April 4th, 2021


Idol Survivor: "In The Shadows"

In The Shadows
idol survivor | daily-fic challenge, day 16 #1


There might be something
in those shadows—ghosts,
or even monsters.
Anything at all.

So then, what is it?

Lurking, listening,
and silently scheming
until our vigilance
falls away…

What does it want from us?
And worse, what will it take?

Don't look away, don't
think it might be nothing—
because if you are wrong,
what then?

There is that chance,
but it is more likely
danger shifts and drifts
its way into new forms, instead.

There could be shadows
in those shadows, hiding
something stranger still.
We cannot be certain.

But it is deep inside
that possibility,
that the real story
can finally begin.



Idol Survivor: "A World Within"

A World Within
idol survivor | daily-fic challenge, day 16, #2 | 1370 words


It's the weekend again, not my favorite time for riding on the bike path because the crowds are nerve-wracking, but it still beats biking in the garage. I check the temperature to gauge the maximum amount of clothing I can wear, then sunblock the remaining exposed skin and head on out.

Down through our neighborhood, checking the cross-streets to make sure no one is about to run a stop sign and hit me. Out to the first of the busy streets, where I go from "warm-up" to full-speed pace, checking the bike lane for glass and watching for cars backing out of driveways or stopping past the stop sign and into the bike lane. I'm always on alert.

Nearing the second busy street, I look over my shoulder to see if anyone is behind me. There's a "yield/merge" corner there where I turn right, and I always worry about cars and trucks cutting that corner and trapping me up against the curb. No one's behind me, so I sail around it and continue on.

I'm approaching the edge of the property that has a decorative pond down below, or as I like to think of it, a "mosquito farm." The water is algae-covered and murky now, but I'm more interested in the pavement. Accidents near that spot are common, and sometimes a spray of broken glass coats the bike lane there and goes on for several more blocks. I think it's because of that merge lane—either side-swiping accidents from someone trying to merge into another vehicle, or nervous drivers being rear-ended when the path is clear but they slam on their brakes when the person behind them doesn't expect it.

The pavement look okay, so I don't have to edge out into traffic—always a relief, since the typical speed there is more than 50mph. I keep going and eventually cross that boulevard in halves, then start down the road that leads to the bike path. Then I go up through the parkway gate to the levee, and down the ramp into another world.

On weekends, I ride downriver. It's less pretty than upriver, but also less crowded, so there's less risk of an accident or near-accident from people doing something stupid. The trail is a bike path, but because it's paved, people often treat it as their personal promenade, so "stupid" includes things like walking or standing on the pavement, riding in the wrong lane, stepping out in front of a bike or pulling onto the path in front of an oncoming bike, or walking a dog and/or its leash in that space. Like I said, nerve-wracking.

But for a downriver ride, I always start by going upriver for a bit and then turning around before I reach the more crowded areas. The place where I enter the bike path rarely has any interesting wildlife—usually it's just rock doves or those suicidal ground squirrels. But three-quarters of a mile up, there's a rise where you get a nice view of the river below. That's the spot where the land along the bank forms a deep upside-down "U" and creates a backwater pool. One year, a swan was in that pool for a good eight months. I assume it escaped from one of the pricier private homes a few miles away, rather than being wild, but who knows? No other swans ever joined it (i.e., it had no flock). After a few weeks, though, a Canadian goose made friends with it, and they hung out together until the swan left. Or was it re-appropriated? I can just imagine someone biking or walking near there, and going, "Wait, is that our Clarence? That little sneak! I paid good money to have him decorate the yard, not go off and do bird things. I'm going to send someone after him."

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