Writing Group: The Shadows are Watching

Hello everyone!

Continuing the theme of spooks, scares, and things we pretend to be brave about in the daylight, we put a whole list of horrific prompt ideas to a vote on patreon. This included things like “The Bugs are Growing Louder”, “The Veil Thins”, and “Crows Circling Overhead”. But, the patrons have decided, and…

This week’s prompt is:

 

The Shadows are Watching

 

Read the Rules and Guidelines below to participate!

There are, as always, millions of possibilities for this prompt. The clearest given route would be to write a story about sentient shadows (but who would ever do something like that?), but I challenge you to think openly about the terms “shadow” and “watching”, here. It doesn’t have to be a literal shadow, rather it could be the dark side of something, or the influence of it. It doesn’t have to be watching like a creepy stalker, but rather it could be “watching” like a shepherd over its flock.

Be creative, be wild, be spooky, but most of all, be open to angles you might not usually look from.

 

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

Rules and Guidelines

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or song lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 300 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
  • Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.
  • Comments on this post that aren’t submission will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing entries

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revisis
Guest

“Hunters and Stalkers” by Excelsius

A small group walked through the pitch black undergrowth.
The Sky above dark with what the humans called “The Shadow” as its massive shape blotted out the stars.
This darkness was only increased by the dense canopy overhead, if that was even possible.

But the group was not hindered by this. Their eyes glowed in a variety of colour, from yellow to red to even a dull green. What they possessed wasnt just night vision, as this would require residual light to work. They were in possession of vision so powerful, that even absolute darkness was only like a late dusk.

They were Amatus, the most supreme hunters of this world. No magic would pierce their skin, and normal weapons were fruitless efforts.
The gods had made them to slay monsters in the night to keep humanity and its allies safe. But once they had become the apex predator…all others were just prey.

The leader of this small hunting party was a especially big white-scaled specimen, it’s dark claws and yellow eyes stark contrasts to its bleak colour. He was one of their strongest hunters, slaying humans and monstrous beasts alike. But in this night, the longest and darkest night of the year, something was different.

His head flitted back and forth, and this near-invisible aura whipped out from his body to inspect the underbush left and right of the group.
He was sure he felt eyes on him as he lead the group through the night.
And no matter how often he changed course, the eyes did not vanish.

His group might only think him cautious…but he had seen them.
The shapes of darkness his superior vision could not pierce.
He did not know how many there were, but the shadows remained.
Kept watching.

David Wiseman
Guest
David Wiseman

The Stranger
by David Wiseman

Ambrose Blevins was a purveyor of antiquities. His small eccentrically decorated shop was quiet, when The Stranger walked in. To this day, Ambrose could not remember The Stranger’s face, but he could never forget his voice. For his voice rang with discordant resonance forever etching into his mind. In The Stranger’s arms was carried a small green velvet covered box, of which contained something of great importance and nothing, based on the perspective of the onlooker. Upon opening the box Mr. Blevins, at first saw nothing, then upon the first utterance of the strange man’s voice a shape began to appear. What he then saw was that of a dark mottled carved stone intricately detailed in the semblance of a leviathan shape with no perceivable tool marks, whatsoever. Ambrose took the figurine into his hands to examine the work and it felt impossibly cold, as though it would frostbite his skin. Though, as he turned it in his hand, an unnatural warmth began to emanate that he felt flow through him. So deep in his examination he did not see The Stranger leave, nor observe the passage of time. For when next he saw, it was dark outside the window and shadows crept all about his shop. It was then that he again heard The Stranger’s voice, but not as though he was there, but from the shadows and within his own mind and felt the weight of eternal ethereal sight upon him.

Samantha DeShong
Guest
Samantha DeShong

“Eyes on Me.”
by Samantha Realynn

The eyes were on me again.

I expected no less, and I felt a shiver run through me and my heart beat faster as my adrenaline spiked. I clutched the edge of the bed tighter to keep my hands from shaking. I kept myself still and silent, even as my heart seemed to echo. I could feel the eyes roam over me, and despite being fully clothed I felt vulnerable and naked.

The room was pitch black, keeping me blind. It was foolish. I was at the mercy of the shadows and what dwelt within them. The lamp was next to me. All I had to do was flick a switch and I would be as safe as I could be. Light created shadows after all, and though they could not reach me, they could still watch.

I stood and stepped away from the bed. I could feel the darkness pressing around me, enveloping me. I could feel the eyes coming closer, even if I couldn’t see them. I let out a small gasp, the sound almost deafening, as something cold pressed against the back of my neck. I felt a prick and the light slice into my skin.

