Walking In Shadows

It was late when I woke up from my nap, my grandmother, who came home late from work, woke me up, "Oh poor girl, how are you going to spend your night?”. I didn't say anything as I was thinking. After a moment, I asked her, “Can I go to John's house to watch a movie?” She responded, “I won't walk you”. I begged her to take me because I was afraid of the monsters in the dark. She knew that I would keep begging her, and she accepted to take me. John had the only television in our neighborhood, and he had many domestic animals. It was hard walk to John's house because of all the animal feces. My grandmother stepped in it, “Oh no! See what you have done to me!” she pointed to her foot, “Why couldn't you stay at home?” I apologized, and tried to help her, but she refused me. I went into John's home, my grandma left me as I did, walking back home. When I entered the home, Luke, John's son, was watching football. Football isn't my favorite, but I greeted him and sat down to watch football. Eventually the game ended, “What do you want to watch?” he asked, I politely replied, “A movie please”. He changed it a movie “Where's your family?” I asked. He said, “They went to the wedding and will back soon.” Usually, the house was full of people but that day it was empty. After thirty minutes of watching the movie Luke stood and came to sit next to me. I moved over so he could have space, but I felt scared when he came over. He kept moving towards me. I was only twelve years old and Luke was seventeen. I kept watching the movie while he was kept inching closer. Something inside me told me to get up and run to your home, but my legs froze. I felt heart beat strong. I hoped someone would open the doors and rescue me. I was shifting and breathing hard, he asked, “Are you okay?" I was not, but I lied and said “Yes, I just want to go home” “Why?” he asked, “I thought you came to watch a movie”. I quietly replied, “Yes, but I think I should go home and help my grandmother”, Luke was not in the mood to listen to me because as I stood up he held onto my hand and insisting I finish the movie, and then he would take me home. After another moment of watching the movie, he decided to bring water from outside. I should have left as he was gone however, I stayed, and he came back with water. We watched the movie, he put his hand on my shoulder, “Don't worry I'm your brother”, he assured me. I sat stiff but after a moment, his lips were on my cheek. I pulled back in shock, “Why did you kiss me?” He said, “Because you have a beautiful cheek.” I moved away, “I want to go home now.” I insisted. “No, you don't because there are monsters outside. If you go, they will eat you. Trust me”, he said, “while I was outside, I saw monsters that looked evil.” Do I have any choice other than to stay with him inside the house? I sat carefully, aware of my place. He continued to sit with me and then touch me. He put his hands on my chest and I cried, I begged him to not touch me. I wanted to run but I'm afraid of the monsters outside. I felt as though I'm stuck in the middle of a horrific dream. My legs were frozen, and I wanted to close my eyes to pretend that everything was okay. He kept kissing me. His breath smelled rotten. He was a monster, dressed as a man. When he tried to hold me to him, I pushed him harshly and stated, “I will scream.” His home was remote; he knew that my scream would not help me though. I wanted to go home, but he kept insisting, “There is a monster with big teeth and a scary face waiting for you.” I was crying, begging him to take me home he said, “No, not unless you sit and let me do what I want to do” he bargained. I had known him since I was seven years old and I remember I used to play football and other games with him. He was the one we played seek and hide with, he was always willing to play my part, because he knew I was afraid of the dark, but now he has changed into a monster. I shot out of the seat, “I will walk home. I would rather be eaten by the monsters.” I went to the door, Luke fast on my heels. He tried to stop me, blocking the door, but I shoved past him and sprinted home in the dark. I knocked on the door and grandmother answered, surprised, “Oh! You're early. I thought you were watching a movie?” I didn't answer but entered my home tried to calm my heart as there were no monsters I found. I knew my grandmother wanted to ask me questions but refused to ask. I couldn't sleep for hours. There were no monsters I knew this. It was a story to tell children. I got up and left. He used my fear against me, to manipulate me. I swore I would not let my fear show and not let it control me. I won't let my fear cloud my mind. Now, as I'm older, I speak the truth about the power fear, and I walk without fear. I walk freely in both shadow and light, seeing the beauty of both worlds untied. Because even in the shadows, stars shine though.

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Mike Lyles

Author of “The Drive-Thru is Not Always Faste...

Staresville, United States