What you are about to read is not only the first chapter of my upcoming book but, also the case that started my journey into the realm of the Shadow People.
(The following story is graphic and not intended for young readers.)
CASE NO. 0001
The rays of the sun shown down that day like the colors of a newly discovered diamond exposed to light for the first time. A rainbow bouncing off the dew soaked grass, the glistening reflections in the small duck pond in the yard, the smell of the newly birthed flowers and the feeling of the cool, crisp, spring air were all she sought after when her little eyes opened. She quickly dressed herself in her favorite outfit, purple shorts and a white baby doll tank top with pink and green flowers that glittered. Her hair was dark brown, short and straight. It had to be this way because mommy never had the time or the patience to comb thru her tight little curls. As she combed the knots out of her hair she thought about how much she missed her curly hair. Grand pap loved her curly hair.
She reached her bedroom door and paused for a moment. She had to take a long deep breath before turning that handle. She knew he would be there. Mommy was never home on Sunday mornings and she was always left with him, alone. Her hands started to tingle as if they had been asleep and were just starting to wake up. Her heart raced and beat so hard she felt as if she were going to faint but she knew she couldn’t; she would be in big trouble if he heard her hit the floor as she passed out… One more deep breath and she turned the door handle. She opened the door… slowly…slowly…please door, don’t creak and wake him. Tears began to fill her little eyes. The fear was overpowering. She was beginning to sweat now, her heart beating harder and faster, the lump in her throat growing larger as she stepped one foot into the living room, then the other. The release of her last deep breath was followed by a smile. He was not asleep on the couch as she expected. Her first taste of Heaven on this Sunday morning - how blissful it was when she realized he was not even in the house!
She made a dash for the kitchen, got some apple juice and a cookie, ate quickly and bolted out the front door. The fresh air was the one thing she had to look forward to on Sunday mornings, but this Sunday was going to be exceptional. She just knew it! Winter had finally lifted and she could hear the sweet melodies of the birds chirping in the trees as she ran down the front steps and into the yard to play. It was a sensational morning! The excitement of the day was almost too much to handle!
She ran as fast as she could till she reached the edge of the duck pond and sat down. She loved the duck pond. It was the one place she could go and feel peace. It made her smile. There were only two ducks on the water this morning. She guessed the others were still sleeping and that was ok. Looking down in the water she saw a few tadpoles, some large, some small, darting back and forth just beneath the surface. The rocks that lined the bottom were covered with the green goo of algae. The light from the sun glistened on the surface of the water. She picked up a few tiny rocks and began to skip them across the water. She enjoyed watching the different patterns form on the water as the rock sailed across its face. She saw circles and ripples and sometimes when the ripples and circles happened at the same time, the water smiled at her. She always smiled back.
Closing her eyes she felt the wind on her face, gently blowing her hair back. Her arms began to feel the soft tickle of goose bumps rising as the cool air touched her skin. She loved the feeling of the wind. She let her mind wonder…a sweet escape…she saw oceans of blue and green, sand of rainbow colors and a castle with horses and village people…she heard the sounds of the carriages and wagons filled with goods being pulled along the gravel roads. This village, this kingdom, this was her happy place.
The sound of footsteps grew ever louder in her mind…
She could hear the crunching of heavy boots on frosted grass. Her heart began to race. She knew those footsteps. It was him. She opened her eyes. They widened with fear when she saw him. She froze. Expressionless, she sat very still by the duck pond. Please, God, if you love me like my mommy says you do, please don’t let him be angry with me. Please.
He looked at her, said nothing, opened the front door and went inside. She breathed a sigh of relief. Her heart beat slowed and she looked up to see three baby ducks on the water following obediently behind their mommy duck. She heard a ribbit…a frog jumped out of the water onto the grass next to her. She listened to the songs of the birds in the tree branches above her. They sang with such harmony. The sound was nothing less than beautiful. She heard a thud. The birds began to squawk loudly. Something had fallen. She stood up from the side of the duck pond and turned to look towards the fence where she heard the thud. The sound of the birds squawking growing louder and louder, she walked to the fence and just on the other side within her reach she noticed a baby bird. That had been the thud she heard. It had fallen from the nest. Its wing was hurt. She could see that. Tears filled her little eyes; she knew that poor little baby was in pain.
