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Shadow Hands

by AyumiGosu17


It was quiet. Amanda and I were home alone. We had been working on her room for several hours, throwing out piles of worn out shoes, old clothes, and useless handbags. Her bedroom was hidden beneath three massive piles – one of books and movies, one of clothes and shoes she liked, and the one that was trash. She sat down on the edge of the bed to take a break, and I volunteered to go into the kitchen to get us glasses of water.

I turned down the little hall at the entry of her room, and made it to the door. It was a good door, well-oiled and balanced on its hinges. We had been passing in and out of it with no problem throughout the day. It opened and closed effortlessly and soundlessly. This time was different. I grabbed the doorknob and gave it a pull, but the door froze. I felt it pull against me, as if someone was on the other side, holding it. I planted my foot against the wall and pulled with all of my might but to no avail. After a second, the doorknob was ripped out of my grasp and the door slammed shut. I stumbled back.

Amanda came running, thinking that I had tripped on something and fallen. When I told her what had happened, she just stared at me in shock. “Someone…wouldn’t let you out?” she had to ask. I nodded, and showed her what I had done to try and force it open. When Amanda tried to open the door, it opened as it was supposed to, without any trouble.

Half an hour later, we resumed our work. “Audra, will you go with me upstairs? I don’t like it up there… It gives me the creeps, and I always feel like something is watching me…” she pleaded with me. I gave in, although not exactly sure I understood what she meant. It ended up that I led the way up the stairs, and she directed me into the storage room. The windows were shut, the blinds pulled, and the window units were turned off. The closet door was shut, and the overhead lights were off. The only light was a glow coming through the window blinds, turning the room orange like the sunset outside. It felt dark, heavy, and hot. It wasn’t the lack of cold air kind of hot, either; it was a make your skin crawl kind of hot.

In the back corner of the room stood four dusty Christmas trees, a stack of clear storage boxes, and a couple of rolled up rugs. Against the side wall was a mound of assorted cardboard boxes and a container of black garbage bags. “You need these?” I asked her, gesturing to the cardboard. She nodded, already hastily picking up a couple of boxes in her hands and tossing them down the stairs, coming back for more. I stooped to get a couple, but a sound made me pause. It was a peculiar sound, just barely audible and it made the hair on my arms and neck stand straight up. It was a deep, hollow, breathy hiss.

It disturbed me. I glanced at Amanda, and she was still going. She had not heard it. My eyes kept wandering over to the closet door, but I didn’t know why. After a moment, my heart settled and I reasoned with myself, It’s just a rodent. I hissed back at the unidentified creature, hoping to scare it off. I went back to work.

Amanda and I kept transferring boxes down the stairs. On our third trip, there was a loud knock in the bedroom, on the other side of the floor. She went running into the room when a piece of metal rang and echoed, and a curtain fluttered against an unexpected breeze. There was a metal cup on the floor, and a pencil had landed beside it. We searched the windows and the walls. There were no cracks, no openings, and still no power. Everything was off. Everything was stuffy, stagnant, and still. I was standing near the wall, next to the door, and then it happened.

There was a rush of wind behind me, a hot wave that sent a shock of electricity up my spine. I felt some of my hair get pulled along, like fingers brushing through it; everything led back into the storage room on the other side of the stairs. I swore, and followed it, freezing in the doorway when I saw that the closet door was open. “Amanda, did you open this door?!” I called, heart pounding in my chest.

“Which door?” she answered back, peeking over my shoulder.

“The closet door!”

“What? It’s open?!”

Obviously, her answer was a ‘no’. I swallowed. Something felt wrong. The back of my neck began to itch. It spread down onto the back of my left shoulder, and it began to sting. A tingling sensation spread across my entire upper back, down the back of my left arm, all the way to my elbow, and around. I shivered, trying to shake the feeling. Amanda watched me, nervous. “You okay? What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. I feel weird…”

I went to the closet, slammed the door shut, and we rushed back to the staircase, closing the storage room door behind us. I ran down the stairs as my back and arm began to burn and itch intensely, but I didn’t dare reach back and soothe it. Amanda closed the door to the stairway and we vanished back into her bedroom.

“Look at my back,” I commanded. “What do you see?”

“Nothing. What is it? You’re really pale. What happened?”

“It’s my back! Are you sure there isn’t anything there?”

“I’m sure! You look fine!”

It didn’t make sense. I went to my purse, fumbling around for my digital camera. “Don’t touch me. Just take a picture!”

I handed her the camera and pulled my hair up out of the way. She snapped two pictures, one with flash, and one without. I waited for her to do something else, anything else, just to break the silence. After a long moment, I turned to face her. She was staring at the little screen on the camera. “I don’t know what that is…” she whispered.

