Shadow Crawlers. Part 4.

Hope everyone had a good week! Mine was a little strange. Woke up Wednesday night with aches, chills and a fever, spent the entire night miserable and the next day miserable. Then I went to bed and yesterday morning I woke up feeling awesome. So I appear to be better, which is great, but it’s also slightly disconcerting, like I’m just waiting for the other lung to collapse.

See what I did there?

Ok, we can all agree that that was just terrible, but hey, I’ve been sick. I think I deserve a free pass for that one.

On with the show!

—————————————————————————————-

Part 1, Part 3.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” “I’m ok.” “Not any worse?” “No. Still feel fine.” “Good, don’t want you getting sick again.” “I won’t.” Dom left the room, Grady looked back at her book. Jeez, get sick for a while and you never hear the end of it. It hadn’t even been that bad. Ok she was out of commission for a few weeks, but she was fine now. Well, mostly she was fine, she still tired out easily, but that wouldn’t last too long. Though the lack of sleep was starting to get to her, the dreams had been pretty awful and no matter what Amy gave her, it didn’t stop any of the dreams and they seemed to be getting worse. Not that she told anyone about them. She couldn’t appear weak. They probably wouldn’t think less of her, but she didn’t want to take the risk. They were worried enough about her as it was, they wouldn’t trust her if they thought that she was crazy. It’d go away in a few days, it was just shock, stress. Soon it would be gone and she could move on with her life. It was just her brain trying to sort through what had happened. She still wasn’t quite sure. The thing that disturbed her the most about it all was the blood. Not seeing him die, not the running, the blood.

 There had been nothing in the news about Toms death, at least not according to Brett or Dom, though she didn’t quite trust either on that. If there was anything they wouldn’t tell her, they’d think they were protecting her. They still treated her like a kid with some things. She was mature enough to go robbing places, but not mature enough to hear how someone died. Amy would tell her if it came up though, before Grady had come along, Amy had been the baby of the house. She knew what it was like at least, so she tried to treat Grady as an equal. She shook her head, no use going down that path again, she always just felt crappy afterwards. It was pointless. She started to read again, trying to focus on her book.

Brett jumped. Again. Christ this was getting ridiculous. He kept seeing stuff out of the corner of his eye. It was just stress left over from before. Still, he kept seeing it. Every. Fucking. Day. It wasn’t so bad at first, just occasionally here and there, going through doorways, walking through corridors, but lately it was getting worse. Now it was all the time, every time he tried to concentrate it was there, just in the corner. Standing. Watching. As soon as he turned to look at it it vanished. When he was driving it moved, it slipped from shadow to shadow, keeping pace with the car, dancing and sliding through his mirror. Christ. It was starting to drive him mad. Brett took a deep breath. It would be fine. He just needed to relax. That was all, he had been so tense since Tom and there had been nothing yet about it. That made him feel worse. Either the police were investigating and keeping it all hush hush, or who ever owned the house knew some powerful people. He knew from experience how hard it could be to get a body to just disappear. Everyone seemed to be on edge, so at least it wasn’t just him. Grady had taken to locking herself into her room. Not all that surprising, she was young enough and everyone knew it was what teenagers did. At least she wasn’t screaming and slamming doors and shit. He had asked Amy for something that would help him relax, but nothing was working. Or rather, it didn’t work for very long, he’d get ten, maybe even fifteen minutes of relaxation before it would appear in the corner of his eye and boom, he was all tense again. He stopped taking pills after the sleep paralysis. He had researched it as soon as it happened, worried he was going crazy. He drifted off to sleep and when he woke, something was sitting on his chest, leering at him, he couldn’t move, could barely breathe so he couldn’t call out. It just sat there, staring. When he snapped out of it he thought it was that thing that was following him. No, it wasn’t following him, it was just his imagination. That was all, there was nothing there. It was just in his head. That was all. Still, that had been terrifying. Thankfully it hadn’t happened again. He didn’t tell Amy about it, he didn’t want to sound crazy. So he just told her he didn’t need the pills anymore. She hadn’t asked any questions after that, so he was in the clear. No one knew about it.

The worst thing about it all, was all this nervous energy he now had. It had been the same, ever since he was a kid, if something bad happened or if he was worried, he had to do something ,walk, run, pace, just move. It never even tired him out. He was still keyed up when he got home. It was maddening. So he started to go for walks. No one questioned it, not yet. Dom would in a few days, maybe have someone follow him to make sure he’s not doing any deals on the side. But for now no one really cared. They’d think it was just him grieving or some bullshit like that. He liked going on the walks, they helped him relax and he could ignore the shadow. It wasn’t anything, it was just that tree over there, or that bush, shaking in the wind. The wind was nice too, carrying the smell of flowers and grass. His route never varied. He went through the park, over the river, pausing briefly on the bridge, before continuing around, and looping back. It was a nice area to stroll through, the park was well maintained and he walked around a large pond that was always filled with ducks and a few swans. It was peaceful and it helped him relax. Despite how nervous he had been lately, he liked the feeling of being alone in the park, it didn’t unnerve him as it might others, but then he knew he could take care of himself. It was relaxing feeling like he was the only person in the park, that there was no one else, just him.

He paused at the bridge, as usual, and listened to the river below gurgle and splash. He leaned against the guardrail and looked down at the water as it swirled around rocks, glistening in the light of the setting sun. It was so peaceful. There was a faint splash, so faint it was covered by the noise of a nearby duck taking flight and, as though signalling the others, they all began to take off until the pond was empty. Brett watched them for a moment, then went back to staring at the river. It was as though his thoughts were being carried away by the river, all the negativity and worry, just gone. He smiled, had anyone been looking at him, they would have fled in terror. His eyes were empty and his smile seemed almost like a rictus grin. It was so peaceful, just so very nice and calm and nice and pretty. His thoughts trailed off into nothing. It took it’s time, why rush, the hunt was over. In his final seconds, power returned to Brett’s limbs, but he couldn’t run, nor could he scream, he could only watch as it engulfed him. As his mind broke and was plunged into madness, he smiled, he was finally, truly at peace.

Part 5

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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2 Responses to Shadow Crawlers. Part 4.

  1. Pingback: The Break In. Part 5. | Alan James Keogh

  2. Pingback: The Break In. Part 3. | Alan James Keogh

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