“You promised him you wouldn’t go.” The mother’s words were steady but pleading.
The sides of her mouth creased in a frown, folding like a dog-eared page. The shadow started to inch further away, the lamplight pushing him across the wall toward the door, pulling him away from the child on the bed. He couldn’t explain it to her then, but he wanted to. He ached at the want.
With each step back he could see the demons getting closer, so clear he could name them. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Hurt. The gnarled hunters loomed above the bed, darkening the boy’s putty face. The shadow wished he didn’t have to leave so soon, but rules are rules. The mother shuddered as the air got cold, a stirring, violent movement.
“If I stay,” the shadow sighed, slipping his soundless foot out the window, “he will never grow up.”
It is only natural, I suppose, that I kick off my countdown debut with a story about growing up. The scary, nastiness of it. I was also aided by a random selection of three prompts randomly picked from a list, thanks to inspiration and guidance from my friend, H. (I will tag his blog once I figure out how to do that). Those prompts were “A dog-eared page,” “Talking your way out of a fight,” and “A hunter.”