Shadows

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Summary

Zoey Gregory has always been haunted by her shadows. When she takes a vacation with her mother to visit the unknown, she realizes that things can get much much worse for her in this haunted life. This is my first short story and I had done it for a writing contest and I decided to also have it here as well. Hope you enjoy:)

Genre:
Thriller / Mystery
Author:
Jadlynn Hagler
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
1
Rating:
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

The haunted

I walked down the dark corridor. It had always taunted me, the way that the shadows moved in the corners, following me. This was the worst part. Call me paranoid, but I wasn't taking any chances. I picked up my pace and continued walking. As I was expecting, the man jumped out at me, and as always, I let out an ear piercing scream.

I sat up, sweat dripping from my face. It was just a dream. It was just a reoccurring dream that never stopped haunting me as I slept. My therapists had always tried to figure out what was wrong with me, and yes, I say therapists as in multiple. I reached over and turned on the lamp at my bedside before taking a quick assessment of my room.

I sighed and got up, seeing that the digital clock read 7:30 AM. I stretched and went into my walk in closet to get ready for my day. After finding a tee shirt, an oversized hoodie, and a pair of jeggings, I went and took a quick shower. When I got out, I got dressed and combed my wild, curly brown hair.

When I went to brush my teeth, I studied my features in the mirror. My light hazel eyes had slight dark circles under them. My small nose had a splattering of freckles across it, as well as a few freckles across my high cheekbones. My full, sensual pink lips parted slightly.

I saw a flicker of a shadow in the corner and I closed my eyes, taking deep breaths. This was a regular problem for me. I saw and heard things that weren't there. I was basically batshit crazy, which is also another word for overly paranoid. Okay, fine. I'll admit it. I was schizophrenic. It wasn't as bad as some of the others, but it was still enough to drive me insane.

I swallowed and dared to open my eyes once more. I let out a breath and walked out of the bathroom. Today I had to go visit my mother's parents. I had never met them before, mostly because my mother had a huge fall out with them when she moved out at seventeen.

Either way, they somehow contacted her a week ago and asked her to come so that they can finally make amends. It angered me a little to be honest. They waited until their only child was in her thirties to call and just say "Hey kiddo, we wanna say sorry for ruining your life about fifteen years ago. Come and have some milk and cookies!" It was complete bullshit. I wasn't even sure if they knew that I existed. They would find out soon enough, I suppose.

My father was never there, hence me living with only my mother. I didn't mind though. It was normal for me now. I just felt bad. Mostly because being a single mother of a kid with a mental illness can suck, but somehow, my mom manages it, which made me proud. She worked as an RN at the local hospital, her night shifts usually drained her, but they gave her a few days off so that she can go visit her "family."

I was curious though. I wanted to know who these people were, considering I had never met them. Would they treat me differently than they did my mother? Or would I just be another obstacle for them? Either one would be fine with me. Maybe I was a bit pessimistic, but I didn't think that this visit would go well.

I grabbed my bag and slung it over my shoulder before grabbing my phone and charger off of my nightstand. I then walked out of my room and met Mom downstairs in the kitchen. I grabbed a bagel and spread some butter on it and Mom smiled at me.

"Good morning. Are you all set to go," she asked. I nodded, my mouth full of warm bread and butter. She chuckled softly and then jerked her head to the front door, indicating that we should leave. I followed her out to the blood red Camaro and slung my bag into the backseat as I closed the door to the passenger side of the car.

Mom turned the key in the ignition and we set off to head into the unknown. When I looked out of the window, I jumped a little. There was a massive gray wolf running along side us in the car. I knew it was fake, yet I still smiled. It was beautiful, its yellow eyes piercing through me as it stared into my hazel ones. It was somewhat intimidating, but knowing it was real, I won the staring contest with a triumphant smile. I was now the alpha.

We drove for three hours, my mom making polite, and boring, conversation the whole ride over. I wasn't complaining though. Even though I didn't really pay attention, I liked the monotone she seemed to speak in. It was a soothing, calm white noise.

We finally pulled into a drive in the woods. I hadn't seen another house within two miles from here, and the fact that we had to drive through the woods to reach their house… it was eerie. I kept my thoughts to myself though, like any other time. I was a quiet person.

Their house was literally a big, dark log cabin. This was not good. My avid imagination would go crazy here. Haha. Get my crazy pun? No? Okay then. I'll stop now.

Anyways, I skeptically got out of the car. I noticed that there was an old rundown pickup truck parked on the side of the house. There were weeds snaking up the tires, so I wasn't completely sure if the thing actually worked or not. I was glad that I had Mom to chauffer me around in a nice car. I would drive myself, but honestly, I was afraid. I was scared that maybe I would see something on the road and just… I didn't even want to think about it, frankly. Instead I turned to look at Mom over the top of the car, my eyebrow raised.

"Are you sure that this is the right place," I asked. Mom rolled her eyes, but I saw the faint smile on her lips.