Another scar added to so many others.

“We watch, and you offer.” I shivered again as the words forced their way into my skull and gasped as the claws ran up my arms. “So willingly…you let us taste. Feed. You spurn the light for us.”

I bit my lip as the claws dug in, but I never tried to fight. Instead, I felt myself sinking into it. I couldn’t help it. The darkness, and what it offered was addicting. I whimpered as I felt more scars being added to my ever-growing collection.

“We shall cherish you.”

ArkansanDragon
Guest
ArkansanDragon

“Who are the Shepherds? Who is the Flock?”, by Magan (300 words)

The small class of shepherd apprentices gathered around their campfire against the autumn chill, their herding bells tinkling softly. It was a rare night with Dracora’s two moons absent from the starry sky. The leaves in the firelight shone back their fire colors, with cooler blues, browns, and greys peeking through, having shed the purples and yellow-greens of summer.

It was the first of the month this class would spend alone in one of many massive herd craters. Journeyman rank required one month of survival skills in each habitat the crater-pens contained, along with knowledge of healing, herding techniques, and their various animal wards.

The dragon fledgling admired his flamework, feeding it more wood, as the other teenagers passed around food and hot chocolate. “Heard any good rumors?”

“All the animals are getting bigger,” said the centaur, “The horses are larger than my parents now! Smarter, too, they think.”

The elf added, “All the herds are restless; they steal crops, stalk hunters and shepherds. It’s creepy.”

“Ridiculous!” said the feathered serpent, “They’re cunning, sure, but still animals. And we’ve magic! Predator and prey alike fear it. Besides, they know our bells, that we shepherds care for them.”

Low growls surrounded the camp, and the apprentices startled, seeing eyes glow in the undergrowth. Sudden roars as three giant felines burst towards them! Tiger, lioness, and leopard, double their usual size and unafraid of fire. No time to react as the cats leaped–

–A great bellow and a fourth shape rushed forward, hooves and horns gleaming as it kicked and gored.

Yowls of pain, anger, frustration, and the big cats fled.

The elephant-sized aurochs bull, horns bloodied, bowed to the shepherds, calmly leaving. They stared after it, huddled together in fear and shock.

“What just happened?!” asked the kirin.

All sat dumbstruck.

Kestrel
Guest
Kestrel

Ever Watching
By K.S.D

Humans are strange in how they perceive us. They see their silhouettes cast onto the ground and think nothing of us, but an abstract form on a wall illuminated by light is enough to send most running. I wonder what they would do, knowing that our kind exists in even the most unassuming bit of dark. They fear the tiny arachnids that scurry about in their homes, how would they respond to the thousand invisible irises that watch their every step? We are not escapable, unable to be killed under a tissue like our many legged friends. Their sun, their lights provide us the habitat we need, ever observing. Sometimes they feel our gaze in the complete black. “True darkness”, as they call it. We run free in the black, swirling around them in a writhing mass of judgemental glares, their fear a decadent feast to us. They usually only last a few seconds in the cold, bony hands of the void of true black. Their lights send my brethren scrambling back to their shadows, hurrying before the stark light can touch them, but it’s enough to sustain us.
They scare their young with tales of our kind. To them we are what keeps their children from getting up at night, monsters under the bed who threaten to swallow them in one fell swoop. Such stories make our hunt much simpler. Settling in the deep, forgotten corners of a scared child’s room is a steady fold source, at least for a few years before they decide they’re ‘too old’ to be afraid of us. Little do they know we don’t disappear with age. Our gaze is inescapable. We are the ever relenting watchers, lurking in the shadows and waiting for our next meal.

Arun Rampersad
Guest

“Modern Wizardry”, by Arun Rampersad (@a _wandering _storyteller)

Little digits, they click and clack as are furtively danced across white scrawled glyphs. They aren’t remotely close but remain nearby to share your problems, your quarrels and respite. Not counselors, they comprehend your dilemmas, unravel secrets woven in the household as your life plays like a fiction in their eyes. And eyes are everywhere, quite plainly where they shouldn’t dwell.

Portals of the sight and sound lay agape at your fingertips during morning ablutions and reliefs. A cranny in the bedchamber accommodates the dark web along which the spider weaves its trap. That red dot shining on the widow’s abdomen is as clear a sign as any but you are pettily troubled and pass with an invisible cane.

