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Shadows

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Brilliant white walls stretched endlessly in either direction only broken up by the occasional off-white door. Directly in the middle of the hall—exactly two hundred and forty-three steps away from both cream doors—I sat facing the plastered perfection, legs crossed and rocking rhythmically. Shadows don’t exist here; the nearly fluorescent tiles giving off a brilliance only matched by the lights above ensure that. I had come not long ago, but long enough that the past no longer existed and the future never came. I haven’t met anyone except two: the faceless woman and Lucy.

I swung my head suddenly to the side and beamed at the girl next to me. Her legs are crossed out in front of her, sun-kissed knees smiling up at the ceiling. A hollow giggle escaped my throat as I drew my legs up and flung myself onto my back. Ratty straw hair haloed my head and limbs fell lazily at my sides. I stared up at the ceiling as Lucy’s tinkling laughter overwhelmed and filled the empty space. The chiming laughter died. “Why do you wear that?” I asked glancing at her curiously.

“Wear what?” She pulled a long golden lock behind her ear, shifting self-consciously under scrutiny.

“That,” I insisted reaching out to finger the yellow sundress resting delicately at her knees.

She snatched the crisp fabric out of my reach, crumpling it in her fist.

The skin between my eyebrows crinkled.

“My mother gave it to me,” She rushed out, “as a birthday present.”

The stoic expression on my face remained.

Lucy sighed apologetically, her crystal blue eyes—so similar to my own—praying that I understand. “I don’t want to get it dirty.”

The crinkle between brows softened but didn’t quite disappear as I lifted my hands to my face. The palms were a baby pink, not a speckle of dirt in sight. Hands dropped back to my sides and I picked distastefully at my own garments—the white baggy shirt hanging past my knees and the equally bland scrub pants rolled repeatedly at the bottom.

The cream door unexpectedly creaked open to reveal a dark-haired woman. The door clicked closed behind her as she silently prowled toward us, her black heels soundless. Shadows hiding her facial features, she approached with an arrogance that felt out of place with the unassuming walls.

Lucy shifted in preoccupation, rising shakily to her two feet.

The faceless woman halted suddenly in front of us, hands tucked tightly into her close-fitting cream lab coat. Facing away from us, she withdrew a long syringe containing a clear fluid and tapped it menacingly with a dark nail. The unusual shadow she casted against the wall appeared to be rapidly swelling and spreading. A malicious chuckle poured like ink from the hidden mouth as craned her neck in our direction. The only feature seen on the face was a pair of distinctly red eyes.


“Run!”

I scrambled to my feet in haste attempting to get a grip with the sock-clad appendages, but the dark woman was too quick. Crimson nails dug into my wrist and the syringe slid into the fleshy part of my arm, the cool liquid forcing its way into my constricting veins.

Screams erupted from Lucy’s petite frame; curdling shrieks that seemed to come from all directions. Her form crumpled in on itself, writhing and jerking in unnatural angles. Nails yanked desperately at the once perfect golden locks as bruises created ugly polka-a-dots across her skin.

I struggled to free myself from the cold clutches of the woman, spitting and flailing; hissing like a wild animal. Shaded eyes bore into mine as if not noticing Lucy’s cries, her withering body; the woman’s cold stare holding no sympathy for the agony she was causing, merely a grim determination to see her plan through to the very end.

“Lucy!” My voice cracked painfully; wild eyes rolling in their sockets, a deep innate fear stirring in my gut. I strained against the demon as I reached desperately for my friend, my light.

A whimper departed from Lucy’s purple lips as she weakly lifted her haloed head; the ring dangling by a thread. As hollow eyes stared unseeing, a thin rivulet of blood leaked from her left nostril and stained the untainted yellow of her dress. Golden crown sinking ever lower and with a blink of empty eyes; she was gone.

Black claws lowered my curled body to the freezing tiles and faded like the fog; gone. “Lucy,” I croaked, broken; unheard amongst the dark whispers and laughs. “Lucy.”


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Dark, damp, tainted; the walls stretch broken—crumbling to dust. I like to watch them—the walls—black etchings of jagged corners and rough cuts. They are my support now—raising me up and throwing me down. They keep me here—claws embracing me; teeth protecting me. Gaping mouths on either end, flickering lights above; I watch a fly buzz—frantic flight—hit the light and fall. Down, down, she hits the ground—impact stirring the shadows that creep. One leg twitches—a wave hello, a wave goodbye. Teeth click with pure delight as I lean down close, “Hello Lucy.”



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