The Shadow

2 min
Image of Spring 2019
Image of Short Story
For her, sleeping on the ground but ‘safe’ was enough for now. A reflex emerging from another time, makes her look for a small place a little high to install her alarm clock. She went out and spotted easily in the middle of the jumble that encumbered the backyard, a small light blond wooden crate to put her clock.

Curiously, although she had always been afraid of insects, her memory fell asleep with fatigue, and she did not check where she was going to sleep... However, from modern life, she had adopted the facilities to get rid of what bothered in a simple, convenient way, without dirtying her hands, almost ignoring the result of our actions... she kept preciously "the chemical weapon": an insecticide bomb! to destroy some of those who have arrived before us and who will surely remain after us.

Thus, she did not get involved too much, she did not feel the slow disgust of the process of crushing, the fear of a legitimate rebellion of the victim!

That night, cold and dismal, still welcomed the glow of an impassive moon contemplating the night. The young woman was grateful to it, total darkness engendered in her a terror that she did not control.

Stretched on the floor, just before sinking completely, knees tight against his crushed chest, head well down on them, the nose almost in her sweater... find the sure smell she knew, breathe that heat that was missing so much around her... so, even before she was finally able to sleep, she saw moving between the interstices of the crate, a sort of little black beetle glistening with pale lunar glow... something little, the nail of her little finger, no doubt "She leapt softly and noiselessly on her bare legs, grabbed her slouched bag and pulled out the saving bomb. She aimed carefully and pressed closing her eyes to avoid the nauseating impregnation of the agony of the insect in her retina, and also by an irrational reflex of fear. These little beasts did not jump, did not attack... but never mind, she felt bristles everywhere... and badly.

To not attend the show at the end of... well, what was it really... a big roach? a cockroach ? Fun, like... the "cockroach"... "una cucaracha" as the Spanish-Mexican song calls it, "memories of the old days when...", she hurriedly went out into the unwelcoming backyard.

A good time later, she returned. She did not want to look at it but simply to check at a glance the effectiveness of her necessary intervention... the little cockroach was no longer under the crate, it was mounted on it. She discovered it, horrified, very fat, the value of a black ping-pong ball. He camped, standing on two small back pates (hind legs ?) and urinated a long, aggressive jet on her and her equipment, the bomb, his bag, his light cover...

Disgusted and angry, she still took her bomb and then sprayed long convulsive and destructive pressures poison on the intruder. Again, she runs away, still unable to observe the result of her actions. In the backyard, she curled up between two old rusty bins, her arms wrapping her legs against her body, and she was causing a kind of unconscious convulsive swaying back and forth on the end extreme of her buttocks...
It ends, a miracle of youth, drowse a little and really fall asleep.

At dawn, icy and sore, she dared to return to the improvised room and there, she saw him, she saw the cockroach... the size of a fixed telephone handset, black always... except that... still standing, the insect now had a little human head of a little girl... a funny little face that immediately reminded her someone... herself! "She", with her two blonde hair quilts moving around a serene face, innocent but questioning... She turned away and went out to vomit or at least try by painful and irrepressible hiccups.

She never entered the room again, this deceptive refuge. But, the cockroach was not in the grave, he was somewhere, unpredictable and devious, and he was still looking at the young woman.

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Image of Etienne Mutabazi
Etienne Mutabazi · ago
Image of Fred Panassac
Fred Panassac · ago
Une terrible histoire qui donne des frissons, on espère jusqu’au bout que le personnage va pouvoir se débarrasser de cet effrayant insecte, et la fin provoque un sentiment de compassion et d’horreur. Pour moi, un choix de sujet réussi.
Image of Cruzamor
Cruzamor · ago
Oui, mais on "sent" bien que je pense Français ... que ce n'est pas du vrai ENGLISH !!! lol ! bon, j'aurai au moins essayé une fois... merci pour ce gentil comm.
Image of Fred Panassac
Fred Panassac · ago
Pas de souci Cruzamor, c'est courageux de t'être lancée et puis sincèrement, le message passe bien. Dans ta réponse à Keith tu fais allusion à des pratiques criminelles dont j'avais déjà entendu parler et j'ai cru comprendre que l'horrible cafard était une métaphore de toutes ces horreurs qui ont contribué à l'extermination de ces peuples. Entre nous soit dit, un thème de nouvelle ne doit pas forcément parler de bonheur sans nuage et de petits oiseaux dans le ciel pour être bon et attirer les lecteurs, on se comprend Cruzamor. Amitiés.
Image of Cruzamor
Cruzamor · ago
Oui, le mot cafard que j'ai découvert vers 3/4 ans ... illustre bien cette cucaracha, et personnifie bien LA différence qui a rendu nécessaire (?), normale (?), justifiée (???) les massacres, et encore aujourd'hui ! On fête le Colombus day aux States ... les écoles participent : c'est FOU. Et moi, nous, dès qu'on voit un insecte, on flippe (et voui ! pardon !) et on sort l'artillerie (encore trop visible et bruyante : on bombarde des virus, des maladies, du poison !), à NOTRE pourtant humble niveau : la bombe insecticide ! Oui, hélas c'est plus difficile de parler de petits ou grands bonheurs, tout se fait rare même les petits piafs qui salissaient autrefois mes bords de fenêtres et piquaient du bec sur des vitres trop propres ... ! un autre temps ... MERCI pour ce gentil comm. vraiment !
Image of Fred Panassac
Fred Panassac · ago
Tout à fait, n'oublions pas que les oiseaux se nourrissent d'insectes. Quelle coïncidence, bientôt un texte sur ma page sur la disparition des oiseaux... dont le moineau domestique, le piaf !
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
A strange story whose subject matter is not very appealing !
Some work needs to be done on the English! Good luck!

Image of Cruzamor
Cruzamor · ago
Yes, the subject may seem strange, boring, but it is so closer to our lives, our actions on a larger scale ... we infect regions, tribes (American Indians for example to whom we provided seriously infected blankets Everyone knows, more or less confusedly, that the American Indians have been victims of diseases imported by the Europeans, and IF we can not believe that it was partly voluntary : We are wrong ! At the end of the pre-Columbian era, in the absence of reliable data, with the exception of the Codex Mendoza, which lists the tribute paid to the Aztec Emperor in 1519, the number of Amerindians for the entire America from forty to one hundred millions, and from seven to twelve millions for North America alone.
These populations suffered from the 16th century a viral shock of unprecedented violence. Epidemics of smallpox, typhus, influenza, diphtheria, measles, plague, and diseases such as pertussis, measles, and smallpox would have killed about 80 percent of the indigenous population. Also, one might think that only fatality is involved when one learns that five hundred thousand Amerindians populated North East North America before the arrival of British settlers but that they were only a hundred thousand at the beginning of the 18th century.
We would like to believe that, I mentioned the case of Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of the British troops, who distributed smallpox-contaminated blankets (variole !) to the Indians to eliminate them.
WE have done the same in Africa and elsewhere and destroy everything that bothers us (insects, animals, people) without compromising us: ALL by (from ?) far (planes, bombs, virus) ... Yes, I recognize that WE kill without getting dirty hands, like my young survivor (who seems so innocent and fragile) of an ///I do not know what a massacre!/// ... uh: lol, if you still have the heart !
I’m pleased to chat a little, like that … thanks !