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Episode VI

The Shadow

When I was eleven years old, I went to live with my grandmother. We lived in the house that she called home for thirty-eight years or so along with her many antiques and a few other family members. A time came for the local area to upgrade from its former self to a newer look. The road that ran in front of my grandmother’s house for so many years that once was dirt, became a paved roadway before I was born. So, for as long as I can remember it was a two-lane road that was soon to become four lanes of crazy traffic. She sold her house and property for apparently a decent amount because, in the Spring of 1984, we moved from North Carolina to Tennessee where we could be closer to the family that we did not get to see that often. I felt special because of being in the sixth grade for only around two months, but hey I passed so cool beans.

Summer arrived with the excitement of no school and sleeping in…ha-ha, so much for that, because my Grandmother Zayedie had other plans like mowing the yard, taking out the trash, vacuuming the rugs, washing dishes and all the other glorious duties that come along with the cleaning. Well, at least it was home and that is where we planted ourselves for many years to come. Once our stuff got settled into our rooms, the house was ready to live in. I loved that house because it was the nicest house, I had ever lived in. It was what my grandmother called a tri-level house with plenty of room. One evening while we were down in the family room talking about events from during the day, the lights started to flicker. I gasped and froze in place when the lights went completely out. It was so dark and felt like all the scary things of the darkness were closing in on me, wanting to grab at me and take me to someplace unknown and cold.

“Now Rebecca, calm down. It is just the power going out and it will come back on soon,” Grandmother Zayedie said.

“It is so dark and quiet, it’s creepy,” I said to her while sitting so still, that I pretty much started to break a sweat. The lights came back on and I sighed with relief. When I could breathe again as well, and all my muscles relaxed at the same time. I looked at Zayedie and she had a smile on her face, then she giggled in amusement. We headed to bed soon after the area around felt more at ease. There were things to get done, and an allowance to be made.

The next morning, I had to wake up bright and early, for it was time to mow the grass. As an eleven-year-old, oh the joys of mowing.

“Rebecca, get up and go cut the grass before the heat of the day,” Zayedie said as she stood in the doorway of my bedroom.

“Ughhh…could be heard coming from underneath the yellow comforter that draped across my antique twin bed that had a tall wooden canopy-like thing at the top. I was not up and out of the bed until I heard the pull-down shade raise up and the light of the early morning slap me in the face. As I got up, got dressed and headed down the stairs toward the laundry room, “One of these days I am going to like mowing. Someday, just not today,” I said to myself as I headed out the backdoor to get the mower. Even though it was early morning, you could feel the temperature rising as the sun rose higher in the sky. Small beads of sweat began to form all over me as I got the job done that was asked of me.

Once the mowing was done, I took a shower to feel fresh again. As I got dressed, I thought I heard whispering. I heard Zayedie’s television but what I had heard was a separate sound. As I slowly wrapped my hair up into a towel, I walked into my bedroom which is directly across the hall from the bathroom. Well, there was no one in my room and certainly no whispering. I went on about my day doing my daily routine downstairs, which usually consisted of listening to music and drawing different posters for class credits. On this day to my surprise, I got to skip out on going to the store with Zayedie and stay home. Well whoo hoo, I cranked up my small radio boom box and jammed out to the hair bands of the ’80s. Ha-ha, it felt good to feel free for a little while. So, while I’m feeling fancy-free and happy, there was a loud bang that came from upstairs. I stopped quick and turned down the radio. Of course, I was afraid to turn off the radio for the fear of maybe hearing something that I didn’t really want to hear. As I sat and listened all was quiet, so I sat outside and waited for Zayedie to return home.

“Well, why are you sitting outside Rebecca? Zayedie asked as she got out of her car.

“Well there was a loud bang that came from upstairs and no one else is here but me, and now you. So, what was it? I got scared so I came outside,” I told her with a shaky voice.

“Oh fiddle, there’s nothing in the house,” Zayedie said as she entered through the sliding glass door which leads to the family room and laundry room. She put her purse down onto the arm of the couch and pulled out her .38 revolver. She turned and looked at me, then proceeded upstairs.

“Alright, if there is somebody in here, you better get gone and quick, or I’m going to blow a hole right through you,” she said as she started up the first set of steps that lead to the kitchen. She was not one that was ever afraid of using her gun. Believe me, I have heard her shoot it plenty of times and even one time through an inner door of the house because it sounded like someone was on the other side trying to force their way in. As she made her way upstairs with me not listening and trailing in behind her, she checked every nook and corner of the entire house…and nothing. Just empty rooms with furniture.

Well after all the excitement, the atmosphere seemed to calm down and things were back to a normal feeling. Zayedie stood in the kitchen and while putting away groceries she stopped and turned around to face me while placing her left hand on her left hip.

“Rebecca, what kind of noise was that you heard again?” she asked looking curious as to what it could have been.

“It was a loud bang. Like something had either fallen or someone had hit something,” I said as I sat down in a small white metal kitchen chair.

“Well, there is nothing here so who knows. Why did you not go and see what it was?” She said as she turned and finished putting stuff away.

“Because I’m too chicken and plus I have heard all the stories of the antique furniture and it’s somewhat pretty creepy. Of course, I was little when I heard those stories so that is probably why they were scary,” I said with a laugh but felt uneasy. “Maybe we have a ghost.”

