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Sad Contemporary Speculative

I have never seen the sun.

When I say that, I mean it literally. Not as some dramatic statement about how depressed I am or a metaphor for how I’ve never had a good day in my life. I mean I have literally never seen the sun.

You’d think it’s a miserable existence. Never feeling the warmth of a warm summer's day, never laying down on a beach to get gorgeously tan, never being blinded by pure light. At least that’s what I’ve been told it’s like. Light and warmth and tan mean nothing to me. After all, I’ve never experienced them. I’ve heard them all in passing conversation. I don't remember where from… but I do remember the longing and curiosity piqued. 

In some ways existence is miserable, as it can be for everyone. But in every circumstance there is good. Especially when it’s all you’ve ever known.

I often move, yet never of my own free will. At night my position changes and when the day emerges I am tucked away again. 

Tonight I am still exposed, naked and afraid. The sun will be here soon. I can feel my time dwindling to a close. I don’t want to be forgotten. After all, no one does. I decided you would be a good person to share the story of my life. Story by story, memory by memory, little by little. Skipping the dull parts in between, and those I’ve left in the past.

I don’t remember how it started, really. One day I just was. My first memory was on a cold winter afternoon, just after the first snow. 

School had been canceled and children were running rampant about the neighborhood. I was tucked away safely, watching the kids scream and laugh and cry and dance together. They all seemed so happy. I remember longing to be with them, and realizing I never could. 

That was my first season. 

Then it was summer. Before I even realized time was passing, it passed. Still, even in the heat of the summer, the sun never shone on me. 

It was midday and I was residing in the dark side of Pillsbury Park. I watched as the usual hustle and bustle commenced as people went about their day.

Something caught my eye. I noticed a small boy eating ice cream across the park. 

He couldn’t have been older than six. He had strawberry ice cream all around his mouth, and he was smiling from ear to ear. He was skipping across the sidewalk when suddenly he tripped and took a nasty spill on the pavement. 

The boy began to cry and I pulled back but did nothing.  . I couldn’t. 

To my curious amusement another small boy, about the same age, approached the woundedboy on the pavement. 

“You can have my ice cream.” The standing boy offered with a smile. 

The boy on the ground stopped crying and sniffed, “Thank you. Wanna be friends?”

“Sure,'' replied the other.

It was such a small moment, so innocent, but undoubtedly the start of a lifelong friendship. 

I’ve seen friends made dozens of times. This scene just stuck with me… I think because at that exact moment, I realized how deeply I longed for a friend. 

I never saw the little boys again. 

Summer turned to fall. The fates decided to grant my wish, because that Autumn I became attached to a person. A girl, of course. Attachment happens to everyone at least once. 

It was wonderful. Her voice was like honey, and flowed like a river on a spring afternoon. She was intelligent and liked to draw glorious pictures. There would be days I had nothing to do but listen to her voice and watch her paint. She hoped she would become famous for her art one day. I always believed she would. 

She and I were together for five months. Then she fell in love with a boy named Tony. They moved to Hawaii and her need for me was lost. I was alone once again.

The following year was the hardest. I was stuck near some bar in Brooklyn, forced to hear all the atrocities that went on inside. Some people seemed to be having fun, but most of them did not. Bickering and fighting or drinking their lives away. I never understand why people drink, no one ever seems to be very happy after, and for some, during.  Then again, it is not like I am able to try it.

Days turned to months, and months to years. Eventually I stopped paying attention to what was going on around me. It was too painful to be reminded of everything I could never be. As I previously mentioned, I have never moved of my own free will, but I can assure you I have moved all across the world. 

I've watched as seasons changed, the years blending into each other as people's lives carry on. I was paralyzed by the chains of my own existence. I have so many memories. The tragedy is that none of my memories are truly my own. 

I have seen leaves and spirits fall as I stayed still.

I've seen lovers go mad for each other. Some never changed and some moved on. I lingered in place, lonely as always. 

