My Boyish shadow

- a sketchy illustration for a msterious short story of mine, that's based on a dream, here it is:

-- My Boyish Shadow --

It was a cold damp afternoon, when we had to follow a commission. We arrived in front of a typical abandoned house, no heating, no curtains left in the windows, just that moist and moldy smell in the air with a touch of lingering old murder floating around.

I sent my deputee to ask questions from the neighbours and leave me in privacy upstairs. I closed the door behind me as I accustomed my eyes to the darkness of the room. The window on the left wall was black with stains, the furnitures were all over the place, a broken tv, snapped electric cords on the floor, poisonous green blanket on the bed with some revolting spots and holes in it.

I let out a long sigh and touched every furniture while walking around the room, then sat down on the bed to listen the silence. It didn't last long.

”You are in a funk again, are you?”

”Yep. I guess I suck as a detective, since I have no eyes to see the real events of this room. So, can you help me out, little guy?”

The small transparent boy slided underneath the vermin-eaten carpet and came out from the other end, and was now standing in front of me. I couldn't see his face, but I knew he was smiling like a winner. He always knew that I'd need him in places like this. After all, he was made of shadow; a memory of things and lives existed once upon a time, or still do.

”You know what people usually do right after a crime?” the Shadow asked.

”Wash their hands, clean up the place.”

”Close, but not enough. Look around, man. Where did I come from?”

I looked at him with a slight annoyance. I didn't always enjoy his riddles, about those which I didn't know the answers.

”From places without notice! I was there all along, in the corner when you walked in, but you just couldn't expect I was here already. You thought You have the priviledge to call me up when you need me, am I right?”

I stood up and had an urge to be upset to him, but it was futile. He'd just smile again and I'd look like a stupid ass.

”So.. the answer is..predictability?” I asked. ”They have everything figured out before the crime, so they get out of it?”

”Of course they plan it out, silly! But what's the mark they forget about it all? Think.”

The cornering emotion hounded me inside, cramped me to a tight spot with this entity, that always challenged me in a way that the more I thought I knew, the dumber all my conclusions seemed to come out.

The shadow pointed out to the center of the floor. I looked there and saw nothing but dust and traces of old trashes. I knew I'd knew the answer but just could not put my finger on it.

”Detective. How many furnitures are in this room?”

”A bed, a tv, a table, carpet, closet, a mirror table.. so that's 6.”

”You think that people leave the furnitures be after committing a crime, like this? All scattered around and looking sad, like me.”

”You're not sad at all and you know it!”

”Hahah, just pulling your leg, don't get mad, geezer.”

Suddenly the hairs on my neck rose up like an electric current went through my body and washed over me. I was afraid to look away from the floor. Something had happened in the room.

I slowly turned my head towards the tv.

”There's another tv in the room.”

”Of course there is. People never notice it at first.”

”There's also another table, carpet, closet, mirror table..and a bed here. I can see them, they are a bit different, but it's like seeing a reversed image. The other tv is not broken.”

”So, how do we find the cause of grief and sorrow in this house?” asked the boyish shadow.

”We need to know who broke the tv. It all started from there. From a single emotion.”

”Yes. Emotion is the mark.”

”Now, since your commission is on its track and you'll be on your way again.. can I show you a magic trick?”

The shadow was really close to me and I could see the vibrations of air breezing through him, he was like a sheet of cloth, but alive like black fire.

”I don't know. Your tricks are powerful and I always end up screaming with horror of something. But.. I like the experience. Ok, show me.”

At first nothing happened and we sat on the bed for a while. Then my fingers started to tingle. I looked at them and just like looking through a microscopic lense, they were just buzzing with hundreds of tiny black beetles! I exposed them to the faint light coming through the window and they immediately condenced into a small ball of pressure, a single group with a enormous grip of my fingertip. Again when I turned them away from light, they moved freely again, but now I saw they had made a hole to my skin and one by one began crawling inside my fingers. Horror shook me and I squeezed my fingers together that the beetles wouldn't go further inside. Then I smacked them away, and the more I hit the tighter they gripped into my flesh and wouldn't let go. I knew I had to be patient and calm and pick them up one by one, without anger.

”Nasty trick indeed, Shadowboy. You almost got under my skin this time.”

”That's why we're still friends. You see right through me.”


© Kirsi Salonen 2013

© Kirsi Salonen 2013.