Tarannum Khatana

Classics Drama Fantasy


Tarannum Khatana

Classics Drama Fantasy

The Shadow

The Shadow

6 mins 14K 6 mins 14K

"The shadow whispers things to me." I had told my mother a number of times. The shadow whispered things to me, the treacherous shadow that disappeared just before it could gobble me down. I had been a kid when it all started. Life was normal, a normality which sometimes irritated me. My parents, the most perfect beings, would not let me falter at any point. They had a path set, and I was not to waver. I had it all, it seemed. The disappointments piled up as I grew. They often said, “We would put no pressure. Your life is your prerogative.” Still,l they judged every single thing, and how could I not be perfect with such a genetic makeup?

But I was nothing, a no one. Possessed average skills but was not perfect, a state which itself appeared to be unattainable from where I stood. I tried confiding in her, in my sister, but she shunned me saying I had lost it. Everything was just perfect. Then I went on to create a monster that almost consumed me in its wrath. People say it was my creation, I say it was real. You would say I accepted it was a creation. I would say it still grows amongst us. You would say you don't know it, I would say you meet it every day.

So the shadow talked, I found my solace. It would creep up the wall, a strong wavering darkness, unlike me, a passionate figure, a free soul, mesmerising and a stronger persona. You would tell me, I talk like it was a person, a person maybe, but there was more to it. I had deep conversations; it had its own voice, an opinion that was different, and a pulchritudinous view point. The shadow was charismatic, clever, smarter, everything I wished to be. I waited for the night, I waited for our talks.

Years passed, I started questioning our conversations. Introduced to the internet, I looked for what the shadow was, somehow the shadow always knew. Inquisitive it had become too. It questioned me one day on why would I doubt the existence, after all I was the dependent one. I ignored it. This time it came back louder, wailing, crying out louder, "Why do you do this?" It had scared me, appalling me with its horrendous screeches. It was like a chalk being dragged on a blackboard. The internet said I had Paracusia, an auditory hallucination. I sat down concentrating. Was it my mind creating all this, was I the only one? But then I didn't care. Insecurity, flaws could well hide behind the shadow. I could be depressed but the shadow made it easier to make public appearances. I was perfect, yet not happy, the world loved me, so I let it be.

I became gregarious, less socially awkward, an extrovert. Something was wrong somewhere but who cared. The shadow told me to lose myself to become the shadow, I pretended and it made the world happy. It made everything easier. It gave me the opinions that would please people and it told me to be different with different people, a different opinion, a different sort of perfection. The world was becoming unclear in its meaning. I was a people pleaser now, shifting quickly in opinion, losing all my imperfect flaws, losing me. Maybe I was finally perfect.

I went to lie on my bed thinking, over-thinking like everyday. I was thinking to myself gloomily. It was going to be another sleepless night when the shadow whispered a lullaby, slowly, drifting away into the air merrily, fading away, bewitching, enchanting.

The place seemed dark, very dark, a darkness unending. The shadow was lost somewhere in the darkness, staring at me, smiling, but something felt wrong. My stomach was knotted, every muscle stiffened. I had shared our secret with the world. I had told the world about what it told me. The world heard intently. It was a first, an unearthly experience none had ever had before. They gave me a name, an attention I had craved. Burden to be extraordinary finally lifted off of me. They told me I was the messenger, an angel of god, my word would be rule, even if it had no sense at all. Power was intoxicating and I exploited it to the most. I was stuck in my childhood, validation was relieving.

The shadow told me everyone had to become the right mix, the perfect beings, civilised and well mannered. What went on in their heads did not matter. They may or may not love each other, they may not love themselves, but the ideal world should look perfect. I was not clear which perfection, so I mixed them all, confused, but I couldn't admit it. I was perfect. I was their shadow. I taught them the new ways. The world so blind followed, only a few frowned.

I was at the zenith when it all splurged. I could not handle the attention. It was becoming harder to pretend. I was cracking and again beginning to realise that I wasn't perfect. I tried to hold the pieces together so no one would notice. That day I stood there disliking those who were aware I was ordinary, those who wanted justifications. I turned the world against them; I said those who don't fear me shall have no right to live. Bloodbaths occurred, the world turned upside down, everyone was killing everyone. A hand here, a body there, a beheaded corpse, and a kid with blood smeared all over his face. A sudden realisation struck, I sobered down, I was so clouded, and astonished I stood there. The human I was, tried to stop what I had started but as soon as the mask slipped no one recognised me anymore. I wasn't the perfect shadow I had become for them. I wept, I wailed but to no avail. They kept killing each other without even one thought. A massacre.

The shadow came and I shunned it away. I had destroyed a beautiful place. The shadow whispered and I shut it off. It had destroyed the beauty I was.

I woke up shouting, "The shadow whispered things to me." My mother kept her hand on my head and said, "It is okay honey, it was just a bad dream.” I think I had dozed off to the lullaby. A nightmare had shaken off my confusion. It had kicked me into a sphere of realization after the many years that I had striven to be flawless. The shadow was nothing but a perfect being which was so perfect that it was ugly, which was so perfect it made us judge, made us intolerant of the delicate wonderful flaws. It was so perfect that it made us pretend. Oh, the superficial perfection.

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