A short story – Behind the Canvas
Behind the canvas the shadow loomed large and dangerous.The head was enormous and it seemed to be floating in the air.The feet, as long as canoes, would rise and fall as the other elongated shadow moved up towards the top of the tent.
As John entered the tent, the head burst.
It was a balloon, a silly childish prank. The shadow, a petite ten year old. Falling on top of his mates in laughter, John started to come round from his ever-lasting laughing fit.
“That was the worst monster I’ve ever seen,” laughed James.
” It wasn’t as bad as your go yesterday!” chuckled David.
“OK, but you have to say that that was awful David,” James stated.
” Time for some real stories I think.”
“Not ghost stories, James they’re boring,” whined John. “Not a ghost story, John, a real story…”
The time was 2-45pm and there was only fifteen minutes until kick-off and the road was deserted. A piece of tumbleweed blew across the pavement. A bulky shadow squeezed under the thin barriers and a tall, chunky middle-aged man was walking across the road towards the ground. By his side his son, a skinny seven year old. They rushed through the busy traffic and into the long never-ending passageway, which reflected the sight of a Leviathan winding through the prehistoric woodlands, towards the stadium. The boy was furiously tugging his father’s hand in an attempt to arrive on time. Stopping 100m from the ground the boy’s dad slowly bent down to tie his shoelaces up. By this point the young boy could see the amount of people. Thousands gathering for the match. He began to sweat. His father rose; he quickly grasped his hand and tightened up against the giant figure. And pulled.
As they pushed through the big crowds plaguing the entrance, a sight similar to an ocean of tall, blue and white waves crashing into each other, a loud, unfamiliar crackling sound rang in his ear. He sharply turned his head and could see a speaker blurting out messages that just seemed scrambled to the excited boy. They took their seats for the start of the match. With his father to the left of him, the boy looked across to his right where he saw a big-boned bald supporter, with distinctive dark glasses, tucking into a Cornish pasty. The man lowered his head.
As the match progressed the crowd grew more and more agitated. A large, black crow hovered over the grandstand. The boy’s father was fidgeting constantly. After a few minutes the father got up from his seat. ” I’ll be a few minutes son, just got to use the toilet.”
The small boy looked like a pebble on the beach in contrast to the crowd’s attendance, which was like the mountainous Rockies. Minutes past and his father had still not returned. He looked over to his right. The man with dark glasses had disappeared. A grey cloud passed over the stadium. The boy started to panic. His heartbeat rocketing, his body trembling and his eyes watering. The referee blew his whistle loudly to signal half time and the crowds started to disappear into the toilets and hot dog stalls, into the bars and club shop.
In an instant the crowd had plummeted in number. He couldn’t see anybody he recognized and he felt so alone. The minutes ticked by, never before had he been left so alone.
As the crowd reappeared from the exits, every fan that wasn’t the boy’s Dad was like a knife in his heart, as painful as a pig to the slaughter. After nearly giving up hope of his father returning, the strange dark-glassed man emerged from the exit, a wide grin on his face. As he placed himself next to the boy he glanced over. ” Alright kiddo, are you enjoying yourself?” The small boy, as frightened as a cat running away from a dog, hesitantly replied with a nod.
As the match progressed so did the boy’s anxiety. It had been 30 minutes since his Dad left and the boy was really starting to shake. He lowered his head onto his lap and as he lifted it back up he could see a tall, broad, sinister looking Caribbean man with an afro plodding up the steps in a fluorescent orange jacket. The boy sat up properly and the man squeezed his way through the seated crowd and placed himself next to the boy. Before the boy could speak he was being carted off towards the emergency exit and thrown into the back of a shiny silver Renault Cleo.
The boy didn’t know what was happening and as they passed through the gates of the football stadium he could see the chunky bald man he’d been sitting next too staring at him with his dark shaded glasses. Suddenly I shiver wriggled down the boy’s spine. The car, being driven more recklessly by the minute, every junction they passed through a loud ringing sound would come out of the car. The car, going faster than the boy was used to when his dad was driving started swinging round roundabouts, accelerating through motorways and skidding past corners at great speed.
The car finally came to a halt outside a big four-storey building; the boy was swiftly whisked out of the car and marched into a plain white room where he was left. This room was plain, with five simple chairs around an oak table. A few womens magazines were all that lay upon this furnished table and it seemed an eternity for the boy whilst, he was waiting. The boy didn’t know what was happening; with nothing to do he stared at the low walls. He heard the door rattle and turned sharply, the door hadn’t been touch.
The boy, panicking, ran to the door to answer it but it wouldn’t budge. He yanked it. He kicked it. He barged into it but it still wouldn’t open. He was going, crazy what place was this? He could see men and women in wheelchairs and crutches ambling round the place. Men with head bandages and women with there arms in slings. Every few minutes a big trolley would pass the room. The boy would knock as hard as he could but still there would be no answer. Nobody could see him and no one answered his cries. As the fourth trolley rushed past it stopped just outside the door. A tall, chunky middle-aged man stepped off it. The boy instantly recognized the figure. It was his father. The door was unlocked immediately and the two were re-united. The boy was still unsure what had happened but he didn’t care in the slightest.
“That wasn’t scary at all James, tell us another one,” laughed John.
“It was scary John, look how scared Peter is,”
“Peter, what’s the matter that wasn’t as scary as one of mine.” As the boys looked across to Peter who was shaking like a leaf, the door flap flew open as a cold chilling wind descending down their spines, and in the door laid a pair of dark shaded glasses.