Shadows | Teen Ink


November 1, 2013
By FinnWinterfall GOLD, Rochester, Massachusetts
FinnWinterfall GOLD, Rochester, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There, there."

I had never been so furious in my life. My mother and father, with their creepy obsession, decided to move to the outskirts of town. Not only did they move far away from human civilization; they moved into a large, ancient, and seemingly haunted-house. My parents were well-known ghost hunters, and they took me away from our close-to-normal life to live here. Their work was going too far, and I had begun to hate them for it.

It was a dark and dreary day outside, and it looked like it was about to rain. My parents soon led the way in, and I immediately regretted my birth into this cruel world. The scent was as pungent as a rotten animal carcass, and I found myself looking around for signs of death. All I saw was emptiness. There was no furniture or decorations, and the walls had peeling black paint. The happiest person would become depressed for life just by stepping into the place. I looked at the expression on my parents’ faces. They never looked happier. It made me want to throw up.

“What do you think?” my dad asked me.

“What do you think I think” I replied. He already knew that I had a strong opinion on moving to this house.

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. Your father and I have seen worse.” My mother didn’t get it. I wasn’t scared; I just didn’t want to live in this house. Who would… besides the two abnormal creatures I was forced to call my parents? My little brother ran in struggling under the weight of his suitcase. When he got in, he had the same look of amazement as my parents did. It was clear he was going to grow up to be just like them, while I would actually do something productive with my life. I was thinking of writing a book: “How to Escape the Clutches of Your Mentally Unstable Parents.”

We all walked around to find the bedroom that we wanted. Not that it mattered; all the bedrooms looked the same. I decided on the one closest to the door. That way I could make a run for the door while my parents were asleep. I didn’t know how long I could take this shack of a big house.

As soon as I walked into my bedroom, I looked around for a bed. Not surprisingly, the only inhabitant of the room was a rat the size of a small dog. I shuddered at the thought of a rat crawling over my face as I tried to sleep. That was all very likely though, as I would be sleeping on the floor. I put my bag in the corner of the room that was opposite of the rat, and I then turned and walked down one of the many dark hallways. Each room seemed to get darker and more ominous the further back I went, and I thought I saw something at the far end of the hall. It looked like a shadow, but there was no body as far as I could tell. I blinked; the shadow was gone. This house was already messing with my head, I decided.

That night, as my parents were setting up their ghosting equipment, I decided to attempt to go to sleep. The rat was gone, so that put me at some ease.

About an hour after I laid down on my makeshift bed, (which was very uncomfortable as I only had a thin blanket, and the floor was… well… stone) I decided that sleep was not coming to me. A cold wind from who-knows-where kept sending shivers up my spine. The door was creaking. And then I heard the scream. It was my father’s scream.

I had only heard it once before, when my dad tripped over my brother’s toy car and broke his arm when he fell. Nevertheless, I knew it was his. I ran up out of bed just in time to see a shadow pulling something out the front door. I ran outside and saw my father and this grey creature flying in the night sky. My mother and brother were behind me. They started crying miserably, while I just stood there. I was deeply intrigued by what had just happened, yet deeply horrified at the same time. My mother looked at me weird because I wasn’t crying hysterically, so I then decided to let out a fake sob. It wasn’t that I was not afraid of what would happen to my father; it was that I was just too perplexed by the whole situation to even think about crying for real.

After about an hour of standing by the door, my brother and mother went over to the unlit fireplace and sat down, while I sat awkwardly in the corner. I thought I would be best to leave this wretched house and go to a hotel somewhere, but I knew my mom was too endorsed in her occupation to give up that easily. If you wouldn’t give up on something after it just caused your loved one to be taken away from you, you’re either extremely dedicated of extremely insane. My parents – now only my mother – were insanely dedicated to the second power. In reality, my dad was even worse than my mom! Why couldn’t they write a book our something… we were dealing with actual spirits here! I imagined screaming at the top of my lungs until my throat started to burn and I coughed up blood, but I contained my anger. Anything would be better than the situation I was in, though.

“Honey, is something wrong?” my mother asked me.

I looked at her, dumbfounded. Had she really just asked me if something was wrong? How was I supposed to reply to that? No mom, everything is perfectly okay. We’re in a haunted house, and my insane father just got taken away by a freaking shadow. But other than that, I feel wonderful.

In reality I said, “I’m just worried for dad, that’s all.” But you can’t even begin to imagine how much I wanted to scream at her and tell her what the in the name of Hell was really wrong. Obviously, she was too thick to see that she was not normal and this situation was not normal.

She was just about to reply when a swooshing noise came from the chimney. My brother jumped slightly, and my mother just stared at the mantle with wide eyes. We sat in silence for about a minute, and that’s when the shadow stroke again. He flew right past my brother, and aimed right for my mother. Within a few seconds the shadow grabbed my mother by the hair and pulled her up the chimney. I knew she was gone when I saw the blood dripping down from the bricks. A wolf howled outside, and a tear came down my freezing cheeks. In truth, I was frightened beyond belief.

