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The Shadows

By , Bangor, ME
There are always four people in the graveyard. Well, counting the dead ones, there are a lot more than four people in the graveyard. The four living people are the ones you need to watch out for though. They’re a family, three brothers and a sister, but somehow you never hear about the sister. Every so often a small feminine shape with red hair is seen with the three brothers. Her name isn’t known but urban legend calls her “the sister.” Every so often a red-haired outsider girl will appear in town, without a family and everyone will wonder if it’s finally the end of the mystery. But it’s always just a run-away or a girl just out of college who found a cheap apartment here with nothing to do with the three brothers.
You can’t miss the brothers. They were caught in a mysterious fire, a long time ago, so the first brother’s face is so scarred, you can only see two bloodshot eyes peeking through a mass of scar tissue when you look at his face. The other two are twins with identical long curling scars going down one side of their faces. For one it’s on the right side, for one it’s on the left. All three have stubble on their faces, and mats of greasy black hair sticking out of their hoods. In my town we just call them “the brothers” and if ever, at night, you see one or two or even three huge muscled men with hoods, run as fast as you can, far away, because, close to the full moon every month, the brothers kill someone. Their kills are always clean, there has never been any evidence that it was them on the bodies. Nobody even knew it was them, until me. I was just wandering the town one night, when I saw a man running as fast as he could away from the graveyard. I saw his hunted eyes and his muscular arms and legs pumping as hard as he could. He saw me and I saw the hope blossom. Evidently he thought that the brothers would take the weak girl over him. But then the first dark shape popped out in front of him. The man turned fluidly and ran straight into the other brothers. They swooped over him like two huge dark ravens and then they were gone. They just vanished, like they had never been there in the first place.
Of course, even to me, this story doesn’t sound very convincing. Three dark shapes grab a man and magically vanish? The police laugh at me whenever they see me, but the town has been ultra-cautious since my sighting. Still somebody goes missing every month, sometime before the full moon, and mangled remains are found afterward in the river.
I arrived in this town at the age of 8, as an orphan, living with various foster parents until I legally became an adult. I was never attached to any of them; as a little girl, I spent my time wandering and reading crime novels. After graduation, I purchased an apartment and told everyone that I put training to be a detective on hold to track the three brothers and their mysterious sister, but really I just didn’t want to leave the town. I haven’t been attached to a few people in my life, but I’m in love with this town. So I got the job at the pizzeria during the day, beating out the same dough and dealing with the same obnoxious customers who don’t know how to tip or even be polite, during the day. During nights I wander the town, pretending to be a figure in one of my novels. I’m always tired, sometimes I fall asleep waiting for the incredibly slow elevator to get to my 9th floor apartment, but that’s my price for staying here. And no sleep, a crappy, badly maintained apartment in a sketchy area of town, and a minimum wage job isn’t a price I mind paying. I manage. For example, when the knock came on my door, I was making Coffee # 9 of the day.
The man outside looked roughly my age, and looked startled for a second when he saw me, especially with the coffee stains all over my white shirt, but then whatever was worrying him took over, and his face went back to shimmering with sweat and fear.
“The police are no help. They thought I was high or something, you have to help me, please, the locals told me you believe and you know so much about them, and the police won’t even listen to me!” the words flew out of the man’s mouth, like even he didn’t know what he was saying.
“Yeah, the police don’t believe in the brothers or the sister,” I remarked, focusing more on his twitching eyes than what he was saying.
“That’s messed up! Right now in the cemetery, the brothers are performing a ritual on my girlfriend! She’s going to die!” he yelled.
“Relax.” I said calmly, looking for truth. “Ritual? I’ve never heard them do a ritual.”
“Well, it’s pretty obvious when you see your girlfriend tied to a rock while three huge guys in ski masks chant something to do with their sister and the moon in it, I don’t even know,” he looked down, trying to arrange the disturbing memory in his mind.
“Ok,” I said, looking right at his face. “Why should I believe you?”
“What reason do you have not to?” he laughed bitterly. “The police told me about you, alone, crazy, obsessed with the brothers, never ever going to leave this town.”
“Fair point,” I conceded, “But I do value my life and you do look like a psychopath.”
“Yeah, because I’ve been through a lot of trauma in the past few hours, I was going to propose tonight!” he pulled at his hair, looking more crazy than not. “At least I have a reason. You have empty eyes! And my grandma always said those were the psychotic ones!”
“Wow,” A quick glance in the mirror proved his point. “Okay then tell me what happened.”
“We’re not from here, we’re from Boston,” he started, “We were having a picnic in the graveyard, because it was our anniversary and we met in a graveyard. We didn’t believe in the brothers or the sister. Who would? It’s insane. But then the brothers jumped us and grabbed her, and I got away but I went back in the woods, and I found her tied up and the three brothers with knives all around her!”
“Okay,” I closed my eyes for a second, taking it in. “Let’s just go to her. Nobody else would come with us anyway.”
He nodded, obviously not an idiot and realizing that I was the craziest person he’d find. I grabbed my coat, and we ran down the hall and the winding staircase, emerging in an alleyway. The man took off, leading me to the woods, and I felt a hint of foreboding again. This man was huge with a military buzz cut and bulging muscles threatening to explode from his shirt while I definitely wasn’t at my strongest. It only took the quarter mile to woods for me to become winded and start gasping for breath.
“Are you okay?” he turned and looked at me with genuine concern in his face. The foreboding vanished. I would be fine.
“Yeah,” I gasped. Despite his concern, I saw his eye start to twitch again. Obviously he was weighing whatever was before us and was having second thoughts about me now that I looked like a dead weight. I knew he was thinking I would need his protection. He was wrong.
“Look!” I ordered, pointing to a glow that was barely discernible through the trees. The man’s eyes brightened as he forgot about how tired I was. And with every rapid step we made, the glow got brighter until we made it to a dying campfire, struggling to flicker as the darkness tried to extinguish it. The dying flames still illuminated a girl tied to the tree, mascara smudged all around her wide, frightened eyes, but otherwise intact.
“Lizz!” he ran to her, tears streaming down his face, the threat of the brothers forgotten. Love is so blind.
So that’s when I lunged for his throat, my red hair shimmering in the last seconds of firelight.

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StaceyPeterson said...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm
Absolutely amazing! Very detailed. Keep up the great work!
BeautifulDay replied...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm
Thank you so much!
StaceyPeterson said...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm
Absolutely amazing! Very detailed. Keep up the great work!
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