by T. Gene Davis
“Child, keep out of the gravestone shadows.” Wendy gave Aiden’s hand a slight tug, dragging him farther from an elongated shadow in the grass.
“I don’t want to die.”
“No one dies in here. Just don’t step in any shadows. The sun’s getting higher. See. The shadows are already disappearing.”
“Will they follow us then?” Aiden stumbled on a root hidden in the uncut weeds.
Wendy stopped, and knelt, looking Aiden in the eyes. No tears. His eyes wide with fright held no tears.
“You saw me kill your father?”
Aiden looked her in the eye, and remained silent. She ran her fingers gently over the large blue marks on his jaw.
“Aiden. Those men will follow. They will find me. They will do everything in their power to kill me. But, I don’t think they dare come here.”
Wendy smiled. “You’re tired. I haven’t slept since yesterday. We both need sleep.”
“Let’s find a big place with no gravestone shadows to take a nap.”
Wendy picked Aiden up, laying his head on her shoulder and stomped through the weeds until she found a spot with no shade. They both fell into a deep sleep moments after laying down.
“Mommy! Help me!”
Wend sat up, disoriented from sleeping most of the day.
“It’s got my foot!”
She focused, realizing late afternoon stretched the gravestone shadows to their resting place. Wendy took a deep breath looking at the shadow holding her son.
“No—” More of a hiss in her throat than a word.
Aiden’s shoe lay in a gravestone shadow up to his ankle.
“It has not touched your skin.”
“I can’t move my foot. Something is holding my shoe. I feel fingers.”
Wendy stood and followed the shadow back to an ancient stone that should have toppled centuries ago.
“Don’t leave me! Mommy!”
“Stay still, Aiden. You’ll be fine.”
He quieted down and twisted to watch her. The gravestone she approached sat partially in the shadow of a far taller stone. A few more minutes and the taller stone’s shadow would reach Aiden.
Wendy looked back at Aiden and gave a faint smile. She edged within arms reach of the stone whose shadow held her son. She looked around, as if searching for a tool, or hope.
Wendy clenched her left fist and struck the old carved rock, putting all her weight into her punch. A crack came from her fist as it struck the stone on its shadowy face.
Her left hand fell in shadow for a moment. The gravestone swiveled and tipped over in the grass. A sizzling sound came from her left hand when the sun fell upon the exposed flesh and in an instant only a shadowy outline of her left hand remained.
Aiden stood, free of the gravestone’s shadow.
“Your hand, …”
“Don’t touch it. It’s as dangerous as the gravestone shadows now.” She held her hand up and looked through it. She clenched her fingers then spread them, frowning. “I’m going to need a glove.”
Wendy look at the shadows and took Aiden’s left hand in her right.
“We need to get out of here while there is still a path between the shadows.”
“Will those men be waiting?”
Wendy held her shadowy left hand out in front of her.
“I’ll worry about the men,” and gently tugged Aiden away from a creeping shadow.
I wanted to write the Halloween story this year. Especially, since I haven’t had to chance to add many of my stories in the last few months. Have a Happy Halloween!
A really atmospheric story! Thanks for sharing.