Shadow Play is a scary story about a boy who moves into a new house and notices strange shadows in his bedroom.
When David’s father got a new job, the family had to pack up and move to a new town. David wasn’t happy about the move. He had to leave his entire life behind and he was nervous about having to go to a new school and try to make a new bunch of friends.
On the day the family moved into the new house, David just carried his boxes into his new bedroom, but he didn’t bother unpacking anything. Instead, he decided to go outside for a walk and take a look at the new neighborhood.
As he was walking down the street, he met a teenage boy who seemed to be about the same age as him.
“Are you new here?” the boy asked.
“Yeah,” said David. “We just moved in.”
“My name’s Greg,” said the boy. “Welcome to the neighborhood… Wait a second… You didn’t move into the Grady house, did you?”
“Uh-huh,” David answered. “I think so… Why?”
“You mean your parents didn’t tell you?” Greg gasped.
David shook his head.
“The Gradys were the family who lived there before you,” Greg said, glancing over his shoulder to make sure nobody could hear. “There was Mr. Grady, his wife and their daughter. The whole family disappeared without a trace.”
“What happened to them?” David asked in disbelief.
Greg shrugged. “One morning, the neighbors noticed that the front door was wide open. When they went inside, there was no sign of them. Their car was still in the driveway. Their clothes were still in their wardrobes. Everything was in its proper place, as if they had just stepped ot for a moment, but there was no trace of them. It was like they just vanished into thin air!”
That night, over dinner, David decided to ask his parents if they knew what had happened to the people who had lived there before them.
“Some kid from down the street told me the family left one night and never came back,” he said.
David’s dad and mom looked at each other.
“I never heard anything like that,” his father said.
“That boy must have been spinning you a tall tale,” said his mother.
That night, as he was lying in bed, David overheard his mom and dad talking in hushed tones downstairs.
“He’s bound to find out sooner or later,” his dad was saying.
“Shhh!” his mother warned. “David might hear you!”
As he lay there in the darkness, David thought he saw something moving out of the corner of his eye. He looked around, straining his eyes to see in the dark, but there was nothing there. David reached out and switched on his bedside lamp. He looked around his room to make sure there was nothing there. Then he slowly settled back down into bed and went to sleep.
The next morning, his father came in to wake him. As David rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, his father switched off the bedside lamp.
“You fell asleep with the light on last night,” said his dad.
“Uh, yeah,” David answered. “Sorry, Dad.”
All that day, David tried to forget what had happened the night before. It was ridiculous, he told himself. He was really being a baby; he hadn’t been afraid of the dark since he was a little kid! No, he must have been half asleep and imagining things.
That night, however, when he went to bed, he wasn’t so sure anymore. He climbed into bed and turned off his bedside lamp. His bedroom was filled with dark shadows. He lay there, his eyes darting from side to side, watching the shadows. Then his MOM seemed to grow suddenly colder In the inky blackness under his desk, there was movement. David’s eyes locked onto the spot. His breath came fasten There was nothing there! There couldn’t be! Then it moved again. It was shapeless, like a blob. And it didn’t move like an animal. It flowed like water. Out from under the desk and straight for the foot of his bed!
David screamed and shot his hand out to switch on the light. The electric glare drove the shadow back, where it pooled on the floor under his desk. “What’s the matter, honey?” asked his mother as she ran into the room. His father was right beside her “I . . . I thought I saw something move over there,” David’s voice broke. “Under the desk.-
David’s father flipped on the room light, banishing the shadows. He knelt down and looked under the desk. “There’s nothing here,” he announced. “The shadow,’ David insisted. “The shadow was moving.” His mother sat on the edge of the bed and smoothed his hair. “You were having a bad dream, dear.” David opened his mouth to argue, then realized it was useless. His parents would never believe him. And in the bright light of the ceiling lamp, he wasn’t sure he believed it either. It sure had seemed real, though. “Yeah,” he said. “I guess so. Can I leave the room light on? Please?”
His father looked annoyed but turned the light back on. Then his parents said goodnight and left the room.
