The Shadow

Hi there, I’m going to be writing this down as a…“therapeutic exercise”. Ugh, I hate these therapists, thinking they can help. Trust me that, after the events I’ll soon be retelling, they can’t help, no one can help. What I’ve seen, you can’t just forget about it. No it’s something that’s burned forever into my mind.

It was one of those days, those kind of days you just want to go home, sleep and forget about the day before. I, God knows why, could not have this simple luxury. I’ll start off by saying that I have had a fairly average twenty-seven years of life; not much ever really happened to me. I stayed out of trouble, kept to myself, got good grades, so on and so on. Even after school, I got a job working for an old friend at one of those dreadful desk jobs. Enough about my childhood because what happened on that late October evening began a series of events that led to the worst few days of my life. I was on my way home from work at about eight. I, for some idiotic reason, decided to walk to work today not knowing how late I’d be at the office. I live in a…quiet neighborhood; that is, of course, with the exception of my upstairs neighbor who loves his parties. On the way to my apartment, I passed the small park. Of course, it being late at night, no one was there. In fact, I ended up being quite wrong as there was most assuredly someone over there. As I looked closer I could make out a blood-red tie and the reflection of the street lamps glancing off, to what I had guessed, a pair of shades. That’s when I got this feeling that whoever was there wasn’t just a random stranger. No he….he seemed to have a bigger reason for sitting there. That’s when I could feel that behind those shades his eyes were trying to burrow their way into me. He never broke gaze even when a bird flew right past his head. I sped up and tried to keep a good distance, between me and the park, as much as I could. This is where it had become worse, much worse, as I had just turned the corner I could hear the audible clap of shoes on the sidewalk.

My face grew horridly pale at this sudden interruption, in this otherwise, hushed hour of the night. When I heard this I…I knew at that moment, how dire my current situation was. I had that innate survival instinct, that we all have, that makes the hair on the back of your neck shoot straight up and goosebumps run up and down your body. At this point, he began to get so loud that it was as if he had merely been behind me that whole time. I was just….outright confused at how quickly he managed to make his way to me without me taking any further hint of it. I thought how I had rounded the corner and even then he was just starting to follow had I been that deaf to this sinister stalker. I booked it up to my apartment on the third floor and could hardly even open the blasted door, as I was shaking so hard.

I opened the door and slammed it shut so hard as to shake the shelf nearest me and then slowly slid down with my back to the door. I began to shake so much that even the old, wooden door had shook with me. I started to take deep breaths until I could at last control myself. I then remembered how close he came to me and realized that he may have seen me run all the way up here. I mean, he covered a whole block before I realized him the second time. I jumped up still panting hard and peered out the peep-hole. I held my breath as not to attract his attention anymore than I have already. The odd thing, though, was that all I could see was just blackness. I then wiped the glass thinking maybe something could be obstructing the view.
When I looked back, there was no more blackness, though I now wish there would have been, no no no it was instead replaced by an eye, a….a grotesque, disfigured, pure-red eye! I gasped mistakenly loud at this and jumped back, soon thinking that I had confirmed that I was there. Though, as he continued to stare I came to the sudden realization that he didn’t require any confirmation at all of where I lived, oh no, he already knew that. When I recovered from my shock, I looked back through once more hoping not to regret it his time, only to see nothing or even stranger not even hear any opening or closing of doors. Did that mean th….that he was just waiting for me to…open up, to just look out so that he could barge his way in and do god knows what to me. No, I wasn’t going to play his games, no I would lock the deadbolt, grab my gun, set it on the nightstand and go to bed. I thought myself to be so brilliant, so ingenious. “No one would ever get past me and my girl”, I said to myself, a bit too loudly, perhaps. I was a fool, such a blasted fool for not calling the cops and reporting what had happened, even if I would have sounded crazy at least someone would have known about it. No like the arrogant man I was, I got out my gun, set it out for me to grab in case and tried to go to sleep.

