Black Petals Issue #98 Winter, 2022

Jess Boaden: Shadowed Soul

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98_bp_shadowedsoul_cfawcett.jpg
Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2022

Shadowed Soul

Jess Boaden

 

Lamps illuminate parts of the town. Spotlights shining down in increments along the footpaths lining the closed-up shopfronts. Faded striped awnings poke out from underneath the gutters running along the roofs. On the ground, leather soles remain quiet above the stones as the shadows hide his features, moving between the lights and alleys.

Footsteps ahead echo against the walls, signalling each movement and motion as she glances over her shoulder. Her high cheek bones and slender nose flashing golden every few steps. His body stops and slithers backwards behind a corner. His nose in line with the edge of the brick, one eye focused on her silhouette as she turns down an alley.

Rolling his shoulders and looking down the end of the street he turns and heads the opposite way. Clicks fade from his ears, but his shoulders set with confidence as he winds through the labyrinth between buildings. Shadows and dark spaces greet his movements, attempting to confuse his inner compass, but they are no match as clicks begin to grow closer.

Slowing and angling his head, pointing his ear towards the sounds, his pad-like shoes halt. Two deep breaths matching his shifting pupils, he turns slightly, easing into a toe-tipped gait between web-slicked walls. Skittering taps rush from his path, small blurs dashing in multiple directions. Low lighting hindering his vision of specie. Reaching the end, the lampposts coming into focus, hidden in shadows he watches as she emerges a few shops down the main path. Her head moves back and forth, her arms cocooning her frame, steps quickening to start the descent to the housing region.

Paths ahead lengthening into yards, awnings fading to fences, lights shining through sheer curtains chasing away shadows and blind spots. Chest moving at a sudden rate, his gaze roams over the remaining town. Ducking back into the alley, his steps no longer smooth and slick, he rushes through the back connections shooting towards the growing lights, his pace quickening at the onslaught of heels against the stones adjacent to his.

Attempting to mask his presence once more, longer, lighter strides place him at the alley before the road opens to his loss of entertainment. He pauses. Her steps grow hesitant, worry lacing the irregular breaths leaving her racing body. With one last glance toward the lights, he steps forward, twisting to meet her with a sinister smile pulling his marred lips.

Legs screeching to a halt, her eyes wide as her lips open to scream. Fingers wrapped in black leather race for her mouth restricting her cry and force her eyes to close. Fear slipping from her form as she falls into his frame, his eyes alight with another successful night.




Jess Boaden is an aspiring editor who loves to dabble in writing, specifically all things dark and gruesome. Jess has a Bachelor of Arts degree, specialising in creative writing and has worked with multiple authors as a beta reader and junior developmental editor in the YA fantasy genre. Jess is an avid reader of all books but loves to sit down with a good fantasy or dark romance. Currently, she resides in Canberra, Australia with her partner and bunny Sven.



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