Read The Lovely Shadow Online

Authors: Cory Hiles

Tags: #coming of age, #ghost, #paranormal abilities, #heartbreak, #abusive mother, #paranormal love story

The Lovely Shadow

BOOK: The Lovely Shadow
9.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
The Lovely Shadow

By Cory Hiles

Copyright 2012 Cory Hiles

Smashwords Edition




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Thank you for respecting the hard work

of this author.




This book is dedicated to my wife and my
mother; two women who are both as insane as can be, but in a
pleasant, indefinable, and interesting sort of way.

Without your continued support, encouragement
and occasional criticisms I would likely have given up this pet
project long before making as far as chapter five!

I love you both more than words can possibly
say, fo’ sho’!





Some days from my life stand out more clearly
than others in my memory—I think it is likely that way for most
people—however one day from my past stands out with particular
clarity. June12th, 1990—I remember that day quite clearly. I
remember it because it was a day of revelation for me, and the day
my life started over.

It was two days after my seventh birthday and
I was digging through my older brother, Joe’s, left behind
possessions looking for a treasure. I had expected that treasure to
come in the form of a comic book—of which my brother had been an
avid collector. The treasure I found, however, came in the form of
Kim Basinger.

It was a tattered copy of the February, 1983
issue of Playboy magazine. Kim Basinger graced its cover like some
kind of benevolent angel or perhaps, a goddess, promising that all
the needs of the heart could and would be met by her without any
necessary actions or reciprocations on my part.

It was only a head shot, without any giant
breasts thrust forward in a grotesque display of sexually predative
desire. No long, unclothed legs opened slightly to reveal the
faintest hint of that mystery of mysteries at the pelvis of Woman
that has so entranced men through the ages that they would commit
acts of murder, slander, war, debauchery, deceit, and countless
other horrors just so they can lay a finger on the fallacy that
they have somehow become the sole master of this mystery, (this
will never be however, for this mystery belongs to Woman

No, it was only a picture of her head. She
was lying on her side on some kind of grey box and staring intently
at me. At me!

There was no lusty gleam in her eyes, nor
were her lips pouty and swollen, alluring and glistening with
feminine sweetness. There was none of that. She simply lay there
staring at me. And at the same time she was laying there, she did
not simply lay there, she existed there!

She existed there encompassing my entire
world with her long blond curls hanging down out of the cameras
reach—seemingly to infinity—and staring at me through the tattered
cover page with blue-grey eyes that swallowed me whole and pulled
me into her very soul.

I held the magazine with both hands at about
the level of my belly button and stared down at it. I felt weird
but didn’t have the faintest understanding of the feelings that
were broiling inside my chest and stomach. My chest felt
constricted while my belly twittered as though there were millions
of tiny bubbles dashing around inside it at blinding speeds and
crashing into one another which caused them to suddenly pop.

I only stared at that magazine cover for a
few seconds, but it felt like hours, lost as I was in its dizzying
allure. I was so intent on it that I never heard my mother creeping
up behind me, I never saw her already wrinkled face contort and
shrink into even more wrinkles as she peered over my shoulder and
saw what I was staring at.

I never saw her eyes shrink to the narrow
slits that I had often seen, and often felt must have been
impossible to see through, nor did I see her lips pucker into a
tight mass of flesh that gave the impression of a person being
forced to kiss an electric eel.

I didn’t see any of that happening, nor did I
see her arm swinging back.

I didn’t need to see her transformation
taking place; I’d seen it many times before. I didn’t even know she
was there until her open palm connected with my right ear at a
speed of roughly one million miles per hour.

A huge noise and blinding flash of pain shot
through my right ear and my head swung so hard to the left that I
nearly hit my left ear on my left shoulder as I began falling
towards the floor.

My first thought was that my head had
exploded and I could not understand how the seemingly loving and
beautiful angel I’d been staring at could be so cruel as to blow up
my head in such a painful manner, but before I hit the floor I
began to grasp the situation a bit better.

My mother’s shrill shrieking was piercing
through my left ear as I fell, (my right ear was only hearing a
high pitched whine and a dull thudding sound as my heart beat).
That was the only clue I really needed to unravel the mystery of my
exploding head.

My mother’s shriek was horrible; a single
note that didn’t fluctuate at all until her lungs ran out of air.
It was a note that I was certain could have easily shattered
crystal if there had been any around, which there wasn’t. As I fell
I was thankful for that, somehow knowing that my face would have
been cut to ribbons if there had been.

Shortly after imagining the crystal, another
thought struck me—if our house had been built on top of an Indian
burial ground like the one in the Poltergeist movie, my mother’s
shrieking would likely wake those long dead Natives and then I’d
have much more to worry about than plain old crystal fragments
flying through the air.

I saw the floor racing up to meet me in
seeming slow motion, I saw the Playboy tumbling away from me, its
pages fluttering open as it flew. I saw a naked woman flutter by on
the pages of that magazine and I was shocked! I had no idea that
women could be so beautiful; I also had no idea that there were
naked women in that magazine.

I hit the floor on my stomach and quickly
rolled over onto my side with a cry of pain and shock finally
fleeing from my lips. My mother was still screaming as I rolled
onto my side, and as I looked up at her I was frightened.

