A pretty normal occurrence if you ask me. Where there is light there are sure to be shadows and, unless you live under a rock, there is light. Big shadows, small shadows, lighter ones and darker ones. In most stories, you read about some nightmarish creature lurking in the dark shadows of a room, waiting to tear into some poor soul when they least expect it. Well, have you ever wondered what happened during the day? Or if the real monster isn’t what’s hidden in the shadows, but the shadow itself.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why should I be afraid of my shadow? I’m not 4…” and you’re right. Why should you believe some crazy chick from the internet? I can’t make you believe anything, I can only tell you my story and warn you of what’s really out there.

I supppose I should start out by telling you the basics: time, date, location. It was late in the morning, maybe 11:00, and I was straightening up my house. Summer break had already begun so it was mid-June. I was supposed to be cleaning our house due to the fact that we were having company later that day, but in my laziness, I settled for partially cleaning by just shuffling items into their somewhat-proper places. As I paced my living room, I distinctly remember something being off.

Something about my house just didn’t seem…right. All day, things seemed to be a bit odd, I felt like if I looked at something, then looked away, they’d change. Shadows were shifting, or cast in weird ways. Of course I ignored my suspicion. I mean really, it was a beautiful summer day, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What was there to worry about?

Oh, if only I knew.

Soon, our company arrived. Friends and family poured into our house and overflowed into our yard. Kids, including myself, splashed around in the pool, drinks were passed among the adults, everyone was enjoying themselves thouroughly, yet I couldn’t shake that feeling of unease. Something…something, wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t place it. Getting tired of swimming, I grabbed a soccer ball and began kicking it around with a few friends and little cousins. After a particularly hard kick, the ball shot straight past my cousin, crashing into the woods and rolling down into the creek that lies just beyond our property line. I, being closest to the woods volunteered to go retrieve it. My cousin, trying to prove her bravery, stopped me.

“No, I’m gonna go get it.” She declared, puffing out her chest.

“How about we go together?” I said and grabbed her hand, guiding her over large roots and fallen trees. We made our way slowly down the hill that led to the creek, being mindful of each bump. I looked around then, searching for the ball, and I realized that something was wrong. Late afternoon sunlight filtered through the tree tops, casting log shadows across the earthen floor. Perfectly normal, no? Well, it would’ve been except these shadows were different. They kept morphing. Twisting and changing into ghostly faces with grim expressions that would stop even the bravest man in his tracks.

It’s just a trick of the light, I told myself. Mind tricks.

I should’ve left right then. Abandoning all hopes of getting that damn ball, I took my cousin and ran back up the hill.

But of course, I didn’t.

What happened next is hard to explain. It was as if everything shifted, yet everything looked the same. Everything except the shadows. They lifted up off the ground and formed into smokey figures. They floated around me, taunting. They floated through me and, I swear to you, I could feel them feeding off of my fear. I looked at my cousin, ready to bolt, when she drpped my hand and turned to me. Her normally blue eyes were vacant and bloodshot.

What she did next will be etched in my mind forever.

She smiled.

It was the most wicked, grotesque sight ever. Her eyes rolled back in her head and her cheeks split open, revealing her teeth and jaw bone.

The next thing I remember was my cousin lunging at me, faster than I could react. She had gained strength and felt equally as strong as me, even though the still had her 5 year old form. Her hands clawed at my skin, drawing blood along my arms. She clasped my head and twisted until the pain in my neck was unbearable. I kicked her off and came to my senses, if only a little. I was defending myself as well as I could, after all, I still saw her as my little cousin, just a horribly mutated version of her.

She pushed me down onto the edge of the creek and held my head under the flow of water. I began kicking and squirming, but she held tight. My lungs squeezed, I needed air, and I did the only thing I could think of. Rolling over, I pinned her to the ground and held her head under water. She fidgeted and wiggled around, and she managed to surface. When she did, her face had changed into its normal, innocent appearance. Her big crystal-blue eyes searched mine and her blonde ringlets hung limp from the creeek water. I loosened my grip a little.

“P-…Please don’t hurt me…” She whimpered, but even as she said it.

I cound see her features changing again. The shadows circled us and pressed closer, taunting me, laughing. They said she meant me no harm. Her eyes rolled back and the last thing I heard was a sick, twisted laugh before I plunged her head under once more. After what felt like hours, her little body went limp in my arms, and everyhting shifted. The forest’s quiet hum filled my ears and pushed away the silence that had settled. I stood up, looking at what I had done, then slowly backed away. Then, took off at a dead run, away from the body, away from my house.

How could I face my family after what I just did?

The answer was simple, I couldn’t.

As you flip on your light to re-assure yourself that there aren’t any monsters lurking in that dark corner of your room, think of how many more you created.

Do you still trust the light?