• Janice Brantle

The Shadows!

Updated: Oct 20, 2019

The Whine-Wine Blog

Because every rant, rave or whine goes down better with a great glass of wine!!



Below is a snippet of a short story that I was lucky enough to workshop with the prestigious Hurston/Wright foundation this past summer. It was a great honor and an enjoyable learning experience. Our creative fiction workshop was led by acclaimed author Morowa Yejide, who wrote “Time of the Locust.” https://www.morowayejide.com/



I learned so much from that experience, and am excited to continue learning and creating engaging fiction. I also am adding to my company, “The Author Finishing School.” This program will help other aspiring authors get their work from their heads to the paper and from the paper to their audience. Please contact me if you would like to become a student at the Author Finishing School. Until then, enjoy the story, and if you’re really curious how it ends, sign up on my website and send me an email stating, “I just got to know how the story ends!” in the subject line!


The Shadows


They watch me. All the time, they watch me. I can't see them, though. But I feel them all around me. If I turn my head really fast, I can catch a glimpse of them. Sometimes it's a black streak other times it's a flash or twinkling light. I know they are there, but I'm not sure if they know I know. When I think about it, they have always been with me. I tried to tell my mother about them once. She just looked at me, bewildered. I was five then. Maybe she will believe me now. I'm six months away from my 13th birthday. That's old enough to be taken seriously.

But then again, mother is different. She … well I guess I can't really place it. She's just different. Father is no better. He's never around anyway, so that takes him out of the picture. I never really wanted to mention them again, but the frequency of their appearances is scaring me.

***

Jacob lay in bed contemplating his plight. He had definite ideas about life for a twelve-and-a-half-year-old. Jessica always told him so. Jessica was his best friend. She lived two houses down. They moved into the Rickets old house. The house at first glance was just as old and crotchety as Old Man Rickets. They say that he was so mean that when he died, his soul couldn’t take it and just floated right out of him. Mr. Rickets evil spirit still lives in there. Well, at least according to all the kids in the neighborhood. But Jessica vehemently denies that tidbit of folklore. But I don't believe her though. She sleeps with her closet light on. She doesn't think I know. Maybe I should talk to her about these things that I'm seeing. She should have some sort of opinion since she lives with a ghost.

With that resolve, Jacob went to sleep. He was determined to talk all this over, whatever it was with Jessica. If he was honest with himself, he would have to admit he was afraid. Drifting off to sleep he remembered the day he told his mom about them. Although, the memory was hazy, he saw this slightly horrified look on her face. He thought, with his five-year old mind that he said something wrong indicating he was in trouble.

***

"Hi, Jacob." Jessica's mom said. "You're here early. Just trying to get it all in before school starts in a few weeks?" She said with a smile. He liked Jessica's mom. She was always nice to him, and it helped that she was forever baking something delicious. Jessica says her mom wanted to be a pastry chef, but Jessica's father told her she had to get a real job because they had real bills to pay. So, she manages a group of restaurants.


"Jessica!" Jacob yelled bounding up the rickety wooden staircase with the loose baluster midway up. Jacob hated those stairs. His legs were short and stubby, so it was hard climbing them. His “baby fat,” as his mother called it, made him feel winded by the time he reached the top of the stairs. And if that wasn't bad enough, Jessica’s room was the last of six down the hallway on the left. She liked it because it had a secret entrance to the attic.

She would hide up there sometimes when her mother made her mad. Jessica was scrawny all legs mostly. She could fit easily into small crevices. Jacob always teased that her glasses were more prominent than her head. She said she picked them to hide her freckles. She hated them, it reminded her of her red-headed grandmother who always wanted Jessica to listen to her boring stories of the good old days.


"Up here." She yelled back.

"Awe man," Jacob grumbled. He hated that attic. To him it was a den of fright.

"Look here!" Jessica squealed out of breath.

"What got you so hyped up this morning?" Jacob huffed trying to catch his breath stopping at the entrance, not wanting to go further.

"Come closer. You can't see it from way over there."

Jacob hesitated.

"Come on silly. Stop being so scary. Nothing's going to get you."

At that point, something flickered past Jacobs' head. "D…D… did you see that?"

"See what?" Jessica said turning back to look at Jacob.

"Nothing, never mind." Jacob took a tentative step forward.

"Look at this. What do you make of it?"


Etched into a wood panel in a small hidden compartment, were the words:


I fear this is maybe my last night on earth. They will find me, and when they do, I don't know what will happen next.


Until next time, enjoy the journey!

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I recently started my LLC. I teach the self-publishing process and help independent authors publish their body of work. I support all whether it’s fiction or non-fiction for fun or profit. To help my clients release their work, I developed an online class:


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