205.348.7264 mfj@sa.ua.edu


Grace Johnston

The shadow at the end of my bed wasn’t scary. Instead, she seemed as lonely as me. Sometimes,
she would give me things. A pencil. A broken doll. A dead bird. I never felt in danger. She
would never say anything to me. She had no mouth and no eyes, yet I always knew where to
look. I could never tell what she truly wanted me to do with the gifts. I would guess. I used the
pencil at school. Fixed the doll. Stored the dead bird in a shoe box until it began to smell; then, I
buried it. She always seemed satisfied. When I had others over, she still stayed. I don’t think they
saw her. I told her about my love, my day, my friends. She replied with silence. No matter what
house I stayed in for the night, she never failed to be my companion. She was my secret. My
secret shadow that gifted me broken things and dead animals. I loved her.

When I came to bed with bruises on my face, she towered over me. Scanned me. I didn’t feel
scared; I felt ashamed. When he spent the night in the same bed, I felt worse. The shadow
loomed over him, too. She knew. As he lay there, oblivious to the world around him, I leaned up
to face my shadow. She gifted me a gleaming knife and placed it at the edge of the bed.

I knew what she wanted me to do.