Author Topic: It Walked With Me  (Read 4618 times)

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on: 02:51:44 PM 01/26/13
The weirdest thing I've ever seen, in person at least, was the thing that walked with me. It wasn't a large thing, or a dangerous thing, or even a particularly scary thing.

It was a shadow.

Whose shadow? I have no idea. Maybe nobody's shadow. Maybe someone was killed or was never born and this thing belonged to them.

It started when I was stumbling home one night, singing at the top of my lungs, grabbing on to street lights for support, laughing all the way. In an instant, I saw the thing, the shadow, and I froze. The only movements I made were the involuntary, swaying motions of a drunkard trying to stand still.

It stood there in the light... or lied there in the light... it was just THERE in the light, spread across the ground like some absurd reflection in a funhouse mirror.

Then it took one step... two steps... sliding feet-first toward me.

I turned and ran, but there's only so much you can do in that sort of inebriated state. I banged on doors, rattled windows, but everything had long since closed. Even the most liberal of late-night hang-outs had earlier run me off.

I turned back to see the thing strolling... slip-sliding... ever closer.

Backing away now, entirely sure that at some point my ass would meet pavement, I watched in horror as the thing's feet met my own.

It stepped into my feet like a gentleman slipping on loafers.

Then it turned, like the time-lapsed shadow on a sundial, and completely merged with the normal, portly shade my own body cast across the sidewalk.

For days, weeks, the thing walked with me. It may have stayed concealed... tried to move when I moved, step when I stepped... but every so often I'd catch it in a mistake.

I'd leap, twist, turn, and collapse (no longer drunk, mind you) just to see if the thing could keep pace with my legitimate shadow. A misplaced elbow here, a jutting knee there, a foot just a half-second out of step would betray the existence of this strange, hidden being.

I didn't feel safe in the light OR the darkness. Being able to see my shadow meant being able to catch the tiny flaws others couldn't percieve. Being in the dark, however, made me feel as if the thing could be anywhere... or all around me... all at once. Who's to know?

I listlessly wandered the streets at night, no longer interested in dulling my mind with drink. That, I figured, would have provided the optimal time for this thing to make its move. I don't know what I expected, but I knew I should expect SOMEthing.

It was during one of these late-night walks, aimless in nature, that I approached the place it had first happened. When I reached the light... that same street light under which I'd met this unknowable stowaway... I cried out, shook my feet, tried to kick the very darkness out from beneath my body.

No matter how much I moved, or how quickly, nothing could shake the parasite free.

"Drunken asshole," called a voice from across the street, "Go sleep it off in an alley, you prick."

I cast my gaze at a young couple who had likely come from one of the city's finer restaurants. The girl weaved her arm around the great, hulking brute's waist and scolded him. No doubt she had seen him incite violence before.

Had my eye not been distracted, I would be able to tell you exactly HOW this happened, but by the time I looked back down... two of the disembodied things were casually walk-sliding away from me.

They moved toward the departing couple and, without missing a step, slipped into their shadows without their notice.

Dumbfounded, I studied my own round shadow once more. The wild hair, the loose clothes... it LOOKED like it was just me in there...

I trotted, turned, leapt and bent in all manner of odd directions, and yet I saw no second shadow hiding within my own. I had been freed of the thing, somehow... yet only after it had spawned a partner.

Every so often, I stop to study other people's shadows. With increasing frequency I notice some misplaced elbow... some jutting knee... I have no idea what these immaterial hitch-hikers are, what they want, or how they plan to accomplish it.

All I know is that one of them walked with me, and at this rate they'll eventually walk with all of you, as well.
« Last Edit: 03:19:02 AM 05/07/13 by chwolf »
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.