Where there is light, there is Shadow

August 8, 2011
Her name was Shadow. Because of the fact that her father was the god of light, Apollo, and her mother was a normal human who couldn’t take care of her, she didn’t know who she was, or where she came from. Shadow’s mother left her in a basket at the front door of an orphanage and was never seen again. Apollo however, had been keeping a watchful eye on Shadow and her mother from atop Mount Olympus.
You see, Apollo had not had much luck with romance in the past; At least not with creatures that didn’t live on Earth. For example, Daphne turned into a laurel rather than submit to him, and Marpessa refused him in favor of a mortal. So, following Marpessa’s lead, he decided to try his luck with humans. Normally, he wouldn’t stoop so low for a partner, but he had had an idea in which he could watch the child he made and see which of his powers he/she would obtain.
Shadow grew to be a very unusual child, girl, and then teenager. She never wondered about her mother and knowing that she would have to leave at the age of 18, she did many chores around the orphanage to gain as much money as she could once she was no longer entitled to the shelter the orphanage provided. She was extremely selfless and was sure that she would do anything for the people or things that she loved even though the only thing she loved while at the orphanage was a wolf pup she found roaming in the woods she often visited behind the orphanage.

Since everyone at the institution believed she was quite peculiar, she had her own room there. The day she found her starved best friend, she also found a secret passage to her room through a hole that led conveniently outside. At the time, she was 8 years old and small enough to crawl all the way up through the gaps in the wall to her room like a spider; all the while, carrying the tiny, white, abandoned wolf pup. She was just like Shadow. Abandoned.
Shadow had started saving money since the age of six and she kept it in a jar that was originally held in the kitchen but was then set aside in the small space behind her bed.

Of course, the employees at the orphanage were quite baffled when little, 8 year old Shadow asked to go to the store to buy dog food, but hearing the rumors about Shadow and her “mental disease” they reluctantly brought her to the local pet store.

So, equipped with a walk-in closet she raised her best friend whom she named Filia. In her 18 years at that orphanage, Filia was her only friend and when she moved out, Filia went with her to her nice dwelling bought with many more chores at the orphanage. She had one more year of school left. So, she gained money as an author.

Although she hated leaving Filia alone at home, she paid attention in all of her classes and seldom spoke. Especially in her second period in which one of her classmates, Dru watched her quite intently. Every time he looked at her, it felt as if his emerald green eyes were seeing her soul, her heart started to beat at an irregular pace …and her hands started to glow. He always noticed.

One day, as the professor was teaching about light, speaking about Apollo, and blocking the windows to create darkness, Dru peered at her, expecting the familiar feeling in his stomach, that overwhelming need to know about her, and her glowing hands. Everything played out in the next moment exactly as he imagined it; as if his thoughts were recorded and played like a tape. In that dark room, the palms of Shadow’s hands lit up like fire. Dru had his proof; so did Apollo.

Shadow felt that tingling sensation in her hands again. She feared it. She ran. She fled from that dark room like a mouse from a cat. What was wrong with her?

She couldn’t run. She couldn’t hide. Not from herself.
Dru followed after her, fascinated rather than Shadow’s expected disgust. She had run too fast for an average teenage girl, but Dru, once again exceeding expectations, kept up with her. She wasn’t thinking enough and ended up in her home with a concerned Dru banging on her door and a very excited Filia jumping up at her. Too many emotions: confusion, worry, shame… She was too caught in the moment like a fish tangled in the wrong net. Too many things intruding her swimming thoughts. Suddenly, she fell; toppling gracefully to the ground like a ballerina. Except this was an unconscious ballerina and Dru, fearing the worst and hearing the thump, picked her lock.

He stood, resembling a deer frozen in the predator’s gaze, facing a snarling, protective Filia standing over her fallen friend. Filia’s black eyes ignored him for a moment; licking her companion’s nose in an attempt to revive her. Dru took advantage of the distraction and leapt toward the white wolf, his fingers smoothing down the fur on her shoulder and holding Shadow’s cheek with his free hand in an effort to gain the animal’s trust. Filia was an extraordinarily intelligent creature, and at that moment, awfully desperate to help her friend. She backed off cautiously, giving Dru more access to Shadow. She kept a watchful eye on him, for one threatening move on his part would consequentially lead to his death.
“Shadow.” He whispered, caressing her hair and eyes. “Come back…” He was begging now. Filia nosed Shadow’s cheek.
The icy moisture on her muzzle acted as the catalyst to Shadow’s gray, opening eyes.

