Julian's Shadow
by P.S.Gifford
forum: Julian's Shadow
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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Julian's Shadow


           Julian Clarke stood there with his oversized copper watering can in his hand, precisely as he did every morning. He was exceptionally proud, you see, of his heirloom tomatoes and enjoyed his few moments each every morning tending to them. It was a typical September English morning, the evening rain had refreshed the air and a soft gentle breeze played with the tall branches of the numerous trees that surrounded his secret garden. High in the branches a variety of song birds gaily sung their joyful melodies. He smiled satisfied at the idyllic scene and took another gulp of his steaming black coffee. He then started cheerfully humming Beethoven to himself as he focused on the enjoyable duty at hand.

           He was just watering the famed Rollings yellow tomato plant when all of a sudden unexpected movement captured his attention from the very corner of his eye .He abruptly turned, uncertain as to quite what to expect and as he did so he dropped the watering can and a small quantity of his coffee spilled from his mug and sloshed onto his bare leg.

           “Bugger!” he exclaimed as he rubbed his scolded skin.

           “My own shadow! I am jumping at my own bloody shadow”

           He retrieved the watering can and placed the coffee mug securely onto the safety of the patio table and continued with his task his sore leg now a constant reminder of his jumpiness.

           “No more bleedin’ coffee today for me” he mused.

           Then he again noticed something from his peripheral vision and once more turned quickly determined to try and catch it. He realized that it was once again just his shadow, yet something seemed oddly amiss. He stood there in his usually tranquil garden and vigilantly examined the sight in front of him. It was at this curious moment that he became highly sentient of all the other shadows which he all over the garden, the eeriest of which were upon his garden wall. He had built that wall just recently to separate his vegetables form his beloved roses and he had lovingly and painstakingly spent three months constructing it by hand. Julian had been delighted to discover the ancient weather worn rocks being sold off at a very reasonable price at a local church auction. The rocks had apparently been recycled from the grounds from th e local centuries old churchyard to raise funds for a new roof.

           Julian diligently waved his watering can swiftly up and down and side to side in an attempt to trick his pesky shadow. Yet, it obligingly and somehow now annoyingly followed his precise movements and gestures. He stopped suddenly, and so did it. He started to develop the paranoid sensation that it was somehow mocking him.

           ‘I am going nuts’ he thought. ‘No more late night horror movies for me. They are having a definite affect on my sense of reality.’

           After several minutes of this, he concluded that it was indeed simply his overly active imagination and returned back to the pleasurable task at hand of watering in doing so turning his back once more on his shadow…It was then he felt it; a sudden tightness around the nape of his neck. He frantically endeavored to turn to see who or what was attacking him, yet he could not see anything. He feebly attempted to scream, but the air in his lungs became quickly exhausted. Moments later as he fell to the grassy ground in his very dying moment he watched in horror as a familiar dark blob scurried through his tomato plants and back onto the garden wall where the other shadows appeared to be dancing in celebration…


The end.



copyright 2005 P.S.Gifford.

I am a transplanted Englishman living a life unbefitting on the Southern Californian coast. I have had numerous of fiction published in ezines, most recently in http://quill-pen.net, http://darkervision.com, http://www.raggededgepublishing.com, http://www.cautionarytale.com and http://www.thewierdcrap.com