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Tales on Tuesday — Dark Shadows

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from the Gothic soap opera, “Dark Shadows” which was popular from 1966 to 1971.  If you wish to play along, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

Bobby stood at the back door with the garbage sack in his hands.  The porch light shone golden to the middle of the yard, then all was dark.  He didn’t want to take the garbage out.  There were too many shadows.  Anything could be hiding there.

“Hey, shut the door, Booby,” Eric, his older brother, called out.

Bobby simmered at the hated nickname but he knew better then to react.  The teasing would only get worse.

Eric barged into the kitchen.  “Is little baby Booby afraid of the dark?”  he sing-songed.  “Here, give me the garbage, coward.”

Eric grabbed the garbage sack, bounded through the door, off the porch, and into the darkness behind the garage.  Bobby waited tense and still.  He knew it was out there.  He wondered if it was afraid of Eric, too.

Bobby heard the garbage can lid rattle open and then rattle closed.  He saw movement in the darkness and Eric emerged from the gloom, but still the darkness swirled and roiled.  “Run!”  Bobby shouted.  Eric only laughed. Bobby held his breath. One more step and Eric would be safe. A dark, snake-like arm lashed out of the shadows and grasped Eric’s ankle.

Eric lurched to the ground clawing at the grass.  Bobby shot from the kitchen and grabbed his brother’s jacket as the dark arm contracted, pulling Eric toward the shadows.  “Hang on!”  Bobby yelled.  “It’s afraid of the light!”  Eric kicked his feet and clung to Bobby.  Both boys shrieked in fear and fury.

Light flared from the house next door and the shadows recoiled.  Old man Bannon stepped onto his back porch.  “You boys do enough caterwauling during the day.  Can’t you shut up at night and let an old man watch TV in peace?”

“Eric and Robert, get in here this minute!” Their mother called.  Both boys dove for the house.

Just before he shut the door Eric looked back and saw the garden hose tangled in the grass.  He reached out and smacked Bobby upside the head.  “Geeze, Booby, you scared me half to death and it was only the stupid hose.  I suppose I better pick it up before dad gets mad.”

Bobby grabbed his arm.  “You’re not going back out there?”

Eric snorted, brushed Bobby’s hand away, and jerked the back door open.  He looked into the yard and paused.  The darkness seethed just beyond the hose.

“You know,” Eric turned to Bobby, “I think I’ll leave the hose till morning.  What do you say we play a video game?”

“Together?”  Bobby asked in surprise.

Eric shrugged.  “Yeah, sure, Bobby.  Why not?”


  1. So Eric is a little worried that Bobby could be right hmmm. Maybe it’s too many video games. I love the interaction with the neighbor and the mother. Great job Q 🙂

  2. Good thing Eric learned Bobby was right. The monsters are really. You are such a good story teller. The change at the end is perfect.

  3. Wonderful story. Brought back memories of darkness and an older brother, only mine didn’t end that way. So much said in so few words.
    Thank you,

    1. Wray — I just thought back to my own fear of the dark. My big brother would have rescued me, but then he wouldn’t have called me any mean names in the first place.

  4. I can remember having a vivid imagination about things lurking in the dark as a child. Once when I woke up in the middle of the night, I was convinced the rounded shape at the edge of my top bunk was a head hunter waiting to see if I was awake. I tried not to move, fell back asleep after several tense moments, and woke up in the morning to see…my teddy bear lying beside me.

    1. Barbara — when you were a child? Not all that long ago I woke in the night and thought someone was looming over me. I let out a blood curdling scream. Turns out it was the hose to my CPAP. Amoeba grabbed me and rocked me.

      I clung to him. “Thank you,” I said. “That really scared me.”

      “Oh yeah?” He answered. “Well it didn’t do a lot for me, either.”

  5. shadows are a scary place. it’s a wonder there aren’t more casualties what with all the monsters lurking in the dark.

    delightful story!

  6. I remember being scared of the dark when I was a kid. Heck… I remember being scared of the dark last week! Getting out of the car at my house is SCARY at night… I like it when Jewl is out!

    1. Melli — yeah, I freaked myself out the other night, too. Some critter – -probably cat, the neighborhood is full of them, with glow-in-the-dark eyes, was in my backyard staring at me standing at my sink staring out and wondering if I’d locked the back door — because cats can turn door knobs, you know. Pft.

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