The Moving Shadow
The two boys arrived with their flashlights and shovels at the decided space – The Old Shack by pirates cove. They hiked down stream to “the place.”
Lance then said, “You shouldn’t have gone into the woods, dude. Then we wouldn’t be here.”
“I couldn’t help it. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Besides we got a hot one this time.”
They climbed the riverbank to the cave hole. Just in front of the cave there was animal tracks, perhaps groundhog, beaver or squirrel. They then worked on the opening by tearing away tall grass, bushes and a downed rotting tree. Now the opening was big enough for one person to go through.
Tommy asked with a shaky voice, “Why don’t you go first and I’ll… fffol…low,” stuttering because he was scared.
Once inside with turned on flashlights they found themselves in a huge cave and it was a long one. Rocks were everywhere above, below, on the sides and roof. There appeared a place to proceed ahead. The two guys remained quiet and strained to listen. A flutter of wings and several bats escaped upward. Flashlights caught some of them as their dark wings flapping like a large black birds, except they were squealing.
Far ahead they could see the lighted cave wall but no moving shadow on it. For a long time neither spoke. Tommy broke the silence and whispered, “See anything, Lance?”
“Not a thing. It seems like a really cool cave. No one seems to be here.”
“What could have made the shadow on the wall?”
By now the boys had reached a place where the outside light flooded the cave wall. They stood in between the light and the wall. Their shadows were evident.
Tommy whispered, “Who would come here? Perhaps a thief, a murderer or a crazy man.” He shuddered to think about it.
“We’d better go back, it’s getting late and I don’t want to be here in the dark!” said Lance who always lead the two and made good decisions.
All of a sudden they heard footsteps.
“Quick hide behind this boulder here!” ordered Lance.
From their hiding place they could see the wall and a shadow of a man appeared and moved. Lance gave Tommy the elbow as if to say, “See, the moving shadow.”
A man finally came into view. At first faintly and then almost right on top of them. This time when they peeked, they recognized “Old Charley, the vendor.” He used to give kids candy and sell stuff to adults. They hadn’t seen him for years.
Lance stepped back to balance himself and accidentally sent a rock scurrying downward.
Old Charley yelled, “Who’s there?” The boys yelled from behind the boulder, “It’s us Old Charley – Lance and Tommy,” as they stepped out from behind the boulder.
“Well what do you know…Tommy and Lance. How you guys been. You’re so grown up.”
The two explained why they were there and Old Charley laughed and laughed. “I sometimes sleep in here overnight while I’m on the road,” he explained. “How’d you get here anyway?”
“We found an opening on the opposite side of the cave. It comes out by the river bank,” chimed the boys together.
Charley said in somber tones, “Probably pirates found that opening convenient to the river and stashed their treasures in here.” And at that he winked at them.
“You really think so, Old Charley?” said Tommy.
Old Charley reached in his pocket and pulled out, you guessed it, candy. Charley swore them to secrecy. The boys left laughing and waving to Old Charley, they knew their way home and talked and talked about the moving shadow on the wall.