture in the middle of this dark damp room is a dining room table, made from ancient looking wood, and two chairs that look ….wrong. Not wrong as not belonging in that room, but wrong as in unnatural. They just didn’t look like they should exist.
Now if you decided not to make that immediate right into the dreadful room, you can take a sharp left turn instead. This leads you into a wide open airy room. Lots of furniture, carpet, wall paper, the polar opposite of the room across the hall. Lots of chairs and places to sit. Lots of cabinets and places to hide if you don’t want to be seen. And a mirror at the far end. A small mirror mis-shapened mirror.
         But I figured if I ran fast enough to the light switch I’d be fine.
Finally manning up the courage to challenge the darkness, I slowly proceeded to the stairwell. I just had to take it step by step. Just take one step down and then another.
2 steps turned into four, four turned into 8 and, then I was already at the platform. And with the arrival of the platform, so did the sudden feeling of being alone in the dark.
Just 20 more steps to the light switch and I did not take them slowly. In fact I almost fell and broke my neck in the process. Hitting the bottom of the stair case, I made a quick turn to the right into the small room, reached out for the light switch, waiting for the bright shining glory to come and save me. My fingers landed on some thing moveable on the wall…must be the light switch. I flicked it on, ready to bask in the light. But…it never came. I sat there alone in the dark. Panic set in. The darkness swirled itself around me. I slowly began to collapse against the wall, slowly sliding to the bottom. The darkness seeped under my skin and into my veins filling them with ice. Everything starts to move slower. I was cold, so very cold. Shapes were moving all around me. I squeezed my eyes shut. But that didn’t keep out the noise of the soft pitter-patter of feet on the floor inches from me.
Then something suddenly jolted me out of this terrible nightmare The slamming of a door. The cellar door.

Fear ran through my body. Someone, something was in the house. I listened closely to see if I could hear the footsteps of something coming down the steps. Silence swallowed me.
The only noise in the basement was the thumping of my heart. If something was down here with me I was sure it could hear the loud beating of my heart right then.
         The darkness didn’t want to leave me alone. It continued to close in on me and played with my mind. It made me see things that weren’t there. Beasts with sharp teeth and dark red eyes, shadows that came alive and swallowed me.
The only way to get out of it was too either brave the darkness in the basement till the electricity comes back on, or to traverse up stairs and hope that I imagined the door slamming. Digging through my pocket to find some source of light, I finally laid my hands on a cell phone. I opened it so that I could check its battery and also observe my surroundings.
The light from the cell phone didn’t brighten up the darkness as much as I hoped. Just enough to see five feet in front to me. That gave me five feet for me to dodge something coming at me. Five feet to see the monstrosity that would be the means to my end. Well then, I guess the only thing to do is head upstairs and face my fears.
         Step by step I slowly made my way to the staircase. Only one thought going through my mind: Going down the staircase into utter darkness was horrifying; going up the staircase from utter darkness into the complete unknown was too frightening for words to describe. At least before when I sprinted down the staircase I had some hope of light. Sprinting up the staircase would just bring me closer to a terrible end.
         Step by step I  cautiously went. Not knowing what’s waiting for me at the top was ripping me to shreds on the inside, but I guess that was better than something ripping me to shreds on the outside. Finally I reached the platform that signals only 10 stairs left, but… something wasn’t right. The light from my cell phone wasn’t producing as much light as it was just a second ago. In fact, it looked like the darkness wass fighting the light, like a mist was swallowing the very light itself until the cell phone no longer gave off any light at all. Suddenly, there was the silent sound of a footstep landing on a step behind me, followed by another. Something was behind me. I dared not move. Maybe it can’t see in the dark.  I could almost hear its slithery long tongue licking its lips, sensed its saliva dripping off of its fangs in anticipation of sinking those long teeth into me, feel its breath on the back of my neck. I wasn’t about to roll over and die. I was gonna make this beast work for its meal. The door was only a few steps ahead, I could make it. And with that I was off like a racehorse…and so was it.
         The door handle was right there, all I had to was reach out and touch it. I wrapped my hand around the handle and flung open the door and prepared to step out, but something smashed all hopes of escape. A horrid sight. Something so terrifying I can’t describe it. A giant claw, long, tendril-like, and dark, came out from behind the door and slammed it shut, followed by what sounded like a rhino crashing into the door. The scary thing about this claw was, it was dark. I don’t mean dark as a way to describe a color. I mean dark like night time, when the sun goes away and the shadow’s come out to play. The type of darkness that drains the light out of things.
         I threw myself against the door scrambling like a rat trapped under a heated bucket burrowing through whatever it can to get out. But something cold wrapped itself around my body. All the warmth in me was being sucked out. I could feel the monster feeding off of my fear. It was almost ready.
Icy fingers wrapped themselves around my leg. Pain shot through my entire nervous system, going directly towards the brain. My vision started to blur. Disorientation began to set in. Confusion. I looked down at my feet to see the source of the pain. But as I did, the icy fingers pulled and I began to fall. No, not fall, but pulled.  I was being pulled. My head hit something hard as I was whirled around a corner. My world went black.

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