Happy Halloween. I hope you enjoy this creepy little piece.
Shadows scare people because they don’t know what might be lurking in them. If we paid attention to them, they wouldn’t be so mysterious. The things that lurk there are dark, not invisible.
I’m quite familiar with shadows. I look in them, I hide in them.
I create them.
I waited outside the campus library, blending into the shadows in a gray coat and dark jeans. I must have looked like any other college student, idly flipping through Instagram while I waited for a friend so we could walk home together. It’s much safer for women to walk together than alone.
Soon I saw what I was looking for. The one who caught my eye was probably a senior. His face was buried in his phone, typing one-handed as he adjusted his backpack. Everyone tells girls to watch their surroundings. No father takes their son aside to discuss keeping themselves safe in public. That helps me.
I turned off my phone. Without its glow, I vanished.
The further we got from the library the fewer people were around. I spent this time watching the man. Why had I chosen him? I don’t ever know. There’s just something about some people. A discoloration in their aura, perhaps. A scent they give off. Or maybe it’s just the timing of it all. He came out when it was dark enough to be safe.
Either way, the time was now.
“Excuse me,” I called.
The man jumped. “Oh, sorry,” he said. “I didn’t see you.”
“Can you help me? My dog got out, and I think she’s in this construction up here.”
“Oh, sure,” he said. Of course. “What does she look like?”
He pocketed his phone and walked ahead of me. Such a gentleman.
“She’s a terrier mix. White with brown spots. Her name’s Trixi.”
Of course, he called out the name, “Trixi!”
I did the same.
There was a scratching sound from a room near the back, where the walls were finished.
Again he took the lead. I waited until I could close the new door behind us. The loop of wire went around his neck most satisfactorily.
The man tried to yell, but it came out strangled, gurgling. I pulled him down. Something moved in the shadows, but I ignored it. There was an ax there, waiting for me.
One good blow to the head was enough to make sure he couldn’t move Then I could use my smaller tools at my leisure. Plyers, fiberglass, matches. It was over too quickly, but most good things are. There was still the cleanup. I had a good little electrical saw to slice up the remains, and a barrel of lye at the ready.
As I worked, someone moved in the shadow. A woman stepped out.
She’d worn heels and her little business suit. How foolish. But at least she’d remembered to dress in colors for the shadows.
“Great, this is really some great stuff,” Sophie said. She was scratching down notes on her notepad. She nearly glowed in the shadow.
“Really, I can’t thank you enough.” She held out her hand to shake mine. A smear of blood transferred from my flesh to hers, standing out against her pale skin.
“We have to get you consulting credits on the show. I couldn’t write it without this experience.”
“That would be great,” I smiled. Maybe I’d even score a visit to Hollywood out of it. People go missing in the shadows there all the time.