ISOLATION WARD – SHADOW

Author: Amanda Leonardi
E-mail: amandalo1@hotmail.com

Oh, such a terribly cursed man I am! The most infortunate of all creatures, of that I am so sure! I swear I have never, ever, trusted any human being, for they are all selfish evil things, products of this terrible world, that is and always will be nothing else but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours, exactly like the old Danish prince once said. Anyway, from humans I have been able to stay away, except for myself, for that I am human, still I wish I were not. However, there is one creature who follows me, stalks my very soul everywhere I go, at least everywhere with lights on: my shadow! I know, this is insane, still the rationalization of my paranoia is not enough to end it. And I don’t even trust myself, for I am human too, so how can I know if this rationalization that fearing my own shadow is something insane isn’t a plan created by myself… to fool myself into not fearing it? Also, the paranoia might have been created by myself, just to destroy, this time completely, all I still had left of sanity! Still, I can not get rid of this fear, this panic: everywhere I go, I feel like the shadow is stalking me, haunting me, watching me, just waiting for… for what? That I don’t know! And that is the worst part, what is a shadow capable of? Is it worse than humans? Is it worse than myself?

Everyone tells me I’m insane; I pretty much know that. Still, I don’t trust anybody, not even myself. So, I keep being alert, paying attention to the shadow’s every movement, I’m sure there is something wrong with this… thing. During the day, and everywhere where there is any light at all, the thing has my own shape, with some odd distortions, and follows my every single action. However, what does this thing do at night, when all the lights are out? I keep wondering what shape a shadow has in the dark… if it has any shape at all… ’cause it imitates me in the light, it has a pratically human shape, that I can see, but what about in the dark? Does it even have any shape at all? What if does not have any shape, and once the lights are out, the shadow can take over all the space of an entire room? And, if I’m in the street, in the dark, at night, can this shadow take all the space of the street? Maybe even take over the whole sky and swallow all the stars? Oh no, I know, this is too insane! I should not keep on thinking about these things, now I’m only getting worse, this paranoia is killing me! Or is it not? What if the shadow could hear my thoughts and… and it could kill me? No, I’ll kill it first, that’s it, I’ve decided! I am going to kill my shadow!

But wait… is it possible? All right, were I sane at all, I would not even be considering this murder, since I am not sane, I have to wonder, is it possible to kill a shadow? I mean, is it alive, does it really have a life of its own? Well, it if is alive, it shall be alive no more, not being around me, and there is no other place this thing can be! That should be the time for my evil laugh, but something worse comes to mind now… a hideous thought that frightens my very soul… the thought that this thing, this shadow, might be already dead! What if… what if it is a ghost, or a spirit… or even a demon that imitates human shape to walk around among humans unnoticed?
If it is already dead, then there is nothing I can do. However if it its alive, which frights my soul anyway, then at least that means I can kill it, or so I hope! But what the hell, how do you kill a shadow? After all, it’s only a shadow, it has no solid substance I could cut through with a knife, a bullet, I could not make it drink poison, for it has no mouth or stomach, I could not push it to the edge of an abyss, for it has no body of its own… or so it seems… I still wonder if it might have a body of its own, invisible to me, to all humans for all I know, with scary eyes, watching me every second, although invisible eyes… eyes that peer through the darkness, eyes that are nothing else but darkness itself… This thing must die, but how? Maybe it will die when I die! If this is right, then it cannot kill me either, for it shall depend on my existence to walk around in human form. Or is it right? Maybe it can kill me, and it certainly will, but not before I kill it first! And that is exactly what I am going to do!

That’s right, tonight I shall kill it. There are only a few seconds left to midnight. After the clock strikes midnight, I’ll attack it, I’ll attack my own shadow! I am in the dark, all the doors and windows of this house are closed, so the shadow has no shape now, it can be anywhere. Or, as I believe, it must be everywhere, so it must be easier to hit it and kill it. I am holding a knife, a very big and sharped one, and at any moment now, after midnight, it will be the time for my release, this paranoia shall end… I move forward with the knife, attacking the darkness, then I fall to the ground… or maybe something pushes me? I drop the knife in the dark, then, when I fall… all I feel is the knife cutting through my throat, I feel a terrible pain in my throat and the unique taste of blood in my mouth: the taste of pain… then, silence. Soft silence filled with only the taste of my sweet relief, my dear bloody ending, now I’m free. The shadow is gone; I’m gone. The madness is finally over, at least for me. The world is over now.

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