Shadow of the Hand by Kevin Lazarus (Part 2)

(The continuation of The Dark Side of Carthage Falls – the Anthology – From last Wednesday November 16th – by Kevin Lazarus)

“I heard that there was some guy they caught,” said Peter. “He liked little kids!”

“What’s wrong with liking little kids?” blurted Kelly. His sandy hair hung nearly clear down into his eyes as he looked at us like a deer in the headlights. You could’ve heard a pin drop as the rest of us stared at him in disbelief. Finally, Brett leaned over and whispered something in his ear. Kelly’s face turned a little red as he did. “That’s sick!” he finally declared.

“No, no,” interrupted Daniel, “it was the old farmer—there was something hinky about the guy!”

“I heard they never caught him,” Brett added. “That he just disappeared—”

Daniel excitedly took over the conversation. “One of the girls at school said she thought she saw some old guy following her home!” At that, the room fell silent.

After a long pause, Kelly quietly said, “for real?” His eyes were wide and I could see that he was truly scared.

“For real,” whispered Daniel.

As Daniel spoke, I had this overwhelming feeling that I knew who the little girl was. The intense need to find out if I was right, was more than I could bear. “Who is she?” I asked quietly.

Daniel turned to me, his eyes wide with fright. “Carly—it was Carly—you know—”

As he said her name I could picture her in my mind, still standing there on the sidewalk that day Brett and I went into the orchard. But before I could say anything, Kelly freaked out screaming something about a weird looking shadow on the wall. Every single one of us spun around and stared at the wall and the outline of the window from the streetlight shinning through it. A shadowy little hump was moving around at the bottom of it.

At that instant I knew where it was coming from and quickly turned back around towards my bedroom window. I followed the light coming through the window. As I did, it became apparent that it was the top of Daniel’s head. And as soon as I pointed it out to the others, we all started laughing hysterically, rolling around on the floor and the bed.

Daniel, his attempt at damage control for being so wimpy, held up his hands in the light and started showing hand shadows on the wall. Now full of giggles, we all joined him in doing the same—seeing who could make the scariest shadows. Then someone farted and we laughed even harder! So hard, in fact, that Brett fell off the bed.

Brett, lying on the floor holding his stomach while pointing at us, because apparently we looked funnier than he did, continued laughing until snot literally began to drip from his nose.

The laughter died down to a low rumble after my stepfather yelled down the hall at us. Of course, we had no idea what he actually said…we couldn’t understand him. But we had a pretty good idea what it was. It was late and he’d had enough of our noise.

Kelly didn’t quit with the shadow show. He twisted his hands in all kinds of ways to create anything he could think of. We found ourselves being drawn back into the contest with every hand in the bunch joining in, but this time much more quietly. Oh there were still snickers and momentary outbursts of laughter that we would hush back down to a dull roar, but the festivities continued.

It was then that I noticed that one of the hands looked especially wicked. “Hey, that’s really cool! Who’s doing that one?” I pointed.

“Wow!” said Kelly, “that really is cool!” We all looked at each other and then one-by-one, those of us that were sure it wasn’t their hands, withdrew them from the light.

Almost instantly we realized that everyone had removed their hands. As we stared at the wall facing us, there was still one shadow—a solitary, boney looking hand!

We stared at it in stunned silence, no one daring to say a thing. It was as if it was frozen stiff—and lifeless. Brett began breathing hard, his eyes tightly shut. But I didn’t dare take my eyes off of it—not for one second! Then someone in our little band of brothers started whimpering and was on the verge of a good scream.

All of a sudden, the hand moved and Daniel let out an ear piercing squeal! Every single one of us scurried across the floor to the other side of the room and, clinging to each other, frightened beyond words, looked up at the window. But it was gone! What ever had been there had just disappeared!

My bedroom door blew open with explosive force. There in the doorway was my stepfather wearing only his BVDs. “What the hell is going on in here!” he yelled. “I thought I told you it was time to give it a rest?”

I nodded nervously, but not because I was afraid of him, but I couldn’t tell him that. He wouldn’t have listened to me anyway. I suppose it all worked to my favor, because he bought my frightened nod and slammed the door as he left.

We huddled silent, not sure what to say, daring not even to move—at first. Finally, I sat up straight and looked at the others. “You saw that—you saw that right?”

None of them said a word, but Brett and Kelly nodded.

“What the freak was that?” I whispered.

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Copyright 2011 Kevin Lazarus/DreamStream Productions Inc.

 

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