The Visitor from the Shadows

April 19, 2011
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It was dark in the woods, and not a soul could be seen. Against the solidity of the Cimmerian shade, the grass was missing its luscious green quality. The trees, obscured by the absence of light, were invisible. There was only blackness, intense and infinite.


As dark as the forest was, so much more was it still. There was no breeze to stir the branches, no rustling in the undergrowth. The few nocturnal creatures that inhabited the wood did not dart back and forth between the tree trunks, and the lonely owls refused to cry out to the desolate and starless sky. It was a night like none other the forest had ever seen…a night that seemed much more like ‘night’ than any other.


Out of the emptiness between the trees there slipped an opaque form, only visible because he was darker than the very shadow that loomed over and within the forest. One could say that, in essence, he was darker than the darkness. It was this and only this that would enable a bystander, if he or she were mentally challenged enough to travel through the sightless wood past midnight, to see his silhouette.


His flowing limbs, if indeed this creature were a ‘he’, appeared to be no more than seven. In reality they were innumerable, transcending all laws applying to the third dimension or any other. They rippled and swayed with the slightest breeze, appearing to be made of nothing but pure shade and shadow. In one of his wavering and abundant appendages he carried a small bundle wrapped in a thin, white blanket. This object in question was also still, as still as the forest surrounding it and its odd porter.


Here he stood for so long that any observer, were there any, would have long gone back to his safe, warm, and normal house, disregarding the oddity of what he had seen. He was not, however, motionless forever. Slowly but surely he moved like the shadow he was, sliding and gliding in a single fluid movement. This movement, though not sudden, must have awoken what he carried in the blanket, for it twitched for a brief moment before revealing its small and pudgy hand. The hand was a human hand, and within the thin blanket was a human baby.


The shadowy form paid no attention to the baby's awakening. It kept silent, and that was quite enough to satisfy him. He crept deeper and deeper into the forest, sliding past trees and fallen branches with the utmost ease. It was imperative that he find the most secluded spot he could manage, in case the wretched little nuisance decided that it would make noise, after all. No one on this plane of existence could stop him from killing it, but their intervention would definitely be nothing short of a nuisance.


After moving on for a few more minutes, the shadow-creature stopped. He placed the child on the ground without the slightest bit of care, letting it drop a few inches above the forest floor. Now he would begin.

His caliginous projections stretched down to greet the bundle on the ground, slithering through the night air like serpents through the mud. He un-wrapped the blanket thoughtlessly, making quick work of it. Once he had finished revealing what he had previously kept concealed, our Shade in question was met with the gaze of a child no older than six months, wide-eyed and inquisitive.


The shadow-creature wrapped its long and slender fingers around the baby’s neck, disregarding the expression it gave him, first questioning and later pained. He applied no pressure to its tiny trachea, making no move toward strangulation. Nevertheless, the baby’s face turned pale and the color began draining from its face. Those tendrils of darkness that slithered so silkily around his throat carried with them death itself.


Nonchalantly, the shadow-man let go of the lifeless form. He began to fade slowly back into the trees, retreating into the emptiness from which he had came. In a short moment he was gone, with no trace of his brief visit to the world of Light left under the soon-to-rise sun.



Four hours from that precise instant, dawn would break and bring new life to the Western Hemisphere of planet Earth. The sky would begin to lighten, and the pitch black would turn to a very dark blue, the night fleeing from the glorious light of morning.


Four hours into the not so distant future, a stretch of time that constituted both an eternity and a split second, the people in the rows of houses just beyond the trees would begin to draw their shades. Breakfast would be made, teeth would be brushed, and the woman who lived in 134 Carpenter Street would run out onto her lawn screaming. Her screams would turn to sobs, and those sobs would become wails.


Her child would only be the first of millions.


Beyond the forest, beyond the trees, beyond the crowd of nosy neighbors gathering at the edge of Christina Tritman’s lawn, the world would continue to turn, if only for a brief moment in time.





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L...C said...
May 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm
I love this. You should wright more and keep up the good work.
 
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