The Woman From the Shadows

The Woman From the Shadows

One of the houses across the street from our house was recently broken into. The woman who lives there came knocking on everyone’s door telling us that we are bad neighbors and that the neighborhood watch signs should actually mean something.

I actually recently Googled it and found out what the neighborhood watch thing actually means. It means that everyone in the neighborhood is obligated to report any suspicious activity.

I honestly didn’t see anything happening, and I am sure someone would have said something if they had seen it.

My dad is a little paranoid when it comes to safety and takes it very seriously. I once told him that I heard someone knocking on the window behind the house and he grabbed a bat from I don’t know where and went straight to the backyard. He said he hadn’t seen anything but still installed window locking devices on my window along with a motion detector that would begin beeping as soon as it sensed anything moving it.

But first, I have to tell you a bit about when I was a kid.

Back when I was six or seven years old, I used to stand by my window in the backyard to see the cats that would come by and run around frantically. It was a boring hobby, but they looked really funny going around in circles and jumping. Years later, I found that they were actually hunting mice, but that’s besides the point.

It was fun until the one time that the figure of a short woman with a big dark jacket showed up from the area behind our shed where I kept my bike. She creeped up slowly to the middle of the yard, her head hunched over. She shooed the cats away angrily and laid down on the ground. Then, she crawled back to the corner of the yard. I remember standing there, frozen with my eyes fixed on her. She crawled like a crooked baby with one of her legs stretched out as she clawed her way back to the shadows.

I don’t have my drawings from back then to confirm this, but my mom always reminds me of the time I started drawing an old woman with the darkest pencils and crayons I had. I used to draw many things as a kid, since I lived far from my friends from school and had lots of time because I always finished my homework in the detention room. I wasn’t a bad kid, but the school let my dad come pick me up after work an hour after school since he refused to let me walk home or take the bus by myself, so they doubled the detention room as a sort of waiting area for me.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t remember every detail about the woman from the shadows, but the situation with the motion detectors is bringing back all of these memories little by little.

Recently, after the break in at the neighbor’s house, my dad installed some exterior cameras and motion sensor lights. He’s very proud of the setup and he will talk your ear off about it if you ask him, but to summarize his usual talking points the motion sensors will turn on a set of lights if you’re within ten feet of any wall of the house, while the cameras begin rolling in night-vision as soon as they detect any movement in their line of sight. You can tell if there’s a cat or something moving nearby based on which lights turn on, which makes it annoying to sleep through, and I was slowly getting used to them until about a week ago.

At around 2 or 3 in the morning I faintly remember the usual light outside my window turning on, but out of nowhere, things got a whole lot brighter and then I heard the sound of glass breaking and everything went dark.

I screamed, but my dad was probably already on his way to my room with a crowbar in his hand and a flashlight in the other because he came in about 2 seconds later.

I ran toward the door frame behind my dad as he aimed outside toward the yard with his flashlight, but could only see his silhouette. I kept searching for the light switch in the dark until the lights finally turned on and saw my dad standing by my window with his flashlight aimed right at the corner of the yard.

I slept in my parent’s room that night, and my dad hasn’t told me what he saw.

You see, my dad had installed flood lights that would turn on automatically if they detected movement right outside our doors and windows, so that’s what the bright lights were. Someone had been right by my window that night and I could tell my dad was very concerned.

He taught me a new way to close and secure my windows and he also moved my bed to a different corner of my room.

It took me a long time to catch sleep that night, I first blamed the new position of my bed, but I soon started remembering the woman from the shadows from my childhood.

I remembered her hand stretched out toward me as she dangled a mouse.

I then remembered her long teeth and her broken fingers as she waved at me from the yard.

I remembered now the way I would flip through my notebook to show her my drawings from my window.

I also remember how angry she got when we put a wading pool in the yard one summer. She also got upset when we first got our dog until he started refusing to go the backyard.

Just as the memories of her angry face and the way she would made me cry was creeping back to my head, I heard a tapping on my window.

There she was. She held a shovel with both hands. I could see her long dark hair and yellow teeth.

Then, a beep. The flood lights turned on.

She attacked the lamp with her shovel at a superhuman speed until the glass broke. My dad came rushing to my room once again.

“Those lights keep exploding, don’t they?” he asked, his eyes locking with mine.

“I think so,” I answered.

I could tell by his look that he knew that I knew the truth. I’m sure he had reviewed the cameras by then.

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