Spectre – SHORT STORY

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     WHEN HE WALKED the earth all living things hid and cowered. Worms burrowed deeper, birds escaped in thick treacle air on unnatural migrations, animals and humans alike retreated to dens, caves, jungles and brick homes, curtains closed, lights off, breathing quietly. Street lamps died when he came near, crashing power grids, sending hamlets, villages, towns and cities to the dark ages as if controlling an on off switch at will.

Seemingly painted with ink from black holes, taller than clouds, his ephemeral elongated form roamed the lands, footsteps crushing all beneath in rippling quakes leaving a wake of scorched lifeless terrain the same way a liner sends churning seas and waves through water.

One dark summers day, he reached up and plucked the sun from the sky like the lowest hanging apple, pulling it down in a black hand of long lines and right angles, looking at it, the same size as you’d see it in the now barren sky. Without thought he placed it in a pocket, producing a tinted glow that cast unambitious light.

As people cowered in homes – silent – a few bravely eyeing the spectre, a child, perhaps six years old made a break for it, fleeing the doorway in an energetic blur racing over to the base of the thing. As parents and neighbours shouted for him to return, they all all held their breath, terrified of the consequences. The monster had eaten children before so it was told. Adults too.

In little light only the child could know what would happen next.

Stopping, head tilted right back, he shouted to the heavens. “Put it back!”

Taken by surprise the spectre leaned forward, a wisp of eyeless blank, like a brush stroke.

“We need the sun! Put it back you bully!” A small fist was raised, shaking.

Where did a youngster acquire the heart of a warrior, the heart of a naïve lamb?

Any second the child would be eaten. The monster leaned closer, it’s rectangular head lowering from passing clouds resembling factory smoke. Miniscule, the lad stood steadfast as a long billowing arm reached down and plucked the sun from it’s pocket, forcing the child to cover its eyes with his forearm.

To a soundtrack of gasps, the sun was raised upwards above now-white clouds and resumed it’s rightful place beaming high-noon rays once more.

Wandering onwards the black monster edged towards the horizon, leaving all behind it as it was. Nobody had ever questioned it, none had pointed out the error of his ways before. And with one act of courage his form shrunk, until people began to ask “Where is he?” instead of saying “There he is!”.

Nobody saw him again after that day. The last verifiable sighting was of him entering the icy waters of the Atlantic.

 

lion around 2

46 Comments

  1. I like the feel of the story, a blend of fantasy and science fiction. The story is crafted well and renders a superb reading. Anand Bose from Kerala

      1. I need to keep it in copy – paste format now! Your work is always amazing! Could learn so much from you…interested in taking classes? 😁😋

  2. Loved the opening description of the spectre. A wonderful weaving of words! I had in mind that the spectre is a manifestation of night-time, who steals the sun and plunges the world into darkness. Great work ☺

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