Shadows of the Moon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


A man hunts for the secret to the mystery plaguing his town. What he discovers may be too much for him to comprehend on his own.

Submitted: October 30, 2017

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Submitted: October 30, 2017

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My name is Jeremy Iverson. To a the uninitiated, I would appear a mad man. A raving lunatic going on about creatures from space. However, the joke will forever be on everyone else. For I have seen these creatures.

I work as an editor for the local Crayfield Daily, a newspaper I’m surprised has survived the advent of public radio. Ever since the war, public radio was a normalcy, even in small places such a Crayfield. However, stubborn as ever, people seemed to still prefer to read the news going on in the small harbor town. Being the editor means I come into knowledge of most of the odd things that happen. Usually the mundane; an accidental fire, a school fundraiser, how the community has grown since the war has ended.

However, less mundane stories have been coming to my desk as of recently. In particular, a string of disappearances hasd stricken Crayfield. Three citizens up and vanished without a trace. With no evidence of where they have gone or that they had even left at all, the law enforcement have been baffled. Crayfield doesn’t have disappearances. It doesn’t have murders or robberies. It’s one of those towns. The old folks have been here since the stone ages, and don’t plan to leave until they leave this Earth. The new generations will soon become those old folks. That means when three people everyone knows go vanishing into the night, it takes all the effort the sheriff and mayor can muster to keep the town from blowing up with panic.

Some people suspect foul play. Talk of mob connections and the like have stirred, putting some eyes on the immigrants who came overseas naught but fifteen years ago. The stereotypes of the Italians brought some nasty ignorance from the woodwork. Nothing to incite violence though. It would take some kind of murderer or rapist to stir the rage in this town. Until then, those with poison words will simply glare from the corners of their eyes.

The more evangelical are calling for acts of God to have been taken up those who have gone missing. Signs that the rapture is upon us, or, that those who have disappeared were just the worst of us, punished for their indiscretions. As I sit here though, I know better. I have gazed out the window overlooking my office desk many a time, but in recent months, it has been with more fear that I can have ever known.

Having decided that the disappearances were just too interesting of a story to let go, I asked my subordinates who brought in the stories for their sources. Most were police reports, however, some of the information in the articles came from the families. I did not expect to find much more than the police, but if I could get more information, I may be able to help get to the bottom of it.

I went looking for information on the first person to disappear, Robert Cross. A man of middle age and well-standing in the community. He was a hunter in his past time and had a loving wife and family. He went missing in May, the ninth to be precise. The story according to his wife was that Cross and her had went to bed around 9 PM that evening. At an indeterminate time in the night, his wife was awoken by a sound outside, and sent Cross to go check on it. He gathered up a rifle and made to check. His wife soon after, fell back to sleep. In this time between her sending of her husband and the morning, Cross was long gone. Two interesting details of the story are as follows. Cross’s rifle was placed back in it’s case, though his wife had observed him taking it out. As well, the wife had stated that in her slumber, she felt a warmth as if her husband had returned to bed with her. Obviously, the final detail was met with much scrutiny, but was noted down nonetheless. There were no signs of struggle, no spent ammunition, their family truck had never left the yard that evening. It was as if Robert Cross had gotten up from bed that night and vanished with the wind. ____________ Firstly, I went to the Cross home to ask Mrs. Cross some information. It had not been long after her husbands disappearance, so I was going to make my questions as quick as I could.

I approached their little home in the back area of Crayfield. Further from the waters than most of the homes, it had ample tree cover and simple dirt roads. It was a pleasant little cottage, with a beautifully simple architecture. I parked my Chevy in the yard and began my trek to the door. It was about midday, with spots of sun piercing through the canopy of leaves above. The summer heat hadn’t taken just yet, so it was still fairly pleasant out. I stepped onto the porch and gave a knock on the front door. After a moment, Mrs. Cross opened the door. Her expression was that of disdain.

“Whatcha want, Red?” Mrs. Cross asked, a harshness to her voice.

Her use of the name “Red” was a bit off putting, only because I hadn’t heard it in some time. My mother’s side came out in me stronger than my father, so I didn’t look particularly of mixed ethnicity. Most of the people Crayfield did not mind someone like me living off the reserve, though that ignorance I mentioned before does still hang around in some places.

“I’m sorry to disturb you Mrs. Cross, just hoping to get some information about husbands disappearance for the Daily. If you don’t mind of course” I explained.