“Give it to me,” I told her, offering my hand. I took the memory card out of the machine and went to her computer, sitting on her dresser. I turned off the music that was playing softly in the background and inserted the card. When the device registered, I opened the file and studied the picture.

I muttered a little prayer, terrified by what I saw. They were invisible to the naked eye, but there were claw marks all over my neck and shoulder, some of them stretching down below the fabric of my shirt. “Amanda, did you ever touch me?” I asked her, voice soft.

“No. I never got close enough. What is it?”

I swallowed hard. “Claw marks… Someone…something scratched me…!”

Two minutes later, Amanda put her own little night light in the power socket at the bottom of the stairs.


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Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:09 pm
ArcticMonkey wrote a review...



Hey Ayumi, here to review your story!

Well this was certainly exciting. I like the was that the suspense was built up and every bit was sort of a clue as to what would happen next. I thought that your characters were pretty well thought out and they worked well with the story. I liked the computer thing and how she had to connect it to reveal the horrifying truth. This was a good length for a piece of this genre- with suspenseful things you need something short and snappy so this worked very well. I especially loved this line:

Everything was off. Everything was stuffy, stagnant, and still.


Now I'll talk about improvements. Firstly, I found a bit of the time that the pacing slowed down a bit. Although this was short, it seemed longer, mainly to do with the lengths of your sentences. It's important that with action bits, or rather sentences where you want to be suspenseful, try and use shorter sentences. Forget about describing exactly what happens, you can describe that later. Try and be as quick as possible, it really helps build tension.

Secondly, sometimes I felt the dialogue was a bit flat and didn't really suit the characters. It sometimes felt that it was in there just so the story could be told in a different way rather than just explaining. Now, this is a perfectly fine thing to do, however, I think you need to make it more like it sounds the characters are actually saying those things. For example:
“Audra, will you go with me upstairs? I don’t like it up there… It gives me the creeps, and I always feel like something is watching me…” she pleaded with me. I gave in, although not exactly sure I understood what she meant.

To me, this didn't seem very naturally said. Something you could do, which might sound a bit creepy but does work, is it listen to people around you speak and pick up on that the next time you write.

Also, I didn't really feel the urgency through the MC. I mean, a lot of weird things are happening to her, and she just seems to take it like it's normal. I mean, she acknowledges that it's out of the ordinary, but she doesn't seem to be that scared.
I felt it pull against me, as if someone was on the other side, holding it. I planted my foot against the wall and pulled with all of my might but to no avail. After a second, the doorknob was ripped out of my grasp and the door slammed shut. I stumbled back.

This really doesn't seem urgent enough. And as it's the first bit in the story where the scary stuff starts to happen I think it needs to me. So to repeat what I said earlier, shorter sentences would really help with this, and maybe show the MC as being a bit more scared. Or, if she doesn't get scared that easily, then explain that!

I agree with the others in saying that the ending was left a bit flat and unfinished.
I swallowed hard. “Claw marks… Someone…something scratched me…!”

Two minutes later, Amanda put her own little night light in the power socket at the bottom of the stairs.

The second to last sentence (the one underlined) seems like a better sentence to use to end it. The other one is a tad boring. I don't know if you plan on continuing this, but either way, the underlined sentence gives it a good cliff-hanger and leaves the reader thinking.

Lastly, a couple of nitpicks:
it was a make your skin crawl kind of hot.

This doesn't make sense, should it be : it made your skin crawl kind of hot? Or something like that...

My eyes kept wandering over to the closet door, but I didn’t know why.

But she does know why, because earlier on the door did that weird thing, right?

Overall, this was a really cool story. Suspense was built really well and there was an intriguing idea behind it. Next steps would be to try and vary your sentence lengths, and try and make the dialogue a bit more natural. I hope this review helped! PM me with questions or if you'd like another review. Also please let me know if you continue this.

Keep writing!
-Arc x




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Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:11 pm
tacimaci says...



I loved this story! As Questio said, it was chilling enough to be interesting, but not so much as to be dismissed as impossible. The ending, however, was a bit anticlimactic. I'm not sure what I expected, but it ended so mundanely. Also, the fact that Amanda had sensed something, then ignored all the signs later was somewhat confusing. However, it is still a wonderful story. Keep writing!




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Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:29 pm
Questio wrote a review...



I really liked this one! It was chilling enough to keep my attention, but not so crazy scary that it was dumb. It was well written, and the story is great. Just enough supernatural, ghostly activity to put into a story, but not really a horrible spirit story. It seems almost realistic, the things that happen and the character's reactions. The best part was the way they had to go to the computer to see the scratches.
Once again, really liked it! Hope to see more like it!
~Questio~




AyumiGosu17 says...


Thank you, Questio! I'm trying to update my portfolio a little bit, so hopefully I can get some more online soon.




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