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A shadow in the night brings panic and fear


Submitted:Feb 8, 2009    Reads: 233    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


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This short story was rejected by "Highlights" for chilldren. I'm crushed...

"Fright Night"

Kathleen Walker

It was one of those things you just know, but don't really know how you know. Ya' know? I awoke in the night knowing something was wrong. Lying in bed, I scanned my bedroom for what my fear was about. My gut feeling told me it was something sinister. Then I spotted it.The oversized image from the closet was so large, it seemed unreal. Likeā€¦I'd imagined something so largely out of proportion it couldn't be real.I blinked hard then looked over at the closet again.Nope. That didn't change anything.It was still there.I grabbed the comforter, eased it up and held it tight hiding my eyes. Like when my dog Sam hides his head under the bed and thinks no one can see him.I was so still, I didn't even breathe. Fear inside completely stopped my breathing. My heart pounded so hard I thought it might jump out of my chest.I wanted to scream out loud but knew no sound would escape.What could it be? Maybe it was a ghost that lived there in that closet forever and I never noticed. Impossible. I've lived here for all my life of twelve years and never saw any ghost before. A rustling noise got my attention, but I couldn't pinpoint where it came from. It could be leaves rearranging in the yard by the night breeze. Or, maybe it moved paper wads around on the closet floor. I silently cursed myself for leaving wads of paper hidden in there where mom couldn't see them. I knew I'd get scolded 'cause I didn't take out the garbage.

I heaved a big breath and startled myself. As if its shadow from the closet wasn't enough to scare the bajeebers out of me, I'm scaring me now! I breathed deep, calmed myself. Get a grip. What to do now? The bright full moon cast a light in the room, but stopped at the foot of the closet door, so I still couldn't get a good look at it. I had two choices.I could lay here until daybreak and hope it went away by then, or I would at least be able to see what it is.If I wasn't dead by then.Or, make a break for it.If I could in one smooth move throw the comforter off, spring out of bed and get out the door before it could get its claws on me, since I imagined it would have claws, I could get help from my parents.That would of course involve being able to move, which my scared stiff body wasn't doing.I was stuck til daybreak hoping it wasn't hungry enough to lunge from the closet, grab me with its claws and sink it's fangs into my flesh.A shudder of terror went down my spine and I felt panic all the way down to my toes.I was immobile in fright.

The tree branches outside my window swayed in the night breeze and I swear I heard thunder somewhere in the distance.I hoped it was thunder, anyway.Each sound seemed amplified by my dread.I estimated the time to be about 2:00 AM.Daybreak wasn't for at least another three hours. I had plenty of time to wait it out.What if it wasn't going to be as patient as I? What if it knew the opportunity to do its damage to me would be gone once it was light? Oh no! Now I was really in a quandary.Breathing labored again, I felt sick at my stomach and my head began to spin.How could fear of one's own bedroom be so overwhelming? This was my sanctuary.Now it could potentially all be ruined by something I couldn't even determine. I also hadn't completely discounted the possibility that I was sleeping and this was all just a bad dream.A result of reading too many suspense stories.I do love a good suspense story.

I closed my eyes hoping to shut out the looming image causing my fright. I'm not sure whether I was so tired from the inner turmoil that I fell asleep or if I blacked out from sheer terror, but I awoke to sunshine streaming through my window and a peacefulness that wasn't there in the dark.I slid the comforter down from around my eyes and forced myself to look over at the closet fearing it would not have disappeared with the light of day. I breathed a sigh of relief then giggled to myself when I saw the extra blanket dangling from the top shelf. It had fallen partially down and was draped over my coat hanging on the bar creating the larger than life image of the night.

I learned valuable lessons from that night of fright.Things aren't always as they seem.I shouldn't have let fear of the unknown paralyze me.Don't hide trash from mom. And never under any circumstances go to bed with the closet door open ever again!





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