SHADOW

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CHAPTER 24

IT RAINED MASSIVELY that night for several hours.

The wind raged wildly and the waters poured in great big drops, splashing in ceaseless rhythms on the roofs and windows of the buildings around. A tensed chill hung in the air. The streets were expectedly deserted, save for a few speeding cars passing by, a stray dog looking for shelter from the rain and a couple of unfortunate night crawlers caught in the downpour, soaking wet and hurrying along without raincoats on or umbrellas over their heads.

Samantha Prince was at home, curled up and sleeping peacefully in her bed with the quilt pulled up to her shoulders. Underneath that, she was only in her underwear; the way she’d always preferred sleeping, except on occasions when she had a fight with her husband. The light in the bedroom was turned on because she didn’t like going to bed with the lights off. But the lights along the corridor and in other parts of the house were usually turned off at night.

The time must be around eleven in the night or thereabout, and the deluge had started to ebb when Samantha woke up with the distinct, nagging sensation that someone was right there in the room with her!

Watching her!

She lay still in a position for a moment, terrified to move, her heartbeat fluctuating as she listened to be certain she was not making things up. She’d been going through a lot lately and it was possible that her imagination had gone haywire. Maybe she was getting paranoid. Slowly, she turned around on the bed, propping up on her elbow so she could get a better view around the room.

She froze, caught her breath. Raw terror seized her beating heart!

The door to her room was hanging wide open and there appeared to be a person standing in the darkened entrance; a tall, mysterious figure veiled by the cloak of the surrounding shadows. Although she couldn’t properly see through the blurry darkness, Samantha was sure that there was a person there, glaring quietly at her. But when she strained her eyes and blinked to be sure she wasn’t hallucinating, the figure was gone.

Had she imagined that there had been someone there a moment ago, only a few feet from her bed?

Was she dreaming?

No, not a dream, Samantha!

As she pondered on it, she felt quite certain that she’d left the doors – all the doors – shut before she went to bed. She gasped and stared hard at the now empty spot where she thought she’d seen the person or whatever the hell it was. Then she climbed down from the bed and walked to the door with bated breath, slowly putting one nervous foot in front of the other.

Stepping out into the dim corridor, Samantha paused tentatively, raised her hands and felt for the switch on the wall. She turned on the light. There was no one there. She walked down the small corridor, checked that the other doors were still secured, then went to the living room and turned on the lights as well.

No one.

Samantha Prince sighed with an uneasy calmness, began to relax and tell herself that everything was fine in the house after all. She was only seeing things; that could sometimes happen to a distressed, nervous mind, more so one which was eternally afraid of the dark, like hers. She decided she may have to speak with a therapist herself the next morning, just to be sure she wasn’t nearing mental breakdown due to the psychological trauma she was going through.

Then she had the same weird feeling again, more gripping this time; the same thing she felt that woke her up, that she was not alone.

Behind you, Samantha!

She spun round at once, just as the corridor light she’d turned on only a moment ago tripped off instantly, by itself! In the background of the creepy darkness that flooded the house then, she caught sight of a movement – a thing – that dashed from the bathroom through the wall of the kitchen without the faintest sound. It was a swift, fluid movement, and it might have been more convenient for Samantha Prince to either miss it or pass it off as a trick of sight due to the inconsistency of the light, which would be normal.

Except that she was dead certain of what she just saw.

She knew there was something there, in her house, and it didn’t strike her like a man.

Dear Lord!

Samantha gasped, ran into her room in sheer terror, slammed the door shut behind her, turned the key with shaky fingers and then hurdled over the bed to the other side, jamming herself between the bed and the wall, shivering and whimpering dreadfully.

She started when the phone in the wooden compartment of the bed began to vibrate suddenly. Then she scrambled onto the bed and grabbed the phone quickly, with shaky hands.

“Hello,” she called loudly, her voice panic stricken. “Please help…!”

“Hello,” said Jonathan, from the other end. “I’ve been calling you. Is everything alright?”

“Jonathan?” she almost cried when she heard his voice.

“Yes. Are you okay?”

Samantha hesitated, listening intently for any sound outside her door, watching the knob to see if someone would try to open it from the outside. Suddenly, a terrible force rammed onto the door from outside, shaking the house to its foundation and scaring the hell out of Samantha. She dropped the phone in panic and screamed terribly.

On the phone, Jonathan’s anxious voice was still coming through:

“Hello! Hello! Samantha!

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