For 2022, I’ve been wanting to write more ‘creature features’ and generally improve my short story writing. My partner got me a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my birthday so I came up with the idea of writing a story every week based on a different creature from that – All There in the (Monster) Manual. Hope you enjoy!
This Week’s Inspiration: Shadow
When was the last time you really took notice of your shadow? Did it ever occur to you that they might have thoughts, feelings, an agenda of their own?
When was the last time you really took notice of your shadow? Your mind probably goes back to childhood. Watching the way the sun’s angle made your shadow stretch like a funhouse mirror along the sidewalk. Shadow puppets, or trying to jump so high your shadow would detach itself from you. It was your most constant companion. But then we learn a shadow isn’t really a thing of its own. It’s a hole created when light particles are blocked by your body or whatever else they run into, and that hole drapes itself over another surface. We learn that and we stop paying attention, we take them for granted. It’s a void, the absence of a thing and not a thing itself.
At least that’s what we thought.
Kids noticed first when the shadows started going missing but they were dismissed, ignored. Then adults began to notice as well. Social media went wild. Mainstream media and experts were baffled. The shadows of inanimate objects and animals remained, but human shadows were going missing. Disappearing at an exponential rate.
While this might have been mysterious enough, then the shadows started appearing again. Divorced from the people whose shapes they still retained, divorced from context. Capering through streets and parks and public places. Engaged in their own activities and games.
Disturbing, but mostly harmless. Even with the occasional accident or scare. Even though they sometimes made obscene gestures at children, or shaded areas with mass gatherings. Some caused accidents, running unpredictably in front of cars although unattached to anything the cars could actually hit. Sometimes people and couples found shadows watching them in their homes, like two dimensional voyeurs who couldn’t be dispersed. But the vast majority of the shadows caused no problems.
Then it was discovered the shadows could affect the physical world after all. They started opening doors, taking things, breaking things. After the betrayal of them abandoning us in the first place, the realisation they could now affect us while we couldn’t do anything in return caused a spasm of fear through the population.
Scientists discovered a way to return the shadows to their rightful owners. Like Peter Pan sewing his shadow back to the soles of his feet. Something to do with light particles, radiation, and the CERN facility in Geneva. And it worked. Everything returned to the way things had always been. Except now we knew. Now we were burdened with the knowledge that our constant companions weren’t quite so empty as we thought. They had their own thoughts, their own agenda. And maybe they were watching, plotting, burning with resentment, waiting for their next chance to escape.
When was the last time you really took notice of your shadow?
Sean: I’m not really sure how to feel about this one to be honest. It’s one of those stories that seem crystal clear in your mind, but when I put it to paper I felt I had completely missed the mark. That I had completely missed the feeling I was going for. But I left it alone for a bit, reread it, and was a bit more satisfied. I’m really not sure but if it got you looking around for where your shadow is right now I guess I succeeded at least in your case. I can see mine right now in the corner of my eye, typing as I type by the light of my home office window, so I guess for now the pact still holds.
I’m getting married this week, so I thought it’d be a good time for something ultra short and sweet! I’ve set this one to go out ahead of time so actually if all goes to plan, if you’re reading this when it’s just gone up I should be married and on my honeymoon.
If you’d like to get me a gift, let’s say you could head to my Amazon page and check out my published books? Or you could share or drop a review on any of the short stories hosted on my page!
Next Week’s Inspiration: Hell Hound