“A Shadow Walks Down the Street” by Ash Vogler 

After the new lamppost had been installed outside, Anna didn’t need her night light. It sat dark and cold in the outlet next to her bed as she climbed in and threw back the covers. She was supposed to be in bed by eight-thirty, but nobody had ever said she had to be asleep by then. With Miss Mousey tucked under her arm, Anna shimmied to the window and laid one arm across the sill to support her head.

Outside, the world was quiet and dark, save for a few lit windows down the street where Mrs. And Mr. Ramirez still laughed in front of their old television set. Anna waved like they could see her as clearly as she saw the old colorless film. Down the other side of the street, the only light was the lamppost. Anna smiled and waved at it, too. Its light never flickered, and it towered so high in the air that she swore it wavered when the wind picked up.

“Goodnight, Mr. Lamppost,” Anna said. “But Mama says you’re a night owl.” She giggled. “Won’t go to bed until morning!”

She turned her head again, this time to the sleeping cars parked across the street.

“We have to be quiet, Miss Mousey,” Anna whispered with her finger over her lips. “We shouldn’t wake them, but it’s rude not to say goodnight.”

Anna set Miss Mousey on the windowsill to point to the first car, but her words never left her tongue. Across the road, just beyond the row of cars, she saw a dark shape moving across the sidewalk. It lumbered with steps too long for its body, and its arms stretched nearly to the ground. With every step, its head lulled from one side to the other, as though it had no strength in its neck.

Anna snatched Miss Mousey from the windowsill and threw herself to her pillows with a squeak. Scrambling, she ducked beneath the blankets and pulled them all the way over her head. She shoved her face into Miss Mousey and wrapped her arms around her knees. A shiver ran down her neck to her toes, leaving her chilled despite the blanket fortress she’d built around her. Though all she could see was Miss Mousey’s gray fur, she could feel the strange creature walking down the street.

It approached the cars and slumped forward, walking behind them. Anna’s skin crawled, and her hair stood on end. She curled in harder on herself as the shadow disappeared. Like it was a spider in the corner, all she could think of was where it had gone now. What if she lost track of it? Would it come for her? Anna whimpered into Miss Mousey’s fur and closed her eyes impossibly tighter, willing the shadow away. It didn’t step out from behind the cars.

Sleep came fitfully.


The next night, Anna crawled into bed at eight-thirty exactly with her night light still cold and blankets bunched around her legs for an easy escape. Miss Mousey sat beside her on the windowsill and leaned against her folded arms as Anna looked up and down the street. She waved to the Ramirez couple down the road as their colorless movie played through the open living room window.

She turned towards the bright lamppost and smiled wide. She wrapped an arm around Miss Mousey and helped her wave her little paw towards the light.

“Goodnight, Mr. Lamppost! Is it morning if he stays awake all night?”

She looked at Miss Mousey to receive no reply. With a twist of her fingers, Anna had Miss Mousey nod her head. Anna beamed.

“Of course! Good morning, Mr. Lamppost! I’ll see you again before school.”

Anna took a deep breath as she turned to the line of cars. As always at this hour, four of them lined the street. Everyone was home, winding down earlier and earlier as the nights grew longer and colder. Anna looked past the cars slowly, trailing from the SUV at the front of the line to the sedan at the end.

“Mama said we have to be brave,” Anna whispered. “Can you be brave, Miss Mousey?”

Silence. Anna nodded to herself.

“You’re right. We both have to be brave. Mama said I’m a big girl, so being brave shouldn’t be so hard! We can do this.”

Anna pressed her face to the window as she reached the sedan. The fog spread from her lips to her nose, and the shadow appeared on the sidewalk where she’d seen it the night before.

This time, its head was as long as its neck, and it flopped from side to side as it took its long, slouching steps. Knees bent backwards each time its mangled feet touched the pavement. Its toes curled into the concrete to drag it forward. One step at a time. One long step at a time.

As it reached the bumper of the sedan, Anna held her breath. She swiped at the fog on the window and swallowed a lump in her throat. Heart pounding. She squeezed Miss Mousey against her cheek. Hair stood up on the back of her neck, and her chest seized as she pushed impossibly closer into the window.