You scrutinize an elegant figure with and without undergarments, before and after a painted face. Then to fuss over a looking glass in that pale and frilled corset. They think you are beautiful regardless, even with shot eyes painting ebony ribbons down your cheeks. Their playthings hum, enraptured in your grace.

Your sorrow grows and there is none to console you, hold you close and stroke your hair. But they would never hurt you my lady, not like the others. They are a gentle folk, dwelling in peace like hermits. You seek comfort in solace, warmth in visions of a portal, images of pleasure you wish you had but cannot provide yourself. Only you can simply try with your given devices.

The yellow werelight flickers its response then, a reminder of the wizard’s intimacy. He heals naught, but all ordeals and pleasures remain in his glass sphere to be reviewed afterwards, high in black towers, a downtown apartment with a brisker than wind connection.

Connor/Dragoneye
Guest
Connor/Dragoneye

“The Abyss Is There” by Connor/Dragoneye
Paris sluggishly paced around the smooth jet black monolith, his eyes consuming the readable contents, regardless of the blindfold and mask obscuring them. He thumbed through the scrawlings that were his notes to review what he witnessed: the ashes, the vessel of water, the heating time, the gestation period within the Mouth. But something was missing. The rest of the components. The runic inscriptions. It would take Paris and the rest of the Watchers ages to crack the rest of the formula.

“Materials required is what’s left. But, what else could be required?”

A Watching Maiden, Rhea, took up her own paper and quill as she circled the monolith herself, scribbling away. The feather’s tip resembled a thin claw scrapping against wood, with the stain of ink seeping into the paper’s very fibers.

“Perhaps myrewood dust?” she piped in.

Paris shook his head. “Old Threllish alchemists didn’t have access to refined myrewood, and they were able to create batches of Embers over the course of a couple of days.” Paris rested his head against the monolith in defeat, whispering “Abyss, help me.”

Suddently, a familiar gentle voice rung within the back of his mind, as faint as a breeze of wind.

“Rose.”

Of course! “Rose thorns, Rhea. Get the thralls to fetch some rose thorns.” The sting of beauty was surely what the Abyss needed to create Embers. “I thank you, Mother of Night. You will not be disappointed.”

Zendrelax
Guest
Zendrelax

A Candle in the Wind, by Zendrelax

There is terror in the night, it is said. Who knows what lurks beyond the edge of sight? So tremble and they quake for fear of what might be looking back, what might be able to see you. ‘Tis only proper.

Fools. More wise to fear the day. Life is to toil in the light, trudging through sweat and grime and muck and mire. To kneel and sing and hail and pray, that the sun might grace them. And if you are struck blind by the light of day, you have only yourself to blame, to have presumed to look on the sun’s celestial splendor.

Doubly foolish, for all fires die. So too shall the luminous tyrant. Thus shall be the last of all days, and when it comes all shall be free. It shall be preceded by slowness; one by one the little lights shall fade and vanish, as the yawning shadow, and in time there shall be only the sun, and its gibbous mirror. Then all will be in readiness; shadows are made stronger for the death of light.

And then the night shall come out of the abyss and swallow the sun.

But until then, here we remain, in the restful arms of the shade. For you see, we are those things beyond the edge of sight, but you need not be afraid, for we have learned from our aegis and patron. The shadows are watching, waiting, lurking with patience unyielding. The spine of time is long, and it stretches far beyond mortal sight.

All you know is a candle in the wind.

Pedro Hernandez
Guest
Pedro Hernandez

“Tunnel Vision” By Devourer

It was strangely comforting, this forgotten corner of the world with moss and vines taking up every dusty surface where warm light spilled through the cracked window panes above. The train tunnel had been abandoned a long time ago, sealed up and left to rot. I loved to paint here, amongst the ruin and decay of yesterday, slowly being consumed by time and nature.

After a while though, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, goosebumps crawling all across my skin. I looked at the tunnel mouth on my right.

Two red eyes peered back from above in the dark.

Then the shadows moved.

It was as if the shadow of the tunnel had come alive, dragging itself into the light with monstrous arms of black bone. Wicked horns curved down from its head, and a dense black fog clung to its fleshless body. Dark mist spilled from its gaping jaws, red glowing eyes fixed on me.

I turned and ran.

The tunnel shook and groaned, dust falling from the ceiling as something massive dragged itself through the tunnel, with the rusted rails screeching in agony.
It’s hellish scream echoed off the stained walls, magnified a thousand times by the narrow tunnel and all around me. My heart was in my throat, feet crunching on the gravel below. I could feel each time it’s monstrous hands slammed down, dragging its putrid body forward.

