Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)
TITLE: The Shadow of Chelle's Cove
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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Ichkan’s ghost would walk the waves that night.
It had been a storm just like this that had taken her away. Her body was never found. Legend said that when tempests came, Michelle Ichkan could be seen walking across the waves, illuminated by flashes of lightning. Always behind her loomed The Shadow, the very one who had taken her so long ago. One night, they said, The Shadow would return to claim another victim. If he did not get his wish, the town would be destroyed, and disappear into nothingness.
The only living Ichkan stood watching at the window of the boardinghouse she cleaned. She could feel the storm approach, could feel the rumbled warning that made the rhythm of her heart falter.
Keisha knew why her grandmother had walked the beach that night, so long ago. She knew how it felt to have the wind call her name, how the lightning reached hot fingers to wrap around her chest, how the thunder pounded, unsatisfied until she stood in the very midst of it.
This night, on the eve of her grandmother’s death, The Shadow would return. She could feel it, even now in the boiling clouds, searching, reaching for her.
Dark secrets lay in Michelle Ichkan’s past. Secrets only Keisha knew. She had found the diaries in the furthest corner of the attic, stained with tears and rain. Stained with blood.
The Shadow sought revenge.
“There is no ghost, Keisha.” The invalid in the bed behind her shifted. “Do not let the storm worry you. Spirits of the dead find an eternal home.”
“Not when they have secret’s such as Michelle’s.” Even as Keisha spoke, the sun found refuge on the bottom of the earth. The electricity flickered and the last vestige of light was sucked from the cove.
Keisha screamed as lightning licked the window. Thunder shuddered the house. For hours the storm raged, only growing worse. The wind tore at the shingles, peeling them off piece by piece. The Shadow’s breath seeped in, searching, probing.
“He comes for me.” Terror clutched Keisha’s chest. “I must pay! Pay for the evil my ancestors have done. Pay for the secrets I myself have kept.” She swung upon the invalid, demanding, desperate. “Lucille, if the ghost does not walk the waters, if The Shadow is only superstition, why do I feel his presence? Why do I feel the doom?”
Lucille’s face gleamed pale. “Evil was done. Revenge must be given.”
The cold words settled in the bottom of Keisha’s heart. Death would come that night.
Keisha struggled. The power of the storm pulled her. Fear held her back. Would the town be destroyed because of the Ichkans?
Lightening struck. The tree beneath the window flamed.
“I will go!” Keisha stumbled for the door. “I will give myself.”
“Keisha no! The price has been paid!’ Lucille’s voice gripped her like a safety line. “Death is conquered. Christ took your place.”
For a moment Keisha hesitated. Then the window smashed in with the force of the wind, flames still licking at the tree.
She ran, stumbling in the sand. Ice-cold water gripped her legs. Rain drowned her soul. The dark tore at her with sharp talons of wind, ripping, tearing, pulling. Shrieks filled the air, surrounding her with wails. Keisha reached up, up for any hint of help. Only evil surrounded her.
The Shadow loomed, beating. Crushing. Killing. Foam surged up. Grabbed her. Water filled her lungs.
The scream ripped from the very depths of her soul. “Jesus!”
The storm raged on. Waves crashed. Thunder bellowed.
In Keisha Ichkan’s heart, peace took hold. The Shadow fled.
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