The idea behind this actually came from two places: my dreams, and my little one Cruzito. Yeah I have bizarre dreams and this was one of them. It was along the lines of Cruz coming in to tell me there were monsters in his room, but they'd hid in the shadows (the whole thing was dreamt since my little one isn't quite able to string sentences together yet) and that's where that came from. So enough rambling, here it is.
I was cursed, no other way to look at it. While other kids grew out of the night light phase, I had just turned 15 and couldn't sleep without my lamp, bedroom light and hall light on if I could get away with it. Shadows, more importantly what lurked in the shadows frightened the bejesus out of me. Always has.
I was wrongly diagnosed with night terrors when I was six. By age ten it was hallucinations I was treated for. Funny though, with all the tablets I'd taken for my supposed illness, they never made the moving shadows and things with teeth disappear. If anything they got progressively worse until I convinced my parents of buying me a dog to keep me company.
Shandy was a beautiful bitzer. Bits of everything the dog seller had said. Not once had I ever dreamed of getting a full night sleep without waking up screaming and covered in blood, but when Shandy moved in and was allowed to sleep on my bed I'd had my first full night sleep in years.Within the first two weeks of Shandy arriving most of the shadow creatures disappeared. There were still one or two each night that lingered at the edge of my room but they no longer felt hostile. Mum and Dad grew to love her as well. Although, maybe once or twice they threatened to take her back to the seller when she got into Dad's study and peed on his laptop. It wasn't really her fault though. She must have taken a disliking to Dad when he roused on her for chewing his shoes earlier that day. Hard to say.
Everything had settled down with my family but I should have known that good things don't last forever.
** 2 months later**
"Shandy, where are you?" It was late afternoon, the sun had almost set and there was no sign of her. Ripped sheets scattered the backyard and Mum's potted plants were turned upside down, dirt and flowers everywhere. I was surprised to find the mess. It had been a while since she had raided the clothes line and the pot plants were a first. Mum wasn't going to be happy.
I bundled the sheets up but paused when my hand brushed against a piece of paper. "What's this?" My stomach tightened when I read the words that clung to the page. Each sentence so familiar I knew it almost by heart. The sheets dropped to the ground and I followed the paper trail to the corner of my father's shed; the sense of dread spreading.
My signed copy of Lord of the Rings lay three feet in front of me torn to shreds. A faint muffled growl came from the other side of the shed. "Shandy?" My voice shook and I regretted speaking the moment the words were out. I stepped towards the sound forgetting for a moment about the dangers of the shadows..Shandy was at the other side of the shed tangled in some branches, her muzzle wedged into the thickest ones. I took a few more steps then waited for my eyes adjust. The sun had almost set which left me a few minutes to get her out of the branches and in the house before night fully set in.
She whimpered and struggled more, the closer I got. When I was a few feet away our eyes met for the briefest moment before I realized my mistake. She was never one to play behind the shed, or in Mum's garden for that matter so being stuck in the branches was out of the ordinary. Once that thought had occurred, the branches around her began to twist and curl until it took a new shape, a sneering creature with a mouthful of needle-like teeth. Then the whispers started. Darkness was here.
My heart thumped so hard against my ribs and my legs wanted to leave with or without the rest of my body but I refused to give in to the panic that was steadily growing. There was no way she would be able to get free of it. This one was bigger than the ones from my room. He stood around five feet tall and smelled horrendous. Worse than my three day old socks. Before I could take another step I was knocked off my feet landing hard on my back, my vision exploded into millions of white specks. Pain radiated in waves from the back of my skull. I could hear scratching and growling not far from me, but I couldn't bring myself to stand without throwing up.
"The boy, kill the boy." The whispers were getting closer, and my skin crawled at the familiarity of it I recognized those voices from my room. I struggled to my feet and found Shandy taking the lead urging me on.
Cold scaly fingers clamped down on my ankle and I tripped face first onto the concrete. Shandy spun around and growled low and deep but the fingers only tightened. Sharp nails pierced my skin and I tried to yank my leg away. Shandy lunged and more shrill screams erupted over the whispers. My leg shook twice before it was freed and I was back on my feet running for verandah, Shandy close at my heels.
The back sensor light flicked on and a wave of relief washed over me, but I kept moving. Mum opened the door and both Shandy and I leapt through it and she shut it just as quick, a panicked expression on her face.
"What's going on? Are you seeing things again?" She knelt down to take a look at my leg which I was holding awkwardly. I brushed her away.
"It's okay Mum. Just playing with Shandy. We're going upstairs now." I hurried upstairs and flicked on all the lights including the two lights in my room.
They were back. But why?Shadow Creatures ©Melissa Freeman 2011
So there ya go! Hopefully you enjoyed reading that. I'm currently working on some newer stuff so I plan to put that up in the next week or so.