“I thought your paperboys got all the info they needed the day the police came around?” she retorted, crossing her arms.

“Well, they just got the bits we needed to put up the missing persons in the paper. I’m actually helping the police out with their investigation and thought maybe I’d have a few questions they might not think to ask.” I lied. Smiling, I let my words be light and nonchalant.

Mrs. Cross seemed dubious at first, but after a brief moment, opened her door and gestured me in. I nodded and went with her to her kitchen. She made a quick pot of coffee and poured me some. The courtesy was nice. There was some brief silence, punctuated with her taking a long sip of coffe.

“What would you like to know?” Mrs. Cross asked, her gaze wandering.

I pulled out a notepad and pen from my coat pocket.

“What did your husband do for a living, Mrs. Cross?” I asked.

“He was a worker at the mill” she replied.

“Do you know anyone at his job that had any issues with Mr. Cross?”

“None that he’d talk about.” Her answer was once again brief.

“What about around town?”

“Nope, everyone liked him well enough” her first words came with distinct frustration.

“Now about the night he went missing, I’ve read what you told police, but was their anything else that happened that evening? Before you two went to bed perhaps?” I probed further.

Mrs. Cross seemed to ponder on that for several minutes. Beyond her first sip, her coffee sat between her hands, unmoving. I could see that this had taken it’s toll. After a few moments, she let out a long sigh.

“No. It was a normal night. We never saw anyone, and the kids didn’t see anything either. And I didn’t see anything when I woke up. It was honestly so dark that night, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face” Mrs. Cross explained.

“Just one more question for you Mrs. Cross. You told the police that you were awoken by a sound that night. Can you remember what the sound was?” I asked.

“It was a banging noise. It was a little hard to tell, the wind was going like crazy that night too, but like metal crashing. I thought maybe a stray had gotten into our trash or something like that. I only heard it once though. After I sent Robert to check, I fell asleep without hearing a sound.”

“That’s all Mrs. Cross” I said folding up my notepad and stowing it away, “I greatly appreciate you letting me take your time like this.”

I finished the coffee, gave my farewell, and left.

------

The second person to go missing was the elderly Jeannette Mayhew, age seventy-five. She had lived in Crayfield her entire life. Born here, went to school here, married here, widowed and now, vanished. Her disappearance occurred on the seventh of June, less than a month after Robert Cross’ disappearance. Jeannette lived with one of her sons in the suburbs of Crayfield, barely a mile out of the center of town. At this point in her life, all she managed to do was go and sit in sewing circles with the other old women waiting for the grave. Her son, Roger Mayhew, was the one who reported. The day of the seventh was a panicked mad dash around town, looking for the venerable Mrs. Mayhew. Search parties were made but with no avail.

Roger had told the police that the night before had gone normally, with no stand out events. He and his mother had enjoyed a dinner that evening, and begun watching something on the television. It was around 8 PM that his mother went to bed, and Roger followed shortly after smoking one last cigarette of the night. He told police he hadn’t seen any people wandering the neighborhood, nor any suspicious cars. There were a few standout details he gave the police. When he awoke in the morning, none of his mothers things had been touched. Her shoes, clothes, and keys were all exactly where she had left them. As well, her curtains had been drawn, but window remained closed, and her bedspread had been disturbed, as if she had gotten up in the night. The police quickly ruled out kidnappings, and haven’t gave a final deliberation, though most assume the worst. A lot of the folks in town believe it to be a bought of dementia, suddenly gripping her and causing her to flee her home before getting lost.

Now I had never personally met the Mayhews, so at this moment, couldn’t make a judgment call on Jeanette’s mental health. As far as the public report had said, she was still doing well for a woman of her age. I called Roger Mayhew a week or so after the disappearance of his mother. This was shortly after my interview with Mrs. Cross, so it seemed good to keep my investigation going while things were hot. Roger and I agreed to meet at Crayfield’s corner diner, the All-Nighter. Ironically for a place with that name, the owner, Greggory Mills, always closed up around 9:30 PM. Perhaps it was an all-night establishment when he was still able to persuade his kids to work the graveyard hours.

----------

Roger had posted up in the back corner of the diner when I had come in. I waved a hand at Greg as I walked by, and sat across from Roger.

“I’m once again sorry to hear about your loss, Roger” I said, solemnly.

He had let out a long, tired sigh, and took another sip of his coffee. He had bags under his eyes, and probably hadn’t shaved in over a week.