She gasped at the sight of Dru’s relieved expression standing over her. Filia pawed at her, delighted that her buddy was awake again. Shadow tensed up, ready to flee at just the right instant, but Dru’s stare kept her glued to her place.
In the meantime, Apollo found he was not the only god watching Shadow’s glowing hands. As soon as word got around Mt.Olympus that there was a human with powers on Earth, everyone there studied her every move as if there were nothing more captivating.

As more of Shadow’s powers developed, she fell more and more in love with Dru. He returned every one of her feelings and was always by her side. (Only Filia realized the attraction between them). Filia eventually warmed up to Dru; especially since he was constantly around. Shadow learned to illuminate her hands at will and light things on fire (only in daylight).
Although all of the gods knew that they much more powerful than this seemingly more-than-mortal girl, some, including Ares, Hera, Demeter, Dionysus, and Hades couldn’t help but feel jealous. They felt she had too much power and needed to be silenced. Permanently.
One night, Shadow and Dru were taking a walk in the woods with Filia. They all had a creepy feeling they were being watched and heard a few rustling noises, but they foolishly brushed it off.
“Let’s race.” Shadow suggested. Filia snorted. “OK, fine. You may have won the last three times, but at least I’ll beat Dru.”
“Uh, excuse me, but who chased you all the way to your house, picked your lock, and fought off your pet wolf?” He chuckled.
“Whatever. Let’s go.”-They lined up-“Three, two, ONE!”
Dru ran, fast as a cheetah; Shadow flew, swift as an arrow; But Filia, she shot as quick as a bullet. Filia was in the lead, Dru and Shadow nose to nose, as they bounded across the soft grass between the trees. Shadow, only hearing the wind in her ears, wasn’t able to take notice of the shifting roots, plants, and vines behind her until one of them moved into her path and sent her tumbling. The race was immediately cancelled and both Filia and Dru came to her aid. She had a few shallow cuts and some bruises, but when she tried to stand up, holding Dru’s hand, a vine whipped out of its still position on a branch and wrapped around Shadow’s arm, pulling quite tightly. All of them cried out as Shadow was slowly dragged toward the tree. Shadow in pain, and the others in alarm. Dru saw a face in the tree for a split second and snapped into action.

He ran towards her in a full sprint pulling on the tough vines that were reaching towards her neck while Filia clawed, bit, and tore through every piece of green she could get to. As her lethal jaws closed around Shadow’s captors, they retracted as if they were wounded by her sharp teeth. No one realized it, but it was all Demeter’s doing. Apollo didn’t really care about whether Shadow lived or died as long as the jealous gods didn’t find out what had made her so powerful. His experiment was complete so the subject had only her friends to protect her.
After many sliced vines, too much struggling, and an injured Shadow, Demeter stopped; for she knew she wouldn’t be able to win that battle, but I will win the war she thought to herself. The gods do not give up until they get their way.
For the moment, they were safe. As Dru carried Shadow to the house, Filia walked in front of them using all of her senses to make sure they were not in any danger.

When they got to the safe haven of Shadow’s home, Dru tended to her major cuts formed by the thorns she had been twisted in and the main bruises made by the vines Dru couldn’t keep off of her neck. “Thank you. Both of you. I love you guys.” Shadow whispered in a hoarse voice. Her eyes widened when she realized what she had just said. Filia opened her mouth in a teasing, wolfish smile, stood up on her hind legs, placed her front paws on Dru’s back and pushed. His lips collided with hers and the sparks of true love flew and spread into their bodies like wildfire. Her hands looked like fireworks as they tangled his hair. Emotion took over as Dru slid his arms around her waist. They came up for air and Dru breathed, “I love you too.”

