A Conversation Amongst Shadows

A Conversation Amongst Shadows

A Story by Tyler Allen
"

A lonely child turns to the shadows of his mind for company and conversation Please review, good or bad

"

 

 A Conversation Amongst Shadows

 Tyler Allen

 

 

1.

 

                Cole Nottingham thought everything was going to be okay, until he had the dream. That was when he realized, upon his grim and groggy awakening, how lonely he truly was. How scared of abandonment, by the few people he still had, that he was.

                In this dream, it was him, Jessica, Brendon, and Stevie, all in a room together. A basement, or maybe a garage. It was a social gathering, a party, brought about by some unknown, but nonetheless joyous event.

                Him, and all of his best friends. His only friends. Only, he was the outsider. The “friend” in every group who is there merely for the reason that nobody is rude enough to tell him to leave. He was aware that the group would function just as well, if not better, without him.

                Everybody talks, and laughs. They all have something to say. Always a meaningful conversation to fill up the silence that always seemed so desperate to conquer the atmosphere.

                Not Cole, though. He never knows quite what to say. Remains quiet in fear of saying something foolish, or out of place. The little he does say is harshly disregarded. Mostly, they laugh amongst themselves. When a pair of eyes lines up with his, even for a glimpse of a second, he will laugh along, almost silently, not about to miss the opportunity to be apart of the punch line that he does not understand.

 

                Soon enough, his presence is forgotten completely. The conversations that he wants so much to become a part of soon fade into no more than mumbles and mutters; a jumbled blur of life and love, in which he was in no way of any significance.

                Absently, he throws the hood of his tattered black sweatshirt over his ruffled hair, and stares down with discontent at his feet. When his beat up sneakers begin to disappear into a gray silhouette, he is filled with panic. Next, his hands disappear. All of his skin dissipates into a reflection of contrasting light.

                He is becoming a shadow. But, of course, the party continues unaltered. The lonely shadow stands in the corner, now merely observing, it’s very soul scorched by the black flames of envy, withering into gray dust, and fading into a wicked silhouette.

 

                When Cole wakes up, he scans his tired and fluttering eyes around the room. Everybody is gone, and he is, of course, alone. Just like every morning. A curse, and yet, a blessing.

                Nobody to talk to, yes. But, there’s nothing that he has to think of to say. He’s addicted to the bitter ecstasy of isolation.

                He knows that if he could talk to others like he talks to himself, he would be the life of any party.

                By now, it’s something that he’s grown coldly used to. Isolation has become a shelter, and anything on the outside was harsh and dangerous. He had a fear of social situations, therefore, had become a lingerer. A shadow amongst the lively.

                As he crawls out of bed, alarm clock blaring its stuttering whine, the gray and hazy morning sun pouring in through the window, Cole has simply one miserable thought.

                I’m losing everybody.

 

                Nobody awake in the house to say “good morning” to as he gloomily butters a slice of stale wheat toast. The heavy silence pushing down on his eyelids, trying to seduce him into falling back into bed, and sleeping away the rest of the day.

                The rest of the week.

                Or maybe the rest of his life.

 

                Cole Nottingham showers, dresses, and packs his notebooks. He gets on the bus; a dark and empty coffin with wheels and burnt-brown tattered seats, then shuffles down the skinny aisle to the very back seat. He’s the only one on, besides the young girl in front of him. He knows her name, but they never speak.

                She’s lost in the world of her ear-phones, and he’s lost in the world of a tattered mind, racking his brain for the simplest of salutations, which of course, he wouldn’t dare utter anyhow.

                As the hour burns away along with the early-morning overcast, the bus slowly fills with groggy life all around him, and as it does, his head gradually leans closer and closer to the foggy window. His temple caresses the cold, moist glass, and he watches the wood as they fly by and behind, shunning the life around him, thinking of what he might say if someone was to call his name.

                Conjuring a response to nobody. The dim reflection in the glass that shakes and rattles in its worn frame.

                The watchful shadow stretches across his empty seat. A dark and distorted version of himself, observing the life that Cole feared so much.

               

                He approaches them in the corridor, before the morning bell rings, orchestrating the herd to their cells.

                “Hey, man,” says Cole. Brendon regards him with a dull nod, but Stevie and Jessica continue to chat amongst themselves.

