The Shadows of Our Past

by Liam McNeal

Marcus McCray lived alone.

The old man's wife, Elaine McCray, had died three years prior, and Marcus missed her dearly. After she had passed, he became quick-tempered. He had a regular schedule, and if it was not kept, you would not want to be around the senior citizen, Marcus McCray.

Every day, around evening, Marcus would sit in a stiff wooden chair by a lamp, and read. It was part of his strict mental schedule. He usually wore dress clothes; a nice button-up shirt and a bow-tie, dress pants, and a thin coat.

On this particular day, everything had been going perfectly. The simple fact that his outdated television set was not operating correctly bothered him not at all. Marcus had also recently bought an "AirWick" product, and it added a perfect, pumpkin pie smell to the house.

He had chosen his book for the evening. It was a book he had read no less than twenty-three times. Moby Dick. It was an incredible book, every word fit perfectly into it's place.

As Marcus walked to his wooden chair, he felt a slight breeze on his face. Good. He loved cold air.

So he left the window open.

He sat down in the chair, attempted to sit back, but was stopped by the stiff back, opened the book, and began to read.

Several chapters later, Marcus felt a bump.

His chair lifted off the ground, and then fell back. He stood up, stunned, sending his book to the floor. What had just happened? He stared at the place where he had been sitting, and noticed a big lump under the carpet. was moving. But the carpet in the corners of the room hadn't moved at all. It was as if the carpet had elongated in that particular spot.

The lump moved across the room, and slid under the table that held the lamp, nearly causing the lamp to fall off. Marcus grabbed the chair and hefted it over his head.

His eyes followed the lump as it moved directly in front of him. Marcus swung the chair down with all his might. WHAM! The floor broke and the old man fell right through it. He landed on a thick carpet, softening his fall.

He looked to the right, where the chair, broken into dozens of pieces lay.

Marcus' bones ached from the fall. He would get at least a dozen bruises...

Upon standing and moving his arms in circles, he winced in pain and glanced up at the hole he had fallen through. He had had no idea that there was a basement to this house.

He looked around. It was very dark down here, the only light shining from above, from the lamp. He could barely see anything, only things close to the light.

Well, Marcus thought. This is most definitely off schedule.

But, he had time. He still had...he looked at his watch. Two hours of reading left. He would have to spend that time exploring, and attempting to find a way out.

This is unavoidable he thought. No need to get frustrated...

He barely held back the anger at his misfortune.

Marcus began to walk around in the newly discovered basement. He turned left, and walked right into...a goblin.

It was green, and stood about six feet tall. Slime covered it's entire body. It's head was a horizontal oval shape. Proxy-Connection: keep-alive

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The creature's image was blurry, as a bit of the light shone on him. It hissed and stepped towards Marcus. It's teeth were razor sharp, and glinted in the light. It's eyes were glowing red, and it's pointed ears pinned back.

It smiled sinisterly

Marcus stepped back and screamed. There's got to be a way out of here! his mind screeched.

And there was. Just behind him was a staircase leading up and out of the house. The senior turned and hurried up the stairs, the goblin close behind.

This man, usually a cranky old man, was now reduced to what the kids outside innocently riding trikes saw as a screaming lunatic. He came out of the house, and shut the recently discovered trapdoor behind him. He then ran and hid behind some bushes, staring at the door.

The door slowly opened...but there was nothing opening it. It stayed open for a while, then slammed shut.

That was when Marcus noticed the shadow.

A shadow shaped like the goblin moved across the yard. The shadow's head moved back and forth, searching.

"I will find you, Marcus," a voice hissed. This voice wasn't like one any person would hear. It was inside Marcus' head. "I know you. You left me long ago, and you thought that I had forgotten. But, a goblin never forgets it's master."

Marcus' eyes widened. Thirty-nine years ago, he had participated in a sort of witchcraft. Most people did not believe in the evil practice, but Marcus knew it was real, very real. He had been young, and stupid. Stupider than most. It had only been for a short time, but he had created his own goblin. When Marcus had realized his mistake he had turned away...but, he had completely forgotten about the goblin.

No one in the neighborhood knew of Marcus' dark past. Or so he thought. He hadn't thought of it for years. But why had the goblin come now? Why not thirty-eight years ago? Or even the day he had left?

Marcus stood.