After about two months of thinking, rethinking, remembering, retracing their steps and everything else they could’ve done to find something significant in Shadow’s attack, they had come up with little to explain what had happened in the woods that day. Shadow and Dru hadn’t slept very well and Filia hadn’t slept at all. They were all afraid of what would happen next. Dru was absolutely sick of watching Shadow and Filia try to stay awake and watch everything around them when they were obviously exhausted. He demanded they have a picnic once everyone in the house has had at least 12 hours of sleep. Shadow attempted to protest, but he interrupted by practically dragging her to the bedroom they all shared and plopping her on the bed. Filia slowly followed; head down, eyes bloodshot. Dru led her to her crate/bed. She hadn’t stepped one paw in there since the incident, but he eventually managed to persuade her into some sleep with many words of encouragement. Shadow had been asleep since her head hit the pillow. Dru tucked the blanket around her, crawled onto the bed and drifted into a much-needed sleep.
They all woke up 12 hours later feeling a lot better. They chose a picnic site on a cliff about a mile away. Dru used to go there after his parents died. After hiking all the way up with Filia on their heels, they marveled at the sight of the sea down below.
This was Hades’ chance. He sent about 50 Hellhounds up to that ridge just to make sure that she died. A hell hound’s bite contains venom that does not kill, but is so painful; you might as well say it paralyzes its victims. The other jealous gods watched and cheered him on.
Shadow and Dru had set up their picnic. Dru stuck a grape in her mouth, and then he threw another as far as he could toward the trees that covered the hill leading up to the cliff. Filia looked like a ghost because she almost blurred as she ran to catch the purple fruit. She disappeared in the woods and reappeared with a muzzle drenched in grape juice. She trotted toward the couple with a triumphant smirk on her furry lips. A nice breeze blew coming from the forest Filia had just come from.
All of a sudden, Filia turned towards the trees quick as a whip, growling as the fur on her hackles stood on end. No one had ever seen her so angry before. Dru had a cautious expression on his face as Shadow moved to look her in the eyes. Filia tore her eyes off of Shadow stubbornly. “Filia? What’s wrong?” Shadow exclaimed. She was still hissing when Dru noticed a flash of black fur between the trees. “Shadow, get behind me. Filia probably smelt the creature I saw.” Dru said. His voice laced with wariness. “What was it?” Shadow whispered. Her face conveyed that she was quickly becoming quite anxious. “I’m not sure.”—Shadow froze. — “Don’t worry, love. I’m here.” Some of her muscles relaxed, but tensed up again when she saw the huge horde of Hellhounds marching up the hill. Their appearance screamed evil with their blood-red eyes and colossal black frames. Shadow and Dru were filled with terror. Actually Dru felt more protective than afraid, but he wouldn’t let his scared side show; for Shadow’s sake.
Filia was no match for the 50 Hellhounds surrounding them, but she didn’t seem to care when she lunged at them, sharp canines bore. The mass of dogs took that as their cue to attack. Most of them ran towards Dru and Shadow. Others tried their luck with the beast that Filia had now transformed into. Dru was doing pretty good fighting off most of the hounds going after them.
Shadow heard a loud whimper rip from Filia’s throat as one of the Hellhounds’ venom coated teeth finally found purchase on her shoulder. Both Filia and Dru have done enough protecting me, Shadow thought running towards her wounded friend. She paid no mind to Dru’s protests when she left her safe place behind him. Fire flew from her palms, warding off the photophobic dogs when she reached her bleeding ally. The bite marks weren’t deep; therefore she won’t be killed, so Shadow was confused as to why Filia was whining so much. She was usually so tough. Nonetheless, Shadow held her close, her first tears falling from her wincing eyes. She hated the pained cries escaping Filia’s jaws. Then as abruptly as they had started, Filia’s moans ceased. Shadow opened her eyes and saw golden scars where the bite marks used to be. Filia again sprung towards the crowd of dogs now surrounding Dru, who had been bitten twice, but somehow still, stood and had held back screams of agony. His face was contorted with pain though, and Shadow could not stand it.
There were still about 40 Hellhounds. Filia had killed 6; Dru 4. There were just too many of them. Shadow quickly called Filia back to her, to which she loyally obeyed, and positioned herself in front of Dru. She summoned up every bit of light in her soul and let it flare at the Hellhounds. She looked like a second sun only shining on the black beasts before her, which were, one by one, disintegrating into dust.
She was using so much light that she was slowly losing herself, becoming less solid. As the setting sun’s light started to shine through her, Filia became aware that something was definitely wrong and started to bark. Dru caught on immediately after and shook her telling her to stop, not to leave him. She wouldn’t though; not until the last Hellhound was nothing but a pile of dust. She was too determined to make sure nothing ever happened to her loved ones again, even if it cost her life.
When the last black beast had at last become ashes she collapsed into her lover’s arms. Dru noticed that she was very light…too light. He could barely feel her beneath his fingertips. “Shadow. What happened to you?” He said, letting all of his emotion show in his voice. “I love you, Dru… don’t forget…me” Filia licked her and cuddled up next to her seeming to sense that her friend could not stay there any longer.
Tears ran down all of their faces. Dru and Shadow shared their last kiss before she completely disappeared into the dark night…
The next morning the sunlight shone throughout the house, but in no way were its inhabitants happy. As they wandered into the light to collect Shadow’s things though, they say black shapes behind them, copying their every move. The realization hit Dru like a wrecking ball. These shapes were memories of Shadow’s short stay on Earth; no, they were Shadow herself watching over them. Following them and loving them to no end. Eternal Love.
You can still see Shadow wherever her father’s light shines. As long as you look with your heart and not your eyes, you will not see just a shadow. You will see the selfless Shadow who gave her life to save her loved ones.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Bianca said...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Lovely story!i


tati said...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Great story...Sad ending:( but still love it
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