We talked for a little while, about small things. Crayfield politics and economics. How the construction on the road leading out of town was basically telling everyone not to leave. Between us, we finished off two cups of coffee and a bit of mediocre diner food.

“Okay Iverson. I know you didn’t just drag me out here for some coffee and Crayfield news” he said, his voice a tired growl, “you had some questions about my mother’s disappearance?”

I nodded, pulled out my notebook and flipped a few pages towards some questions I had written down.

“Alright Roger. I’ve heard most of what the police report has to say about your mother’s disappearance, so I’ll try to avoid being redundant.”

Roger nodded, his gaze towards the parking lot. His eyes were bloodshot.

“Do you know of anyone in town who may harbor negative feelings towards your mother? Enough to want to kidnap her?” I asked boldly.

Roger chuckled a bit to himself before answering. “Even if there were, she never interacted with anyone that wasn’t also over sixty and far to frail to climb up and down to a second floor window. Besides, my mother is a fairly light sleeper, so I couldn’t imagine her being picked up by someone without making some kind of sound.”

“Hm, interesting.” I replied, jotting down notes as I went, “and would she have had anywhere else to go? Family in a town over or something?”

“I considered it” Roger stated, “I made a few calls to the family I could reach, but no one had seen her. Plus I couldn’t imagine her getting an urge so strong to see family she just goes sprinting off into the night!”

“Alright, just one more question for you. In the police report you had said you had not seen anyone suspicious that night around your neighborhood. What kind of night was it?”

“Pardon?” Roger retored, a little confused.

“Was it a clear night, was it raining, that sort of stuff?”

“No rain or storms. Though I do remember it being dark. It must have been cloudy that night though I don’t remember if it had been cloudy that day.”

I wrote a few more notes before stowing my notebook to my pocket. I had got what I needed. I thanked Roger for his time, payed my bill, and left. That night, I was still unsure what the reason behind these disappearances were. It would be another few weeks before the third disappearance, and I would not much to work on. However, one more thing did happen the night I interview Roger. As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a man staring at me from behind his steering wheel. He pulled around in front of my car and rolled down his window.

“You’ll never find them, Red” he shouted at me.

The old man startled me, and he barked once more before speeding away.

“They’re gone, the shadows got them, and we ain’t never seein them again!”

----------

Things occurred differently for the third disappearance. It was a late night at my office. Making sure everything was all in order for the next days paper. Several coffees in and a crash coming on, I was almost done. That’s when the phone in my office rang. It sounded like a thunderclap in the silent office space, and I nearly died of a heart attack. After taking a moment to calm myself down, I answered.

“Hello?” I answered hesitantly.

“He’s gone Iverson. The next person has been taken” came an upset, raspy voice over the phone.

“What? Who is this?” I retorted, now more put off by the message.

“The little negro boy who’s family lives on Brennen and Gray Oak. I would call and let the police know. It’s already too late.” the voice explained further. The man sounded tired.

“How do you know this?”

“I had a feeling. I went out there to see and saw it just in time...”

“You were spying on th-”

The phone line cut. He must have hung up. I had a suspicion on who the caller was. I worried more now about the validity of his statements. Should I call the police or not? I decided that either way it would be better to have someone check on the family then not. I called and told the police I had received an anonymous tip on the next disappearance.

The boy was gone, just as the man had said.

----------

The third missing person was Zachary Hinton. He was a young boy of about eight years old. Shortly after I had called to tip off the police, they arrived and awoke Mr. Hinton. On the night of July sixth, Zachary Hinton vanished. As with the disappearance of Mrs. Mayhew, panic ensued. The entire neighborhood spent the rest of the night tirelessly searching for the Hinton’s missing child. While the searching continued into the week, Zachary was never found. According to the police, the most suspicious thing to note was that the front door was unlocked. It isn’t unheard of in a small town, especially one such as Crayfield, for people to feel comfortable to leave their doors unlocked. However, Mr. Hinton said he makes a point of locking his doors every evening. In the end, the boy was gone, and the only thing missing along with him were the pajamas he slept in.

I sat down at my desk after the incident occurred and considered going to the family to ask questions. However, I had a feeling I would receive similar answers to my last two interviews. I realized something about last night. It had been dark out. Not just normal night time darkness, but a completely black night. Between the clouds, there were spots of starlight but otherwise impenetrable blackness.

