That’s what the shadows were.
The shadows that lurked on the streets, the shadows that dwelled where she grew up, present wherever she was. The shadows wandered the streets, incapable of feeling any emotion, incapable of expressing any thought.
The elders had told stories, each one more deranged than the last. They had all been of ordinary people who fell in love with one of them. And each one was deceived, and each one had everything withdrawn from them.
She had grown up listening to all these tales, intrigued by each and every story, yet disgusted at the sight of the shadows.
They were so similar, so plain and yet so different. Even the thought of shadows had made her shudder. Longingness encaptured in their eyes, as they watched, yearning for her life, envious of her freedom.
And so she promised herself that she would never, ever become one of them. She promised she would never fall in love with a shadow.
But what value does a promise hold if it's meant to be broken?
That day she saw him. That day her eyes locked with his.
She didn’t know what he was, or what she was to become.
All she knew was that her heart was tugging her in that direction, and so she trailed behind, following wherever she was pulled.
All she knew was that it was he she wanted.
And so she fell.
She didn’t know any better.
But what use was that to her now?
So what if she didn’t know? Her fate was determined. Determined by her absurdity.
She should have known.
Whenever she was with him, her heart swelled, her lips broke into a grin, one wider than any she had ever experienced. When she was with him, she felt her problems melt away like a snowman on a hot summery day. To her, he was the only thing that mattered. When she was with him, her heart sped up. When he talked, she listened and she loved. When he was there, she smiled. She had thought she had found someone she cared for, someone who she loved. And she did. He was her Prince Charming. Her
So she loved with all her heart.
But to her prince, she was not his princess. It was like she was given his dosage of love. She loved. He shrugged.
Life isn’t a fairy tale, life isn’t some dream. It's not a happily ever after. It's a world with miles and miles of never-ending tall brick walls that tower over you, blocking out any chance at perfection. Because life isn't a game you can beat, it’s reality.
Because the boy she fell in love with, he was one of them.
And even after she knew, she convinced herself it was different.
That he was different. She believed that he was special, that he loved her.
But what good is convincing if it’s not true?
But she didn’t know that she was his martyr. That she was not a princess in his eyes, but merely a foolish victim whos vulnerability he could exploit.
So while she spent the entirety of life blinded by her love, he dove into the abyss of her figure, of existence, and stole everything inside her.
He clawed at her delicate heart and shattered it into a million pieces. And then he tore it again like a letter he had no interest in reading.
Until every last bit was gone.
Until there was nothing left of her.
Until every fragment of humanity left in her, until every trace of feeling was removed, until everything was compelled from her.
And she became what she feared the most. What she promised herself she wouldn't become.
She became one of them.