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Creeping Shadows

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Have you ever had that feeling something was following you? Just that incredible sense of dread that there's something lurking right behind you, something that's going to do the things you fear the most if it catches you? The hairs stand up on the back of your neck and the cold shivers run all the way up from the base of your spine, and you can't help but turn around. And when you do, there's nothing. And then you have that wave of relief wash over you and you have to laugh at how stupid it was to feel the way you did just a few seconds prior. Everyone has that feeling once in awhile. But sometimes, if you really pay close attention, you'll notice that it's not just a stupid feeling. Sometimes, if you really pay close attention, you'll actually see that you really ARE being followed. And when you do finally notice it, it's too late. Let me tell you my story.

I was leaving work one night. My schedule had been staggered for the night, and instead of leaving at 11 PM like the rest of the folks in there, I was getting out at 10:45. My friends laughed and said I should be happy for that 15 minutes. It meant getting home 15 minutes sooner, and that was good enough. So I left the building and walked toward my car when that creeping feeling came over me. The parking lot was relatively empty since there aren't that many closers, but there wasn't a single person out there. The lights in the parking lot buzzed, but that was the only sound I heard. Not even the crickets were chirping. I think it was the lack of sound that caused that sensation of fear more than the lack of people, but whatever it was I knew that it was empty, and I knew that I needed to get to my car. I quickened my pace when my fear overcame me and I finally turned around. I found myself face to face with nothing. I sighed in relief and rubbed my eyes, but in that momentary haze where my vision was clearing up, something on the ground looked... distorted. Unnatural. The shadows of the other cars in the parking lot were slowly crawling toward me. That's when it dawned on me that the buzzing wasn't the lamps in the parking lot, but the shadows themselves. I backed toward my car, and a shadow moved over my foot. The pain was unbearable. I looked down and somehow I just knew there was a face in there. Smiling at me. They wanted me. Were they going to eat me? Were they going to flay my skin and torture me? I had no intention of finding out. I ran to my car and got in, quickly turned it on, and took off.

I was panting and I had broken out in a cold sweat. My foot didn't hurt anymore, but I remembered the pain vividly. Simultaneously burning and freezing, a feeling like a thousand needles focused on one spot. I buckled up after getting to the road and tried calming myself. I kept telling myself it was just a hallucination, that I was just tired from working so much overtime. But as I was driving through town the shadows of the buildings started following me. I was in trouble. I pushed the gas pedal to the floor and took off. The shadows were fading in the distance, but I knew it wasn't over yet. I was leaving town and had 20 miles of highway to cover before I made it home.

I turned on my high beams because somehow I knew I could at least ward them away. The lights behind me disappeared, and I was afraid. The shadows could probably hide in the darkness, so I wouldn't know where they were coming from. But I outran them on foot, so I didn't think they could move too fast. But that didn't stop me from driving as fast as I could. As I passed the factory halfway between the town where I worked and the town where I lived, a cop was waiting and pulled out behind me. He flicked his lights and sirens on to pull me over, and I thought I'd be safe. A ticket would be worth living another day. So I slowed down and began to pull over, but the siren suddenly was muted. The shadows were right there, and they overtook the cop. The blue lights disappeared from sight, and soon even the headlights were gone. I floored it again and took off. The shadows were moving a lot faster than I thought they could. I turned on my radio and cranked the volume up. For some reason I thought the sound would push them away as much as the bright lights did.

"Kickstart My Heart" started playing which inspired me to go faster, so I tore down the highway and finally got into the city lights. I was close now, and I thought the city lights should stop the shadows. Or at least slow them down. I peeked in my rearview mirror and found out I was wrong again. The town around me was being absorbed into the darkness, and the radio started crackling. The shadows were gaining on me. I flew through town, running red lights and disregarding all other traffic as the building lights and street lamps were absorbed one by one. I made it to my road, and I knew that this was going to be the one last chance I had. I had a 2.5 mile gauntlet to run on a narrow, curvy, hilly road with a lack of lights since everyone would be in bed. But right across from my place was a bright lamp that always shined bright. It would save me. I knew if I could make it home, the shadows stood no chance. So I took off down my street, the radio playing nothing but loud static now. The sound grew dimmer as I drove down my road.

The shadows were on top of me. I could hear their buzzing and my headlights grew dim. I was in a full panic, knowing that I was about to be taken. The buzzing surrounded me and roared in my ears, and suddenly my headlights were out. I thought I was dead. But then there was a high pitched ringing in my ears, and the shadows vanished. I had made it to the lamp. I had won. I pulled into my driveway and parked my car. I sat for a moment to catch my breath and laugh. I wiped the sweat from my brow and opened the door. I stumbled from my car to the front door and went inside. I was completely drained. I walked straight to my bedroom and fell on my bed. My head hit the pillow and I smiled. I closed my eyes and took off my glasses and was ready to sleep. I opened my eyes right before I fell asleep, and a face stared at me from the shadows. My eyes opened wide and I tried to scream, but all that I heard was a buzz. I was taken.

So remember, when you get that feeling that you're being followed and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, don't turn around. You don't want to know what's following you. Because it's not that we want to hurt you, and we don't want to expose you to your greatest fears or torture you, but we do want you. We want to take you. And we won't stop until we get you.

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