This aligned with both Mrs. Cross and Mr. Mayhew’s reports on the nights their loved ones disappeared. Certainly that had to mean someone was taking these people, without a trace, on these incredibly dark nights. I and surely the Crayfield police were thinking about how someone could possibly do so without a trace. Or even why the three people were chosen to be taken in the first place.

As I was picking up my notebook and pen from my desk, about to head to the Hinton’s home, my phone rang. A normal phone call, that shouldn’t have sent my heart stirring. However a feeling in my gut told me it was my anonymous caller from the night before. I answered.

“Hello?” I said unprofessionally.

“Iverson. I know when it will happen again.” It was the man from the night before.

“Who is this?”

“I’m not important. Meet me at this address, on the night of August fifth” the man rasped.

I took down the address, and the man hung up. 24 Eleanor Street. I looked it up in a map of Crayfield. It was on the outskirts of town, around 2 miles out from the center. At the end of a long dirt road lay a single, silent, house.

I had staked out the house a few days before, if only to get an idea of where I was going. It took me a few attempts to find it. What was essentially a shack lay at the end of the road. The old man I had been running into did live here. It seemed he left very rarely, and his house had blinds drawn on every window. One car for one resident. Not even a pet to speak of.

It was 8 PM on August fifth. I approached the man’s house cautiously. Parking a fair distance away, I hiked, torchlight in my hand guiding my way. It was a completely starless, pitch black night. I think I knew why he picked this night. Whoever this man was, he had an idea of what was going on. I began walking up his porch steps, going to knock on the door when the door began to open slowly. The old man leaned out, scowling my direction.

“Iverson get in here. They could be watching” he snarled, his voice only above a whisper.

I was a bit taken aback by the mans sudden appearance. He left his door hanging open, so I skipped a step and hustled inside. I closed the door behind me. A dim oil lantern lit the living room I now stood in. Where once dwelled a family now settled dust and mildew. A clammy stillness hung in the air. It seemed like natural light hadn’t touched the inside of this home in months.

“Who could be watching?’ I asked. My voice, even at a normal level, seemed to shake the rivets of the poor wooden frame.

“The shadows...the ones who have been taking everyone!” the old man’s voice was an angry hiss.

He circled his counter, and produced a flask. It briefly touched his lips and he shuddered as he drank. I felt I had made a mistake. With just his first sentence, I was worried I had been tricked by the machinations of an insane drunk.

“The shadows, what are you talking about...” my voice trailed off as I realized I didn’t know how to address him.

“It’s Ben. Ben Lord. And I’m talking about the scourge on Crayfied. Only I know about them”. “What are shadows, how are shadows a scourge on Crayfield?” I was beginning to lose patience.

“It’s complicated Red! I’ve been the only one to see them god damn it!” he snapped, slamming his flask down.

With a deep, resigned sigh, he gestured to his dining room table. I turned my gaze to see a cloth covered table with a large square shape hidden beneath. Ben walked over, and drew back the old bed sheet to reveal what looked like a jury rigged flood light. He wiped some liquor from the sides of his dried lips.

“Look, I don’t expect you to believe me right now, but I know you know something is off. You wouldn’t be asking all the family’s questions after the police if you didn’t.” Ben rambled off.

The elderly man made no attempt to mask his exhaustion. Something had obviously rattled him deeply. I still was incredibly unsure of his validity.

“But...if you give me just this one night, in a few hours, I’ll show you what’s been taking these people. I think this will draw their attention. I don’t know, this is really just...just a guess”.

I looked over this man in front of me. I let my eyes look over the house around me. An elderly man in his seventies, in an old house still lacking electricity, out in the outskirts of Crayfield. I felt little more than frustration. I decided I would humor this potentially senile man.

“Fine, though if your wrong, I don’t want to hear from you again” I stated after several moments. My tone was dead serious.

He grimly nodded.

-

By the next hour, Ben had set up his flood light on his porch outside. I helped him move it, and upon closer inspection, it definitely appeared homemade. After setting it up, he told me to find something solid to stand next to. I warily stood next to one of the beams holding up the porch. He doused his lantern and we were in solid darkness. A bit of fear gripped my heart, though in time, my eyes adjusted, and I could vaguely see outlines.

We waited in silence. The night was quiet. I couldn’t hear any animals. Without the shapes and smells, one might think they were in a coma. Then it started. A light wind sound. Before long, the wind began to pick up, and sounds of shaking leaves and howling wind followed. I grasped the beam as the wind shook me some.

“Be careful of your eyes!” Ben shouted over the wind.

