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Words by Steven Joseph McCrystal
Image by Amanda Chisholm
Aimee was finished for the night. She dutifully packed up her things and gently placed the book she was reading back on the shelf. Aimee’s room was kind of small which suited her because she was only fourteen. It was one of many rooms in the hotel she stayed in. Her parents had decided to quit the rat race and take on their own business. It wasn’t a large hotel as hotels go. It could support a family of four and function as a restaurant and pub at the same time. Her favorite feature was the big sandstone eagle that sat on top of her window guarding her from the trees that tapped against her window during the night.
It was a good book that she was reading because it gave her nightmares. The book was called Shadow Monsters. She was at least half way through reading it and it was beginning to get really scary. She had a very coy smile on her face when she placed the book back on the shelf. Aimee felt a snack coming on so she nipped downstairs to the kitchen for a mug of Horlicks and a couple of digestives. She didn’t believe in chocolate biscuits at this time of night because she had to watch her figure. Aimee had just found a magazine called Cosmopolitan in her mum’s collection and her bossy boots were a thing of the past. She was now a lady. Well at least for a day.
With a quick yawn and a bite of her biscuit Aimee sauntered up the stairs to her room. She didn’t spill one drop of her Horlicks that night on her way up the stairs. Then something strange happened. She was sure that she heard a whisper in the back of her mind. It came from over there. She turned around quickly to see if there was anything there but all she caught was a shadow moving across the wall. The answer she was looking for was simple. A car had driven past the window and the shadows inside the hotel had danced in time with the lights. She was relieved as logic insisted on the truth but she quickly ran up to her room all the same and entered her personal domain.
She looked at the book that she was reading which was neatly tucked away on its shelf and pondered if shadow monsters were actually real. Aimee then gave herself a shake and dismissed such ludicrous nonsense as just a figment of the imagination. She quickly finished her Horlicks and munched her soggy digestives. It was bedtime. It was time to sleep and wake up in dreamland for the night. She said goodnight to her guardian eagle, whom she called Theodore the third, and quickly fell asleep to the tap, tap, tapping of the trees against her window.
Aimee’s sleep wasn’t really that good this night. Her dreams weren’t as good as she imagined they’d be. She dreamt that Theodore was flapping wildly outside her window with a desperate look upon his face. She dreamt that he was squawking frantically in an attempt to wake her up. The tapping trees slid and screeched across the glass like so many fingernails scraping down a dusty old blackboard. Aimee didn’t know if the wind was really up or Theodore’s powerful flaps were causing this additional nightmare.
Aimee screamed herself awake with a sharp high pitched squeal. She opened her eyes and saw that she was facing the wall her bed was pushed against. She was instantly relieved but for the second time that night she heard a hissing whisper in the back of her mind. She could barely force herself to turn around and look. She wanted to pin point where the whisper had come from because she feared the worst. So she slowly turned around and looked. What she saw terrified her. Standing underneath the sink in her bedroom was a grotesque dwarfish character. He stood about three feet tall and his arm was casually draped over the bracket that held the sink onto the wall. This sinister creature looked like a nightmare waiting to happen. Aimee’s eyes locked open. She couldn’t help herself. She just stared. She was terrified by what she saw.
She couldn’t tell if it was alive because it blended into the shadows so well. It was still dark in her room. It must have been about four o’clock in the morning. The shadows around its face managed to define a set of deep set eye sockets but there was no eyes to be seen on this nightmarish creature. That was until they opened. Aimee was petrified. She couldn’t tear herself away from those fierce red glowing eyes. They seemed to stare into her very soul. She couldn’t move for fear. She was transfixed and paralyzed. The creature seemed to smile at this. Its needle sharp teeth smiled menacingly as it slowly uncurled its arm from the sink. It began to reach towards Aimee. Aimee thought that she was done for. This hideous creature was going to grab her and drag her kicking and screaming into his shadow realm. She couldn’t imagine what tortures he had in store for her. She just froze.
It was very nearly the end for Aimee but something strange happened. A car drove past her window and a bright light shone in. The shadow monster disappeared for an instance and Aimee dived under the duvet before it could reappear. She was free from its stare and safely tucked up in bed again. She shivered and cried for a wee bit after but she knew that she was going to be fine. She decided there and then that she would never read Cosmopolitan again. It was just too damn risky.
#Unreal #Fiction #ShadowMonsters #ComingOfAge #Darkness
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