This is actually a group assignment for school but I ended up writing the entire thing so I’ll just put it here.
The crescent moon shone softly in the night, slowly darkening as a cloud moved in front, leaving only the stars to show the path through the night. It was dark, but the woods in the surrounding area were even darker, despite the bare, gnarled trees that allowed light to illuminate the soft dirt, devoid of any life, the trees seemed create a darkness of their own. In the gloom, a weakening light could be seen, leading to an old church, sitting in the middle of nowhere.
The structure dated back to ancient Roman times, chiseled stone pillars held up the rotting wood, moss staining most of the outer walls green. The crumbling remains of a garden wall surrounded the church, its rusty gates still somehow upright, though they could no longer close themselves to keep out unwanted intruders. The wooden cross above the front door creaked dangerously on its deteriorating base whenever the cold wind pushed against it, threatening to give way at anytime, crushing whoever was unlucky enough to be standing underneath it. Despite the church’s appearance, light came from the grimy, stained glass windows. Someone was still inside.
Soft church music resounded through the sacred building, the rows of pews empty except for a single, lonely boy. He couldn’t have been more than twenty years of age, yet his face was like that of a war veteran, tired and hopeless. The boy was deep in prayer, hands clasped together as his lips moved to recite the holy word. The guilt weighted heavily on his chest, for what he had done was despicable.
The clock struck three, the church bells ringing in his ears. Once...twice...thrice…
It was late, time to go home, he thought, and stood back up. Brushing off his trousers, he bowed one last time before he turned to leave, the lights casting a shadow before him. For no reason at all, he started to feel uneasy, a sinking feeling formed in his stomach.
Then his shadow started to move. And it wasn’t the only one that was moving. The shadows of the arches were growing, reaching out with mangled hands to grab him by the feet, he couldn’t escape now. A high rasping sound came from his feet, piercing his eardrums until it started to hurt. Only then did he realise it was his shadow, laughing at him, and it only grew louder and louder as the shadow rose from the floor, a dark silhouette of himself standing before him, mocking him in laughter.
The hands that held him loosened for a split second, and he pulled himself free, running for his life towards the church doors, towards safety. He was so close, just a few more steps till he reached the doors…
Then time slowed down, as his foot was caught in a fold in the carpet. Then he fell. But he didn’t feel the impact of hitting the ground, instead, he fell into a dark world. He stood up, looking around to observe his surroundings, but there was only an endless dark void in sight, the only sound being the whispering of unknown voices, plotting their . He looked up, through what seemed to be the rippling undersurface of the ocean, and saw his shadow, still standing in the church as colours started to stain on its inky surface, bringing colour to its hair, its cheeks, its body, until it looked exactly like him, save its eyes, those terrible, terrible eyes.
It looked back at him, a crooked smile spreading across its face, its sadistic eyes filled with malice. His blood ran cold, then, from the corner of his eye, he noticed the darkness that was spreading up his body like a parasite, raising his hands to have a better look, he noticed they were pure black, just like shadows. His head snapped back up to look at his doppelgänger, who started to giggle childishly, then it broke into a laughing fit, wracking its body until the limbs bent at unnatural angles. It didn’t seem to feel any pain, and couldn’t stop laughing as it walked out the church into the dark, dark night. It would take his place from then on.
Perhaps he had deserved to be there, for he had been nothing but a manipulative killer, his crimes covered up by one lie after the other. Perhaps this was God’s punishment for the sins that weighted him down. So the boy, trapped in a never ending nightmare, was consumed by the shadows, never to return.
The clock struck four, and the church bell rang once...twice...thrice…
There was no fourth chime, for the sound was swallowed by the sound of the organ that began to play without a player, louder and louder, shaking the entire building. The stained glass,depicting Biblical images, cracked and shattered, a multicoloured shower of sharp glass shards rained down on the rows of pews that were now empty, scattering across the tile floor. But the crash of the organ didn’t die down, still as deafening as ever. Something else had to give way.
The wooden cross seemed to sway to the sound of the music, until the rotting base that held it up, gave in to the cries of the organ, and burst into a ball of splinters. With nothing to hold the cross up, it began its descent, plummeting towards the ground from high up.
A lonely boy stood at the front of the church, his eyes glazed over as if he was in a trance. He blinked, sending him back to reality. When did he go outside the church? Wasn’t he trapped in that dark world just a few moments ago? He swore his shadow had risen from the floor just a moment ago. He scoffed. Maybe he was just daydreaming, how silly of him to think that anyone would find out, that his shadow would take a mind of its own.
He didn’t notice the shadow that loomed above him, growing bigger and bigger with every passing second. He caught a glimpse of the shattered window from inside the church, glinting in the moonlight. Strange, that wasn’t there before...had he imagined going into the church as well?
He never got to find the answer to his question, for his train of thought was interrupted by a gift from the heavens.
The wooden cross landed square on his back, crushing his spine almost instantly, he screamed in pain, his body pinned to the ground by the heavy cross. The pain was unbearable, he was screaming at the top of his punctured lungs for help, but in the middle of nowhere, who would even be there to save him? He felt the guilt piling in his heart. Was he really going to die here?
It didn’t take long for his organs to cease functioning, a blessing that he took for granted.