I saw spots as he turned on his flood light. It tore through the night sky like a knife through paper. He quickly turned it off. However in the darkness, so far out of town, the light seemed to linger in my eyes. He then began to turn the light on and off several times. For a brief moment I worried I would damage my sight before noticing something odd in the sky. During two of his flashes I spotted a black shape in the sky. Distantly, something seemed to flutter on the wind. After a few more flashes, I noticed there was more than one, several black shapes, gathering toward the light. In the last flash, the fluttering black shapes turned, toward Ben’s beam.

“Did you seem them Red, did you se-” his shout was cut by several sounds happening so fast it may has well have been instant.

His scream. So sudden and piercing it will never leave my memory. The sound of glass smashing and the bulb breaking on his light. The moment I heard his scream, I turned and lifted my torchlight to shine towards the man. I hit the button and briefly light shined. Before my eyes could register anything, a shape rushed by with a gust of wind and my torchlight was gone. Ripped from my hands so fast I nearly crashed to the ground.

All the while, there was a horrible noise. Just like Mrs. Cross had said, it sounded like metal crashing. However, just barely. At first one would be forgiven for thinking it was two metal cans slamming in the wind. After that first second, it turned from metal crashing to a cacophony of horrid metallic screeching, banging, and crying. There were moments of prolonged noise, and also brief moments of it, like calls of horrid metallic beasts.

Despite it all though, it was merely seconds. I lay on my side on Ben’s porch, in completely silence. The wind subsided within seconds. The noise was gone, leaving my ears ringing, yet somehow longing for sound. I called out Ben’s name several times, however I knew in my heart that whatever I had just witnessed, if I could even call it that, had taken him. I went into his home, and found another lantern. With shaky hands I lit it and made my way back outside. Ben was gone. Not a single trace was left. Not his flask, nor my torchlight. The only evidence was a broken flood light. I ran to my car and refused to look back.

----I spent the next several days at home. My windows with blinds drawn. I saw daylight through the cracks of my doors and windows. I emerged from my den with a harsh stubble and haggard eyes. Despite having called in sick for work for those days, I didn’t sleep. How could I sleep knowing what happened that night? Or not knowing what happened that night? I still truly wonder what it was that I saw. Not that I saw anything. I spent sleepless nights and tired days wracking my brain. I wrote it down and reviewed it. Many pieces of my notebooks paper were devoted to that night alone. There were a few things I was certain of;

What was taking these people wasn’t human.

They made a devastatingly loud noise when they attacked.

The creatures came out in the darkest nights, and seemed to be attracted to light sources.

With those notes written down, several times over and over, I considered what it could be. I tried to rationalize it first. Surely it was just a flock of incredibly aggressive nocturnal birds. However, I immediately debunked this. Birds wouldn’t explain the other three disappearances. Birds also don’t float like paper. Whatever I saw last night seemed to drift, though it could obviously fly much faster. So it wasn’t birds or some other kind of flying animal. I pulled on my hair in frustration. Nothing I knew of could grab a man and move him so fast, so silently, that he barely had time to scream before being gone entirely.

Finally, after three days, I got some sleep.

-----I was able to go to work the following day. The morning sun burned my eyes and I looked worse for wear. My boss gave me a good chewing out about my recent behavior. I resumed work, with the disappearances becoming third to fourth page stories. Life was beginning to return to normal in Crayfield. Ben’s disappearance was glazed over. I realized I was the only man who had known about what happened. Everything happened so fast I didn’t even tell the police.

I decided against reporting it. Not that anyone would care about an old man who went missing in the outskirts. Also, what would I tell them? There’s no story that wouldn’t make me sound like I’ve snapped and murdered an old racist.

However, I knew I would have to continue looking into the disappearances. After work I went and picked up a farmer’s almanac for the year. I also picked up a calendar, and a map of Crayfield. In my home, with the blinds still closed, I hung up the map and the calendar pages for May, June, July, and August. The day of each disappearance was circled, as well as their place on the map of Crayfield.

I had realized one more connection that day; moonless nights. Not only was the night that Ben was taken completely dark, but according to every person interviewed, so were the nights of the other disappearances. I looked up each date in the Almanac, and they all coincided with the apex of a New Moon. A night where there would be no moonlight. I scrawled this note alongside the rest. I turned my attention to the map and begun stringing each point. I stared for several minutes. It may have been an hour. My eyes boggled at the map. I tore the string off the map and traced between each spot with my finger tip.

