As promised, the true story that inspired my, “Two Souls & an Orphan”. At least part of it. The two souls mentioned in the story are the Shadow Man and Maggie Bell. This is the story of my last encounter with the Shadow Man.

The shadow man came and went for me from a very young age, well into my twenties. Every time he appeared, at the foot of my bed or in a doorway, I would feel paralyzed and breathless. Once, my dad even came running to my room when he heard me screaming at the shadow to, “let go!” as he pulled my leg in the air, though my dad did not see him and I never spoke of him. The Shadow Man was an absolute terror. He felt like pure fear, a leach on the soul. This was long before J.K. Rowling’s Dementors, though I would later find out that there were many others who had seen him as well. I do not know to this day, if this shadow man is some sort of demon or dark soul that feeds on particular people, I only know that he haunted me for many years, and then one day he was just gone— or at least I had thought he was gone. It turned out that he had never left and had instead found a new target very close to me. My eldest daughter, then around two or three years old, had trouble sleeping through the night. I thought this was probably pretty normal, but it was exhausting. Every night, she would wake up, come to my room and climb in bed with me and her dad. And every night, I would scoop her up after she fell asleep in my arms and carry her back to bed. One night, however, she woke up as I carried her back to bed. “No mommy,” she pleaded, not wanting to go back to her room. I wanted to give in, wanting her to feel that she could always count on me to comfort her, no matter what—but something compelled me to ask. “Why can’t you just sleep in your own bed, baby?” She looked up at me, very seriously, and said, “I can’t sleep with the black man watching me.” I froze in place, my stomach twisting into a knot. I knew instantly who she was talking about and realized in that moment why I had not seen him for the past few years. My fear quickly went up in the flames of motherly instinct. I took her back to my bed, lay her next to her daddy and told her I’d be right back. I went into her room, feeling that icky shadow still lingering just out of my sight. “I know you’re here, you coward, and I know you can hear me,” I spoke with a strength that I didn’t know I had, so fierce. Always, when I had faced him before, I was paralyzed in fear, but not this time—not when my baby was involved. “You leave this house NOW!” I sent out the words with all the force of my soul. “You are NOT welcome here, you will leave my daughters  alone!” I spoke the words with such a power, a force that surprised even myself. I don’t even know how to explain the whole ordeal. It was like feeling an enormous power surge within myself, pushing outward with such explosive force. Like a storm, followed by a breeze, washing through the entire house. Without a doubt I felt him leave. From that night forward, I said a prayer of protection every night for my girls as I’d tuck them in and he never returned.

Copyright © 2019 Davina Rush

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