The shadow slumped forward, and its head flopped to the side. Twisted. Anna chewed her bottom lip. She huffed in a deep breath and held it, chest puffed. No bravery. She squeezed Miss Mousey tighter. Closer. The shadow took another step beyond the sedan.

Anna let out a long sigh as the shadow disappeared. She released Miss Mousey and pressed a kiss to her furry ear.

“Sorry I squeezed so hard,” Anna whispered. “Are you okay?”

In the silence, Anna turned back to the window and wiped away the fog before she pressed her nose against the glass. The chill shot down her face, her spine, and her toes curled into her blankets.

Two minutes ticked by. Then three. The shadow didn’t reappear from the line of cars, but its twisted up face and mangled limbs had done their damage. As Anna laid back in her pillows, blankets tugged to her neck, she trembled. Closing her eyes brought the creature’s face back.

It twisted tighter. It looked at her with big, empty eyes and a toothy grin stretched from one side to the next. No ears. A hollow nose. Anna closed her eyes tighter and squeezed Miss Mousey against her chest.

“We’re gonna be okay. We okay.”

Miss Mousey said nothing. Sleep came fitfully.


At eight-thirty, Anna crawled into bed with a pink hoodie over her pajamas. The hood dropped to her eyebrows like a helmet as she pressed her face to the window with Miss Mousey at her side.

She didn’t look down the street to Mrs. and Mr. Ramirez watching their colorless movies. She didn’t wish Mr. Lamppost a good night or a good morning. Anna looked straight at the sedan at the end of the car line and waited. Her breath lumped in her throat as her chest seized, and she squeezed Miss Mousey a little tighter.

A minute ticked by, then two, and the creature appeared across the road. It slumped forward with mangled toes and backwards breaking knees. Long legs stretched the sidewalk. In the night’s silence, every crack of its bones echoed. Two steps brought it to the end of the car line, then it stopped.

Anna gasped and ducked between her shoulders, but kept her eyes above the sill to watch as the creature’s neck creaked and twisted. With great effort, it turned its head, only for it to flop forward.

For a moment, everything was still.

The shadow threw back its head and let out a bone-shattering screech before it moved faster than anything Anna had ever seen. It threw itself across the road. Bones cracking. Face shifting. Its empty, endless eyes peeled open as it slammed itself against Anna’s windows. Long, spindly fingers. Scratched down the glass as its smile cracked open wide. Heavy breaths lifted its chest.

Anna threw herself back. Miss Mousey hit the floor. Anna screamed as she scrambled to grab her blankets. Anything to protect herself. The shadow pressed closer against the window until its face flattened and its nose retreated into its head. Thick, black ooze coated the window as it dragged its fingers down.

“Hello, little girl… Do you—do you want to play?”

Anna screamed.

“Mama! Daddy!”

Over and over, she screamed as the shadow flattened against the window. The ooze slipped through the cracks on the side of the window. Slipped beneath, where there was never a perfect seal. The shadow pressed and pressed. Anna screamed and screamed.

Suddenly, the lights came to life. Mama and Daddy rushed across the room. The shadow was gone. Daddy hit the bed first and tugged Anna against his chest while Mama peered out the window.

“He was there!” Anna screamed. “He was there, trying to come in!”

Daddy smoothed back her hair and squeezed her until her breath calmed. Mama looked out the window from the lamppost to the Ramirez house down the street, then shook her head.

“Honey, there’s nobody outside. What did you see?”

“Mean shadow man.” Anna whimpered and curled against Daddy’s chest.

Daddy soothed her while Mama’s shoulders slumped in defeat. While they exchanged a look, Anna peeked over Daddy’s arm to see through the window.

Outside, the shadow appeared out of nowhere at the end of the car line. It walked forward, mangled toes on the sidewalk and knees breaking backwards with every step. As it reached the sedan, its neck creaked and twisted until she saw wide, empty eyes and a chilling grin. The shadow disappeared behind the sedan, and Anna closed her eyes.


Ash Vogler works in HR and is the author of Refill, a romance novel with supernatural and horror undertones. Since she was young, she has always been enthralled with things not of this world, and some of her earliest memories revolve around staying up late to watch monster movies with her dad. Despite her background in business, Ash has always found writing to be her true passion.


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