I tossed and turned for what seemed like ages, no matter what I dreamt of it only got worse. I dreamt of ever-worsening things, yet, what haunted me most was th..that gruesome looking eye. All I could see was that eye forever burnt into my mind. It was as if I was seeing that man again, that..he was still here with me. It made me feel as though he had never even left the place, it even felt like some cold, dragged out, breath flowed down my neck. I immediately snapped awake realizing the one horrifying thought, I wasn’t dreaming of that. The hairs on my neck were erect with fear, as I sat straight up in bed, I noticed how cold I was. It was as if my body was telling me something was there hiding just beyond my view, stalking in the shadowy corners of my room. I squinted my eyes, straining to see something, anything to confirm my suspicions of what might be lurking. That’s when, and I swear to God, I saw the slightest shimmer in the shadows. That shimmer, it looked as if it were….were, sunglasses? My jaw dropped at the one thought that shook every fiber of my being. That thing of a man was here with me, at this realization I threw off my sheets and reached for my gun. I couldn’t believe it, th….there was no gun on my nightstand. This was all wrong I would never misplace it and I would of heard if it fell. No it had to be here, it had to…..oh god, he took it, that shadow that I thought I saw, had taken my gun.

I couldn’t take this anymore I had to get somewhere safe but, I also couldn’t leave the apartment he might be there too. God, I was getting crazier by the moment, at this thought I sprinted out of the room, down the hall and into my closet slamming it and locking it. I started to cry, I just couldn’t help it this was insane. That’s when I heard him again, a slow, patient, clapping of shoes down the hall finally stopping at the closet door where I hid. I heard a quiet scratching coming from the other side, it was slow and deliberate as if it was writing something. It soon stopped and shuffled back to the main door and quietly exiting the apartment I then cried myself to sleep. The next morning I awoke with a start forgetting where I had fallen asleep. I got up and opened the door to see that it all wasn’t just a nightmare like I had wished. My heart skipped a beat when as I saw on the other side of the door was, scratched in, the words “YOU CAN RUN” At this I started to tear up again and knew I was in for one heck of a ride, for how long, I could only hope for a quick one. I, of course, would not be so lucky as to have a quick and forgiving end.

I thought of calling off work but, felt that it had to be safe there. I quickly got dressed, grabbed my bag and walked down stairs. After what happened last night I was not taking a risk again so, I took my bike. I wasn’t too far away from the office so it only took fifteen minutes or so to get there. Once I was there I went about my usual business, typing up forms, signing papers and the occasional email. I was finally starting to feel better when lunch rolled around so, I decided to go meet up with my friend, to see if he wanted to head out to get lunch.
He agreed and we headed off outside to one of the many picnic tables sitting around the lawn. He said he wanted the one over by the woods, of course he would, I thought as it was our typical spot. I don’t know why we liked it, perhaps just the calming sounds the birds sing and the pines sway in the breeze. As we ate I felt off, as if….no there’s no way he could have possibly followed me here. He left last night, I mean I heard the door close and everything. Obviously he wouldn’t be here I….I was just being paranoid, yeah that was it just natural old paranoia. “Hey you okay buddy?”, my friend asked me. “Um..uh, yeah I..I’m fine just a little preoccupied ya know.” I answered back. Why didn’t I tell him about what happened he was my best friend, I’m sure he’d understand or at least humor me. Oh well I’ll just be more careful during the nighttime I guess, maybe I’ll…..what was that?! I saw something, I swear it, this time it wasn’t paranoia. What was it. I thought to myself as I squinted to get a better look. Oh my God, no no no, it couldn’t be was that a…shimmer. Jesus it was, no…no it can’t be, there is no way he, or it, could have followed me here. my friend must have noticed my open mouth and blank stare, as he asked me “hey man, what is it, what ya looking at.” At this he turned around and looked at the woods a while before looking back at me and asking “You must be seeing something I’m not.” He began to chuckle at this and I snapped out of my trance and laughed with him saying “Yeah guess it was just a bird or whatever.” Yeah, a bird, I could only wish that it was but, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach, that said otherwise.