"Yes. This is it. I actually grew up here. Creepy, I know." I muttered in agreement to her statement. I grabbed my bag and followed Mom up the winding path to the front door. She knocked three times and we waited for a response. While we stood there, Mom whispered to me.

"Here's a quick warning. My parents can be a bit… superstitious, so don't believe everything they tell you okay? They're kind of weird like that and believe in myths and stuff," Mom said. I nodded and at the same moment, a woman, who looked to be in her late fifties, opened the door. She had a stiff expression and she said nothing, only opening the door wider for us to enter.

My mother didn't say a word. She just walked past the woman and set her bags off to the side of the living room. Mom stood up straight and turned to face the older woman.

"Hello Mother," Mom said formally. The woman still remained silent. Her face was set to sneer at her daughter and I felt bad for Mom. Obviously, this trip must have been her father's idea. The woman's eyes landed on me, and her expression abruptly changed. A wide, and creepy, smile grew on her thin lips as she looked at me.

I ignored all the warnings in my head. Mary spoke to me, (Mary was a voice in my head, and yes, I named them to distinguish, even though I only heard four different ones) and it was a clear warning.

"Leave. You're not safe here Zoey!" Although I knew it wasn't real, her hissing alarmed me. Mary usually wasn't so… weird and tense. I had a gut instinct that she was right, but I stayed put.

"Hello dear. And who might you be," the woman asked. I wasn't even sure what to call her. Grandma? That didn't feel right though.

"Um… I'm your granddaughter. Zoey," I introduced myself. She smiled a malicious grin that I couldn't decipher. She turned around and I realized that it was extremely weird how she never once blinked since opening the door. She was basically a mirror image of my mother, just older.

They both had the same dark red hair, green eyes, and pale skin. The woman was much more wrinkled than Mom though, and her face seemed more… bleh? I wasn't exactly sure how to describe it, but it didn't matter much to me anyways. She led us into a room then down a dark hallway.

It reminded me of the hallway in my nightmares, but I said nothing. She stopped in front of the door at the end of the hallway. Then, she turned her unblinking eyes to me with a malicious grin. I didn't like her at all.

"You both will be staying here, since I wasn't expecting another visitor. Don't worry though. There is a queen size bed inside so you both should fit," the woman assured. Then she held out her wrinkled frail hand to me. "Also, I'm Lucille. Please don't call me grandma. You'll make me feel terribly old," she said with a chuckle. I glanced at Mom and then took Lucille's hand to shake. I immediately tried to let go when she tightened her grip.

Something about this woman was off. She wasn't normal. Although I wasn't normal either, but this lady scared the ever loving shit out of me. Then Mom spoke up.

"Wait, Mom. Where's Dad? I wanted to see him." For the first time, Lucille blinked once at Mom's words. Lucille looked at her, her expression unchanged.

"Your father is dead. He's been dead for ten years. He was… murdered," Lucille answered. I shuddered. I noticed the pause before she said murder. All the blood drained out of Mom's face and she stood there in shock.

"Murdered? Why? How? Did they catch the one who did it?" Mom's questions came rapidly and now I was a little curious myself.

"I'm not sure why. He was stabbed multiple times after being suffocated. Right over in his bedroom. And no. They never caught the person responsible. It's a shame really," Lucille said. I shuddered again. The fact that she could explain her husband's death with a smile on her face alarmed me. Everything about this woman sent warning bells off in my head, and for a second, I allowed myself the possibility that she was the one to kill her husband.

It made sense. She seemed psychotic enough to do it, and it wasn't just some robbery gone bad because they were out in the middle of freaking nowhere. It was also in their own house and seeing no way of transportation, and Lucille looking too frail to walk two miles to get to civilization made me think that she stayed here most of the time. She could've called someone to come get her though. That was a possibility. I just didn't think that that was the case in this situation.

Mom looked horrified and without another word, she turned and went into the bedroom, so I followed. We got inside and looked around the room. There was plastic covering all of the furniture except the bed. I went around and lifted it off of the dresser and the love seat in the corner. There was a vanity in the corner too, but the mirror was shattered, though still intact. There was also a bathroom connected to the room, but I didn't go inside. I don't like dark places.

Suddenly, a huge snake slowly slithered out from the corner. I felt my eyes widen and glanced at Mom. She was unpacking our things, walking around the room, but she didn't seem alarmed, which meant that the black snake wasn't real. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. When I opened my eyes though, the snake was eye level with me. It didn't disappear like the visions usually did.

Leave before it's too late child, the snake hissed at me. I slowly backed away, shaking my head, trying to clear the thoughts from my mind. I really was insane now. Talking to snakes.

I started opening the drawers to help Mom unpack when I realized that one of them wasn't empty. It had a journal inside. I picked up the leather bound book and turned it in my hands and only one thing stood out. The name engraved at the bottom corner. Zoey Gregory.

