Flash Fiction

SHADOW BABY

The shadow baby swung upside-down on the monkey bars. There wasn’t an actual corporeal baby, just a shadow of a baby. It’s outline was most distinct during the high afternoon sun as discarded fast food wrappers danced across the playground parking lot. The shadow baby played from dawn to dusk, climbing and swinging on the overhead bars. He scaled the domed monkey bars and skittered across the teeter totter. Late in the afternoon when the shadow of everything stretched toward the horizon vanishing point, the shadow baby could be found building castles in the sandbox just before he disappeared for the night. The children were so used to the small shadow that they played unaffected by it’s presence. But attending mothers and nannies all shied from the haunting image cavorting amongst their children. Adults didn’t see shadows as natural things. Babies don’t swing on monkey bars and shadows don’t exist without something that casts them. Yet there it was, frolicking right along with their own kids. Sometimes during play, the children could be seen stopping and saying something to the shadow baby and even though it made no sound, its small body would look as if it were giggling or outright laughing. That would unnerve the parents even more. The shadow baby was unaffected by their concerns. One day, the children didn’t come to the playground and the shadow baby played alone. Then the next day, heavy-set men showed up with large, angry sounding machines and the playground was bulldozed down and cleared away. The asphalt was scraped flat and bare. The shadow baby no longer had monkey bars to swing on or slides to ride. His bouncing image melted into the scrapped and scared pavement where the playground had once existed.

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One thought on “Flash Fiction

  1. I love it! This monkeybar-swinging baby apparition is twice removed from normalcy. Really cool, creative little story. Makes me wonder who this person was when still alive, and how old he or she was at the time of death (if our friend Shadow Baby is a ghost in the first place).

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