Swing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A short story inspired by an Imaginarium One Word Prompt.

Submitted: July 20, 2017

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Submitted: July 20, 2017

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Swing

It was ideal, exactly the sort of cottage that Graham and Jenette were looking for. The house was small, just two rooms upstairs, two downstairs, and a bathroom that had been added more recently. For just the two of them it would be perfect.

Set in the countryside, there were no near neighbours. The large garden and yard was surrounded by fields. The garden itself had been quite well-tended. There were lawns, stone paths, flower-beds. Tall trees ringed its boundaries and kept a lot of the wind at bay.

The yard was spacious, with a couple of stone-built sheds. There was plenty of space for them to park their own cars and still leave space for those of any visitors. To one side of it there was a wooden bench, and between that and the trees there was a swing.

They were a quiet couple, Graham and Jenette. They each had their own interests and hobbies and they were quite content. Graham spent much of his time out of doors, at least when the weather permitted, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that he was the first to hear it.

A laugh! A girl’s laugh. Not a tiny child’s one but more like that of an eight, or perhaps ten, year old. He had looked around, across the yard and down the drive-way. There was nobody to be seen there so he had walked around the garden, checking in all of the fields. Perhaps one of the neighbouring children had walked over to say hello. Finding no one, Graham decided it must have come from inside the house. Perhaps Jenette had turned on the radio or TV. Either way, there was nothing there and he soon forgot about it.

A few days later Graham heard the laughter again. Jenette wasn’t home, had gone in to town, so the sound could not be coming from inside the house. He made out he was ignoring it, but all the time he was watching; someone, he decided, was having a bit of a joke with him. He took his time going from one job to the next, making himself not react to the giggles. There was no one there, no-one that he could see at least. And then he heard the creak of the swing chains.

The swing was moving backwards and forwards, in spite of the fact that there was very little wind. And there, on the ground, was the shadow of a girl, her long hair hanging loosely down her back. Graham looked up. There was no one sitting there, nobody to make the shadow, and yet there it was, quite clearly, on the ground. And it was from the swing seat that the laughter came.

Just then he heard the sound of his wife’s car pulling in to the drive. The laughter stopped, the shadow vanished; the girl had completely disappeared.

Should he mention it? Should he try to get Jenette to believe him? It was a risk. They had moved from the city because of his breakdown; the stress of city-living had become too much. It had taken a year for him to recover any semblance of normality, and the idea that this might be taken as a sign that his previous ‘problems’ were returning was too much. Graham did not want to be admitted to hospital again.

He would keep quiet. The girl would be his secret. She seemed happy, not threatening at all; perhaps she had sensed that he was in need of a friend. Whatever had brought her, Graham decided that the shadow’s existence would not be spoken of, unless she decided to show herself to Jenette. Something told him though, that that would never happen.

 

Inspired by the Imaginarium House One Word Prompt -- Shadow.


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