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Shadow Tag

While I was out this weekend I was reminded of just how inconsiderate people can be. I went grocery shopping, by myself, at a local WalMart.

For most, that probably just explained everything.

The one I went to is beside a university. There is a wide variety when it comes to racial and cultural diversity and I think this is a good thing. In my backward, backwoods view of the world, the more different people you have someplace, the more polite everyone should be.

I am sorely mistaken.

It amazes me how clueless everyone was to the presence of others. They bolt and dart around, glaring at anyone who is in their way. I attempt to be polite, saying “excuse me” or “pardon me” anytime I am just getting to close to another person. For my efforts, I get snarled at, growled at and in one case, I received such a specific case of the evil eye that I was forced to tuck a clove of garlic in my pocket to ward off the impending evil.

And that came from the kid in cart. His mother was too busy trying to shove past me while talking on her phone to bother.

Is it really that difficult to be considerate?

Oh, and to the guy who was in such a hurry that he ran into me because I wasn’t walking fast enough, thanks for saying excuse me, but maybe instead of polite you could try paying attention. That would work for me.

This weeks story was a contest submission that didn’t make the cut. It was prompted by a photo of an empty swing with the shadow of a little girl sitting in it on the ground. I hope you enjoy it.

Try to remember to be kind and polite. I will do the same.

L. E. White

Shadow Tag

Cathy and Denise stood together behind Mrs. Ackerman’s azalea bush. Each girl was bent over, hands on knees, peeking through at the old playground.

“This is stupid,” Cathy said. “Nothing is going to happen.”

“Shh. It always happens.”

The humid Midwest summer was merciless but the girls didn’t move. The sun roasted them inside their light dresses and sweat ran down their backs.

Denise checked her watch again. “Now.”

The swing furthest from them started to twist. It moved faster with each rotation until the chains crossed with a clink that carried through the stagnant air to the hiding children before snapping back, motionless.

Denise looked over and smiled with smug satisfaction. Cathy’s mouth hung open as she stared, wide eyed, at the old swing set.

The swing began to move again, going back and forth. Little clouds of dust kicked up like when the girls were swinging at recess.

“I can see a shadow,” Cathy said, her face pale.

Denise frowned and turned. She squinted, but couldn’t see it. “What kind of shadow?”

“Like a girl on the swing.”

They looked at each other and then back, but the swing had stopped. It hung empty and lifeless again.

“What happened?” Cathy asked.

“It always stops,” Denise said. “It only swings a little bit.” She moved to leave, but looked over and saw Cathy’s lower lip quivering.

Denise looked back through the bush. Now, she could see an inky black spot on the ground.

It was coming towards them.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror
  1. March 29, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Great piece. As I was reading it I was reminded of how the swings in the park would become tangled by it never happened while you were there playing. Maybe it was the shadow that did it?

  1. March 29, 2014 at 8:29 AM

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