Random. The distance was different, so were the exact times. They were all in different parts of Crayfield sure but with no connections. The closest I could say was the first was in the woods, the middle two were close to town, and the last was in the woods. That felt flimsy to me. That would only mean anything if it was going to stop or repeat now.

A horrible thought came over me. I wouldn’t be able to do anything until the next month’s new moon. Snatching up the almanac, I flipped to September. The next new moon was September third. Less than thirty days. I cursed and slammed the book down. An incredible rage and helplessness overtook me.

I felt the need to tell someone, anyone, however, there was no one who would believe this story. I was left alone in the knowledge that something horrible was going on in this town. I had no recourse. I decided that it was my job to do something about it. I would do better than Ben though. I would put a stop to this. I felt a surging rage in my heart, masking a heavy feeling of dread.

------I started with personal defense. I went ahead and purchased something bigger than the handgun I kept in my home. A hunting rifle, one of those old Remingtons, should do the trick. Something, the clerk assured me, would give a grizzly pause for thought. He may have been playing up against my paranoia, however at the time, it made me feel better. Surely something that could stop a grizzly would stop anything that could float like paper.

If only had I known what a fool I had been. If I could chalk up my worst decision, it was the gun.

I also bought a telescope and started watching the skies at night. My days became time to rest, shirking work responsibilities for sleep instead. I did the bare minimum to get by. The quality of my work dropped, and everyone had assumed I had taken ill. I came up with excuses about family deaths and viral infections. Things that would also buy me a few days off. With nights now focused on vigilance, I hoped to catch sight of the things in the sky. Nothing ever showed though. Every bird that flew by my telescope was a brief heart attack inducing moment of terror and glee. Happy to finally see one and also scared beyond my own comprehension. It was always quickly resolved though.

I begun planning the night of the third. I would go to the highest point in Crayfield with my telescope, my rifle, and a light source. One of those heavy-duty lamps rather than a weak torch. A week had passed and I had decided that I was going to draw the ire of one of the creatures and blow it out of the sky with my rifle. That was the best plan I could think of. If I killed it, or even maimed it, I could take it back to town, and show everyone. It would be the most incredible discovery. A selfish part of me thought of all the accolades I would get for finding such a remarkable creature. The curious part of me truly wanted to know what the creatures looked like in light. I hadn’t seen anything but their basest outline the night with Ben. Who knows what they actually looked like up close. I had begun drawing different ideas of what they might possibly look like. Little doodles of avian creatures with billowing wings, or floaty bats the size of a man. It actually made me feel a little less scared thinking that it was just going to be a huge bird or bat. Something that would surely go down with a single .30-06 round. I began assuming that they would only be dangerous in packs.

Despite having eased my anxiety a little, a heavy coat of dread still hung on my shoulders. By the second week, the waiting had made me pick up smoking more heavily. I was burning through packs just to get my nerves down. I spent most of my waking hours by windows looking into the sky. Any cloudless night, I would give myself a black eye by pressing my face to the telescope for so long.

Apparently, my actions had started to take a toll, and it showed. On the eve of the second week, my boss came through my office door. A taller man, towering over me, with a hardy beard from a family of lumberjacks. He immediately recoiled as he entered, the smoke from my numerous cigarettes clouding the air and making it heavy.

“Jesus, Iverson, you look like hell” he exclaimed.

I shakily took a drag from my current cigarette and shot him a bloodshot glance.

“Sorry, I haven’t been doing so well” I replied uncertainly.

“I know, you haven’t been doing so well for three weeks now. Your edits are getting sloppy and it’s showing. What happened to you, it’s like your whole life has been flipped” my boss extrapolated, approaching my desk. He had a look of frustrating and concern about him.

I sighed deeply and put out the cigarette. This was my chance to tell someone. To show someone what I knew. However, I felt a stabbing pain of anxiety. Would he believe me? How would I tell him? What should I say? I decided to compromise. I would tell him, but not today.

“Come back to my office next week” I stated shakily, “I’ve got a story for you.”

“Alright, what about?” he replied, perplexed.”

“I know what kidnapped all of those people.” -------I spent all week attempting to gather evidence. I took the majority of my salary for the month, forgoing a reasonable amount of food, and purchased a higher end camera. Something that would have the chance of photographing the sky at night. I spent each evening that came closer to the new moon stuck to the telescope. Anything that looked even remotely close to creatures I saw the night with Ben I took photos off.

