UKArchive



UKArchive ID: 18554In the shadows by thegeeza
Originally published on February 9, 2007 in Fiction

Can you be sure that every shadow is empty? The idea came to me after I read KDR's "Woman" story. 269 words.



Watching and waiting. Waiting for what? To see her, smell her, hear her laugh. To reach out and withdraw, carefully, silently. When she walks near, to feel my heart racing, the dryness of the mouth, to blink at the pins in my eyes, to look down, to step away, the suppressed and strangled words. The simple words. I love you.

I look at her fingers, imagine her toes, the shape of her leg, its firmness, its pale milky colour. Her strawberry blonde hair, covering her neck, the nape, the area I want to press my lips against. Her blue eyes, deep, true. See me, touch me, talk to me.

In the bar, I see her talking with colleagues. I see the introduction, the stranger. I see the flirting, the look, the touching of the hair, the straightening of the tie, the licking of the lips. I see the foot come out of the shoe, the toes moving, stretching. I see it slip inside, the penetration. I see the taxi and the two silhouettes bobbing with excitement. I feel emptied.

I see her walking to the shop. I see the newspaper, the bread, the milk. Her dirty trainers, the tatty coat, the hair: tied up, the neck, his mouth.

I feel the kitchen knife in my pocket, the tip, the prick, the blood, the rush, the involvement. Interaction. It’s me, it’s her, we’re together. I’m hidden. There is no one else. I see her front door and I see her. She will know me.

She approaches. I reach out and she passes untouched, not knowing. I sheath the knife. Tomorrow.


(c) Steve Smith. 2007.


© thegeeza (thegeeza on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 18554
Archived comments for In the shadows
Romany on 09-02-2007
In the shadows
This was intriguing. Probably a quite realistic account of what goes through 'his' mind before he attacks her finally, if he does at all. But how I imagine I would know that I don't know! If you see what I mean. The word 'involvement' jarred a bit for me, seemed out of keeping somehow, but can't say why. Sorry, not much help am I?

Romany.

Author's Reply:
"He" could be a "she"! (unlikely, of course). I'll have a think about that word - thanks.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Steve.

SugarMama34 on 09-02-2007
In the shadows
An interesting short story of what could be a stalker/jealous ex-lover. I think you show the emotions well in this so the reader can see a brief look into this guys mind. It's quite un-nerving in a way and made me shiver in just thinking of the senario. I liked the way that you built up the suspence too and the ending was not disappointing either. I enjoyed the read. Cheers From Lis'.xx

Author's Reply:
Thank-you. Appreciate your time to read and comment.
I read KDR's story "Woman" and the final part of that gave me an idea. The idea was to chill the reader, so pleased it worked for you!
Steve.

juliet on 09-02-2007
In the shadows
I liked the fact he didn't go through with it, gives it much more realism. Suspense built well and nice attention to detail. However would have liked more of a sense of the narrator and why he/she feeling that way.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Steve.

e-griff on 09-02-2007
In the shadows
I know this is flash, but knowing your writing, I would have preferred a full story on the theme, which you have rightly identified has potential, but have not explored fully, IMO ... 🙂

Author's Reply:
Hi John - yes, has potential, but it's probably a bit "done". After reading KDR's story, I visualised the ending of this one and pushed this one out in about 20 minutes! (pardon the toilet imagery...)

RichardZ on 09-02-2007
In the shadows
I too would be very tempted to expand this and see where it goes. If you can stand to be in the mindset for long enough, it could become a very powerful short.

But, enough of that. Back to this piece:

The fact that he doesn't go for it only increases the suspense, imo. I get the definite impression that he will strike and it's only a matter of time. The sensation that we are riding the stalker's shoulder and even hearing his thoughts works well also.

Enjoyed this one, though as I say, I'd love to see it expanded.

Regards,

R




Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting.
I just replied to e-griff - I think this topic is a bit "done". It's almost a safe subject these days, so would have to guard against making it very samey. I wanted to leave the reader thinking about what might be lurking in the shadows in connection with unhealthy, but hidden obsession. I didn't want to expand too much on why he/she was like that, leaving it for the reader to decide.
Again - thanks for the comment!
Steve.

KDR on 09-02-2007
In the shadows
I thought you were going to go for the jealousy angle more in the para that ends 'I feel emptied', maybe a build up of rage. It'd make the final withdrawal more an act of...what? Cowardice? Reason?

Flattered that you found something in 'Woman' to inspire you. But come on. Sub more. You know you want to. 😉

Karl

Author's Reply:
I'm not sure why he didn't. I'm not sure whether he would actually "do" anything - ever. He watches from afar and wants to interact with the person, but even the power of a knife can't push him over the line.
It's an extreme escalation of his obsession - but how many people are obsessed with someone else and how near the line are they? How do we ever know? What goes through their minds? I think obession/compulsion is a very interesting human trait.
Ta for the read/comment.
Steve.

spongemonkey on 10-02-2007
In the shadows

Everyone has got there before me Steve. Leaving nothing for me to say except, perhaps... Excellent piece of writing we never know how far love is prepared to go until it turns to obsession. I would perhaps add to this make it a short, but I didn't write it, you did. Well done. All the best. The sponge.

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 10-02-2007
In the shadows
Thanks, Sponge. Appreciate you reading and commenting.
Steve.


Author's Reply:

orangedream on 10-02-2007
In the shadows
Hello there Steve. Everyone's beaten me to it as well. Good piece of flash which I enjoyed.

:-)Tina

Author's Reply:
Thank-you, Tina - glad you enjoyed it.
Steve.

Rupe on 13-02-2007
In the shadows
This is very good. I'm glad you didn't expand on it any more than you have done, and that you leave it on an ambivalent note - you give the reader just enough detail to allow us to speculate on what the story behind this might be, and how it all might end.

I also liked the way you've put together the sentences. There's tension and weight in them - specific observations, short measured phrases, nouns instead of adjectives. It adds to the creepy sense of the guy watching closely, taking note, trying to keep himself under control.

Rupe

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Rupe. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
Steve.

RoyBateman on 15-02-2007
In the shadows
You didn't need more than this to convey the atmosphere perfectly - and I'm glad you left it that way at the end, despite the obvious temptation to have complete closure: that would have been too trite and obvious. Very good - we can all imagine the scene and a handful of motivations, too. You say the idea came to you after reading another story (yeah, we all do it!) and, in turn, you've probably set loads of people off on variants of their own. Good one!

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Roy, for reading and commenting.
I think it's the strength of the site - to pick up a thread of an idea and develop it into something else. It can be an entire theme, or just a sentence.
Steve.

dancing-queen on 15-02-2007
In the shadows
Hello Geeza me ol' mate! Creepy, or what!! (The story, not you dear). Sent shivers up my spine this did. I think you captured the manic state of his mind - the pace of his thoughts and actions actually left me feeling quite breathless and anxious to find out what was going to happen. He was a real dodgy character lurking in the shadows - eek, will have me looking over my shoulder tonight! All the best - DQ x

Author's Reply:
Hello DQ - nice to hear from you, me ol' mucker.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad it made you feel uncomfortable - not you, personally, you understand! - this was the intention. I believe people are driven by hidden thoughts and feelings, and you never know how far they might go ... or who may be watching from a distance...
All the best - Steve.

zenbuddhist on 15-02-2007
In the shadows
You have to read this a good few times to appreciate its impact....but it hits home ...nice one...Z

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Zen - glad you liked it, mate.
Steve.