THE DEMON LIVES INSIDE ITS OWN SHADOW
March 2nd, 2008
I got up Tuesday morning, around 4:15am, switched the lamp on, and was just reaching for the glass of water I usually keep on the bedside table when I first noticed it.
I used to keep a pile of clothes on an old chair in a corner of the room. I’m a bit of a slob when it comes to things like that and I’d just kind of fling my used clothes on this chair when I was done with them, and they’d all pile up until I finally got around to washing them.
Anyway, the chair and the clothes would cast this distinctive shadow against the bedroom wall, just beside the window, and I remember the shadow looked just like an old lady sitting on a chair, all hunched up and decrepit-looking, and it didn’t matter how many more clothes I’d toss on that chair, it didn’t dispel the illusion of an old lady, it just made her look more twisted and deformed.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I decided to get rid of that pile of clothes once and for all, and the chair while I was at it. And that was pretty much it. I didn’t think about it again until a few days ago when I got up and discovered the shadow was back.
Only this time there was no pile of clothes and no chair to cast it.
I studied that shadow for a long time. I tried to figure it out but it made no sense at all. My cat, Angel, won’t go near the damned thing, she freaked out first time she saw it, hissing and spitting, and now she refuses to come back into my room.
I got a whole bunch of friends over to examine it and we shifted everything around in that room, trying to locate the source, but it didn’t make a blind bit of difference. None of us could account for it.
The shadow became a kind of novelty. Everyone had a theory as to what was causing it. I liked Gary’s theory the best. It had something to do with time waves and the space/time curvature, the idea being that the shadow was somehow being projected against the wall from the past.
The strange thing was how cold it was. The surrounding wall was warm seeing as how we were in the middle of summer, but the section of wall the shadow touched was cold and clammy and after touching it for a few seconds I swear to Christ you never wanted to touch it again.
It sent shivers of dread up my spine, the most blood-curdling images flashing through my head, naked bodies hanging upside down from the ceiling of a human abattoir, maggots spilling out of the mouths of half-buried skulls, people screaming and burning as they fled some terrible catastrophe – the shadow filled me with a sense of disease and unclean things, and for hours afterwards I was still washing the hand I’d touched it with.
My friends all experienced the same thing. It was a joke to begin with, a kind of novelty event, and none of them were taking it very seriously, but after they touched the shadow all that changed. Suddenly they went quiet and nobody would go near it, and then, one by one, my friends all found excuses to leave.
March 12th, 2008
My cat’s gone missing, I’ve searched for her everywhere. The fucked-up thing is, I can still hear her, wailing away in the distance, and it sounds like…Jesus, I know this is going to come across as crazy…But it sounds as though she’s trapped inside the walls….
The shadow’s changed. It still resembles an old lady sitting on a chair, but now there’s appears to be a cat sitting on her lap, and I swear to God that’s Angel’s silhouette, I’m not going nuts, that’s my cat’s fucking shadow, and I can hear her, wailing and hissing, only it sounds really faint, really far away….
What the fuck is going on?
I’m going to post this on Reddit first thing in the morning.
But meanwhile, I need to get some sleep.
Oh God…Oh dear God…Please tell me I’m still dreaming….
I had a nightmare last night, it has to have been a nightmare; nothing that messed up could be real. That shadow, I know what it is now, it’s a hole in reality shaped like an old woman, I felt a cold damp wind blowing out of it, and sitting up in bed, I stared into that hole and I swear to Christ I’ve never seen anything so dark. It was like staring into a bottomless pit.
And as I sat there, I sensed something watching me from inside that shadow. It felt malevolent and vile, and the longer I sat there the more intense that feeling got, and then a long bony hand emerged from the shadow and groped around the edges before a face emerged a moment later.
It was the face of every child’s nightmare. An old woman with skin so thin it had ripped in places to let yellow bone protrude through, and she had no lips, just huge, cadaverous teeth, the front two teeth, the incisors, long and rat-like, and her eyes were yellow as egg yolks with tiny pinprick pupils that seemed to stare right into my soul.
I couldn’t move. I was petrified. I was trying to scream but she wouldn’t let me scream, somehow she stopped me from uttering a single sound, and as I sat there the old woman came oozing out of the shadow with long bony back-to-front limbs and grey strands of hair clinging to a fleshless scalp.
She came crawling across the room towards me, hissing and sticking out this black serpent tongue, and I was so terrified I thought I was losing my mind.
She disappeared beneath my line of sight and a moment later a clawed hand emerged over the edge of the bed and deposited something at my feet.
I stared at the thing she’d placed on my bed but my mind refused to register what I was seeing.
After that the old woman gave a deep, throaty chuckle and scuttling back across the room she slipped back into the shadow.
Suddenly, I felt drowsy and unreal.
This was a dream, I kept telling myself it was all a dream, and reaching out I covered the object at my feet with the bedspread, and then I lay on my side and went back to sleep.
I woke up this morning and instantly sat bolt upright in bed.
It was a dream, right?
The old lady emerging from the shadow, it was just a nightmare, right?
Then why is my bedspread still covering that object on my bed?
It takes a long while to work up the nerve but at last I reach out and whip the bedspread aside and I give a strangled gasp as I stare down at the skinned body of my cat.
I tried to scream.
I tried ever so hard.
But she won’t let me scream.
She prefers the silence.