I have seen waves crash against shores as seagulls stole day-old pretzels and kids laughed and cried with their parents. Still I remained stagnant. I have seen forces of evil, hiding and waiting for their next form of prey. I would try to stop them, will myself desperately to move and expose them to save an innocent. But I never moved an inch. I couldn’t, I didn’t know how. 

All of these memories, all these experiences, all mine and yet none of them about me. My mind is filled with the experiences of others through my own view. My whole life I wished I could do something. Be something more than who I am. That’s why I’m here today, conveying to you my life in hopes you understand that you were born the way you are for a purpose. Don’t waste your time wishing to be something you’re not. 

Don’t pity me because I'm cut off from the sunlight. I don’t mind anymore. I learned to enjoy the life I was given, spending my time anywhere the sun was not for however long it has lasted. After all, if I were to see the sun, it would be the day I vanish. What am I, a Shadow, meant to do about that?

The sun is coming up. No longer tucked away behind a building or any other surface, no longer safe from it. I am completely exposed. I suppose it’s time for me to greet the sun with an embrace. 

I loved our time together. Even if the world never remembers me or my service; I'm glad I got the chance to say “Goodbye”.

March 25, 2022 01:51

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16 comments

Michał Przywara
20:33 Mar 29, 2022

This is an interesting story. Right from the beginning I was wondering who/what the narrator was. Shadow didn't even occur to me, which I guess drives the point about shadows being underappreciated home. Thanks for sharing!

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02:56 Mar 30, 2022

Thank you! I really appreciate your comment! :)

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Co Co Lee
14:26 Jun 29, 2022

I really thought this story was great! I wasn't sure what to expect with the ending, but you nailed it completely! I loved the wording when the shadow talked about the places they had been and memories that were never really theirs. Great story!

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Sharon Hancock
01:56 Mar 31, 2022

Very interesting I loved the way you wrote this. It felt kind of like a riddle told in story form, which is brilliant! I actually thought it was the moon . So unique. I enjoyed this a lot!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
03:27 Mar 31, 2022

So did I!

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15:49 Mar 31, 2022

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kind words. I love the comparison with the riddle! The Moon is also a very unique idea, I love it!

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Robin Davidson
01:33 Mar 31, 2022

This story was equal parts captivating and tragic. I loved the message behind this piece and my favorite parts were the shadow's memories of its life. Some of the memories are vivid and some are more general. I think you might consider making them all as vivid as possible (specifically the snow day and the Brooklyn bar). In fact, this idea is so cool it could be developed into an entire collection. There's so much room to write here--so many things a shadow has seen! Well done!

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01:46 Mar 31, 2022

Thank you so much, your comment is so well-written and kind. That’s a great idea, I would really like to expand on the story!

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Maria Dominguez
19:38 Mar 30, 2022

Intriguing to the end reveal! Well written and love the unique perspective. It is the small phrases in your writing that brings forth great relatability and emotion, yet are so carefully placed in the tale. Insight such as “I learned to enjoy the life I was given”, such truth and wisdom to be heeded. Marvelous story!

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20:33 Mar 30, 2022

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your comment. I tried to connect emotionally with the reader. :)

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C N Dakus
22:16 Mar 29, 2022

This is a really clever story! I had a lot of fun reading this one!

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02:56 Mar 30, 2022

I really appreciate it, thank you so much!!! :)

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Caitlyn Kilbee
20:43 Mar 30, 2022

Yes, you grabbed my interest too and I couldn't work it out either. Well done. I love to write stories with a twist at the end whenever I can.

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00:07 Mar 31, 2022

Thank you so much! Yes, it’s always very fun.

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Cindy Strube
17:46 Mar 30, 2022

Nice! The whole time, I was trying to figure out who/what the narrator is, up until “if I were to see the sun, it would be the day I vanish” - just before the reveal. Good job keeping the mystery!

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18:20 Mar 30, 2022

Thank you!!! Yes I tried to make the reader question up until the very end. :)

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