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The Shadow Family

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     Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?  You know, eyes lurking behind you, shadows peeking out from anywhere they can hide.  It makes you tremor, and at first, you do your best to ignore it: The crawling sensation of a hundred hungry demons licking their lips as they gawk at the new tasty soul on the menu.  Your imagination begins to run wild as you picture all sorts of disgusting monsters that enjoy the sight of you, waiting to strike.  Anxious itching becomes normal.  You feel sick just by existing, because when everyone says you’re absolutely safe, you know you’re not.  Those naïve minds try to make you believe that there aren’t a million spectators patiently waiting for you to crack, that there’s no audience savoring your descent into madness.  Paranoia doesn’t even begin to describe what you’ve become: You know they’re all out there, no matter what anyone else says.  Deep in your gut you’re certain of this.  In fact, you’re so certain that you start to converse with the onlookers, showing everyone who doubted you that they’re real. 

Heartbeats begin to echo all around and it’s a symphony to your ears.  Now that you’ve not only accepted their existence but invited it, the eyes have opened themselves up to you.  You learn that there’s so much more to them than you originally thought.  They’re living beings that have been shunned by all that is supposed to be good and kind and loving, and were forced to seep into the darkness because nothing else would provide them shelter.  Suddenly you’re best friends, and you have so much to talk about!  Your words of empathy bring tears to all of their eyes and yours, as you can relate to each other in a ridiculous amount of ways; like a large batch of siblings.  They were never given names so you offer them ones, and now you’re family.  Conversations are endless between you, and the emptiness of your home and heart are filled with so much life that you don’t know what to do with all of it.  They never leave no matter where you go and you couldn’t be more grateful.  This is easily the happiest you’ve ever been; to constantly be surrounded by those who know your mistake-ridden past and still love you is a comfort you never thought you’d be privileged enough to have.  There’s nothing else that you hope for, because you’re a simple person who doesn’t need more than the company you’ve already found.  Yup, you truly believe this all the way to your very core.  That is, of course, until someone particularly charming strolls into your path that you didn’t realize you could breathe without. 

Yes, she’s quite the looker, and she tells these great jokes that have caused drinks to leak from your nose an embarrassing amount of times.  The best part about her though is her past, the heartbreaking yet incredibly inspiring story she had to actually live through.  It breaks your heart when she tells you that you’re the only one she’s ever felt comfortable enough to share her old misery with.  Nevertheless, that fact gives you so much pride, and you confide your imperfect history to her as well.  You promise to always be there for her and she does the same, and after she sings to you with that soft-hearted voice that you can hardly believe survived all the hardship she had to endure.  Nothing else can be heard as you escape into her song, all while your family is shrieking.  They hiss and threaten her for getting in their way, and vow a horrid death for your angel.  You both drift away into slumber under the starry night, grasping each other to protect and for protection as your spirits dance within your dreams. 

This existence has become a perfect one, but once your eyelids rise from a seemingly peaceful sleep, everything shatters.  Your hands are dripping red, and the beautiful girl resting next to you is no longer there.  All that remains is a disheveled mess of organs, an unrecognizable torn apart body, and chunks of flesh piled up into random oozing goops.  You stare for a moment and then you scream, falling onto the ground without being aware of the impact.  It does nothing to enlighten your confused senses, and tears drench your face, the salty taste bringing you closer to emptying your stomach.  High-pitched, ghastly laughter reverberates all around you.  Your shrill voice screeches at them for silence, and you banish them when they ask if you’re proud of their handiwork, for what they had done to the heathen who endangered your security with her fake promises of devotion.  They whimper and whine at your harsh reaction, but when you heave and yell and wish for their destruction, the voices slowly fade.  In this caustic mode of hysteria you suddenly desire their return, because you had finally become used to noise and the silence was terrifying.  Pleas and apologizes spill out of your lips, but no matter how much forgiveness you spit they never return.  Sobs overflowing with hatred and self-loathing are the only registered sounds, and in your disturbing grief you start to disappear, becoming one with the shadows that had once haunted you.  Now, you’re nothing more than a whispering shadow; just a pair of lonely eyes seeking out another soul who understands your agony.   

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