                And that’s it. These are his best friends. This is the most he can say to anybody. These people accept him and his quietness.

                Well… they let him stand there, at least. Isn’t that enough for them to be considered best friends?

                Stevie, Brendon, and Jessica continue to talk. They laugh, they gasp, they grin, and they shout.

                Just a conversation between best friends.

                Cole smiles, and he nods. He listens contently. When he picks up what might be a cue to laugh, he utters a grunt that could either be a half-a*s chuckle, or a sound of dull agreement. Just in case he’s wrong.

 

                When Cole Nottingham gets home that day, he does his chores, cooks his dinner, and watches an hour of television. Then he goes to bed.

                Another eventful day.

 

                He falls asleep quickly, for the invisible weight of the days accumulated silence has fallen on his weary eyes.

                He dips into unconsciousness with a deep and resonating fear settled in his heart.

                The fear that when he wakes up, he will be now more than a shadow. A dark reflection that ceaselessly yearns to follow.

 

               

 

2.              

 

                There are no dreams tonight. Cole Nottingham is blindsided by consciousness, his heavy eyelids reluctant to open, hesitant to greet the musky sunlight that lies over his bed.

                It’s Saturday morning. There is a party at Stevie’s house today. All of his best friends are going… except for him.

                He lifts his hand in front of his face, and sighs with relief at the fact that he is still made of flesh.

                He can still feel a soul operating, though grim in doing so.

                There is still a heart that beats, churning and pumping blood that runs cold.

                A mind, though slow upon waking, that still crowds with the gloomy ghosts of dead desire.

               

My mind is a haunted manor, he thinks coldly as he throws off his blanket, sits up, and stares at the blank wall.

                And of course… he see’s a shadow. Staring right back at him with its expressionless face that holds no eyes.

                Only… there’s something peculiar about his shadow this morning. It was stretched across the wall, but not in any corresponding position to Cole himself.

                It seemed to be standing straight up, where as Cole was still sitting.

                The first thing he thinks is, who’s in here with me?

                As the though passes through his head, he can actually feel it travel though the room, and into the head of the lifeless shadow. As if he was delivering a package.

                In the next instant, he can sense life forming in the room. Other than his own. Or perhaps, a manifestation of his own.

 

                Without making a sound, the shadow speaks. Cole can hear it, in a voice that is darkly similar to his own.

                It’s just me, Cole. Just you.

                You’re alive? But, you’re just a-

                Shadow? Yes, but look! I live, I breathe, I speak. I am just a living reflection of yourself.

                The logic was enough for him. He could accept it. After all, he was only dreaming, wasn’t he?

                Either that, or his sanity had slipped away some time in the night…

 

                He was hesitant to ask it, even to think it, for he knew that the shadow would hear.

                As the thought rose to the surface, and he pushed it back down into the darkness of his mind, he realized that It was too late.

                Yes, Cole. Of course I’m your friend. Why wouldn’t I be? I’m merely the side of you that watches the life unfolding that you can’t bear to see. I watch, to remind you that you’re still real, that you’re not just a shadow like me. Why, I’m the best friend you’ve ever had!

                Relief and joy filled his heart to the brim, and when it flooded over, the words began to spill from his mouth.

                “So, what about all my other friends,” he asked, now speaking with a voice that he barely knew existed. “Are their shadows all as friendly as you?”

                Sure! Every shadow is just a reflection of oneself. Another side of that person. If they themselves have no interest in talking to you, then their shadows certainly will.

                “Is there… anyway I can speak to them? I mean… the shadows?”

                Yes, there is. And I can help you to find them. Then we’ll all be one big… family.

                “But, how?”

                Just fall back asleep, Cole. When you wake up, we’ll all be together. And you’ll be the life of the party.

                “The life of the party,” he whispers hoarsely. Before he can even lie his head back down on the pillow, his shadow glides across the room, flies over the top of him, and clasps its hands over his eyes.

                The room compresses into a circular blur, floating in an infinite void of darkness.

                Then, the circle of blurred vision disappears, and he falls back into unconsciousness.

 

                As he sleeps, his vision appears again and again, on and off, in passing and blurry moments. In this dream, he’s looking through the orb again, and he’s at Stevie’s party. A crowd of surprised and terrorized faces. A bloody blade raising before his eyes, held in his own fleshly hand, his cackling shadow at his side.

