Everyone has seen them. I'm sure I'm not the first ?

Dark shapes that flitter in the periphery of your vision. Tantalizing shapes that disappear when you turn towards them. Figures that play with our minds. One minute they're there and the next they're gone.


2. A Fleeting Glimpse

I have to tell you, my friend. May I refer to you as that, even though we have never ever met. As I write this I feel the need to think of you as this. The journey that I am about to relate to you was not only arduous but distressing as well. It was enough to turn a young man into old age. If you were to look at me now, and I will try to get myself engraved in one of those new fangled photography booths, you would think I were past seventy. My long flowing locks of unkempt hair that I was so proud of are no more, replaced by thinning grey strands that cling like limpets to my scalp. 


Oh yes my friend, the story that you are about to hear may well turn you prematurely old just listening to it, but for me it really did age my body. My once lithe frame is now crooked and wizened. My youth cruelly robbed from me by my journeys to and from the land of the Dark Shapes. Yes that is what I will call them and they don’t seem to mind me referring to them as such. It was the first name I gave them when I first experienced the phenomenon whilst I was a mere child of six. 


I was on holiday with my aging grandparents at the seaside resort of Filey. We were staying in an old hotel; high up on the cliffs. I had been allocated a room all to myself, I felt a real grown up during this holiday. The room overlooked the broad vista of the bay. At night I would sit in the window looking out to sea. Occasionally I spied the lights of the little fishing boats, cobles the locals called them, plying their trade up and down the water. It was on the third night, I think, when I first noticed something cowering in one of the dark corners of the room. The candles flickered in the light breeze that came through the cracks in the window frame. I remember this as clearly as if it was yesterday. It was the first time I'd seen anything like it. I turned to face the apparition only to see nothing but the moving light from the candle.  


I can tell you that I was scared witless. I remember screaming and nothing coming out of my mouth, my lungs straining to produce a sound. I must have regained my voice as my grandma appeared at the door. Seeing me sitting there, she assumed I'd had a nightmare and comforted me. I remember being engulfed in her lavender perfumed clothing as she held me close, rocking from side to side to calm me. My eyes were still transfixed on the corner where I'd seen the shape as if daring it to reappear when she was there. 


The next morning it all seemed so petty. Had I really seen a person sitting in the shadows of my room or was it just a trick of light. I examined the corner whilst bright sunlight shone through the window, but there was nothing there. I put the matter to the back of my mind as I spent a wonderful day playing on the beach. At night as dark started to fall I sat looking, not at the view from the window but at the corner where I'd seen the creature. I felt braver, but as it got darker my bravado seemed to desert me. I found myself rushing for the door and the warming embrace of my grandmother. 


It was the last night I slept in that room so I never knew if the creature had returned. Back in the city I put the whole incident behind me. I was more or less convinced that I'd made the whole thing up, that it had all been a combination of the dark and the candle. Little did I know at the time that I would experience this phenomenon many times. Little realising that it would take over my life.  

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