Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inspiration Monday: Fighting Shadows

They’re watching.

She feels their gaze as soon as she steps over the threshold, out of warm summer light and into shadow.

The pale beam of her flashlight plays over the front room, unable to pierce the darkness growing in corners, but giving her enough light to see that most of the furniture her mother had been so proud of—antique end tables and Tiffany lamps and overstuffed couches—has been removed. In 20 years, she’s never thought to ask what became of it, just assumed it had gone to seed with the rest of the house.

Something skitters past her ankles. A quick moving shadow. Tiny, sharp claws scratching the hardwood floor. Could be a rat. But she knows better.

Further into the house now, down the hallway, past the coat closet, to stand in front of her mother’s bedroom.

The darkness seeps from under the door like oil, stretching toward the toes of her sneakers.

Her fingers are on the knob before she can hesitate; the door swings wide.

The beam from her flashlight disappears into the room, swallowed up by the black, before the light gutters, goes dead. And in the depths of the room, a long, thin shadow, the black-blue purple of a bruise, detaches itself from the surrounding blackness. Two rows of razor sharp teeth grin at her like an obscene Cheshire cat.

20 years ago she’d screamed at that grin hanging over the remnants of her mother’s body; screamed and dove into the coat closet where Mr. Phillips would find her hours later—after mom failed to show up for work—shaking and clutching a flashlight, battery operated lanterns keeping the tiny room lit as brightly as a July afternoon.

Today, she doesn’t scream. She ignores the soft, insidious, mice-like chittering, ignores the tiny claws hooking into her pants, cutting the flesh of her legs.

She reaches into her bag, draws out her BIC lighter, the stoppered bottle with a dirty rag hanging from its mouth.

The rag catches fire easily, flares sunburst bright and just for a moment she can see. See the things that make up the shadows, all teeth and claw and horrible, scaly, black wriggling bodies.

She throws the bottle into the bedroom. The wood floor goes up like kindling; those grinning teeth gnash in a snarl.

Beneath the roar of the fire, she hears the shadows shriek.

This is my first time writing for the Inspiration Monday Prompt.

Oy. I'm working on getting over what seems to be a case of "blank page anxiety" that's recently been exacerbated by the lack of a day job.

It's think if you didn't have a job you'd be able to spend all your time writing. But it never works out that way...I seem to lose track of my Muses when I have all this extra time on my hands. Well, here's to attempting to get myself back on some kind of writing schedule. 


L. M. Leffew said...

I read most of this open-mouthed, I was so into it. Fantastic pacing. Gripping. Really glad to have you join InMon!

L. M. Leffew said...

Very scary. It was indeed beautifully paced.

L. M. Leffew said...

Thank you!

L. M. Leffew said...

That's a very big compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed. :)

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