                The knife slides across Brendon’s neck, blood spills onto his hands, then his vision goes dark again. He can hear blaring bursts of sound every now and again. Screams. Tearing skin. Rushing blood.

                When the orb appears again, the tip of the knife is entering Stevie’s belly. In another instant, the blade is gone, and there is only a flooding gush of red, consuming and coating his arms up to the elbows.

                Back to darkness. The orb fades into the void, and he is again blind, guided only by the hollow screams and harrowing shrieks of whatever terrible dream he’s become lost in.

                The blurry orb of vision spans before him one last time, and now, the knife is slashing and swinging wildly at Jessica. Blood spurting, spraying. He can hear the sound of his own rushed and heavy breathing, his own primitive grunts and shouts. Still never talking though.

                But that’s alright. He doesn’t need to, anymore. Because when he wakes up from this dream, he’ll have their shadows to talk to. And somehow, he’ll know just what to say. He has a good feeling about this, as he dreams of the murdering of his former best friends.

                And through all of this, his shadow is right next to him, disguised as merely a silhouette on the wall, nothing more.

 

 

 

3.

 

 

                Cole Nottingham wakes up after an eternity of floating through the ocean of darkness, and is greeted with a film of bright red; the light of the morning sun against the thin skin of his closed eyelids.

                When he opens his eyes, he is not alone in the room. Just as the shadow had promised; all of his best friends were there.

Four shadows, including his own, all crowded around his bed. Himself, Stevie, Jessica, and Brendon.

Staring down at him, anxious without eyes to glare with, waiting for him to say something. For once, it was on him.

                That’s right, it’s all on you now, man, he thinks happily, a little bit nervously.

                “Uh, hey guys,” he says with the gravel-filled voice of early-awakening.

                Hey Cole!

                What’s up, man?

                What goin’ on?

                Hello, Cole.

                Four responses, all from one thing that he had said. The sensation filled his gut with fluttering butterflies.

                “So, what do you guys wanna do?”

                I dunno.

                Whatever you want, man.

                We could go get drunk!

                It’s up to you, Cole. You’re the boss now. You’re the life of the party.

                “Well, I think my mom has a fifth somewhere in the kitchen. I never drank before, though.”

                It sounded as fun as anything else. Even now, though not nearly as badly as before, he was having trouble knowing what to say. He was the lifeline of the party, and it was quickly going flat.

                Oh, it’s fun!

                Yeah, man, let’s get wasted!

                It’s a pretty good time.

                The decision is yours, Cole. It might loosen you up a bit.

                Well… maybe that was all he needed. A little bit of booze to oil him up. After all, he was a bit rusty.

                “Okay, sounds like a plan!” he says enthusiastically, now ecstatic with anticipation. He was now looking forward to something, for the first time in who-knew-how-long.

               

He throws the blanket off of him, sits up, and begins to crawl off of the mattress.

                “But we gotta be quiet goin’-”

                He stops, looking down at his hands and arms with horror that dawned like the last sunset before eternal night.

                From the tips of his fingers, to the ends of his elbows, his skin is coated with sticky and drying blood. On one arm, the deep red is glimmering in the sunlight, and on the other, it is a dark maroon in the shadow that casts over his arm from Brendon’s head.

                “I…uh-I…I-” he stammers, looking for words, any words, confident that they had fled his mind in terror, crouched and hidden in some darkened corner of his sub-conscious.

                I killed them? he thinks feverishly, the gnarled claws of un-believing horror seizing his brain, tearing in, letting all the blood seep out. He thinks that he can almost feel it trickling out of his ears… oozing down his face. It was as if his mind had gotten so confused, it had begun to devour itself in a frenzied panic.

                You killed us, actually.

                No, you freed us.

                Yeah, from ourselves.

                Yes, Cole. You freed them from the prisons that were their fleshly bodies. Now, you’re their master. You’re the Shadow-Master, Cole.

                No… no, I can’t, I…

               

                Looking back and forth between the shadows, he now saw faces beginning to form on each empty head. Dead faces, stricken with rotten grimaces; expressions of gasping horror. The faces of the corpses of his best friends. Except for his own. On his own shadow, an entirely new face appeared. A wicked face, stricken with not horror, but a ghastly grin of sinister satisfaction.