I came out of this week with a lot of photos of birds. It is incredible how much paranoia can turn a bird from a flickering shadow across the sky into a flapping creature looking for a nest. There were however a few shadows that were certainly not birds. A few things that were to sharp to be clouds, and a few that were too fleeting to be birds. To soft, to big. Things that might look avian to the passing glance but just couldn’t be. I had finally gotten to the bare minimum I could sleep. All other waking hours were spent watching. Waiting. Knowing they were coming for me.

I spent an entire evening going through all of the photos I took. I meticulously went through each photo, circling in pen the features of each shape that made it stand out. Made sure to write the justification for each one, some reaching a page or more in length. I wanted to be thorough. I watched myself write, and sometimes, some voice, a higher or lower brain function, would rise and question the nonsense I was writing.

I begun to wonder had I been in shock. Had what I truly seen that night been real. Maybe Ben had slipped me something. Perhaps a hallucinogenic cigarette. I only thought that because what I was writing was insane. However, I kept on writing. Toiling away until I had a wall full of evidence to present to my boss. Regardless of truth or sanity, I would present this to him.

-------The night before I would present my findings to him, I saw them. It was midnight a week before the third, and I was going to reveal everything to my boss. That’s when I heard it. I had heard a distant screeching noise. A metal scratching and crying that I had only heard the night of Ben’s disappearance. I ran to my window, tearing open the drapes. In the dark skies of a crescent moon I could vaguely see it. A single paper-like shape, floating across the sky over Crayfield. I ran to the lamp and dimmed the lights before dashing to get my camera. I snatched the device and ran back to the window. I would have proof, the solid proof I needed.

My eye met the viewfinder and I chased the shape. However, with the window in my way I could barely see anything. I cursed sharply and threw on my shoes. I prayed as I dashed out of my door, that the shape would not have returned to the darkness. I stood elevated on a walkway the circled my apartments. Lifting the camera to my eye, I aimed it to the floating shadow I could still vaguely see. Too anyone else it may have just been a bit of dirt on spectacles, or spot on the cornea. I knew better though. I put the camera to my face, tried to focus the machine and pressed the button for a picture.

The bulb burst. Tiny shards of tungsten and glass showered the ground at my feet. At the same moment, I could here a tearing noise. I had only ever been told of the noise, but I guessed it was tearing film. I popped open the camera only for burning film to come spouting out. It shriveled and spun in such a way that I could feel my heart sink. Any undeveloped footage was lost. It was burning and shriveling before my eyes.

I threw the camera down.

I obviously had little control of my strength as I had shattered the camera into bits of plastic and metal. Mostly intact parts, but angry frustration had me rushing back to my apartment. After I closed the front door, I let out a desperate and angry cry. It seemed as if the universe had deemed these creatures immune to investigation or scrutiny.

I was trapped. -------My boss did not accept my evidence. Every picture was easily refuted as poorly taken. All of my “new moon” connections were treated as simple conjecture and number plays. He would not have it.

“I can’t believe I let you waste my time” he said, pinching the skin between his eyes.

His coffee had grown cold in the time it took for him to calm down. This past week had obviously been riding on his reaction this. My boss did not explode in a way most people would think he would. However, he called for my suspension. He told me I had an hour to clear my office before I would not be allowed back until a doctor cleared my sanity.

“Iverson, I don’t know what happened to you, but I can’t have it affecting everyone else” he explained exasperatedly, “you need to figure yourself out, and then maybe I’ll let you back.”

He began towards my door. He stopped, sighing as he began to leave.

“You are smarter than this. Smarter to accept fact from fiction. I let you be my head editor because I trusted your integrity” the man sighed.

I didn’t take anything from my office that day. Hanging from the board I presented them on were the photos and calendars. I had no use for them anymore. No one here would believe me. I could only trust myself. I had barely a week left.

I returned home and decided that from that point I could only enact my plan as it was. I covered my windows with curtains and blinds, only revealing light so I knew what time it was.

I didn’t leave my home for the week. I just spent it going over the final plan in my head. Over and over. Until I had the set up down to the minute in my mind. I had to save Crayfield from the creatures seeking to drain it of life. I knew I had lost everything but maybe I would be able to fire back from this. Build up from the success of being a hero. The hero who saved the town.

I spent a lot of time laughing at being a hero. Like that would happen here. --------The night arrived. At first signs of dusk, I loaded my rifle, telescope, and lamp into the back of my truck. I made sure to arm myself with a smaller handheld light for when it grew dark. It was a twenty minute drive to a large ridge overlooking the town. It was on the road out of town, so it was one of those scenic views you’d look out and see. This small town really was a quaint site from up here.

