a patchwork thought rug

a few little snippets of my over worked imagination

Friday, April 30, 2004

Living Shadows:

She sat up straight on her bed. The sheets lay rumpled all around her; sweat- hot and sticky- trickled down her face and neck. She looked around the room, trying hard to focus her desperate and dilated eyes. It was the same nightmare again. She knew in her bones it was a bad omen.
She got out of bed. Sleep was impossible, vivid pictures still flashed in her mind even though her eyes were wide open now. She walked slowly, aimlessly and reached the door. The floorboards creaked beneath her feet, but she was deaf to the sounds around her. All she could hear was her own scream, the same one in her nightmares. On shaky legs she walked out the door, into the hall and right through the main door. Stepping down the porch, she made her way to the bench on the far side of the garden. Dazed, befuddled, she sat down and looked with unseeing eyes at the flowers in bloom, then the moon and the stars.
Closing her eyes she leaned back. Taking a deep breath, she ran through her nightmare again, trying to analyze it. She needed to make some sense of the madness that was vying for sanity. What she saw was herself in a lonely house, up in the mountains, no one else for miles. She was humming in the kitchen while tossing her salad, when suddenly the lights went off. She lit the candle that was always within reach for just such emergencies up in the mountains. Going back to tossing her salad, she turned her back on the candle. On the wall in front of her she suddenly saw a long black shadow right beside her smaller one. Just then the candle went off, leaving her in darkness once again.
Bracing her hand on the counter behind her she turned towards the candle. Slowly, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness she looked around the room. Suddenly her hand slipped off the counter, her hands were sweaty and trembling. She couldn’t see anything out of place in the room that had gone pitch dark. The dense trees outside blocked what little moonlight there was outside.
She made her way to the candle and slowly struck a match. Just as she was about to light the wick, a soft puff of air from behind her right shoulder blew the match out. It seemed to her as though the air moved in slow motion from over her shoulder through the few strands of hair over her right ear and down onto the flame. She turned around with a shriek…
She shot off the bench with a shriek before she realized that she was still outside in her garden. The dream recall seemed so life like…Mopping her damp forehead, she took some shaky breaths; this was the point where her nightmare always ended, always so abruptly. Even when her eyes were open, the images, the fear, the sensations lingered on. Images so real that she could hear the crickets` shrill call in the clear mountain air, feel the black shadow breathing down her back even as she now walked back inside. She just knew the nightmare had a bad ending…
She went into the kitchen to wet her dry, parched lips, cool her hot and flaming, sweaty face. Switching on the light, she headed for the basin. The moon, shining and clearly visible through the long windows, was such a pretty visible sight. It almost soothed her frazzled nerves. She had a sip of water and just then the lights went off. With her heart in her mouth, she saw a long black shadow on the pristine white wall, clearly outlined in the moonlight. She opened her mouth to scream but not a sound emerged, just slow tortured gasps. The only other sound in the suddenly still night was her one dry sob, as, clutching her heaving chest; she fell to the floor with a loud, shattering thud, never to get up ever again.
If only she had known that the black human shadow that mimicked her every move and had so terrified her, elongated and distorted as it was by the quirks of the moonlight seeping in from the windows behind her was a macabre replica of herself. It was a full moon night after all and they do say that your shadow follows you to the grave


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