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Shadow Puppets

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I remember back when I was six years old, and I was fed up with having to share a room with my older brothers. Telling this to my mom, she said that if I can be brave enough to sleep one night in the other room (which was meant as our playroom for our toys and such) that I can have the room as my own. Given my history of being scared of the dark, being alone, or always crying from being over terrified over nothing, I was reluctant to accept, worried that I may ruin my one chance of having my own room, but I did.

I passed the time by building myself up, telling myself that I can be brave enough to sleep alone. Thinking ahead, I decided to hide a small flashlight under my pillow. It was still mid-afternoon, and dinner was ready. I still had a few hours before bedtime, which was passed quickly by playing video games. When it was time for bed, my mom knocked on the door before opening it and told me it was time for bed. I moaned and pouted, as any kid would, and turned off my game and crawled into bed. The lights went out, but I didn't. My mind was still stimulated, thinking of ways to defeat the final boss on my game.

Time slowly trudged on, and soon enough, everyone was in bed. I was still up. I tried to fall asleep, but the eerie silence that fell upon the house made me more alert. Strongly listening to nothing in fear of actually hearing something out of the ordinary. One of the reasons why I was so easily scared was of the fact that I always heard footsteps right outside the bedroom door and in the living room. It always sounded like a heavy boot slowly pacing back and forth. I was always told it was just the house settling in. I never believed that. I didn't know what a house sounded like settling in, but I sure knew what a boot on hard wood sounded like. As I cleared my head, shaking off the fear and remembering all that time building my courage up, I reached for my little flashlight, and turned it on.

Almost instantly, my fear was forgotten. I always loved swinging a flashlight around in the dark. I imagined it as a sword, and swung it around haphazardly as if I was a master swordsman. I quietly giggled as I made up a scenario of fighting a rival swordsman, losing myself in my childish fantasy. But, I was quickly brought back to reality. In one of my swings, I noticed a shadow that I hadn't noticed before during my fun. I pointed the light where I thought I saw the shadow, but it wasn't there. It must have been my imagination. A sense of curiosity took over. I slowly scanned the room with my flashlight, sweeping it thoroughly of every inch of the walls. The light flickered as a shadow swiftly darted past it. I started to panic. I wanted to yell for one of my parents, but I quickly silenced myself. They never believed me when it came to this stuff, so why would they now?

I rolled over, buried my face into my pillow, and covered myself up in my blanket to secure myself in the child-like protective cover. My heart racing, I did the only thing I could do, and that was just to think about things that I liked to block out the fear. It was to no avail. I couldn't forget what I saw. Building up the strength and courage, I decided to do one more look around. If I didn't see anything this time, I at least could tell myself it was my imagination this time. I turned on the flashlight, and slowly scanned the walls again. Near at the center of the opposite wall, there was a shadow of a hand. I opened my mouth to scream, but it the shadow waved it's finger as if to say, "No, no". It made no difference anyway. I couldn't muster up a sound, let alone a shout.

Petrified, I focused my light on the shadow hand. It must have know how scared I was, because it waved at me. I swallowed hard, and nervously waved back. It gave a thumbs up in return. I gave a slight chuckle at this. The hand then lifted its index finger to give some sort of signal before it morphed into the head of a dog with its tongue panting and making the gesture of it barking. For the rest of the night, I watched it give it's performance while I quietly laughed during the show. It then waved again to say, "Goodbye", and I waved back. I laid back down, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, I went into the kitchen to find something for breakfast. It was a Saturday, so my brothers slept in, while my dad went to work hours before anyone woke up, leaving only me and my mom. She told me that she was proud of me for being brave being by myself for the night. And, as agreed, the room is now mine. She then asked if I slept well. I started to tell her about the shadow hand on my wall, and the performance it gave, but she just rolled her eyes and said it was just a dream. I didn't expect anything else, so I wasn't too bothered by it.

The whole day, my mind was fixated on the shadow hand. I was still a little scared because it was something I've never seen before, yet, excited because it was entertaining and harmless. I started on my chores, so that I can have the rest of the day to play. While cleaning my room, I had the idea to look for more flashlight. This would give the shadow a lot more room to work with than just a small circle of light. I could only find other flashlight, but it was big enough to give it room to fit two sets of hands. So many thoughts ran through my head as to what I could expect. I couldn't wait for bed time.

The rest of the day went as normal--Dinner, T.V., Video Games, then bed. My mom thought I was still happy about having my own room when she went to turn off the lights, but I was excited to see the shadow puppets again. This time, with an even bigger "stage". I listened and waited for my parents to go to bed, then I grabbed the big flashlight, and turned it on. I aimed it at the center of the wall where I saw it last night. The circumference of the light almost reached both the ceiling and the floor, but was shy of a few inches. I sat there at the edge of my bed, eagerly awaiting for the hand to appear. Within a few minutes, I saw it start to form dead center of the light. It started out like a mist, but eventually took shape of the hand. I smiled and waved at the hand. It waved back, but then quickly sprawled out its fingers in surprise. It took notice of the upgrade of lighting. Another hand soon formed next to it, and preceded to clap as if to thank me. I bowed in response to acknowledge the appreciation, and sat back to watch the show.

It started off with simple enough shapes and forms, such as a clown smiling, an eagle flying, and elephant, and even a little rabbit. The moved on from simple animals onto shapes. They bent their fingers in odd ways and conjoined at the wrist. The shadows got bigger, taking up almost all of the light, as if they moved closer to the flashlight. The hands slowly spun in opposite direction as one another, making a kaleidoscope effect. It was simple amazing. The shapes were beautifully formed and placed in a neat pattern. The hands soon took their position at the center of the wall. I looked at them, wondering what they'll make next, but they stayed there, idly floating there. I assumed the show was over, so I gave a soft golf-clap, and leaned down to turn the light off.

A loud thud made me jump back up into the bed. I looked over at the wall and saw the left hand pressed flat against the wall, while the right was curled up into a fist. I watched as fear started to sink in. The right hand raised up and came back down, making the loud thud I had heard once before. It was banging on the wall, but why? I watched with a mixed sense of terror and curiosity. Thud. Thud. Thud. I heard a small crack on the wall as it was about to give way, and then I realized it wanted out. I quickly jumped for the flashlight and turned it off.. The banging stopped. I dared not turn it on again. I sat there and stared at the wall to make sure it stopped. Hours passed, and I grew more and more tired. I couldn't stay away anymore, and I haven't heard a single bang since. I felt safe enough to fall asleep.

Mom woke me up. It was noon, and she didn't like me sleeping so late, especially when it's a school day tomorrow. I couldn't even wipe the tired from my eyes before she started to get onto me about the banging last night. You could imagine how upset she was when she noticed the small hole in the wall.

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