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The Shadow Keeper

Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world; She had took the midnight train going anywhere. Anywhere was where she met Shade, a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. He had also taken the midnight train going anywhere. They met in a smoky room with the smell of wine and cheap perfume entering their nostrils. He had been there for two years now, but Raven had just entered town. Shade had taken her to the streets to show her something. His black hair fell across his face; an old, mediocre, black jacket lay on his back. He didn’t say very much, but he wanted to show Raven something.

“Look,” Shade pointed to a shadow across the street. The dim light made it hard to see, but it was there. “That, that’s Marissa, She comes here every night. And look. Here comes even more.” Shadow upon shadow started appearing on the street. Although they didn’t have faces, each looked burdened. As if they were in some troublesome dilemma.

“What, what is this?” Raven stuttered the words, her mind in a deadlock. The wind blew her curly, brown hair. She could smell the tears of the shadows.

“Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard, their shadows searching in the night. Streetlights, people, living just to find emotion. Hiding somewhere in the night.” Shade let the words roll off of his tongue into the stagnant night air. He slowed each word down as if it was the paramount part of the sentence.

“What are you saying? I don’t understand.” Raven militantly stated.

“These are everyone’s shadows,” Shade began. “They’re here because they carry their person’s burdens. Their pain, anger, hatred, hopes, dreams, everything. Everything that person is is right there. In order for the person to survive, their shadow takes away the pain. And they just keep it until the morning. They want to get rid of the pain, but they can’t. This is my life. I’m here to get rid of the pain. To let the shadows have peace.”

“You’re the shadow keeper? You let them go to an asylum while you deal with the pain?” Raven didn’t completely understand.

“Working hard to get my fill, everybody wants a thrill. Paying anything to roll the dice just one more time.” The brazen boy who facilitated shadows said. He looked over the ocean of darkness, the horde of heterogeneous shadows escalated in number every minute. “Just imagine, if someone could take the pain away from the shadows so that they wouldn’t have to give it back to their person. Just imagine what would happen. The world would be so much better. No more pain.”

“But that can’t be better for everyone! What about you, the shadow keeper? There’s no way that you could carry all of that.” Raven wanted to monologue, but decided against it. Shade had his mind made up.

“Some will win, some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues. Oh, the movie never ends.” Shade shook his head. “Strangers waiting up and down the boulevard. Their shadows searching in the night. Streetlights, people, living just to find emotion. Hiding somewhere in the night.”

Shade stopped, Raven wasn’t sure if his poem was supposed to make sense or not.

“Don’t stop believing. Hold on to that feeling. Streetlight people.” It seemed like Shade as seen into her soul. Raven didn’t know how Shade could have known her feelings.

“Don’t stop believing. Hold on to that feeling.” Shade repeated.

Shade walked away, repeating his words one more time. “Don’t stop believing. Hold on to that feeling.” A smile sneaked onto Shades face as he turned his back to Raven.

One burden lifted. That shadow’s going home. Shade thought as he glanced back at Raven who was walking back toward the train station. The Shadow Keeper moved swiftly in the night, looking for the next shadow to be rescued from pain. Only one phrase lay heavy on his mind: don’t stop believing. Hold on to that feeling.



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