After lunch we went our ways and back on to our little cubicles. I sat down and began to type, trying to pass what I had seen as nothing, hoping for my sake that it was just a bird like I had said it was. That’s when my suspicions and greatest fear began to materialize right before my eyes. An email notification popped and, expecting it to be another dreadful memo, I opened it up. A picture of the building? I thought to myself, that doesn’t seem like something in a memo. Even stranger there was nothing with it, other than that picture, you would think…huh? It was another email, alright I guess this one will have to wait. Except this was a picture of the building from the west side um okay this was getting really weird. Another and another and another email, what is going on, I was starting to get really scared. The pictures then led to the woods, then a picnic table, now there was two people….oh no,no no no no NO! It..it was…was me and my friend, I started to tear up at this sudden realization. That thing had tracked me here, this was no prank by someone, no this was that monster tracking me down. The final picture was a zoomed in shot of my face when I had noticed that shimmer.

I was terrified now he had found me where I thought I was safest and completely destroyed that one last hope I had. Another email, what the heck could he want he’s already shown me the pictures what else….oh..oh god…what did that mean. All this email said was “…BUT, YOU CAN’T HIDE”, oh no, that was it, he destroyed any will I had left. I needed somewhere else somewhere so far out there that…that’s it my friend’s cabin That’s perfect it was secluded and there was no obvious path to get there, that would be where I could sleep till I figured out a permanent solution to all this. I went to the bathroom to clean up and make it look like I hadn’t been crying, I didn’t want him worrying. After I was ready I headed on over to his office and knocked on the door. “Come in” he called and as I walked in he asked, with the widest grin he could manage “Oh hey bud, what’s going on?”
I walked across the room and sat down, staring him straight in the eyes. “Hey man, I was wondering if you could do me a favor?” I asked him.
“Of course I can, what is it you need?” he asked me joyously.
“Um..would you mind if I borrowed your cabin for the night, I just need to get some fresh air for a bit, ya know.” I answered back.
“Sure, and from the looks of it, you could use some.” he laughed.
I just nodded and asked if he could leave the door unlocked. “Sure, no problem, hope you get the relaxation you need.” he smiled. I just nodded and said thanks, leaving his office.

I had just punched-out for the day, at around six. Whew, I thought, this time it wasn’t going to be as dark as it was yesterday, that’s good. I ran down stairs, or well took the elevator that is, because running down twelve flights of stairs did not sound all that fun. That’s when I bumped into my friend on the way out and he offered to give me a ride out to the cabin. I took the offer thinking that if I could put some real distance between me and that stalker, then I should be fine. We drove for about thirty to forty minutes out to the woods and turned down a dirt path that was pretty well hidden, that is unless you knew what to be looking for. That’s good, it should be near impossible for him to follow now, course It had already proven me wrong before. When we finally got there I was relieved to finally be somewhere that seemed as safe as it got. Ha, safe was far from what it was and what would proceed the coming night.

He unlocked the door and let me in, giving me the rundown on what was where and pointing out that he had a spare car  out back. He said it didn’t have a radio or anything real nice but, worked great if I needed it at all. He showed me where the car keys were hanging and then headed back out to his place in town. I thanked him again and started walking around the house checking it out. It was a pretty basic cabin with just a bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom and some closets. Oh yeah, I thought, more closets just what I like to sleep in. Ugh, I was so tired I was starting to make dumb jokes at my own expense. I got ready for bed and began another night of tossing and turning as I embraced another dreadful rest.

God, I couldn’t sleep no matter how much I tried, that creature had finally managed to burrowed his way into my mind. All I saw was that terrible eye from the peep-hole and the slow, methodical clapping of shoes followed by that horrifying scratching on the door. I shot awake once more, drenched in a cold sweat. I sighed out loud thinking about how real all that noise had seemed but, realizing it was just my mind playing tricks on me. I had to get sleep if I was going to be at least a little bit functionable in the morning. I had only come out here for the night so I had to make the best of my stay. I got out of bed to go make some tea hoping it would calm me down enough that I could catch some z’s. I scavenged around in the nearly empty cupboards and cabinets, this makes sense though as my friend hadn’t been out here since summer