My eyes widened in shock. What the hell? It had my name on it, in my relatives house, but I had never written in a journal before and this thing seemed old. It's slightly yellowing pages were thin and frail. I glanced back at Mom who was still busying herself by unpacking.

"Uh, I'm going to go to the bathroom," I said smoothly, hiding the book behind my back. She glanced at me and nodded and I realized that she seemed a little upset. Most likely about the news of her father.

I went into the dark tiled room and switched on the lights. I shut the door behind me and locked it then sat on the edge of the bathtub. I took a deep breath. What if I didn't like what was in here? Instead of dwelling on the negative possibilities, I opened the book to a page at the end.

Dear Diary, 11/15/2003

I haven't seen the shadows in a while. You might think it's a good thing, but it's not. When the shadows disappear, something is about to happen and it's never anything good. Strange things have been happening in this house, ever since I came to work here as a maid. There's something off about Mrs. Lucille. Her husband seems just fine, though he seems unresponsive half of the time, as if he's hypnotized and his movements seem mechanical. I've been thinking about leaving, but something is drawing me here and it always leads back to the girl. I've never met her, but she's Mrs. Lucille's daughter. Her name is Anna. She's been gone since I came here which has only been three months, but there's something about her that's bringing me in. I'm not even sure what I'm saying. I should get back to work. Lucille is calling me to help her clean the basement. Wish me the best of luck. Love, Zoey.

I felt chills run up my spine. This was the last thing she had written. I wanted to know what had happened in that basement, because whatever it was, the original Zoey Gregory is no longer here. She could have left though. But why leave only her diary in a house where she didn't trust anyone? And what shadows had she been talking about?

I looked up at the date in the corner. This was sixteen years ago. I was sixteen. What did this all mean? Maybe it meant nothing and I was letting my imagination get the best of me. Or maybe it meant something along the lines of… me dying in this house.

Hours had passed. Mom went with Lucille to talk, and I stayed in the room. It was time to be nosey. I opened every other drawer in the dresser, finding nothing. Then I went to the vanity and the first drawer I opened had a folded piece of thin paper inside. There was a photograph tucked inside, but I ignored it, instead focusing on the letter.

There's no helping me now. She's after me. I need to leave this place as soon as possible. I dearly hope someone finds this. Mrs. Lucille has gone crazy. She's trying to kill me. I just came back from the basement with her and she didn't want to clean at all. It was already meticulously clean, except for the horrid smell. The smell of her dead, rotting past victims. I need to leave. I've locked myself in my bedroom, but I feel that this won't stop Lucille. Whoever finds this, means you're most likely in the house. Get out. Now.

Best regards, Zoey

I wanted to scream. Chill bumps erupted all over my body and I broke out in a cold sweat. I looked at the photograph at last and gasped in shock. This girl in the photo… she looked exactly like me. There were no differences, she could have even been the same age.

I heard a scream and I whipped my head towards the door. Mom! I ran out, but I saw no one. This couldn't be happening. Another scream, closer now. I went to the door that I thought it came from and flung it open and looked at the dark steps. This was the basement. Did I want to enter? I heard the signs of a struggle and I ignored the warnings. All I could think of was Mom. I had to help her.

The smell was terrible. It felt humid and dry inside, which didn't help at all. I grabbed a baseball bat that was in the corner and walked slowly and soundlessly down the steps. When I reached the floor, all I could do was stare. All you could hear now was my ragged breathing and I felt my heart pounding quickly. I wanted to scream, run, and cry at the same time. There was a pool of blood around my mother's limp, lifeless body.

Lucille turned to me with a menacing smile on her face. "Welcome Zoey. I'm so glad you could join the party," she said wolfishly. She was like a predator, ready to attack her prey. Me.

Her eyes moved down to the bat in my hands. Her smile fell only slightly as I held it up. Then she full out grinned and suddenly, I didn't feel so confident. Her arm flung out, and I dropped the bat. Shock and adrenaline overwhelming my senses. I felt to my knees, my mouth open in a wide O.

For some reason, I didn't feel pain as I looked down at the knife lodged in my chest. Maybe it was because I was already gone. Or maybe not. I saw movement in the corner of my eye. I looked over at it.

It was the shadow that was always in my line of vision somewhere, but suddenly, it came towards me. It took the form of a woman and I recognized her immediately. Zoey. She came and knelt beside me.

"I've done all I can. Now you must find a new life and try to warn the next victim," she pleaded. Then, she dissipated and my vision went black when my breathing stopped.

The End.



A/N Hi my dear readers! I just wanted to tell you guys that if you go to my profile and follow me, I'll follow back and you can stay posted on all of my updates, new books, and I even let people help me choose what to write next! I used to go and follow and thank everyone individually, but there are a lot of people adding my stories so it's just a lot of work, so be sure to follow me and I'll follow back:)

Xoxo, ~Jade

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