The Waiting Shade
The shadows lengthen on the moor,
And settle in my heart;
They press their darkness on my soul
And ply their twisting art.
Past them I no longer see
The path that leads me home.
The way across the rolling heath
Is lost in twilight gloam.
Then near the blackthorn tree I hear
A thin, dusk-muffled song.
Soft as the sea it croons to me :
There’s someplace grander I belong.
I yearn to follow it, this voice;
It spins a thread to pull me by.
Still, flitting fears within me warn :
In straying, deadly dangers lie.
I hesitate, though whispers weave
A vision of my heart’s desire,
And now a note of pique I hear,
A sharp-edged tinge of ire.
Then through the dark a brightening glow
Spills from a lamp in yellow light.
The path shows clear and looming near
A creature reaching from the night.
For just between me and the light
Awaits a heaving shade
To lead me into trackless lands
Until my senses fade.
Then — “Heavens, child, upon my life,”
A coarser voice now scolds.
“You know what dangers creep awake
As autumn night unfolds.”
I’m safe now in the lamplight’s shine.
The grasping shape takes flight.
Grandmother takes my hand in hers
And all is set to right.
“The Waiting Shade” © Casey Laine, first published here in Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores on Hallowe’en of 2021
Casey Laine comes from a long line of word-wise women. She has channeled that abundance in a number of ways, from tutoring in academic writing, teaching French and ESL, and working at a large metropolitan library, to poetry and an epic fantasy novel. In addition to editing for Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, she curates, edits, and publishes an annual anthology of fiction and poetry for her writing group, Writers Assembled, available on Amazon. Other interests include gardening, naturalism, and amateur photography, with a specialization in butterflies. She occasionally pops out a review, article, or poem. In her spare time, she takes long walks with her giant dog and chases butterflies with her camera. Find her at:
Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores: https://www.cosmicrootsandeldritchshores.com
Fifty Word Stories : http://fiftywordstories.com
Illustrations “Nocturnal Whisperings” and “Mystical Forest” by Wyldraven, who can be found roosting here amongst much beautiful artwork.
You can comment on this story and artwork at The Forums, on our Twitter page, and on our facebook page.
You can Subscribe to one of our sliding scale subscriptions to receive notifications of future publications, and to help us bring you more stories, artwork, podcasts, and articles.