I set up my telescope and laid my rifle down next to it. I began setting up the lamp, getting it ready to reveal the skies. By the time I had finished tinkering with the lamp, the sun had set and night hung over Crayfield. I was soon plunged into deep darkness, and a feeling of dread overtook me. I thought of the night with Ben, and how quickly everything occurred. In the moments where my I stared at the cloud covered sky, every light breeze made my heart seize. Soon, my adrenaline was starting to pump. A cold sweat began, but I kept my cool as best as I could.

After about ten minutes of the darkness, the wind picked up. A howling began, lightly at first.

“The sound of the creatures!” I thought.

I knelt next to the lamp and waited as the wind began to grow. My coat had begun flapping in the wind, the air biting despite the mid-summer temperatures. I reached a shaky hand to the switch to activate the lamp. With my hand hovering over the switch, I almost thought to myself as to why I would dare turn on this lamp. Why I would want to see what I was going to see. Swallowing hard, I forced myself to flip that switch. The light cut bright, blinding me briefly. As my eyes recovered, I could see them.

Black shapes floated across the skies of Crayfield. Gently, as if carried on a much lighter breeze, they floated. It seemed I had gone unnoticed. My hand gripped the rifle in my hand in a white knuckle grip. I turned to look into the telescope, to gaze upon the creatures of my obsession. A massive wind caught me, making me stumble forward. As I did, so did the telescope, clattering to the ground.

“No!” I screamed, lunging to right it before I missed my chance.

With my back turned, the cacophony of metallic cries began instantly. The lamp went out, the sound of electricity sparking and glass shattering as it did. My heart was pounding in my chest as soon as I heard this. I threw my hand into my coat and grabbed my torchlight quickly. I worried that I may die of a heart attack, as I could hear my blood pump in my ears.

I turned the flash light on.

There, not even ten feet before me, was one of the creatures. Being this close, it revealed they were not black like shadows, but pure white. Its “body” was a series of veil-like protrusions that swirled and overlapped one another, and made it impossible to see beneath. The tapered off into a long stalk neck that reached a foot above the body. Atop it was a perfectly spherical orb, smooth, almost looking polished. I could swear I saw what appeared to be a face, or a skull structure. Though I had no true way of determining whether that was the case.

In the instant I saw the creature, under the cries and screeches, a primal instinct over took me. I was frozen to the spot. I couldn’t run at the sight of this being. My mind had trouble even understanding how or what this thing was. My thoughts were clouded with nothing but an uninterrupted scream. My mouth produced silence.

In this same instance, the orb topped stalk seemed to turn. It was hard to tell, as the stalk didn’t seem to rotate like a neck. I only guessed it turned as the shine of my light warped slightly. Within a blink of an eye, a slit had emerged across the orb. It opened into a strangely shaped maw of what I could only assume were teeth. I had no time to figure out if I was correct. --------The torchlight and rifle are no doubt still on that ridge. As are the lamp and telescope. I hadn’t thought of anything as I hit the gas on my truck and went speeding back towards Crayfield. I don’t know why I thought my home was the safest place, but it was all I could think of at the time. I hopped a curb and smashed a mailbox as I careened around corners. I didn’t even park my truck. As soon as I was next to my apartments, I was already up the stairs. I slammed my door and barricaded it with a chair, and several other bits of furniture.

I sat in dark silence with every single light on. I could hear the wind howling outside. With my back to a corner, I watched my curtain shrouded windows. I do believe I saw shapes. Orbs and veils gracing the windows. However silently. It was as if the creatures were stalking me. Knowing I knew. I didn’t move until dawn’s light broke.

It was then that I started penning this account. There is no doubt these creatures will return in a months time. I have a suspicion this next time, they won’t let my windows and lights stop them. What ever they are, I have no recourse. I plan to leave Crayfield and go somewhere far from here. To me it doesn’t matter so long as I am nowhere near here. I will deposit this at the Crayfield Daily and let them decide on who was right or wrong. Perhaps this will show just how naive everyone else has been. I will not wait to see whether they believe it or not. It is not worth waiting.

Maybe it is better that the town remain naive. The visage of that thing will never leave my mind. Perhaps it is better to allow the people be ignorant. Ignorant of the shadow cast over the moon.


© Copyright 2018 Simply Cifer. All rights reserved.

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