He creeps down the hallway late at night.
Tammy is my next door neighbor.
Tammy is my best friend.
We are sent to bed way past our normal bedtime.
We whisper and giggle.
Suddenly Tammy pulls me close and says, “Here he comes.”
I swiftly move the covers over our heads.
I grab Tammy’s arm.
We wait. We peek out to see if it is all clear.
I do not trust it yet. For good reason.
There he is…the shadow man. He is tall and lean. He walks slow and deliberate.
I about pee my pants.
I whisper to Tammy as I crawl back into the sheet…”I saw him, I saw the shadow man. Is he gone yet?”
“Hide”, Tammy squeals, “he’s coming”.
We hid for so long that our breathing slows down along with our brain activity.
Sleep finds its way somewhere along the fear and the friendship.
This is repeated many more nights over the years.
Tammy relays to me, when we are almost grown, that the shadow man was her father and she knew all along.
I think she thought I was playing along. I wasn’t.
To me, the Shadow Man was very real.The innocence of a child is deeper than we sometimes realize.