#2 - Spooked
Simone tossed and turned all night in her bed. The image of the shadow was stuck in her mind. Every time she closed her eyes, it was there.
Earlier, her mother had looked at her with a sigh and had helped her up. Simone had tried to look at her shadow once more but it was normal then. Maybe I had hallucinated? She thought for the nth time. After that, she had looked at everyone’s shadows all through the dinner. Jayden had laughed at her for being spooky for no reason but she was too exhausted and scared to respond. Her parents had promised them a good start and many other things but she had hardly listened. Warnings of the old man and the guy in the forest remained with her.
༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽
Simone woke up at her alarm. Rubbing her eyes, she groaned. Her head felt heavy. She had no idea when she had dozed off last night. She parted the curtains from her bedroom window and looked outside onto the quiet street. Curtains were being parted in the house in front of hers and an old man was getting into his car on the house on her left. She smiled. So people really do live here. She thought. As the sun rose in the sky, everything looked normal but it wasn’t. Simone could tell that something was off. She was missing something but what? She had no idea.
After breakfast, her mother dragged her and Jayden into the living room downstairs to help her unpack. Her father had gone to the mayor’s office where he had got the new job which paid a little less than his previous.
“This place is dead.” Jayden mumbled at his mother as Simone was setting up the bowls in the kitchen cabinet.
“Jay hon, not you too. It’s a good place and we’re going to be happy here.” She heard her mother sigh.
“No, I meant just look outside. There are no birds. No animals like cats or dogs when we’re just near the forest.”
Simone stilled. That was what was missing. The chirping of the birds. There had been no birds at all.
“Why would they be in town when the natural habitat is right there?” Her mother smiled and jerked her head towards the thick trees near their house. Simone didn’t say anything but kept looking around for shadows. Twice, she felt like she’d seen something from the corner of her eyes but when she turned to look, there was nothing. At about seven in the evening, her father returned.
“How was your day, dear?” Her mother asked him, taking his bag and coat.
“Tiring. Too much work at the office but this town is peaceful. I’m sure we’re going to be happy here.”
Simone resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the table. She was watching television with her brother but her ears were focused on her parents’ conversation.
“I’m glad.” Her mother replied. As they made their way up the stairs towards their bedroom, Simone turned her head to look. Popcorn fell from her fingers as her eyes widen.
Shadows. Two of them were following her parents along with their own shadows.
“Jayden.” She whispered, nudging him with her elbow. “Look at mom and dad.”
Her brother scrunched his face at her and then turned his head to look.
“I’ve seen them all my life. What’s different?” He asked loudly. Clenching her jaw, she turned to look again. Her parents were laughing at something on top of the stairs but the shadows were gone. Had she hallucinated again? She wondered.
That night, Simone took out her camera and sat down on the window seat. She focused on the street outside. People were disappearing into their houses, curtains were being pulled and the lights were being turned off. Soon enough, everything was shrouded in the darkness. The only light came from the dull orange bulbs of the street lamps.
“I’ve no idea what the heck am I doing?” She grumbled, turning her cell phone to silent. She waited for about an hour but saw nothing and heard nothing. She dozed off. When her head hit the window sill, she groaned and forced her eyes to open and look outside one last time.
What she saw was going to haunt her forever. The street, it was covered with shadows. Simone gasped and her skin prickled with fear. What the hell was she seeing? She squeezed her eyes close, hoping that they’d be gone and it would be just another hallucination. She opened them up slowly, her heart thudding in her chest. It wasn’t a hallucination. The street was covered with shadows. They were climbing up the street lamps, houses and pulling at one and another on the road. Simone staggered back from the window and landed with a thud on the bedroom floor when her legs gave out beneath her.
I made a sound. She realized with horror. Sure enough, she saw hands on her window glass. Before the shadow could see her, she immediately lied down on the floor and pretended to be asleep. She was sure that shadow would be able to hear her heart thudding in her chest. In her heart, she counted to fifty and then opened her eyes. It was dark just like it had been. There wasn’t any shadow anywhere. Sighing with relief, she got up as quietly as she could and made her way back towards the window.
The shadows were still on the street but they were not running around wild like they had been. Before Simone could wonder why, she heard the sound.
Click, clack, click, clack..... Of the heels. The shadows started disappearing into the darkness and the ones that remained on the road parted like waves for the upcoming figure.
Click, clack, click, clack.....It was a woman. Simone swallowed. She was NOT a shadow and shadows were clearly afraid of her. The woman stopped just in front of her house. Her back was to the light and her dark black hair shielded her face. She turned to face the front door. Holding her breath, Simone hid herself behind the curtain but kept looking. The woman wore bright red lipstick and her skin was pale. That was all she had noticed when the woman turned her head to look at the window. Right where Simone was.