's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Shadow Dancing

Submitted by Dustin H

I returned to my cabin, after a long unfortunately fruitless hunt. Two days ago I had eaten my little remaining rations, but I had plenty of wood left to burn. I brushed the snow from my furs and hung them up next to the fire. I tried to ignore the hunger in my stomach by watching the shadows cast on the wall. Drained and staring at the walls, I started to feel sleepy. I snapped my eyes open, surprised by the sudden movement of one particular shadow.

It was my own shadow. It was dancing and frolicking on the walls surrounding me, almost as if mocking me. Jumping from wall to wall and even across the ceiling, until it landed in a darkened corner. I was slightly amused and I anticipated my shadows next act, waiting for it to reveal itself again. Only an arm emerged from the darkness and it cast itself stretched across the wall, reaching out to me. I managed to lift myself off of the floor and toward the wall. I touched my shadow's hand and found myself pulled into the walls with it.

My shadow came closer and grabbed both of my hands. It danced me around the room on all the walls. It tossed me up onto the ceiling and caught me on the opposite wall. In this form, as a shadow, I felt no hunger or pain. And with my shadow's company I wasn't lonely. The fire was starting to die and my body laid limp against the wall. I tried to speak, but could not. My shadow placed it's hand on my shoulder, and when I turned to look my shadow was gone.

I looked at my body slumped against the wall. My body lifted itself up and did a dance just like my shadow had done to entice me into the wall. My shadow had taken control of my body, and now I was its shadow. The fire was fading and my body started towards the wood pile. It picked up a dry log and gently placed it next to the fire. It raised a finger, as if telling me to wait a moment. The room was getting dark and I was feeling lost. I couldn't figure out where my body ended and the darkness began. My body went out the door and I felt myself fade away.

I was completely numb.

Everything was dark.


Then I felt my senses returning.
In the distance, the sound of crackling wood and then a roaring fire. I saw my body seated in front of the fire, eating a freshly cooked rabbit. I was a shadow cast on a tree. My body turned and grinned at me, and I felt satisfied. I had no need for food, but it felt good to see my body being fed. They came closer to the me and said,

"If ever you want to return to this body, dance for me and I will join you."