The shape in the shadow

by Lewis

The air moves, just a fraction, colder.

“What do you want, i’m trying to sleep.”

“I’m sorry luv. You were snoring i was just moving over...”

“Snoring, hardly, it was just a little rustle. What, I can’t even breathe now is it?”

The pause is unfinished. A darkness stirs.

“No, it’s fine. You know what I mean.”

“That’s fine, don’t worry, I won’t breathe…i’m sure you’d love that.”

A smell drifts softly through the dim night air. Cloying and close.

“Don’t be daft now, i’m sorry i woke you up. I am. You’re so grouchy.”

“Well I would be less grouchy if you didn’t keep me up.”

“You were the one snoring though.”

The smell, the air, the cold, creeps together, a shape forms.

“I told you I wasn’t snoring.”

It hulks, softly, waiting.

“If you were asleep, how would you know?”

“Oh just cut it out, the nagging. I know what this is about.”

“I wasn’t nagging. I didnt even mean to wake you up.”

“No of course not you just accidently kicked me. Well fine I won’t breathe.

The shape

“I won’t roll over.”

That was a shadow

“I won’t make a noise.”

Steps forward

“I won’t see friends.”


“I won’t go for a drink. Anything else you want me to not do? For fucks sake.”

And smiles.

“Don’t swear?”

“Are you fucking kidding me...”

“I’m sorry i was just joki..”

“Joking? Well it’s not funny. I’m SICK of it. You’re on me ALL THE TIME”

It’s smile melts like a fog, twisting and growing thicker.

“Tidy up, pick up the kids, help with the washing. I’m working all fucking day....”

From it’s mouth a cruel hand emerges, fingers of tendrils that reach for you searching.

“...and i’d just like a little sliver of light at the end of the tunnel where I might relax and see some friends.”

And smothers your mouth. You do not know, but you are suffocating.

“That’s not what I meant darling.”

“It never is, is it? What you mean, huh. Tough is it? Sitting around all day, stuffing your face, cloggin the plughole, letting the boy run wild and do whatever the fuck he wants. But I can't have a few beers. In my own house. That i pay the rent for.”

“That’s not fair is it.“

In the unfinished silence the searching tendrils find your throat. They wrap around it, moving down to your arm.

“I’m sorry. Please”

Your throat is closed. You do not breathe in.

“Sorry. Don’t TALK TO ME ABOUT SORRY. You fucking bitch.”.

The tendrils reach down covering your arm. They grip your wrist, and draw it up slowly. The touch is wet and strong. The shape surrounds you now. It’s smile is your smile, crooked and cruel. Its fingers are your fingers curled and cold.

You watch the tendrils rise your arm up. The curled fist opens and closes. Then swings swiftly and surely down.