                The face of the true shadow that lurches in the darkest corners of every mind; every heart.

                The face of the true Shadow-Master.

 

In the background, outside of his bedroom window, he could hear sirens; angry and determined wails. The gray sunlight that shone through the glass was now laden with the flashing blue and red, lighting up the face of each dying shadow.

NO, NO, PLEASE NO, I DIDN’T MEAN IT I DIDN’T MEAN IT I-

Hush Cole, hush. They’ve come to take us away, yes… but is it so bad? They’re taking us from the rest of the fleshly, but at least we’ll be together, right?

Yeah, man! We’ll be together!

All the time in the world.

C’mon, whadaya say?

“I-I don’t… I don’t-”

But it was too late. In another moment, there were brisk knocks on the front door. Shouting, yelling, cursing. They were here for him, Cole Nottingham, the murderer.

 

When the cops bust down the door, shuffle through the corridor, the sounds of their heavy footsteps and their burl shouts trumping the sound of his mother’s screams…

Cole Nottingham once again blacks out. Sometime, while drifting in the eternally black ocean of semi-consciousness, the orb returns. In this blurred crystal ball of vision, he can see himself being handcuffed, dragged into a car, and driven away. The entire time, there is only one sound that he could clearly hear, above all the others, rising above the chaos.

It was the sound of the Shadow-Master; laughing, cackling, and giggling deliriously. Hysterical satisfaction.

It was the evilest thing Cole Nottingham had ever heard.

 

When he wakes up, he is greeted not by the musky sunlight of an overcast morning, but the plain white walls of a padded room. He is already sitting up, and his arms are fixated in a constraining embrace. He is wearing a strait jacket.

“Where am I?”

You’re with us, Cole.

He cranes his neck as far as he can, and see’s four shadows crowded together against the wall behind him. Stevie, Jessica, Brendon, and the Shadow-Master.

Hey, man!

How’s it goin’ Cole?

What’s up?

“You’re not real. You made me murder my best friends, and you’re not even real. I’m just crazy, I’m just-”

No, no, no! They weren’t your best friends, Cole. We’re your best friends!

Yeah, man!

What’s-

“No! NO! I’m a murderer!”

You’re not a murderer, you’re a liberator. You’ve freed them from their former captors. And now… and we’ll all be together forever!

With that, Cole Nottingham began to laugh. It was a paradox, wasn’t it? He couldn’t argue with the logic, though he knew it wasn’t true.

Well, it was too late to change anything now, wasn’t it? He had been tricked, by a manifestation of his own loneliness. That, or he had been tricked by the Devil himself.

Either way, he was here now, with whatever things were; the shadows of his friends. And he was finally the life of the party, wasn’t he? The ironic part? It was all he ever wanted, and now, it was all he would ever be.

Cole Nottingham wrapped his legs around his bent knees, and began to rock back and forth on the floor. He stared up at the shadows, anxious for what he might say next, and began to sob between the choked gasps of his maniacal laughter.

 

Soon enough, if he was lucky, he would retire from this fleshly body, and become a shadow, just like the rest of his friends. If not, he would continue to laugh and cry and rock in this constraining jacket, in this padded room, and continue to think of what to say to these reflections.

To his best friends.

And now, when there was nothing else to do but talk, finding the right words to say had never been easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End.

© 2011 Tyler Allen


Author's Note

Tyler Allen
Please review, whether or not you liked it
Wrote this sort've on the whim
Couldn't sufficiently get my ideas across
But soon grew tired of the story, and left it as it was

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Reviews

Woa....intense.
I can really feel Cole's emotions! And for some reason...I can seem to understand this. Feel his pain and loneliness as if it is my own.
Feel the confusion as he figures out that he really did murder his friends.
Inetens.e
Liked it.
Didn't know I liked horror literature so much.

Posted 13 Years Ago



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Added on December 31, 2010
Last Updated on January 1, 2011
Tags: shadows, horror, possesion, isolation

Author

Tyler Allen
Tyler Allen

Phoenix, AZ



About
Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. 17 years old. I love movies and music, reading and writing. I don't like horror movies as much as I like horror literature. I love all music except for pop. Favori.. more..

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