At first the shadow smiled.
Darkness has no weight, and its smile was as empty as the air.
Watching it haunt me, dancing,
I fancied it had a purpose,
That if I left it long enough it would go away:
But the moon revealed a sinister side;
The face – that was mine – turned,
The lips curdled into a snarl,
The dance a march, stomping.
Night-time became my prison;
Stuck inside, in brilliant light, buried and burned in brightness,
I yearned for the half-grey twilight,
For the softer shades on corners,
For the plump heaviness of depth.
Outside, the city roared;
I had no part of it, but gazed out as a stranger must gaze on another world.
Who would hold me from my shadow?
None, but me;
My only weapon, light.
I slept; but my dreams were fractured, shattered,
The city’s call oppressive,
The moments dragging,
The hours, dead.
I paced; I turned;
Threw myself into books;
Marched the square space, seething.
I would damn light!
Without light there would be no dark!
The moments mounted into terror,
A fear of stillness,
For in stillness shadows crept,
A fear of sleep,
For black behind my eyes began to move,
A fear of tiredness,
For I was getting weak.
Shadows: how they crawled,
Always out of sight, resting, testing,
Flat and tiny snakes, violent, chasing.
Light kept me alive,
But light was killing me,
Throbbing into my eyes,
Glaring into my brain,
A sea of pain, drowning me.
Grasped at the half-torn madness,
Fluttered at my dying sanity.
Tiny, slithering, flitting and flickering,
It hugged the far corners,
It made no move,
Paused in its feeble strength,
And now it began to grow,
Battling the steady light,
Feeding, breathing, absorbing, cursing,
Fighting its way to a bitter strength,
A liquid pool of black washing, lapping,
The floor shrank;
The darkness cursed its way forwards,
Touching and eating,
As the lights flickered and a gloom descended …
A shadow haunting someone …