Shadows in the Dark

Posted: January 25, 2015 in prose
Tags: , , ,

It’s 4am. The barely rustling trees hide the traces of moonlight from the cracks in the windows. I’m jolted awake by what feels like a longing for something. But not that.

It bolts across the room just quick enough to outrun my strained gaze through the solitary light of the flickering television. An old kung-fu movie is on. On the screen a nameless kung-fu master steps onto the grounds of a massive fortress. He dusts himself off and tightens his wrist wraps. I fear we may both soon face our battles with Goliath. The volume is down, but for a dull hum that I probably won’t hear in 30 years.

My head snaps across the room trying to follow it, but lands on nothing but the blackness outside the television’s glare. I stare for a few seconds, trying not to let the darkness pull my eyes right out of my sockets.

Nothing.

I turn back to the television, let out a lion’s yawn and rub my dry eyes. Blinking furiously I scan the room again. Please let it just be my imagination. I think I see it in the corner, no wait, the other corner. No wait, it’s sitting on my chair! I can hear it laughing that maniacal laugh, staring at me through the black of night with it’s shadow-black eyes.

All the world’s wars pale in comparison to the bodies it has stacked up in its bloody wake, laughing its way to the top of the food chain. It brings not just death but oblivion; indiscriminate, this monster relentlessly kills all in its path and does it silently, leaving no trace like a true boy scout. Stories ring in my ears of being eaten from the inside and devoured in your sleep. Some it ends slowly, others with lightning speed. Visions flash across my frantic mind of stone grey children and empty bodies, stiff as boards but frail as fiberglass strewn out on cots, sweating away the last drops of their lives. Some it just teases and plays with only to haunt the darkest dreams. It laughs again and I hear the tortured souls left writhing and screaming in schizophrenia deep into the night. It is a true testament to power and veracity, savagery and skill.

I try to forget all this and close my eyes. I pull the covers up to my head and hope that it won’t see me. Or maybe it will simply forget. Maybe it will just leave. Maybe it will just slip away into the night and find a juicier piece of meat for it’s midnight snack. Maybe I’m actually an eskimo and it’s just an alien riding a polar bear. I wish. I doubt it.

I hear the laugh again, faint at first then loud as I probably was to my older siblings: painfully relentless. I shoot up and flail wildly.

Did I get it? Is it dead? Have I been the one this time to strike the killing blow?

Pipe dreams.

If God graces me lucky enough to make it out of this I promise a life equally relentless. With enough time I could hunt extinct this scourge sent straight from Satan’s doorstep. All I need is time…

There it is! It bolts across the flickering line of the television’s sight. Or did I? No, now it’s back over where it was! Like a lion playing with the broken body of a baby gazelle, it’s toying with me, teasing me with the illusion of safety. If only it would stay in the light…

I squint to try and catch a glance of the shadowed killer but the darkness is its home. I am but a visitor here.

I reach for my bottle of lukewarm water. With my eyes fixed on the shadow I unscrew the cap and take a swig. My body is weak. My mind, strained. My will is dwindling with the plausibility of this kung-fu master’s success.

I hear it laugh again and I can barely muster enough energy to look fierce in the face of this ancient, unstoppable monster. I can’t do it. I’ll never win. My arms are too slow and weak. My blind eyes are useless. My ears feel like they’ve forgotten every sound but its piercing laugh.

I fear this may be it, this may be the end of the line. I try and accept my fate. Soon I will join the innumerable others who have fallen to the same fate, if insanity doesn’t take me first.

No! There it is, coming in for the attack! With the last burst of strength left in me I swing my arm around and hit the bastard. Or did I?

Nothing.

In the flickering light of the kung-fu master’s dazzling display I spot the tiniest stroke of crimson on my palm. Hah! Not me, oh devilish winds of fate and fortune, this soul is not yet yours to whisk away. My painful vigilance has paid off this time. This time…

I turn off the television. My bottle only has a little left but I take another small swig anyway. I will save the rest for the morning. I slink back down and close my eyes. As my mind begins to melt away into kaleidoscope dreams, I hear something seemingly miles away; there it is, the faint laughter of the shadows…

Fucking mosquitos.

Z

“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.” — Betty Reese

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Comments
  1. Mom says:

    Do you have a mosquito net? How about sleeping with mosquito coils lit in your room? Get your screens fixed! Lordy. This is a writing but I’m worried about you now!!!

    Like

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