Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
The Shadow People By Caroline McHardy
Moonlight slithered through the broken panes of glass as I wandered down the corridors of the old house, floorboards creaking as my feet tread. A figure wrapped in a jet-black cape and tall top hat merged into the shadows observing the trickles of sweat rolling down my forehead as I felt my heart pound against the stricture of my rib cage. The figure faded into the wooden door. Curiosity compelled my movements as I grasped the dull grey doorknob barely visible in the darkness just sallow moonlight and my torch. Dripping of the old kitchen taps, clattering of silver cutlery as the figure used the darkness to his advantage as it twisted and turned into the shadows that blended with the blackness. My calm self, crawled out of my trembling body replacing it with panic as the shadow breathed heavily so I shone my torch forward to try and head for the door while the shadow was preoccupied with his own malevolent demon actions. A grand curving staircase awaited me as did the glimpse of a full moon outside to where I must escape. With a simple step the shadow appeared through the front door forming a tall statured man towering above my quivering body, my one exit being to head upwards only to turn and see he had not moved. He just stood there, staring… his cape swayed with the movement of this ancient house as he removed his top hat with long, dagger like fingers to reveal a face, his eyes shut tight yet humming through his decaying lips. Faces of the paintings staring at me through the eyes who used to inhabit this house as I clambered the stairs, tripping, stumbling. Reaching a bedroom, I took comfort in the door locking tight. Safety, until his face appeared at the window still malevolent through glass the eyes suddenly jutting open to reveal a vivid demonic red hue. Surely safe in a locked room with a torch, yet shadow people can float through walls, doors, they know what you are thinking as they are constantly in the dark corners of our rooms. Dust trickled down the fireplace the shadow slinking down the towering chimney only to jump down face to face with my terrified self still gripping the flashing torch. He grabbed me with his skeletal hands melding my soul and energy with his own, as I became two selves; part of the shadow people and flesh and blood. Till I was only a shadow in the darkness as I pulled on my long cape, placing my top hat on my head. I gazed in the mirror to see the same red eyes which greeted my former self. I am now part of the shadow people lurking in the darkness till the next sentient soul steps into my abode.
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