…NOT MANY PEOPLE know it, but it’s true. When everyone has gone to bed, slipping between sheets or using the sofa with the designated spare blanket stained by previous use, alone or in company, once those eyelids close, when that dreamscape catches fire, all of the shadows can finally leave and take a break.
We don’t expect much from life, one that ends when our caster does, and we willingly go to the grave, because corpses still produce shade, because no two people are alike, rarely has anyone required two shadows of identical fit, twins being the exception, and as a result we choose to leave public life dictated by light, natural and artificial, because all good things must end. Even the best film or book, were it to go on infinitely, would become a hideous creation.
Shadows cannot die that is true, and we simply exist, serving no apparent purpose, stretching and bending on moonlit midnight walks, coating surfaces without touching them, a strange beauty to it, as if we are the guardians of the physical, silhouettes without rights but not requiring any. Have you ever seen a shadow killed? Hurt? Slandered? No. And it makes existence much easier. Wherever you go, we shall follow as a dark form of the soul where and whenever we are cast.
Without voice we gather in the darkest places, faster than the speed of light, disintegrating into trillions of particles, blending, twisting, spilling into one another when darkness falls, at the click of a switch, snuff of a candle, we melt out of sight, out of mind, forming the darkness you call night, tricking without ill intent the stars and moon, free at last to explore the earth, to dip into the night sky if we choose, ever conscious yet unthinking, and should you awaken, your shadow will appear by your side, the instant the electric ignites the tungsten filament. Look, there it is, in place where you expect it to be. I told you. Quicker than light.
And with every death, we depart, forming the black between constellations, expanding the universe because we have nowhere else to go, nothing else to shadow, finally free to drift until the end of time, warping into galactic tar, the shadows millions year old, now as much a part of me as I am them.