The outside world shone into the tunnel, just a few more metres away. Something barely scraped my back, whizzing past. Then I was out, stumbling into broad daylight. I snapped my neck back to see if it was following. It remained just inside the yawning mouth of the tunnel, almost invisible in the pitch black shadows, eyes ablaze with hunger.

puzzleddev
Guest
puzzleddev

“Green Shadows”, Tim Zygor |

Sheep and lambs lay or stood in the fields. Most slept through the cold, only the dogs stayed vigilant in this night. One of them raised its head slightly, turning towards a shadow, only distinguishable because it was darker than the new-moon night. The shadow froze in place: Had he made a noise? Had a glint of metal caught the dog’s eye? Was his camouflage slipping? For thirty glacial seconds, the dog peered into the dark, then it slowly lowered its head onto its paws again and the shadow relaxed visibly. Sliding through the grass he continued until a window came into view. He checked his webbing and lowered himself onto the damp earth, the massive rifle now comfortably rested on the ground. Once more the green shadow peered through his scope, through the window, onto the tiny bed, where a tiny figure slept quietly. Too close to speak now, the shadow just depressed a button twice.

Not a kilometer away another shadow in green heard two clicks and noted: “0300: Sound asleep.”.

Darragh Counihan
Guest
Darragh Counihan

“Lux Tenebris”
By Darragh Counihan

Order Only Through Domination
Purity Only Through Eradication
Life Only Through Consumption
All Hail The Light

This is the Dogma of the Queen-Mother, to whom I have dedicated my life. It is the shield of my soul, the blade of my will, and that which protects me from the lies and trickery of the Shades.
Since the Ascension, it has been the duty of the Inquisitors to protect our kin, to eradicate the filthy vermin which mire our blessed heartland. Today, another infestation has been destroyed, but I fear I have been afflicted with their impurity.

The slaughter was magnificent, and as I turned to cut down one of the Shade hatchlings, another threw itself into the path of the blow. They are hideous creatures; a pink membrane surrounds their endoskeleton and soft innards, covered in patches of keratin strands, with short tentacle-like appendages. This one was no different, squealing, roaring and crying as an animal fearing for its life will do. But something in it’s eyes stayed me for a moment. As it cradled its hatchling in the face of death, it almost made me believe for a moment that these creatures could have a soul. But only for a moment.

I cut them down, their weak forms ripped apart by my claws. Once they were dead, my mandibles and proboscis picked the remains clean, blood spattering my white armoured carapace, as my brothers watched. Wasting even the corpses of our enemies is unacceptable.
My mind returns to them often, but I will not falter in my duties. Be they more than animal, it does not matter.
They Shades will watch from the dark as they are exterminated, one by one.
The Age of Shaodw is over.
The Age of Light is now.

Gilfredy Acevedo
Guest
Gilfredy Acevedo

The Ramblings of a Domesticated Animal

By: Gilfredy Acevedo

It’s over. The only thought I could muster as I ran for what seemed to be a never ending passage through the forest. If I miss a step, take a wrong path, give the slightest hint of my whereabouts, and I will be forced to suffer an unimaginable death that no living being should ever bear witness to, let alone experience it. The dread of knowing all the different forms of mutilation and slaughter that I could possibly experience firsthand is slowly peeling at the few layers of sanity I have left. Tell me what you would do, because I am at a standstill. I don’t know what to do, could you please tell me? I’m begging you, please show me a bit of humanity for God’s sake and end my life. I’m asking you, why are you just listening to my ramblings, as if I am solely speaking for your entertainment? Wait, do you hear that? They’re here. All I asked from you was to spare me from the monstrosities that I will have to experience do to your incompetence. Look at them, the satisfaction on their faces. The grotesque black and white patterns, freakishly large ears, and the hanging gut that lies below their oversized body makes me convulse in fear. Their dark, empty eyes all glaring towards me at once, as they imagine the different ways they will prepare me to enjoy the highest degree of cuisine available in the market. They tell me it won’t hurt, and that it is for the greater good. Should I have to suffer because I am not their equal? Regardless, all I can do now is pray that I will cause them a lethal infection as they gnaw and chew through the meat in my bones, so they can suffer at least a fraction of what I am going to feel. Even though the human harvest is an inevitable part of life, I wish for once they could feel what we feel. And yet, the only word they can seem to ever say, is moo.