Her mouth had left its puckered state and had
opened to its widest possible limit; her lips had peeled back like
old paint on a weathered barn—curling into a vicious snarl that
showed her crooked and yellowed teeth which were glistening with a
shine that was most certainly not feminine or alluring.

Two strands of spittle, just slightly off to
either side of the center of her mouth connected her top teeth to
her bottom teeth like pillars in a roman temple. Her tongue, the
tip of which seemed to be pushing violently against the back side
of her bottom teeth, was white instead of pink. And her eyes were
wide saucers, showing too much white and bulging slightly from
their sunken, purplish-black ringed sockets.

For every ounce of love, acceptance, and
desire I’d just seen in Kim Basinger's eyes, my mother’s eyes
showed pounds of fury, malice, and hate. Her dark hair was hanging
limply around her face in long, greasy, and matted tendrils. And to
top it off, she was wearing her damned wedding dress again.

I had barely hit the floor and gotten a
glimpse my mother’s bestial face before she was leaping over me
(still shrieking that horrible note) with the unnatural grace of an
Olympic hurdler and scooping the Playboy off the floor. As she was
straightening up with it in her hands she finally seemed to run out
of air and stopped screeching. I rolled around to look at her with
tears streaming down my face. My right ear could not hear properly,
and I was quite certain that the blood I felt leaking out of it was
actually my brains somehow turned to jelly by the force of her
blow. The pain was excruciating. I began to wail loudly, I don’t
know if it was more from the pain or more from the fear, but either
way, I couldn’t stop it.

She stood there with her back to me for as
many as thirty seconds with her shoulders hunched and heaving up
and down, as though the exertion of the screaming and jumping had
winded her terribly. She stared at the playboy she was holding in
her hands, impervious to my sobbing and pleading.

When she turned around and stared at me, her
face had returned to its normal pissed off pucker, and though her
eyes were the narrow slits that I was certain could not be seen out
of I could still feel the hate and malice shooting out of them like
laser beams.

I pushed myself up off the floor until I was
sitting on my butt with my left leg out straight and my right leg
bent under the left and stared up at her, still sobbing and
pleading, with both of my arms reaching out to her. I was hoping
for forgiveness; hoping to be scooped up off the floor, held in a
tight hug, and forgiven for whatever mortal sin I must have

“Please, Momma” I cried. “I’m sorry! I’m

I didn’t know what I was apologizing for, but
I sure as Hell knew I needed to apologize! I was nearly screaming
now, the fingers on both hands making clawing ‘gimme’ gestures
toward her at the ends of my outstretched arms.

“Please, Mama,” I pleaded again.

My mother didn’t move. If she was anything,
she was stoic. My wailing sobs slowly reduced themselves to
whimpers as I began to plead for forgiveness more and more

I watched my mother carefully roll the
magazine up into a tight tube while she continued to glare at me. I
dropped my arms and tried to rub my ear, but the pain of touching
it made me gasp and jerk my hand away as though I’d touched an
electric fence. I looked at my finger tips and saw blood on them
and was somewhat relieved to find that it was only blood I’d felt
trickling out of my ear and not jellied brains as I’d originally

I had one bright shining moment of hope then.
As I recoiled from touching my ear I saw my mother’s face soften
just the tiniest bit. Tears were still streaming down my face, but
I was no longer wailing. My mother cocked her head slightly to one
side and a faint smile played at the corners of her mouth. She
stepped toward me with the rolled up magazine held at shoulder

“Johnny,” she said quietly as she came near.
She bent toward me, her eyes suddenly looking sad and her eyebrows
arching in apparent concern. “Do you know what this is,

She wiggled the magazine around a bit and I
looked at it, suddenly frightened of it as if it were a venomous
snake. “, Muh…,” I sputtered in a sob choked
voice, shaking my head vehemently hoping to show her how innocent I
was in this unfortunate incident.

“This, Johnny,” she said compassionately
while giving the magazine another little wiggle and standing up to
her full height before me, “is POISON!”

At this last word, all the softness in her
voice and face fled like deer from a rampaging forest fire and was
replaced with her former puckered malice. As she screamed the word,
“poison,” she brought the rolled up Playboy swinging down in a
lightning fast arc and smashed it directly into my already
throbbing ear.

My eyes rolled up like some crazy slot
machine as fresh pain burst through my head, and I was convinced
for the second time in a matter of minutes that my head had just

I screamed so loud that it felt like I’d just
regurgitated some of those imagined crystal fragments into my
throat. My arms came up instinctively to protect my head from
further explosions. I fell to the floor for the second time, curled
myself into a fetal position, and kept my arms around my head as
blow after blow landed upon me.

My mother was screaming at me at the top of
her lungs as she pummeled me with the Playboy, but I was only able
to catch bits and pieces of what she was saying through my own
screams and the continuing whacks.


I have no idea how long she went on screaming
and flogging. But when she started screaming that “Joe would
never”, I had just enough time to think, ‘The Hell he wouldn’t!
It’s his goddamn magazine you’re smacking me with’ before I blacked
out. Judging from the pain I had all around my body when I woke up,
my mother’s rampage must have lasted for quite some time.

BOOK: The Lovely Shadow
9.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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