A shadow without anything to cast it OR can’t find the dog/cat OR someone’s playing ding-dong ditch OR windows won’t stop leaking in rain
(I originally dismissed the first prompt because it sounded a little too similar to a story idea I’d already thought of, of a reflection without anything to cause it. But then it crept in and oozed through a crack to propose the following scenario…)
He never would have noticed if the meeting hadn’t been so boring.
He had been the one to type up the information earlier, so he didn’t need to pay attention to it being droned out loud. So scribbling on his notepad had eaten up a few minutes while his thoughts wandered away from the mind-numbing facts being repeated again and again. Then Jane-from-down-the-hall had elbowed him in time for him to flip to a clean sheet before their boss passed by and noticed his inattention.
Then he had noticed that the shadow he thought was from Teddy-with-the-annoying-laugh actually belonged to Steve-from-next-to-the-good-printer, when Steve leaned forward attentively and it moved with him. The sun was shining through the window at an odd angle, apparently. So he killed a few minutes amusing himself trying to match shadows to their casters.
Jodie-with-the-hair was easy enough to spot. As was Fidgety Joe, for obvious reasons. He already had Steve’s spotted, and he picked out Teddy’s actual shadow when the man reached up to scratch his cheek. Then Stephanie-call-me-Steph coughed and that ended the game.
Except…who was that?
It was only that side of the table that was showing up on the far wall, and it couldn’t be Joe because it was too still, but it also couldn’t be Steve because it was in profile and he was looking down at his notes. Obviously not Jodie, and he remembered Teddy’s was at the opposite end of the table.
He furrowed his brow as he went back over each shadow he’d matched someone to. Finally he thought to count. Steve, Jodie, Joe, Teddy, Steph. One, two, three, four, five…six?
That…wasn’t right, and he felt goosebumps pricking his arms as he realized it.
Then he went cold as everyone turned to face forward at the crude bar graph drawn on the white board, and the shadow that had been in profile turned…to face…him.
Yaaay! I’m glad I checked my tags today because I must have missed this while scrolling on my phone. I like it, the slow realization and the moment at the end is very spooky. Thank you!