Skip to main content
PBS logo

The Eclectic Pen - Night shadows

By: Caleb N.  
Date Submitted: 9/7/2010
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Genre Fiction
Words: 1,408

  I could feel the rain, slapping against me as I made my way to the car. Everything is scarier in the dark, it seemed. I walked quickly, trying to glance around my hair, constantly aware of the noise behind me, not getting closer, but still behind me. I tried not to think of my surroundings, the darkness compressing my chest, gripping my heart. I could feel the fear slowly bubbling up from within, threatening to override my senses and give me away, signal to my follower I was aware of itsí presence. Whatever it is...

The night had started out tremendously; Leonís party had been a hit. I walked in around 8:30 and was immediately inundated with the cheers of half-toasted friends and loud music. As usual, I walked over and grabbed something to drink, then started mingling. About an hour later, I was in the middle of a conversation about a new movie I had seen, when I noticed Shawn. He was standing midway up the staircase, dressed in a black shirt and tight jeans. His long brown hair rest on his shoulders, and piercing blue eyes gazed at me. Immediately I began to sputter over my words, my friends looking at me like I was a maniac, but I didnít care. I excused myself, and entered the hallway, pretending I was making my way to the kitchen, knowing full well Iíd have to walk by the stairs to get there. I was walking by an end table when I heard his voice.

ďYou look stunningĒ came his deep voice, reverberating across the entry way.

I couldnít believe him. After five months of hints, five months of making myself available, and he never jumped. But nowÖ now he decided to talk? I hated it, but deep inside I knew I still liked him, which was probably why I made a fool of myself moments before.

ďYou look like youÖĒ I said. A coy grin played across his features. I knew what he was thinking and, even though I didnít like to acknowledge it, I was thinking it too.

An hour of talking, and some drinks later, we exchanged our new numbers. I was giddy with excitement, trying to not let it show. What if he changed? What if Iíve changed? I didnít think it mattered at that point, it was just a number. Around midnight I said my goodbyes, sipped the last of my drink, and made for the door. Leon told me it was supposed to get nasty out, and I told him I was parked a few blocks away. It wasnít a big deal, really. Besides, I had Shawnís number, nothing could stop me now.

My walk home from the party hadnít started out bad. I knew it was dark, but my car was only a couple blocks away. The street lights cast gloomy shadows over every surface, consuming them in some forbidden twilight. I ignored it and focused on my destination, some legwork and Iíd be there in 5 minutes, tops. Something changed though, a few minutes in, something distinct and palpable. My shoe strap was coming loose, so I took a break to fix it. Stooping at a light pole to fix my shoe was when I had first noticed it. A figure standing some distance away, on my left, silhouetted in a doorway, face covered in shadow. The first sighting had spooked me a little, conjuring child-like fears of the boogeyman or monsters under my bed, something like that. I was startled, but I didnít want to acknowledge I had seen anything, as if by pretending I hadnít seen the figure, it didnít exist. Apparently Iím a 22 year old child trapped in a womans body. Standing up, I began to cross the crosswalk, making it to the curb and glancing at the figure on my left. I walked passed the darkened store fronts and deserted benches, trying to regain my sense of normalcy in this fucked up setting. I rounded a corner, and suddenly the wind caught me; cold and icy, like having a freezing glass of water thrown in your face. My dress rustled wildly in the wind. At that point I was more concerned of a potential indecent exposure incident than anything else. Thatís when the rain started, cold and brutal. Nothing about the last 30 seconds seemed normal, and only added to my sense of urgency, that getting to my car was the only thing that mattered. The trees overhead swayed wildly in the wind, threatening to snap at any second. Behind the noise of wind and rain, imperceptible at first, had come a sound. It awakened fears within me I had no idea existed. I could hear, faintly, a sound that seemed to be a cross between a scraping knife, and a buzz saw. My mind reeled as I tried to think of what benign contraption could cause the sound, some harmless tool that had been set off from the wind. As I walked however, the noise got louder. The subtle whines of some machine and the scraping of a blade, intertwined in to some horrifying device, were no more than 25 feet behind me. In the distance I could see my car, parked alone aside a tree and a garbage can, across the street.

This is my current situation, coming ever closer to my car, with the rain like ice pellets beating me from above. I knew for sure something was behind me. As I began to think of the man in the door way, I became more afraid. It wasnít so much the fact he was standing there, it was the fact he was looking at me, gaze focused on me even before I was in his view, even though I didnít see him looking, I felt it. Like he had been waiting for me, somehow knowing I would be standing there. I was parallel with my car now, and I began to cross the street. My foot had just touched the yellow line on the road when a garbage can lid flew at me from behind the tree near my car. It landed directly in front of me. I shouted, and side-stepped it, shaking and choking back tears of fright. The dark clouds swirled above me, and the relentless rain continued to beat at my skin.

I finally reached my car, the sound behind me still coming closer. I didnít want whatever it was, whoever was controlling it, to know I was afraid. Shaking, I took the keys out of my pocket. I jammed the first key in to the lock, and it didnít fit. The sound was closer now, not far behind. I fumbled for the next key, my hands shaking uncontrollably, and shoved it in. Still not a fit. The noise was closer now, the sound from the horrific machine inciting the deepest fears within me, causing my bones to reverberate with the noise. Hot tears of panic were streaming down my face. I took the next key and forced it in the lock, and it fit, I felt the tumbler turn and relief washed over me. At that moment, the noise ceased. I stopped for a second, terrified. It had been so close, where was it now? I hesitated for a second, not knowing why. A few feet behind me, I could hear breathing. Raspy, shallow breaths coming from an unknown person, an unknown somethingÖ

I wrenched the door open, screaming in fright. I fell in to the driverís seat and slammed the door shut, hands fumbling for the lock button. I hit it right as a thud hit the door. I shoved the keys in the ignition, tears flooding from my eyes, panic and adrenaline coursing through my veins. I looked to my left, and saw it. I was looking at a figure, stooped so I couldnít see its face, just the top of its hooded frameÖ hand on the exterior door handle. I couldnít control my screaming, it came from the darkest places within me.

Suddenly, I saw a face. It was Pale and sunken-in, like all life had been ripped from its body, brown hair clinging to cheek bones covered in thin flesh; its bright blue eyes penetrating my soul, searching me for something. Iíve seen this face beforeÖ It began lifting its other hand, undoubtedly holding the source of the noise. I threw the car in drive and sped away, as fast as I could.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Caleb N.

Member Comments

Leave a comment about this story...

Comments 1 to 4 of 4
Sara C. (mustangirl) - 9/7/2010 12:30 PM ET
this is an awesome story! I was held in suspense the entire time.
Caleb N. - 9/7/2010 7:51 PM ET
Thank you so much! I wanted to try my hand at this genre of writing, so I gave it a try
grandma-2-5 - - 9/10/2010 5:00 PM ET
Hurry and write another chapter! Can't wait to hear more!
Patricia A. - 9/28/2010 5:27 PM ET
More please, MORE!!
Comments 1 to 4 of 4