“Oh hogwash,” Zayedie said. “The little dresser in your room has some history. I bought it years ago while we still lived at the other house, way before you were born. It is around two hundred years old or more at the most.”

“Well that’s creepy enough and it just had to be put in my room…Ugh,” I said as I got up to do some dishes. “I remember the story of the creepy little hairy thing that was seen sitting on the corner of the dresser.”

“Why yes, that was your uncle that saw it when he was younger. He said he threw crayons at it and they went right through it. Hit the wall behind it he said. He said it looked like some sort of little evil creature, but he only saw it that one time.”

“Well good, maybe I won’t see it because I don’t want too,” I told Zayedie as I went on to do other chores around the house, so she would not have to do so much.

It is true about hearing the different stories about the furniture and the different experiences that some of the family had experienced. So, with the darkness of the night approaching, I am choosing not to think of that stuff. Off to bed, we go and as I get ready for bed, I have a slight feeling of being watched. No one is on my room but me, so I just brush it off as some of the thoughts from earlier trying to seep in. I turn the light off and crawl into bed. On occasion the feeling of not being able to move in bed or everything shaking when it probably is not at all. Just strange feelings and sensations while in my bed, in the dark. The moon must be shining due to the window shade having a light glow to it. Soon I fell asleep but not for long. There was the feeling that someone was standing there watching me sleep. It was like they were right there close to my face. As I awoke from my sleep, and yes, I was asleep until now. I looked at the bedroom window and half of it was blocked out. As I stared at the window, I could see the outline of something standing there. The top of this shadow looked like there was hair, but it stuck out from the shadow-like short points like somebody had a bad hair day. I never could see a face, it was just all black and it just stood there like it was watching me. This scared me so bad I could not move, could not scream just lay there and wish it would go away. I pulled the covers up to my face and closed my eyes tight. My breath was quick and short all while I repeated to myself, “If I close my eyes it’ll go away, If I close my eyes it’ll go away.” I repeated this to myself enough times that I eventually fell asleep.

The next morning, I opened my eyes and looked around my room. There was nothing there to see except my room. I found Zayedie downstairs in the kitchen cooking breakfast.

“Ok the creepiest thing happened last night, and it scared me so bad,” I told her as I sat down.

“What? Well, why didn’t you say something and what happened?” Zayedie asked as she kept cooking.

“I tried to scream your name, and nothing came out. I could not move either. There was something standing in between my bed and the window,” I said as I took a sip of some orange juice.

“What...? You were dreaming I’m sure,” Zayedie said while serving her usual breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon with her famous, (at least by me anyway) biscuits.

“No, I was not dreaming, I was wide awake just as I am now,” I told her in as seriously no joking tone. “I want a night light to go into my room so at night my room won’t be totally dark. I do not want to see that shadow again, it really freaked me out.”

“A night light, oh my Rebecca,” Zayedie said with a slight giggle and a sigh. “Ok, I’ll get you one.”

When we went to the store on the very next trip, Zayedie indeed bought me a night light for my room. Although I never figured out what the shadow really was, if the night light burned at night, then I never saw anything. This is not to say that a loud bang or two could not be heard or the window shade flying up for no reason, but I believe that the small antique dresser that was in my room may have been the cause, but no one really knows that. I never told anyone about the shadow and after some years of being away from the house, I thought that maybe it had been just my imagination. I ended up going back to live with Zayedie for a while and ended up sleeping in the other front room that had a cute little brass bed in it…along with yes, some antique furniture. My at the time boyfriend came to visit and well, guess where he got to sleep…ha-ha, in my old room. How lucky he was, better him than me. He never knew about the shadow either, in fact, I had somewhat forgotten about it. So, after he had laughed at me for even using the night light, I didn’t tell him about keeping it on either.

We all crashed for the night in separate bedrooms and all was quiet for the most part.

“REBECCA!! REBECCA!! Come in here,” Somebody was yelling from the next room with a scared tone in their voice. It was coming from my old room. I got up and went to the room as the yelling and eventually whimpering continued. I opened the door and turned the light on.

“What in the world are you yelling about?” I said seeming irritated because I got woke up. “Hush, you are going to wake everybody up in the house.” When I got a good look at the whimpering mass of flesh that was sitting straight up on my bed. He was white as a ghost with eyes as big as saucers. He was pointing toward the window and stuttering while trying to get his words out.

“It was r-r-right there,” He said or tried to as he pointed at the window. Of course, when I looked there was nothing there.

“What was right there?” I asked.

“I d-d-don’t know. I-i-it was tall and solid b-b-black. A tall sh-sh-shadow.

“Whaaat, did you say?” I asked slowly not believing my ears. “A tall black shadow?”

“Yeah, even th-th-though I called your name, it still st-st-stood there. It di-di-did not go away until you cut the light on,” Said the stuttering mass of ghostly white flesh.

“Uh ok, well remember you picked on me about having the night light on…now you know why,” I told him as I closed the bedroom door and went back to the other front room. The next morning over breakfast, we told Zayedie about what happened. I also told her that she was the only person that I had ever told the story too, about seeing a tall black shadow in my room. Now Bobby had seen it so now I am convinced that I really did see something. After this, I never saw the shadow ever again. Makes me wonder if what I saw was just a taller version of what my uncle saw when he was younger. Well, we’ll never actually know but hopefully, it is gone for good now.

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