March 22, 2018

Fiction by Ana Vidosavljevic: "Confined Spaces and Shadows"

Ana Vidosavljevic from Serbia currently living in Indonesia. She has her work published or forthcoming in Down in the Dirt (Scar Publications), Literary Yard, RYL (Refresh Your Life), The Caterpillar, The Curlew, Eskimo Pie, Coldnoon, Perspectives. She worked on a GIEE 2011 project: Gender and Interdisciplinary Education for Engineers 2011 as a member of the Institute Mihailo Pupin team. She also attended the International Conference “Bullying and Abuse of Power” in November, 2010, in Prague, Czech Republic, where she presented her paper: “Cultural intolerance”.

Confined spaces and shadows

Storm. Strong and loud. The spectacular lightning was ripping the sky. It tore it in pieces for

seconds and then the darkness stitched those fragments together into an endless whole. It was a

continuous play where the purple and the blue were chasing the black.

A chill ran up Lenny's spine. She was afraid of storms. She was afraid of spiders and snakes.

And she was terrified of confined spaces.

Lenny was alone at home. Her husband, Mike, was still at work. The weather must have

caused terrible traffic and that meant he would be probably late.

Lenny started panicking. She couldn't stand being alone at home. She couldn't stand being

alone at night in the house haunted by shadows. And she was alone at home with all those doors

and windows shut. It frightened her to death. She needed to get out of the house. But the

weather...The weather was not her friend that night.

She fidgeted around the room, unable to relax. She went to the corridor which led to the

entrance of the house. The door was shut and the thunder was screaming outside. She stood there in

front of the door unable to make a decision. She wanted to break the glass and scream so loudly

until her voice overpowered the noise of the thunder. At once, she grabbed the door knob and

squeezed it hard. She just held it. The cold metal sent an icy shiver up Lenny's back. She looked

outside. The shadows crept around the house and she jerked her head around. She didn't want to see

them. If only she hadn't seen them!

Lenny wanted so badly to get out of there. It seemed to her that the air in the house began to

be heavy and stale. Something strong and invisible lurked in that air. She felt that the knot in her

throat might suffocate her soon.

Some invisible force lay in wait threatening to smash her down. And those shadows...they

were sneaking around the house. She saw just the vague silhouettes of them. They were moving,

floating, slinking through the air. Her heart was beating fast.

Lenny's T-shirt was soaked in sweat. Her bra, even her panties, were wet. The sweat

moistened her forehead. Her hair was greasy and it nipped her neck.

She stealthily moved towards the door. Step by step and she was again just a dozen

centimeters from it. But then, she backed up. Those shadows lurked around. She knew she just

needed to wait for the moment when no shadow was around. Then, she could easily run toward the

car parked just fifty meters from the door.

After few minutes, the shadows seemed to slowly disappear. Her heart was beating faster

and faster. She started suffocating. Somehow, all the air was stuck in her lungs and no matter how

hard she tried to breathe out, she was not able to. She knew she had to get out of the house. Very

soon. Very, very soon. Otherwise, she might not see another crack of dawn.

Finally, no shadow was moving. The air was still and darkness prevailed. No lightning or

thunder disturbed the stillness of the night. And she knew it would not last forever. She had to

move. She had to put herself into motion. The shadows will come back soon. And she would

suffocate to death.

She fiercely opened the door. Her legs were heavy but she used all the strength she had.

Every atom of it. And she started running. She ran toward the car. It was so dark that she couldn't

see her own hand in front of her face. It seemed to her that she was running in the right direction.

Her intuition told her it was the right direction. But then the shadows again appeared. She lost

herself in the black of night. The shadows were breathing down her neck. For a second, she turned

around petrified. And then again, she started running. But this time, she didn't know where she was

running to. All of a sudden, something hit her head, or she ran into something. Nausea and

dizziness. The night was spinning around her. All the shadows were staring at her. She started

falling down. Her legs failed her. She didn't know what was going on. Her consciousness slowly

faded to black and nothingness.

Waking up brought her the whole confusion of where, how, when. She was in a small room

with white walls. It was a hospital room. There was a machine beeping next to her bed and the

intravenous drip in her arm gave her an unpleasant feeling.

Mike was napping in a chair next to the left side of her bed. She felt relieved. He must have

been worrying so much. Damn those shadows and that house!

Mike woke up and seeing Lenny awake, he jumped to his feet and, voice full of love, he

said: “I shouldn't have let you alone in the house during that weather. I am sorry. It is all my fault. I

should have known better.”

“No, no. Please don't say that.” Lenny mumbled, her voice weak and indistinct.

Lenny felt a very sharp pain on the left side of her head. Her scalp hurt. She touched it and

realized that she had a bandage on her head.

“You bumped into the tree when you were running out from the house. I know it must have been

terrible to be inside that confined space during the storm. I am sorry.” Mike said, his eyes full of

guilt. Lenny wanted to tell him that it was not only a confined space this time, but those shadows as

well. But she kept silent. He was worried enough for not being there for her. She didn't want to

upset him more.

She squeezed his hand and said: “I love you.”

Her mind was still disturbed by what had happened and she feared that those shadows would

keep chasing her again. She feared being alone again. Just thinking about it made her panic. She

held Mike's hand and wished he would never leave her alone again.

Ana Vidosavljevic

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