For the longest time, Emmaline thought that the shadow she saw on the edges of her vision was a trick of the light.
As a child, it had been a demon that dogged her every step, something to be prayed away by her family and church. Then, during her teenage years, when life seemed to be at its absolute lowest, it was entirely gone from her.
As she grew older, it returned, leaping from a green exit sign to the dull metal of a guard rail while she drove down the interstate. Emmaline barely gave it a second thought, believing that it was just a bird landing to rest it’s wings.
But when the shadow sat upon her desk, leaned over her shoulder, and whispered into her ear she knew it was no figment. And she knew that it would no longer tolerate being ignored.
“It will hurt only for a moment and then your eyes will be opened.” The shadow spoke into her ear, breath barely moving the hair curled there.
Emmaline wondered briefly what it meant before a sickeningly thin arm reached forward, hand curling around her jaw and turning her face towards the speaker.
The black of the shadow’s eyes seemed somehow even more deep than the darkest night and she found that she could not look away. As the sharp agony of knowing swept over her, Emmaline knew her life would never be the same again.
©2020 S Hostetter
“Guard Rail” by huminiak is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0