by Tobie Abad
Start with simple things.
How there is always that feeling that someone else is in the room with them. How there is a nagging sensation of someone watching them. Of someone standing close by. But strangely, this never seems to be the case when they are in total darkness.
While with others, or among crowds, the feeling is negligible. Irrelevant. But once they are alone - doing their business in the bathroom, or while alone in the shower, or just before they shut the lights to sleep - the feeling returns. Nagging. Persistent. There.
Then the smaller hints begin to come.
A man tries to mug the character one evening. But before the player can opt to do anything, the mugger runs away screaming for his dear life. His knife left on the sidewalk. A lover tears away at the character's clothing, ready for a night of wild abandon, but minutes later, screams as she throws her clothes on and rushes out of your room in utter terror. Animals at the zoo growl, hiss, snarl and bare their fangs at you. Your loyal pet refuses to come close.
Someone is always there. Even when you are alone.
Then, finally, revelation.
Some crazy band of weirdos snatch the character on her walk home. They pull a sack over her head. They drag her to the nearby van. Blind, the player hears the sounds of an ongoing struggle, but then the sharp sting of the taser hits her and everything quickly goes silent.
She awakens with the bag gently being pulled off her head. She is still at the alleyway. Her eight assailants are in varying states of injury all around her. And her rescuer is her very own shadow.
The shadows live.
They cannot speak. They cannot make any sounds. But they are intelligent, and bonded to their other. They do not "fear" light, but rather understand in the strong presence of such, they can only exist beneath our feet, or behind the curves of our bodies. They are, however, indestructible. Affected by either fire, guns, blades, nor words. They are perpetual. They are impossibly fast. The moment light shines, they are there. They are strong, however, and with effort can affect the material world.
Doing so, however, has a price, and the player would be wise to learn what that price would be. Perhaps it would be a cost paid in memories, and the player never realizes the price at first simply because he cannot notice the irrelevant memories he has already forgotten about. Or perhaps the price is in dreams, and the player starts to realize she barely sleeps well at night with the absence of the dreams that relax the mind.
Or perhaps one day, the character realizes that he suddenly seems to have gained his own manner of power. His own fingers slip through the glass window. His own wrists slip through the metal handcuffs that the policeman had strapped him upon. He shoves against the locked door to get to his imprisoned mother, and finds himself sliding through the wood and all.
But then his face gets harder to recall. His features seemingly more difficult to make out. His presence less noticed by everyone else. Perhaps the price of letting your shadow become real enough to help you, is that you slowly trade places with it. And one night you awaken and realize he is now the real thing. And you are a prisoner to his choices, forever forced to tread after his own steps and touches, like an addict desperate for touch.
And while you do not fear the light, you hope and pray he will find himself in instances where he will need you to be solid. To be real enough.
You hope to get that chance to trade places once more.
And be, once again, that which casts the shadow upon the wall.