I grabbed my brother by the arm, took him into my new room, and shut the door. He was crying hysterically. He was only eight, and wasn’t clear on what was going on. All he knew was that his mom and dad had been taken away. I tried to hush him down, and when I told him that if he didn’t stop the shadow would get him, he hushed right up. I knew it was cruel to say such a thing, but what else could I do?

While sitting there in silence and bouncing my poor brother on my lap, I got to thinking what the shadow could want. This wasn’t the shadow from Peter Pan who took kids away to Neverland; it was a cruel, murderous, and deadly shadow. I had lost my mother and my father to it, and I surely wouldn’t let him get to my little brother with the pudgy face and the dark brown hair. He still had all his innocence, and even though my parents were teaching him the mentally unstable job of ghost-hunting, I believed he would turn out all right in the end. I was the only one left; it was my job to protect him. Thomas was his name, by the way, and he was fast asleep in my arms before I even finished my thoughts. If only I could do that, I remarked to myself.

There was no time for sleep for me. I had to think of a plan to stop this creature from coming after the two of us. I got to thinking that they went after the oldest people first, but then I remembered that my mom was a few months older than my dad. That couldn’t be it, I thought. Then I worked my brain extra hard and came up with a very plausible solution. My father was the most fanatic out of all of us in his ghost-hunting, and he was captured first. My mother was second. I looked at Thomas; he was growing up to be like them. He was slowly but surely becoming fascinated with the supernatural. He would be the next to go.

As soon as I finished my terrible assumption, something dark was slowly creeping into the bedroom from under the door. I could barely see, but I could feel the shadow’s presence. I woke up my little brother. I didn’t want to scare him, but I needed to try something.

“Tommy,” I said. “Can you tell me that spirits and shadows and ghosts are good, and that they won’t hurt you?”

“But mommy and daddy told us that they are bad, and that they will hurt you if you don’t catch them first,” he replied in his innocent voice.

“But Tommy,” I pleaded, “mom and dad were wrong. They didn’t know for real.” I tried talking cheerfully, but my voice was shaking so I didn’t sound too convincing.

He shook his head and said “NO!” He wouldn’t play along. I had a feeling that if Tommy repeated what I had said, the shadow might take heart. It seemed to me that the shadow went after the things that went after him.

The shadow made its way from under the door and I could feel it getting closer… closer… closer…

Suddenly, I felt little Tommy getting tugged away from me. He started crying; I started crying. It was too late to convince my brother that the shadow wouldn’t hurt him if he said he wouldn’t hurt the shadow. The demonic shadow felt threatened by my little brother who was growing up to be like his parents, and so it took him away from me. The rotten wood door fell down as my brother was forcefully slammed into it by the shadow. Tommy stopped screaming as he was taken away. I assumed he was unconscious or worse, and I followed the shadow throughout the house of terror that my parents put us in. My screams echoed through the corridor as I saw drops of fresh blood leading to the front door. When I looked outside, my poor little brother wasn’t there. I was all alone. I had failed to keep my brother safe.

I don’t know what happened after that. I must have blacked out, because when I opened my eyes again it was broad daylight. Well, it was about as light as it would get when you’re in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees.

As soon as I remembered what had happened the night before, I got up with a start. I looked at the hallway where my brother’s blood had been. It was still there. I let out a girlish shriek and tears started spilling over more tremendously than they ever had before. How could this have happened?

When I started breathing more properly, and convinced myself that this wasn’t possible, I noticed a shadow coming out of my bedroom. No, not just one shadow… two! They came at me… slowly. When they had gotten a few paces nearer to me, I realized who they were. They were my mother and father! My parents were shadows! I looked around for my brother, and saw him emerge from my room after my parents. He had been turned into a shadow too, and was the worst looking shadow of them all. He was all beaten up and mangled, even in shadow form, and I tried to run to him and force the real Tommy to come back, but I couldn’t move. I started to cry, and tried to plea with them all to come back, but they came closer as if they didn’t hear me. I knew that if they got a hold of me, they would make me like them. Fear set in and replaced the terror of the thought that my family was essentially demonized. I couldn’t be like them; I just couldn’t. I tried to move my feet and run away from my now shadowed family, but I couldn’t move at all. I was stuck.

“Mom! Dad! Tommy! Please no!” I screamed.

They couldn’t hear me. They weren’t them anymore.

I held my breath and closed my eyes as they advanced closer… closer… closer.

The author's comments:
Shadows fascinate me for some reason. They are always there but no one really pays attention to them. This short story forces you to fear shadows, and think more about them.

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