I woke one night only to the sound of my beating heart echoing in the emptiness of my head. It took me awhile to gain my bearings, however when I finally proceeded to analyze my surroundings, I realized the room was unusually cold. I remember I had fallen asleep on the couch earlier and when I decided to retire to bed I checked the thermostat and it had read 72°F. I walked in my room afterwards and recall being perfectly content with the surrounding temperature. However, I woke and it felt as if someone had perhaps opened a window or even left a door agape.
Slowly, I rose from my comfortable lying position in my soft bed and deeply regretted it immediately. I took my first deep breath of the morning. The air even smelled cold, maybe that sounds crazy to you, but it smelled like the first day of cold weather in fall. The sharp air made my throat stiff and made my lungs tighten. Gaining the understanding that something was wrong, I stood up out of my bed.
I did not feel right, at all. My knees felt weak and my heartbeat was slow. “Guh, ugh,” I grunted to clear my throat and heard an echo. Was someone in my house? Was I still dreaming? Did someone break in? There was only one way to find out.
Proceeding to my open door, I took notice of the unusual clammy complexion of my skin. I stepped into the hallway, “Hello?” I called out. “If someone broke in they’re not going to respond! What are you? Stupid? Why is it so cold?” I thought to myself silently as I walked down the hallway. I turned my head to see the guest bedroom door open. I always keep it shut, I never leave that door open.
I walked through the vacant doorway to be greeted by footsteps that mimicked my own. I turned my head to my left to see the dark shadowy figure of a little girl on the bed. She looked at me with bright white eyes that made me jump in shock.
It looked as if she was studying me as her eyes analyzed my body, her eyes trailing up and down, never blinking. I made no noise, nor did she, we just stared at each other in an eerie silence.
Stammering, I managed to let a question escape my quivering lips, “W…W…Who are y…you?”. I watched as she giggled and turned to a blur in front of me and then reappeared standing a matter of inches from me. Shaking, I looked down at her. She poked my chest with a solid black finger while still laughing. I could not think, I was standing, frozen in front of her. “I’m your shadow,” she stated in a blood curdling voice then she proceeded to laugh.
Looking down, I saw I, indeed, had no shadow. Was she why I was so cold and weak? She looked at me, “Not feeling so well?” she giggled and twitched mechanically, “I guess you need me.” I watched her once again shake and turn to a blur then once again sit cross-legged on the bed.
“What do you mean?” I backed up in fear as I asked her this question. She answered, “I assumed after all this time you would have figured it out.” She turned back into a blur then reappeared in front of me as I dialed 911. “I wouldn’t do that,” she grabbed my arm, “You may need me, but I don’t need you.” She shoved something sharp into my arm and I screamed.
A neighbor must have heard and called the authorities because the next thing I knew I awoke in the hospital with an oxygen mask on my face and fifteen stitches trailing up my arm. Maybe it had been a dream, maybe it was me. Looking back, she… no, it… was me after all. The light in this world needs the dark, but the dark, it doesn’t need the light.