umbrage

umbrage

A Story by freelancejouster

 

 

 

 

 

 

often times, i would look out the window and something would seem to have moved, though almost imperceptibly or just with the wind or movement of the sun,

 

and i couldn't tell people of the terror i felt upon knowing that something had moved outside, but not knowing just what.  for i couldn't point it out and i couldn't put my finger on just what frightened me about it.

 

days would pass without a forbidding feeling and i would almost forget or perhaps i did forget until the feeling, the sensation, returned, full force and paralyzing in its realness.

 

i began searching.  watching relentlessly for the answer to my question of just what was out there.

 

and i wish i hadn't.  i wish that i had just ignored the foreboding sensation or better yet, moved away from the place and never returned.  i wish i hadn't been there in the first place so i wouldn't have to live with this guilt.

 

because i caused it.  i know i did.  i caused the movements to become visible, perceptible.

 

i had watched for a week, on and off, of course i slept and ate and worked and socialized, some, but i still spent an unhealthy amount of time staring out the window, tracing and memorizing the layout of the view.  every tree, every blade of grass, every paint chip on my neighbor's front door.  every shadow.

 

and it was on the eighth day that i saw it move, the shadow beneath the great oak tree in the front yard twitched and moved in a way that it shouldn't've on that breezeless day.  and the feeling of dread and unease i had had so many times before sunk into my gut like a bullet.  i blinked hard to make sure i wasn't seeing things, staring out a window could do that, i'm sure.  but when i looked back, it was still shifting of it's own accord, the inky blackness of its shadow edging ever slightly towards me.

 

i swallowed hard and edged backwards, away from the window until my line of sight was obscured by the curtains and a good portion of my couch.  i took several deep breaths before peeking out the window again, where everything was still.  as if nothing had happened.  as if i were seeing things.  but i wasn't.  it had happened.  it was real.

 

and i couldn't tell anyone.  because, who would believe me?  who would believe that shadows were approaching me?

 

in school the next day, i must've looked a mess, as Parker and Jared did their little earnest bit with the please be alrights, like they do when i threaten to be sick on physics test days.  their grades are in jeopardy then, after all.


i stayed well clear of the window and the oak tree in the front yard as best i could, and it worked for several days.  i tried to avoid them, really, i did, but i'm a human being and, by nature, curious.  and these dark forces seemed to almost beckon me in my semi-terrified state.

 

the first day i returned to watching to window nothing interesting occurred.  in fact, for the first several days, nothing out of the ordinary happened at all.  i began to think that i'd imagined the entire ordeal, from the sinking feeling to the shadows moving towards me.

 

on the fourth day after returning to the window, it happened.

 

i was half-dozing, my head propped up on my hand, eyes half-closed when it moved again.  the shadow shifted and shook from where it usually sat and after the longest moment, it began to move towards me, faster this time.

 

i stumbled backwards from the window, skinning my left knee.  i thought that out of sight of the window, the shadow would have returned to where it had been as it had before, but when i peeked back outside, it was still moving closer, its inky blackness coating the ground.  i felt a sickening compulsion to move towards it, to come in contact with it.  to touch it.

 

in revulsion at the idea, i vomited.


thinking to bar the shadow from the house, i closed all windows and doors, locking them when i had the ability to.  bolting back to the living room to see if that'd hindered its progress (and to feed whatever was inside me that gained a sick satisfaction from watching it come closer), i saw that i was only about halfway towards the house.


in a panic, i pulled my phone out to see if i could call anyone over, hoping that the presence of another person here would scare the shadow away.  i saw i had a text from Jared and glanced at it quickly.  something about my looking pale lately and was i alright?


i called him.  the phone rang once, twice.  my heart thudded heavily in my chest.  three times.  i glanced furtively out the window and just as i was about to hang up in defeat he picked up, "Hello?"

 

"Jared!  I don't have time to explain, but could you come over?  Please?  Now?" the words came out in a rush and I was grateful when he replied with, "I gotcha.  On my way."

 

i hadn't expected him to respond like that, though it was nice.  refreshing.  i fully expected a plethora of questions like i received from everyone else.  relief washed over me, certain that the shadow would dissipate under another's glance.  it was coming for me, not anyone else.

 

i glanced out the window again and saw the shadow, the thing, coming closer.  it seemed to be moving slower, but growing at the same time.  churning in the center and rising from the ground in all its massivity.  becoming an entity.

 

without realizing it, i moved slowly to stand directly in front of the window, my face mere inches from the glass.  i stood, enraptured before it for several minutes, for reasons i cannot explain.  its pull was magnetic, exhilarating, and terrifying at the same time.  dread bubbled in my stomach, eliciting goosebumps and nausea.  i saw all parts of it, every facet and every intricacy.  it was close now, mere inches away from the window.  as i watched it brush against the fragile pane there was a frightened part of me yearning to scramble away, knowing it wouldn't hold under the shadow's vastness.

 

but i was powerless.  the rest of my mind was possessed by the shadow and watched calmly while it broke through the glass, embedding slivers of shrapnel in my skin and gashing across my face.  it engulfed me, indescribably cold and black and horrible.  clammy, sharp, and liquid at the same time.  drenching me and picking me up.  capturing me.


the last i remember is a worried knock at the door and someone calling my name.

 

 

 

 


© 2012 freelancejouster



Author's Note

freelancejouster
umbrage: offense; affront; the shade beneath a tree; suspicion; reason for doubt

originally this was going to go in the Poetic Dictionary, but the story that was told was far from everything else in the work and no longer seemed to fit. and then it grew several pages in length.

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Reviews

ooof! that's a creepy little piece. you built the suspense beautifully. absolutely impossible to let go. you are a talented horror writer. well done!!

Posted 3 Years Ago


nice. clammy, sharp, and liquid at the same time. i felt it.

Posted 5 Years Ago


The ending reminds me a bit of H.P. Lovecraft's 'Dagon', very eerie in all of the best ways. This is going into my favourites. You are very good with words.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very suspenseful; well built up, little by little.

Posted 5 Years Ago


yeah creepy, good intensity, and suspense...well done

Posted 5 Years Ago


creepy

Posted 5 Years Ago



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Added on March 18, 2012
Last Updated on April 14, 2012
Tags: definition, trees, shadow, folklore, horror, creepy, scary

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freelancejouster
freelancejouster

WI



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i'm a muppet with his secrets revealed. i'm a lost teenager. i'm a rugged adventurer. I'm a bumbling novice. i'm an awkward intellectual. i'm a tear-stained lover. i'm a starving artist. i'm an.. more..

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