Wednesday, July 20, 2011

3 Word Week: Shadowman

One of my previous Three Word Week stories Earwig has been published on the Microstory a Week site. Thanks for choosing it Steve!

Here's this week's:


You know how sometimes you catch sight of something out of the corner of your eye and it scares you because it looks like a person in the shadows? You glimpse it, you turn to take another look, and then it morphs into your coat hanging on the door back, or a table lamp and a pile of books or something. Well it’s constant in my life, happens every day, but I never get used to it because once, many years back, it really was somebody, and I know one day he’s coming back.  

I had just got home from work, not that I worked too hard in those days. To be honest I was a bit of a waster and was the first to bleat if conditions weren’t exactly how I wanted them. I was drinking hard, ate too much of the wrong stuff, smoked worse than a kipper and was probably heading for an early grave. So I walked in the house and threw my coat and a load of other stuff onto an armchair as I passed it, went straight to the cabinet and poured myself a large whisky. Just as I looked back into the room, there he was; large as life and way more ugly, sitting in the chair where I’d just deposited my gear.

I did a double-take and checked again but he was still there. He looked like he’d been dragged out of a grave, all grey and dusty. His suit seemed like it had once been well cut, maybe Italian styling, but old fashioned. I could see the skull through the skin on his face and he just stared at me. He had no eyes in his sockets but I knew he was staring.

Listen,” he said, lifting a bony hand and pointing at me, “I’m here to give you some advice.  Unless you want to end up like me you have to lay off the booze, cut out the smokes and watch your cholesterol. You’ve heard about all that karma stuff? Well it’s real, and you already have a debt to pay. We have a job for you to do and you’d best be fit for it when we come to call.”

“What job? What do you mean? Who are you? Who’s we?” I tried to ask, but it was no good. I was talking to my coat. 

Do I need to tell you how terrified I was? Some beast from beyond had paid me a visit with a personal message from…who? Heaven or hell or some place I never heard of.  Next morning I joined a gym and I’ve been living the clean life ever since to keep myself in trim. I daren’t do anything else because I know he will be back. I’ve seen his eyeless face every single day to remind me: in dark corners by wardrobes; in the way the curtains hang in my living room; in my rear view mirror. So far he’s always been a shadow man but one day will be for real. When he does come I want to be ready for him. Though whether I’ll use my new fitness to help him or fight him off I’m not so sure.


Over at Steve Isaak's blog there's a weekly challenge to write a less than 600 word short story featuring the three words he chooses every Monday.  I've been playing with this idea for a while (about how everyday objects turn into strange people when you catch a glimpse of them) and figured I'd explore it through Three Word Monday. So here it is.

This week's words are:

And here's the rules. If you'd like to join in,


snafu said...

That is spooky stuff. Very well done.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Wow! That is one brilliant story!
Very well done indeed!

Anna :o]

MorningAJ said...

Thanks both!

Steve Isaak said...

Good, engaging read. =)