The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Shadowy Darkness
by Linda Lee Rice
It started when I threw the old man out of my tenement building. He hadn’t paid his rent in months because he was gravely ill. I didn’t care. I wanted the rent. After all, I had a particular lifestyle I was used to, and the old beggar was cramping it.
Yeah, I know, it was heartless that I tossed him out in the street with his crappy belongings, but he OWED me. I was questioned by the cops, but I knew I was legal and had my rights. I didn’t think he would die in the back alley covered by a ratty blanket. Maybe freezing to death was quicker for him anyways.
I shook my head at the thought of the inconsideration that the old man had died in the alley instead of in a nice warm homeless shelter. He only had to walk about eight blocks but chose to die in this alley instead.
But a few weeks later, I started noticing something out of the corner of my eye. At first, it was just a glimpse of something not quite there when I turned. Then at night, when I turned out the light, there was a shadow darker than the rest. But it disappeared when I turned the light out. I figured it was just my imagination because of being exhausted after cleaning the old man’s rat’s nest of an apartment out.
But today was different as I was strolling down the sidewalk enjoying the break in the weather. I felt I was being followed, and the hair rose on the back of my neck. I mean, I’m not afraid of anything. I always have some protection with me, if you know what I mean.
But it was problematic, strange. No footsteps, no sounds, just this feeling. So, I took a shortcut through the alley. The alley was dark except for the dappled sunlight through a few trees. But the alley looked familiar, and I remembered the old man had frozen to death there.
I saw the old ratty blanket was still there and was lying in a filthy heap. All the old man had to do was pay his rent, and his blanket wouldn’t lie there for the vermin to make a nest. Tenants! They never want to take the blame.
As the dappled sunlight faded, I shivered. When I glanced behind me, I saw a shadow and felt an icy hand around my throat. As I looked into the fiery red eyes of the shadow figure while gasping for breath, I knew the old man had decided to collect his debt.
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice
Image courtesy of Rie Sheridan Rose.
More about Linda Lee Rice:
Linda Lee Rice aka Ruzicka has poetry published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Descending Darkness, Writing Village, Spine, and Page, Muses Gallery, Bloodbond, Lycan Valley Press Publishers, Alban Lake, Highland Park Poetry, Rosette Maleficarum, The Siren’s Call, Edify Fiction and the June Cotner anthology, “House Blessings” and “Garden Blessings
She has short stories published in The Grit, and Reminisce, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family, FrostFire Worlds. Plus, a personal essay at Mamalode. She also has various articles and blogs published online as a freelance writer.
I really enjoyed this one! Good for him getting his own back, I hope the landlord suffered as much as he did!
An excellent cautionary tale in favor of kindness. Nice job!
An excellent revenge tale.
Your narrator has such a great voice – builds the character so well (sadly I suspect their behaviour is only too plausible) – the retribution is then all the sweeter when it comes.