He saw the goblin's head turn his way. "Ah, there you are. Long time no see. I'm here to take you back"

Jack saw Marcus cowering behind the bush. He also saw the shadow of the oddly shaped, hideous creature. He knew he had to help.

Jack lived across the street from Marcus, the old grump. Marcus was an atheist.

Marcus ran down the street, screaming in terror, the monster, or more correctly the monster's shadow, following close behind.

Marcus thought this was so sudden, and unusual. He didn't know that what he was doing now, was what millions had been doing for years.

Marcus McCray was running from his past.

Marcus ran, and leapt into an alley, stretching out his arm to brace his body, his mind clearly not thinking this action through well enough. He heard a crack as his arm hit the concrete. Searing pain flashed up his arm and through his body. He let out a scream, barely noticing that as the shadow entered into the dark of the alley, it quickly formed back into the clearly visible green monster it truly was.

"Scared, Marcus? I expected as much. What happened to the strong warlock that created me? Huh?" The monster lunged forward and grabbed the man by his neck. Where did that man go? What happened to him? Huh?"

The monster was strangling him.

Jack followed down through the alley and saw the monster strangling Marcus. He remembered his hunting knife from the trip he had just gotten back from with his dad.

It might hold him off for a while...

Marcus couldn't breathe. He felt he was about to die. He needed to be saved. Someone....

As his vision began to blur, he saw the metal edge of a knife appear through the goblin's chest. Black blood slowly dripped from the tip. The goblin screeched, lifting it's arms from Marcus' neck. Marcus could breathe again, but didn't have the energy to lift himself off the ground.

One of the neighborhood boys, Jack, appeared from behind the goblin. "Marcus! I can't save you from that. You need someone bigger."


"No, not bigger physically. Spiritually. I know, it only works in stories need to call on God."

"No! That fictitious "God' is not going to save me!" the old man said, quivering, angry. But Jack could hear the fear in his voice.

"MARCUS!" Jack pulled the old man up to his own face. The man's eyes were like plates, staring at the boy, now fully focused on Jack. "You're in a life or death situation here! Take a chance! You've got nothing to lose! Step out on faith."

Marcus glanced back and forth.

"God can help us fight both our spiritual demons..," he slammed a finger into Marcus' chest. "...and our physical demons!" He pointed behind him, at the goblin who was starting to gain his strength back.

Marcus hesitated.

" I do?"

The goblin reached behind him, yanked the knife out of his back, and tossed it over his shoulder. He glared down at Marcus, who was now talking with his eyes closed. Why? The boy was beside the old man. The boy spoke...and then the man spoke. This repeated a few times.

The goblin stood. "If you won't join me, then you will die," he muttered under his breath. He reached his arm up, long talons emerging out of his fingers and then...

Pain suddenly filled every miniscule part of his body. What was happening? He looked at his arm, which was, for some odd reason, fading away. It was turning to sand, falling to the concrete below. He screeched! Slowly, all of his body was deteriorating. He screeched again! "NO! I shall have you, Marcus McCraaaaaaaa..."

Marcus breathed slowly in and out. He stared at the pile of sand at his feet. The man sighed, and stood. He looked at Jack, who stood beside him.

Marcus held it in only a few seconds.

He began to sob. For what? The recent events? The guilt of his past?

Jack put his arm around Marcus' shoulder, and began leading him back to his house.

Did this mean that God did exist? The moment he had finished saying what Jack had called "The Sinner's Prayer, the creature from his past had begun to deteriorate. According to Jack, Marcus was now a Christian. The boy had told him that part of being a Christian was loving God.

Did Marcus love God? Or God's son, without whom Marcus would be dead?

Did he love the one who had saved his life?

Did Marcus really need to think about this? Yes, Marcus loved God.

And God loved him. Passionately. God loved him more than anyone on earth could possibly imagine.

He cried more, and now he knew why he was crying.

But, what was this? His view was fading! It was changing into...


The clock read 5:57 AM.

Marcus McCray sat up shaking his head. Where was the sand? Where was Jack? He looked to his left.

There was his bookshelf, Moby Dick, right in it's place. As if he had never taken it off the shelf. Had he?

It had all been a dream.

Or had it?

Then I confessed my sins to you, and I didn't hide my guilt.

I said, "I will confess my sins to the Lord,"

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