A Message In A Shadow

Written in response to: Make a mysterious message an important part of your story.... view prompt


Fiction Horror Mystery

'WHAT DO YOU reckon this is?' asked Rita.

'Oh, Grandma, what are you talking about?' said Gung.

'Ever since your Dad brought me to live with you, weird things keep happening.'

'No, they don't. It is you. Do you miss England so much that you are making up stories?'

'No, dear, whenever I'm alone, something odd happens. True, things like that didn't occur so frequently in London.'

'Maybe, London is so noisy? Now you live by the sea, we get peace, a restful quiet and that freaks you out?'

'Oh, darling, it's not that. I have had some odd experiences all my life, you know?'

'I hope it's not Alzheimer's?'

'No, I'm as sane as ever I was.'

'I'll make you a cup of tea.'

'Hi Dad, I'm making Gran a cuppa. Do you want one?'

'Yeah, great idea. How are you getting on with your Gran?'

'Fine, she's a lovely lady, but…'

'But what?'

'I'm worried she has dementia or something similar,' Gung said.

'Oh, don't say that. She is just different from other people; she always was. Why are you saying things like that?'

'She asked me if I could see the alien.'

'Oh no, not that again.'

'She could see something making a shadow under our door.'

'And what could you see?'

'Oddly, there was a shadow. But nothing else.'

Gung's father went off to organise his golf bag, scratching his head and tutting.

'Gran, why did you imagine it was from out of space?'

'Darling, it is easier for me to believe in visitors from up there.' She pointed up, jabbing above her head.

'Don't you believe in God?'

'Do you have to believe the same as your Mum?'

'Why do you ask that? I was born in Thailand, my Mum was Thai, I go to a Thai school, and they teach us about Buddha, not spacemen.'

'Yes, I went to a Christian school, and they taught us about Jesus and God. Think for a moment. They had no books back then.'

Gung interrupted, 'What about the Bible?'

'That came many years later. Two thousand years plus ago, people had no paper and certainly no internet; they passed on what they believed verbally.'

'Yes, people saw the miracles and told their friends. That is normal.'

'True enough, it is precisely what you and I would do, I agree. But think about it, what if outer space visitors performed the miracles? And not a God. Maybe it suited the powers that be to say it was a religious being, and they decided it was easier to explain it as a God?.'

'It can't be.'

'It can, especially if the powers wanted more power and wealth. They made up God because it made them appear stronger.'

'The religious teachers at school would throw me out if I said that,' Gung said.

'Would that make them right?'

'You've made me think. What did you see by the door?'

Gung's Dad came in and interrupted the girlie camaraderie. 'Who fancies a late lunch by the sea?'

'You get a drink in, Dad; we are going for a stroll, then we can eat and drink together.'

Dad signalled for a beer, rattled his newspaper, turned to the sports section and settled in a deck chair.

Granny put her arm around Gung's shoulders and headed to the gentle waves.

'It is gorgeous here; I love how large rocks are scattered in the sand,' Gran said.

'What's the beach like in England?'

'Ha, ha, it's mostly wet and cold. Why not revisit London? Do you remember much of your only trip? You were young.'

'Only that my Mum died. Sorry, it was so sad.'

'Yes, I was forgetting.'

Smiles returned as they splashed each other as waves slopped over their feet.

Gran stopped and put her hand up. Gung stopped and stared at her grandmother, 'What is it?'

'Look at that rock.'

'Gran, I've seen it many times.'

'But not with a shadow like that one.'

Gung looked behind them, then to the cloud-free sky. The birds had stopped singing.

'There is nothing to make a shadow,' Gung said.

'But there is, my dear.'

'What then?'

'Look, it is following us along the beach.'

'How can that be?'

'Come on, time for food.'

'Okay, girls, what would you like to eat?' asked Dad.

'I'm popping to the little girl's room; I won't be a minute. And, while I'm gone, answer her questions,' Gran said.


'Stop right there; I am not answering your questions. I can't. Honestly, I don't know what happened.'

'But what did happen, I must know, what went on.'

Gran crept back and stood behind her son; then, she put her arms on his shoulders and nodded. He slumped forward.

'My father was violent; he used to beat me for the slightest thing. But one day, he went too far. Your Gran tried to protect me, and he beat her up badly. She had no chance. Eventually, she got me to bed after mopping the blood from our wounds. I had a fitful sleep, and when I awoke, the police and an ambulance were there. My father was dead. Mum led away in cuffs, and they took me into care. Soon, I returned home; Mum had been released, and the police could find no proof that she had murdered him. They assumed he died of shock. I guess we'll never know.'

Gran nodded and smiled at Gung.

'So, what happened to my Mum?' asked Gung.

Gran squeezed her son's shoulders once more.

'Your mother was a jealous woman, and on that first trip to England, we met up with some of my old friends. Naturally, there were females with us. For some reason, your Mum believed I was in love with one of them. I wasn't, of course; they were old schoolmates. But when we returned to you at Gran's house, my wife grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed me. An ambulance rushed me to hospital. The police wanted us to press charges. We convinced the police it was an accident. Your Gran welcomed the woman home, calmed her, and they talked long and hard.

Gung's father was trembling; his eyes were flickering as a shadow flitted across the table.

'In the morning, she was dead.'


August 11, 2023 07:36

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