Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shadow, pt. 1, 392 words

Andrew looked down at the sleeping infant. He leaned carefully against the side of the crib. His son had finally fallen asleep, and Andrew was grateful for the silence. It seemed like the child had been screaming nonstop since he was brought home several days before. Andrew shivered slightly despite the room’s warmth, and crossed his arms.

Michelle stepped into the room, watching her husband watch Daniel. She was glad he was finally taking an interest again. He had seemed so distant the past couple weeks, even when she had gone into labor. She cleared her throat, and Andrew turned around.

“Are you sure you don’t want any dinner,” she asked, concern edging into her voice.

Do it. Andrew shook his head. “I’m sure. Don’t make anything for me. I’m not hungry.” His voice was a flat monotone, much as it had been in the past weeks. He knew, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he should be offering to prepare the meal for her. Oh well.

“Okay,” she said, her tone lowering into doubt as she stepped back out into the hallway. “Let me know if you change your mind.”

Take it. Andrew nodded, already turning to look back at the infant as Michelle left. Kill it. “I’ll let you know,” he said, already trailing off and only really mumbling it to himself. Consume it.

He frowned, looking around to make sure Michelle was gone. He could already hear her in the kitchen. “Shut up,” he hissed.

Take it. Take it take it take it take it—

“Shut up,” he repeated, louder. Daniel stirred a little, but settled back into sleep. He stared down not at his child, but at the shadow he cast over the child. He swore he could make out distinct features in the shadow’s depths. Without light, fangs still gleamed.

You want it. You need it. Take it. Fill that hole.

“I’m going insane,” Andrew muttered. “You’re not real. Just because I’ve heard you for the last two weeks doesn’t mean you’re real.”

I’m as real as you are. The shadow grinned. Andrew did not move, but the shadow uncrossed its arms and reached out, as if stroking Daniel’s cheek. As real as he is. I’ve always been here, Andrew. You just couldn’t hear me before.

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