I found some green tea bags hidden away on a top shelf and started mixing some up immediately. I grabbed my mug of tea and groggily stumbled towards the sliding glass door at the back of the cabin. I sipped on my tea for awhile just taking it all in for awhile. Huh, this felt odd, I had expected that thing to have been here by now stalking me, chasing me down and making me run for it all over again. I guess I had been right, It hadn’t followed me out here. God, how many times would I be wrong before realizing how naïve I was being. On my way back to the room I saw something that stopped my heart and made all the despair come rushing back. On the door was, scratched in once again, “THEY CAN NEVER HIDE!” I dropped my mug as I  read this and knew that the clapping of shoes and scratching, I thought I had merely dreamt of, was real. The mug smashing snapped me out of my horrific realization and that’s when I heard it. It was that blasted clapping, that…that unavoidable clapping of shoes. It was here, It had found me, It was angry for me trying to escape and wanted to finish this game of cat and mouse once and for all. The clapping got louder and faster and it was coming straight for me.

I looked to the side just in time to see the creature’s shades glinting in the moonlight. It crouched down and got ready to pounce on me, as if it were a lion and I was it’s gazelle. I spun on my heels and jumped out of the hall and back into the kitchen just as it launched itself at me. I fell onto my back when I landed and looked up to see it recovering from the kill that it had missed. That’s when it looked at me and smirked as it thought me disabled, and oh was it right. The creature merely walked over to me as I listened to the clap, clap, clapping of Its shoes. I started to crawl back away from him but, I had only reached the sink by the time he caught up and picked me up by the neck. It began to choke me to death when I noticed something in the sink, it was some frying pans. My friend must have cleaned them and was too lazy to put them back. This was it, I thought, this was how I would get this creep off me. My hand shot out to grab a pan but, he…he was too fast, his hand snapped out and grabbed mine before I could even realize it. At this, I immediately kicked my foot up as high as it could go and….it worked? It had actually taken him by surprise and I….I smiled as my foot connected with the bottom of his jaw and it sent him back a few steps. I saw this opportunity, reached for the pan and swung it with all my weight, again connecting as he jumped at me. This time I sent him to the ground, also accomplishing to smash his shades in the process. That’s when I saw those grotesque red eyes again that had scared me the night before but, this time that nightmarish creature had a fire burning in its eyes. It frowned baring It’s…teeth, if you could call them that. I say this because where his teeth should have been, now looked as if someone ripped them out and replaced it with jagged, bloodied, shrapnel that hardly resembled teeth. I threw the pan at it and ran for the back door reaching for the car keys hanging up next to it. I blasted through the door and ran for the car knowing that it was my final hope. I got to the car and jumped in trying to turn it on but, the motor wouldn’t turn over, that’s when I saw it racing out of the house and coming straight at me whilst it snarled loudly at me, showing it’s jagged teeth once more. I slammed my fist down on the dashboard and tried it again and, as cliché as this sounds, it…turned on. That’s when it pounced onto the hood staring me down, and that’s when I floored it. It smacked against the windshield and then went sailing off when I slammed on the brakes. I thought I would send it tumbling only to find out how graceful that hell spawn was, as it planted its foot and pivoted around letting his other foot land behind him and plunging his claw like hands into the ground almost immediately halting his slide backwards. I didn’t take anymore time admiring how he had done that and punched the gas yet again, this time when I hit him, I hit him hard. I practically flattened the thing course I didn’t even stop to check if it was dead I just drove ahead. That’s when I glanced in the rearview mirror seeing no body lying there. I ignored this though as I knew nothing could have survived that impact, I mean it’s body basically smashed the bumper back into the car. No I knew it was dead and that it would never come to haunt me again.

Not much happened after that except that I had a falling out with my friend for trashing not only the car but, scratching on the door and the other messes I made fighting the monster. That’s okay though as I still work there but, I did move to a new apartment, too many bad memories in that last one you know. It’s been a couple years since the whole incident and I’ve been getting along pretty well. I actually got an email from my old friend saying he wanted to come by and end on a….“different” note. I guess we did end on a bad note, with the fight and all. Oh I think that’s him now I can hear the clapping of shoes coming down the hall. Ha very funny man, now quit scratching on the door and get in here! Odd he won’t stop, oh well, I’ll just open the door for him. I’ll have to remember to finish this entry later.