For the next few nights, David slept with his bedroom light on. He knew his father was less than pleased about it. One day he heard them in the kitchen, talking about his “fear of the dark.” They were both worried about him and his father thought it was “nonsense.” David walked slowly back to his room and sat on the bed. Maybe his dad was right. He was too old to be afraid of the dark. But it seemed too real to be a nightmare.
That night, he tried sleeping with the lights off. In the middle of the night, David woke suddenly. Everything was deathly quiet. He slowly sat up in bed and looked toward the corner of his room.
In the faint light cast by the street lamp outside, he could see an enormous shadow stretched halfway up the wall. It had no definite shape, but flickered and shifted like black fire. He tried to tell himself it was just the shadow of a tree or something else, but then, as he watched, the shadow came rushing toward him.
David screamed and grabbed the bedside lamp, fumbling with the switch as he desperately tried to turn it on. Just as the shadow reached his bed, the light came on and his parents came running into the mom.
“What’s wrong?” his mother asked.
His father stood in the doorway, with a strange expression on his face. David babbled out the story through his tears. “The shadow. It almost got me!” His mother held him and tried to calm him down. “If s all right, now. Were here. Don’t worry.” David wondered if he was going crazy. He knew his parents probably thought so, which made him feel worse. He finally calmed down, but only after talking his parents into leaving the light on before they went back to bed.
The next day dawned gray and drizzly and grew quickly worse. Thick, black clouds rolled in to cover the sun. The wind began to blow hard, and David watched his father lock all the patio furniture in the garage. Then, with a flash of lightning and crash of thunder, the rain began. Huge drops shot down from the sky and shattered against the ground. The windows rattled with every gust of wind, and it looked as if somebody were washing them down with a hose. The sound of the rain pelting against the pavement outside was loud enough to be heard inside the house. Since four o’clock, the sky had been pitch-black. David was huddled on the couch with his mom, watching television. His dad sat in his chair, reading. David was glad to be inside on a night like this. A blast of lightning lit the sky, and the thunder that followed seemed to shake the house. David crawled further under the blanket with his mom. Gusts of wind pushed at the house. Suddenly, the room went dark.
“The electricity must have gone out,” his father said.
David felt like his heart was going to stop. No electricity! That meant no lights!
“What are we going to do?” he whispered.
“It’s all right, David,” said his mother. “We’ve got some candles.”
His dad went to find the candles while David and his mother waited.
“It’s all right, David,” she said again. But the shadows—” His mother sighed softly. “Tell you what. Why don’t you sleep with me and your dad tonight, okay?”
David sighed with relief. His father came back with a candle and a box of matches. He lit the candle and placed it on the bedside table.
“I told David he could sleep with us tonight,” his mother said.
David’s father didn’t say anything.
“Thanks, Mom,” said David as he hugged her. Then he hugged his father, too. It felt like he was hugging them for the last time.
Soon, his parents were dozing off, but David was too frightened to sleep. He lay there watching the shadows moving in the flickering candlelight. Occasionally, a flash of lightning lit up the room and drove the shadows back, but only for a moment. They quickly came back, creeping across the walls and crawling across the ceiling. David watched as long as he could, but his eyelids were getting heavy.
Just then, there was a noise. It woke his parents.
“What was that?” his mother asked, startled.
“I don’t know,” said his father.
Dark shadows loomed over the bed. David looked at the candle. It had burned down almost to the bottom and as he watched, it began to sputter. His dad got out of bed. His mother was watching anxiously.
Then, all of a sudden, the candle went out.
“Get the matches, Dad!” David cried.
He heard his father fumbling around in the darkness.
“Hurry, Dad,” David sobbed. “Hurry!”
Suddenly, a match flared and in the dim light, he saw his father standing by the bed. David breathed a sigh of relief. Then, his eyes opened wide in horror as two long, dark hands reached out of the shadows and wrapped themselves around his dad’s neck. His father dropped the burning match and struggled to free himself.
David saw his mother lying very still on the bed, a dark shadow covering her face. Her eyes were open, but she wasn’t breathing.
David was shaking with fear. He looked up and in the last light of the dying match, he saw a small shadow drop from the ceiling. He let out a blood-curdling scream as two thin, shadowy hands encircled his neck and began choking the life out of him.