To Dance With Shadows

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The chill of the night surrounded me as I stepped out into its bleak silence. There was something abnormal about the crisp night air, seeming a lot cooler than it should have been for mid-August, and I shivered as a cool breeze caressed my arms. Within the abnormalities of this night was something I hadn’t felt in a while, something I had almost convinced myself had never existed in the first place. It was the feeling of the darkness moving, the feeling of something lively in the stillness of the night, something warm, and awake in this sleeping realm.
It was him, yes. A cold breeze circled me, whispered in my ear, and I knew. I looked out in the abyss that was the wooded area behind the house, suddenly aware of the thumping in my chest. Was there really this much anxiety in me? I wanted to laugh at the fact that something so familiar to me, something I had know and loved, something I had longed to return, something I had had such strong emotions about could suddenly bring me to such fright. Was it just the night itself? Or was it the unfamiliar he had feared to become?
He had been the one in the first place to reassure me. “There’s no reason to fear the dark.” He’d said, his voice soft and calming. The sun had set long ago, but I had stayed after night had fallen. I’d stayed to watch the moon with him, his true love, the one who I would never take him from, the one his devotion would forever lie within. But that was something I chose not to grow bitter over. It was blessing enough to share this mysterious place with him. It was enough that an average girl such as myself could set foot into the world of the shadow-dancer, which was what I had titled him, in the many dreams I had seen him, the many times I had just stared into those deep eyes of his.
Ah, his eyes. His eyes were like the night itself, as if he was the very soul, the personification of darkness. They were a deep violet, so deep they almost seemed black, but they lightened as they rimmed his pupils, and turned to a thin rim of icy blue. I had never seen anything like them, and I was often drawn in, I just wanted to look at him. In my dreams, I had that chance.
On this night, when he had been trying to take away my fears, I had told him how the dark sounded unpleasant to venture through alone. I had never even dared to ask that he would follow. I knew that he was a soul who would belong nowhere else. He smiled at me, and the smile itself filled me with something I couldn’t explain. My face grew hot. “You spend hours on end in the dark, even more when you are with me.”
I blinked, trying to draw myself out of the abyss that was his eyes. “Well yes, but usually I am asleep.” He chuckled.
“And what about the times you are with me? I am the night. Do you fear me?”
“Of course not!” This was said like and indignant child, and he chuckled, taking pleasure in how my face flushed when I realized how I had sounded. “I mean… I like it here with you…”
And he was quiet for a moment, before looking to the moon once more. I looked with him, but I felt this hollowness. What was it he saw that I didn’t? It was a big shiny rock, yet it seemed to be his love, the love I would never feel in return for my own silly affection.
The same silly affection that was leading me to wander out into the dark tonight. Ah yes, the darkness. The darkness he had told me not to fear. The darkness I had surely not feared at that time. He had told me not to, and that was enough. It was enough to see him, my weaver of dreams, of dancing with shadows.
That was how I had met him, after all. That was how I had come to know him, as I wandered out into the cool autumn woods as the sun set behind the distant hills, as I had watched him, draw the shadows form the trees and dance and sway with them. Lick flickering candles of night, they spun and danced and silently, there was his smile. Silently, there he was, bending them all to his will.
Maybe I should have taken fright and ran, but I was so frozen, so mystified, puzzled, maybe even startled, that I had to watch this dance of the night. He carried on a long time as if I was not there, he performed well, and had it not been for one small smile that curved his lips when our eyes met for the briefest moment, I would have thought this a dream. But as I watched, it was very real, and when night had finally consumed his stage, he stood still for a moment. And I watched him, even in stillness I was mystified by him. Even standing still I found him beautiful.
“Did you… like it?” He suddenly said, and I jumped at the sound of an ancient voice that vibrated through the sky itself. It was a voice of ages, but when he turned, he had the face of a child.
“Y-… yes, very much so…” I said, looking around sheepishly. I was a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Who wouldn’t be scared out of their mind by something like this?
“You are one who enjoys the shadow’s dance. Will you join me next time?” And I had wondered how he had known I was going to leave. It was dark after all, and I needed to get home. Still, I nodded, and my heart beat faster in my chest, I thought I would burst.
Tonight, my heart was also racing, but it wasn’t from a warm smile, tonight it was from the chilling dark that was now calling my name. I searched for something I wouldn’t find, I searched for him. I called out, but nothing. I remembered the day he was taken, and my heart raced a little faster. I dreaded the darkness that was capable of pulling one in. I was afraid of the dark he had become, the dark I had never feared until that day. Was it wrong to have lost faith in the innocence of night? The flash of his face, his empty eyes, his serene smile as he was engulfed in the dark, as it surrounded him, like flames, like vines; that was all that played in my head. That was all. All I could see were the taunting fingers of the dark that slid around me slowly, begging to consume me. All I heard was my heart, thumping loudly. Yes, I am alive, but empty. Yes, my heart beats, but it is numb. The dark shouldn’t scare me, when I have already lost all I care about to it. But I never had him, did I? Is this just the hopelessness of the cold dark ahead of me? Am I really so bleak? This, this is what he was lost to. This is where he is. If I want him back, I must venture in myself, I must risk falling victim myself if I am to find him.
And I stood at the edge for a little longer, playing over all my hopes and fears. I just stood there, looking into the dark hopelessly. Slowly, my eyes rose to the moon. Could he see her where he was? Was his true love still with him? Was he alone? Was I? I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and plunged into the dark, let it’s hands wrap around me, let it engulf and fill me. This was my moment to find out, and stop fearing what I once loved.





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