The Shape

Inspired by an actual silhouette on my bedroom wall.

Bud thought it was weird, he’d hear what he thought were chuckles every day as he drifted off to sleep.  He’d see flashes of green out of the corner of his eye when he put his head down on the pillow.

He swore he felt something watching him while he read in bed, and whenever he walked to the bathroom after he turned the lights off.  He felt like a haunted man.

All of it had started when he’d first seen the shadow one morning.  He was a third shifter and he’d needed to cover his window with a black sheet of material to sleep during the sunlight hours.  One corner was warped and refused to hold flush so there was a tiny sliver of light that shone out and formed a curve of shadow on the wall.  He’d put a picture there without knowing the effect it would have.

One morning after he’d taken a leak he was returning to bed when he happened to glance up towards that sliver of light.  All the hair on his neck stood up, there was a person standing in the room with him.  Just a shadowy shape near the wall, but he could feel a presence there.  And it was right where he needed to walk by to get back to bed.  As he got closer to the shape, it grew more distinct and he swore he could see a sort of face glaring at him.

He hurried past it and it was almost as if he could feel fingers on his back when he jumped into bed and pulled his blanket over his head, making sure to tuck his feet in as well.  He didn’t come back out until the alarm went off and his wife came in and turned the light on.

He peeked out to check and it was gone, but something whispered in his ear that out of sight did not mean gone for good, to just wait for the next morning.

For the next week, these moments got more and more real to Bud.  He’d see movement and when he looked in that direction, it seemed whatever was moving just melted back into the shadows.  He shared his shape with all his friends, and they all saw the person standing there too, but they didn’t feel the malevolence like Bud did.  He knew then that he was alone in this, and he didn’t know what to do.

He talked to his wife about maybe changing the window cover and moving the picture so the shape would go away, hoping that the haunting would stop.  Apparently, whatever was inside the shadow heard him because the episodes amped up the next day when he went to bed.

It was his weekend, and he normally slept at night when not working, taking advantage of the dark.  He’d just gone to sleep when he heard a loud screech, almost as if a bird of prey was swooping down on some poor unsuspecting rabbit in a ditch.

Bud snapped his eyes open to the most horrifying sight he’d ever seen.  There was a specter standing over him at the foot of his bed.  It was bathed in glowing green, and had the face of an old withered crone.  She was reaching out for Bud and screaming that unearthly sound, cackling all the while at the end of the screeches.  Bud, even though he was fully grown, wet the bed.  He didn’t know what to do, not even what to think.

The thing was staring at him, beckoning to him to get up and come to it.  Bud just shook his head slowly and went back under the blanket, expecting at any moment to be yanked out from under it and eaten by the thing.  A few minutes later, he was still in bed, and he poked out to see if it had left.

It was moving around the bed in half circles, staring at him from the side of it eyes, breathing in ragged breaths, although Bud didn’t understand why a specter would need to breath.  Maybe it was just something to get in his head, make him more unnerved.

Bud realized that for some reason, being on the bed was saving him.  Perhaps the thing was a boogeyman and couldn’t come onto the bed, some sort of childhood rule or something like that.

The second he thought that, the thing went into a fury, ripping down pictures from the walls, knocking over books, and generally being a whirlwind of clothes and things.  Bud was still scared, because he knew he’d have to get out of the bed sooner or later.

He hoped his wife wouldn’t try to come in and be caught by the thing, and it was that thought that made him decide to be brave and try something.

He sat up in the bed, and the thing raced over to where he was, fingers flexing, nostrils flaring, waiting for him to get up.

He reached over to the lamp, and staring the thing in the eyes, he turned on the light.  It let out one final screech and faded from sight.

Although it had gone, he could still feel its eyes glaring at him balefully from wherever it was.

He got up right then, turned on the lights and put another screw in the window cover, eliminating the sliver of light.

The shadow was gone, but he could still feel it there somewhere, mocking him and telling him to always be ready, because it would come back.  And he could indeed still hear the chuckles late at night or early in the morning, and he knew it would never be gone until he was.

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