A collection of short stories, mostly written for 'Screams!'
| A Shadow With Scissors
At first I thought the shady patch in my room was just that. Shadow; nothing to bother about. I turned over and would have drifted back to sleep if it had not been for the clicking sound.
What was it?
I'd heard that same sound many times before but it still took me a while to identify it; the snipping of scissors. The realization was startling enough to make me sit up and take notice.
I was alone... wasn't I? I looked at my hands and neither held a pair of scissors. My mind was playing tricks on me, there was no other explanation. The next snip sent chills running down my spine.
I turned over and looked at that shadowy patch and sure enough it moved. The shape of the scissors lifted along with a strand of some kind and then... snip. The strand dropped, cut in two.
"Who... who are you?" I managed to stammer. "What do you want?"
The idea of having someone break into my home and then sit there knitting or sewing was a bizarre one. My mother had never done either so it couldn't be her. My grandmother? She had passed away years ago.
The shadow seemed reluctant to answer my questions. With knees knocking, I forced myself to get out of bed and approach the shadow. It was like a dark mist, always swirling, but as it did I made out the features of a woman. She looked ageless, beautiful, but when her eyes met my own I felt the chill of cruelty.
"Who are you?" I asked again.
"Don't you know me, Caroline?" I heard her voice and yet her lips had not moved.
"No... I don't know who you are? How do you know my name?"
"I know everyone," she said, lifting up another strand and snipping. "My name," she went on, "is Atropos."
Atropos? Atropos? I'd come across the name before but it took me a while to think where. Greek mythology, that was it. She was the last of the three sisters of Fate. Clotho did the weaving, Lachesis did the dispensing, while Atropos determined the length.
"Are you here to kill me?" I asked, wondering if it was my fate she held in her hands before she brought up the scissors, snipped and let it fall.
"So many strands I hold in my hands," she said, as she cut straight through another.
She sifted through the tendrils, lifting them, inspecting them, looking for one that was ready for her to cut. Finally she found what she had been looking for and held it towards me. While she remained a shadow the strand seemed to glisten and gleam. In one hand the tendril, in the other those sharpened blades until snip.
"You're now living on borrowed time," Atropos said, then vanished, taking with her the scissors and all but my own severed piece of thread. I bent forward, scooped it up, my fate held in my own two hands.