A Shadow

The cat sat there looking at him, or maybe into him. He could not place why it was so unsettling. It’s only a cat. He had only been outside for a few moments, smoking a cigarette when he noticed it. It sat across the way and stared at him. He didn’t know how long it had been there, but it never seemed to look away. “It’s just a fucking cat,” He muttered to himself. Getting up he crushed the cherry off the cigarette, threw the butt in the ashtray, and went inside. As he closed the door behind him the last thing he saw was the cat still staring at him.

He washed the dishes from his dinner, “Another dinner for one,” he said to the empty apartment. Drying his hands, he turned off the TV and headed to the bed. The small studio was cluttered and messy, typical for a young single man with no prospects. As he peeled off his shirt and threw it to the floor he said “God, I have to do laundry.” He continued to undress and got in bed. Laying down he turned off his lights and hoped sleep would not take long.

He laid there unmoving, knowing that was the trick to sleep. Stop moving and it will come, it just took time. He heard the clock ticking away and he tried to drown out the sound by letting his mind drift. He thought about his days in school, of the girls he had liked but never done anything about. He started to wonder what was wrong with him. In his mind a vision started to form, he knew dreams would not be far now.

The image in his mind fades to black and suddenly everything got darker. It was a subtle change, but he realized he could no longer hear his clock. Suddenly he could see his room, I didn’t open my eyes, did I? His confusion grew as he raised his hand to his head and noticed his hand and arm were not solid. He looked at it and saw it was transparent and had a silvery outline.

He rose and got out of bed, he noticed then his room was different. It was clean, the TV was on the wrong side of the room. Other small discrepancies tugged at his senses as he walked around it. Stopping at his front door he saw it had inset imprints as if it had refrigerator magnet letters inset into it. The oddity of it all was lost as his front door began to swing open.

He took a step back as the door opened quietly before him. After a moment he decided to step outside. He found himself somewhere other than his apartment complex. Here there was a yard and a fenced path. He walked down it lost in wonder as he walked through the gate. He was in a residential neighborhood that looked like any other cookie-cutter one in his town.

That’s when he heard the growl. It was low and full of menace. He looked around full of fear. A shadowy form appeared in front of him. It came from nowhere, but it was now there. A Shadow of a lion with red burning eyes. The growl intensified. He Tried to step backward but found himself up against a wall. Panicked as the shadow drew nearer, he felt as though he was stuck. He found his arms and legs no longer functioned. He stared in horror and the shadow was upon him. He tried to move, desperate. He couldn’t talk he wanted to plead, beg, but no words would come out. He closed his eyes to it listening to its ragged breaths and feeling it on his neck…

He felt like he was falling and rebounded and found himself awake, the sun was shining. “It was just a dream,” he couldn’t believe how real it seemed. As he got up and went about his morning routine the memory fading, he realized he was running late. He was just about to head to work when he heard it. The Meowling of a cat, he opened the door and saw it. Sitting across the way staring at him and crying out loud. He was about to throw something at it when he saw its shadow, the shadow of a lion.  He grabbed his things and dashed out to work. The cat never moved it sat there staring at him, and the shadow’s eyes glowed red.


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