I remember when I was no more than knee-high, a dream that constantly plagued me. Let's call the being Mr. Shadow because it's a good name for him. He was a hulking, broad-shouldered, twisted, shadowy figure. He wore what looked like a hoodie and other baggy clothing.
Every night I would wake up screaming. My mother would ask while smoothing my hair for comfort, "What's wrong sweety?"
And I would respond with the words that still send chills down my spine, "It was Mr. Shadow, mommy. I seen him again."
Like all parents, she would shrug it off and tell me there was no such thing. It was just the overactive imagination of a child, she would tell herself.
Mr. Shadow would always return despite her best efforts. He stood in my doorway watching me, or I would have a dream where he stood in the living room chanting some strange language. One night, I got so scared that my parents found me sitting in their room, rocking back and forth.
As I sat there, tears and sweat rolled down my face and my mother said I was burning up. Quickly, she grabbed the thermometer and put it under my tongue. "My God," before I knew it I was snatched up in my dad's arms and we were out the door. That was the first time I ever visited an emergency room. I had a temperature of a 105.
After that, Mr. Shadow didn't return for awhile. Until a few years later, I was sleeping in my bed when I felt something sitting on my chest. When I opened my eyes, there was Mr. Shadow, staring at me with that void of a face. His powerful hands reached around my throat and began to squeeze the air from my lungs.
I struggled, but there really was no point. Now I was only waist-high. Then my dad came into the room with a flip of the light switch, "What's going..." He stopped in the middle of the sentence. "What the hell did you do to your neck?"
Shaken, I looked in the mirror. There were large fingerprint bruises on my neck. I tried to tell my dad that it was Mr. Shadow, but he told me, "It's just you kids acting strange these days. Hurting yourselves to get attention." He lit a cigarette. "I swear if you ever do something that stupid again, there will be hell to pay."
"Dad, I didn't do this to myself?"
"I don't want to hear it," he said in his sharp tone.
I was diagnosed with asthma after that, and I remember every five minutes taking a shot off my inhaler. Doctors did say that it was the most severe case of asthma they had ever seen. The asthma slowly faded away with time, but recently it has come back in full swing. Mr. Shadow is also back, but he stands outside my window, looking in, chanting in his strange tongue.