She knew and understood pain. She felt pain almost every night. He made her hurt. She felt sick in her stomach. Her knees began to shake as the terrors of the night rushed into her mind. She couldn’t stop him. He was too big and too strong. Tears streamed down her cheeks, cold against the crisp breeze. She fell to her knees, too weak to stand. The fear overpowering her body, she collapsed on the grass, pulling her knees into her chest, she sat up. She rocked. She rocked, back and forth; the sick feeling in her tiny stomach growing larger and larger.
She stared…looking at nothing….rocking…back and forth…lost in the fear that had consumed her mind.
A screen door slammed. The fear released her. She came back from the depths of her mind. She looked up to see it had only been her neighbor. Relieved he was still inside; she remembered the baby bird that had fallen from the nest. She knew she had to help the bird even if it meant she might endanger herself. She picked the baby up and cupped it in her little hands, careful not to cause it anymore pain. She kissed the baby bird on its broken wing and began to walk slowly towards the front door of her house. You’re going to be ok little bird, she whispered softly.
She was within a few feet of her front steps when the door slammed open. She was startled but still kept a hold of the baby bird. He looked angry with her. He started down the front steps toward her, his boots heavy on the concrete. She froze. Please God, help me! Don’t let him hurt me! Don’t let him hurt the bird! Please God, where are you? Please come. She screamed and prayed in her mind.
He stood next to her now, looking down to see what she was holding in her little hands. She hesitated for a moment, but slowly opened her hands to reveal the tiny bird with the broken wing. He smiled. She asked if he could help the baby bird. The smile cleared from his face, his jaws clenching tightly. She knew he was angry. She was in trouble. She felt sick in her stomach. Mommy wasn’t home yet. She was alone - Alone with him. Fear crept up into her throat. She could no longer speak. She looked down at her hands as he snatched the baby bird away from her. She began to cry. He smiled again. Not the smile of a daddy. It was the smile of evil. He threw the baby bird on the ground. It hit with a grotesque thud. Still smiling, saying nothing to her, he grabs the hair on the top of her head and makes her watch as he stomps on the bird with his heavy boot crushing the innocent life she wanted so desperately to save. She screamed. Panic stricken now, she knew he was going to hurt her. He enjoyed hurting her.
Being pulled up the front steps, she could feel the hairs separating from her head. He was dragging her, the weight of her little, 3 1/2 year old body, resisting while she tried to keep up with his pace, screaming. A flood of tears rushing down her cheeks as terror takes over her mind and body. He wants to kill her. She is going to die…
Mommy…I’m sorry I was bad. I love you…
The bathroom is dark. Terror engulfs her when she sees the white, pedestal sink glistening in the only light shining in from the window. Her step stool is in the darkest corner of the room. She is released from his grasp and commanded to get her stool. Tears fill her eyes, she can barely see. She picks up her stool and sits it down in front of that tall sink as she’s told. Standing up, she hears the sound of the faucet being turned on and the water filling the sink. Her knees, too weak to hold her little body, she begins to fall. He grabs her arm and holds her there. The sink is full now. He moves his grasp from her arm to the top her head. Terror rivets through every nerve. He smiles. Her spine quivers as she feels the cold water rushing onto her face. She can’t breathe. Eyes open. She can’t see. It’s cold. So cold. She shivers. No breath. Her head twists, side to side, hands pushing at the porcelain demon as she tries to fight. He tightens his grip. Her head is still. She can no longer resist. Her arms go weak, dropping next to her sides. Her mouth opens, struggling for air. A cold rush fills her lungs. Her eyes close. Her body loses strength. Still smiling, he raises her little head from the depths of the cold black water. She coughs. Breathes in a short breath of air; her eyes still closed as she is plunged back into darkness. Death is near. She can feel it creeping. Another cold rush enters her lungs. Blackness envelops her. Stillness. Nothing. Her body, limp, collapses…lifeless…on the cold, tile floor…