SHADOW 1

It’s raining and I’m wobbling in bed, I’m scared, I’m scared of the rain. I’m seventeen, and I know I shouldn’t be scared of such things as rain, and thunder and lightning, you know I shouldn’t be scared of storms, but I am. As far back as I can remember, this has always been the case, just like people are scared of spiders, that’s how I’m scared of rain. It’s less about the rain and more about the thunder, the angry roaring. The roaring is what highlights my fear and the sound of the raindrops is what brings the phony cold.

I’m squeezed on the sheets. The pillow is drawn to my face and I’m sinking my head inside the pillow and I’m trying to drown the sounds of the storm but it’s not working because the roofs reverberate the sound. Mum is sleeping in the master bedroom. I’m a seventeen-year-old guy, I can’t go and meet her and tell her I’m scared of thunder as I used to do when I much younger. She doesn’t even know I still harbour such fear, she thinks I gave it up long time ago, but it still lingers. I try not to be a wimp, I try to gobble it up.

My aunt used to say that the skies cry anytime death lurks about and that the thunders threaten the bad people of the world. It doesn’t make sense, does it? But she believes this. I know she does because of the way she winces when she’s lecturing about it. So, yea, I manage to sleep. I wake up the next morning and I feel a bit strong, I take my bath, I brush my teeth and I jolt myself to face the day’s struggles.

Why do people have to struggle every day, why don’t people just sleep and wake up and smile and fuck and sleep and wake up and smile again? Why do people have to go to work, why do people have to stress themselves? I’m fed up with work, but I have to go to work. So I get into my jeans and wear my boots and shirt and now I’m ready to work.

Work is a bit crazy. You know, bosses would always be bosses, always finding mistakes in every little thing that you do. I try not to get sentimental over this, I just focus on the job and five-ish I’m out of work and back home. I should get my place, but my fears are just too many. What would happen when it’s raining and I’m alone in my crib? No, the thought is too reprimanding to process.

I have to go to church. Church is another thing that I do. I have many atheist friends who don’t go to church but I have to go because there’s a lot of things I’m scared of that need prayers. Can you imagine that I’m scared of rain, shouldn’t that tell you that I’m disturbed? I pray, I pray that God helps me, that God solves my problems and liberate me from my fears. After a few minutes, mass is finished and I head for home. Usually, on my way back home from church, I usually like to clank my fingers on the columns of poles that make a fence. While doing that, I watch my shadow, my dark reflection on the ground, and I realise that it is nodding its head. But I’m not nodding my head! This is strange to me, this is strange to anyone. I look around to make sure someone else’s shadow isn’t imposing mine, but I’m the only one on the pavement. It’s almost scary.

I pause, and my shadow keeps walking! This is when things get crazy. I nod it off and move on. Common, man, you’ve not eaten, maybe you’re hallucinating or something. But hold on a minute, my fucking shadow is freaking walking while I’m standing still! I want to shout and explode. Why are things strange around me, when did shadows start behaving this way, when did shadows start disobeying the very people that cast them? That’s my shadow, walking away from me. What do I do about this? I’m walking without a shadow. Does this mean I’m dead? I look back to see if there’s a dead body or maybe I was shot in the head without knowing or maybe I just died while walking, but I don’t see anything.

I feel cold again like I was yesterday while it was raining. Do you understand the gravity of this? My shadow has left me! Wake up, people!

I get home and my shadow isn’t still with me. I sleep it over. It is weekend, I wake up and turn off the lights to see if my shadow would appear, and it’s there! It’s obedient as ever but yesterday it wasn’t. Okay, maybe you were just hallucinating, I think to myself, don’t think about it. Some minutes later, more like hours, after breakfast I discussed my ordeal with a friend and he tells me, “Common, man, a shadow is merely an opaque reflection of you…” and I reply saying, “Okay, man, but I freaking saw my shadow moving on its own, my shadow took steps without me!” and my friend just replies saying it wasn’t real. And truly I think it wasn’t real. So I convinced myself; for a guy who is scared of rain, that means you’re freaking scared even of breathing, hence you can hallucinate anything because you’re always scared.

Some minutes after talking to my friend, it was dusk and I walked out again, this time to receive some fresh air. And my shadow wasn’t there! My freaking shadow wasn’t there! Where could one’s very shadow possibly wander to? It isn’t real for a shadow to leave its body, it doesn’t make sense. So am I still hallucinating this? Okay, guess what I do, I call up a nigger by the road, “Hey bro, hi, please do you see a shadow around me?” And guess what, he runs away! Full throttle, like he has seen a ghost. Well, that just affirmed it. Shit just got real.

My fears are beginning to manifest in the light of day. This time not in the form of rain or thunder or lighting, but in the form of a freaking missing shadow. It’s okay, I tell myself, even if it’s not.

The next evening, I sit at the corridor, and I talk to my shadow in the form of talking to myself and I’m like, “Hey shadow, where are you? This isn’t some bedtime story, this is reality, man, you’re gonna freak people out. Where the fuck are you?” Then guess what happens next, I see my freaking shadow in the form of a being! And it looks like me. What the fuck do you do when this happens to you? Anyways, I try to keep calm but God knows I’m freaking scared. I pee on myself a little, “Hey, man, can you talk back? Hey, shadow can you talk back?” and it’s just looking at me; white eyes and the rest of it black. It’s misty around the corners but it’s a shadow nonetheless. It’s 3D, a 3D shadow. It doesn’t talk back.

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The next evening it appears in my room, and as mum opens the door it behaves like a normal shadow again. Cocky prick. After mum leaves it becomes 3D again. I sit down and question my shadow, “Hey shadow, what do you want from me, what’s your purpose, why would you defy the laws of nature to come haunt me, what is this, why are you 3D outside, am I hallucinating, am I getting crazy?”

Then I hear a voice in my head, it’s blurry, inarticulate, somewhat like white noise. It’s talking to me, I think it’s trying to make out something, it’s trying to tell me something like, “I’m… the… new… horror… and… I’m… going… to… make… the… town… mad.” And I’m like, “Hold on a minute, shadow, this doesn’t make sense. You’re the new horror and you’re going to make the town mad. How does that work?”

(watch out for part 2)

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