The soft pitter-patter of raindrops struck against the hard asphalt and became my only friend in that night without a clear sky or moonglow. At the same time, a gentle wind blew against my back as if it urged me to move forward, but its breeze carried no warmth. My legs told me they walked a thousand miles, yet every second there seemed like the first time; Something itched at the back of my mind, telling me to keep moving, but every step on the cold road shook my knees and slithered a shiver up my neck.
My eyes darted here and there as I glanced at the dark silhouettes of trees overcrowding either side of the road. Maybe a part of me hoped to see some buildings in the distance past them; I’d love a nice cafe to escape the rain and take that first sip of warm coffee that would swirl around my belly, leaving me without a worry in the world. That thought ignited a few butterflies in my heart, almost making me forget about the seemingly bleak background around me. I took the deepest breath, slapped my face, and stepped forward with slightly less reluctance.
Just as surely as the rain would fall and wind would blow, I continued walking down that deserted road; tossing aside anything I knew and replacing it with nothing but asphalt and the crunch of leaves. A lone street light flickered to life in front of me and I gained another friend against the darkness. That sight charged my body with joy to the point that not even a villain could resist smiling in the same situation! However, I quickly realized it cut me like a double-edged sword; the comforting raindrops fizzled out while the wind catapulted me forward like the strongest slingshot. The ache in my legs eased upon becoming weightless and I tensed my muscles as I anticipated a hard landing!
But that abrupt ending never came to fruition. That forceful gust vanished entirely and my feet softly touched the road again. My breath cycled in and out for a few moments before I turned back to normal. Well, as normal as I could get. But everything else didn’t; a series of zigzagging street lights turned on one at a time and dark, shadowy figures of different sizes stood under each of them... looking at me. My body should have locked up, my hands should have been pouring with nervous sweat, and I should have turned right around and ran without looking back. But No, I didn’t run; not because I had a steeled will, but because as soon as I saw them, that shivering chill from earlier dissipated as harmlessly as leaves in the wind. That time, I walked forward willingly
I moved closer towards one of the shadowy figures on the right side of the road. It was tennis ball-size and its amorphous shape gurgled, and squished the more I looked at it. Something took over me and my hand moved closer and closer to the shadow until I touched its slimy body. In the next instant, the ball transformed and grew into a cat! None of its intricate features were visible, but that rub against my leg seemed as familiar as the rising sun, yet I didn’t know why. My hand instinctively scratched its chin and my heart grew a little warmer.
A single droplet of water fell from the sky right onto my face. And just for a split second, the world stopped as I gazed at the dark clouds; lightning crackled across the sky and time resumed with millions of raindrops in tow. I wanted to stand there forever and soak in the warm bliss, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I glanced at the shadows down the road; they beckoned for me to come with their wiggly arms. My heart told me I’d regret not going forward.
The leaves crunched under my bare feet and I found myself standing next to another shadow on the right side of the road; this one resembled a basketball in size and I poked its slimy body. It writhed and whired before taking the form of… a big dog! Like the cat, only an outline could be seen. It immediately licked my hand and wagged its tail so fast it looked like a fan. Suddenly, the dog caught sight of the cat and chased it around my legs! That same sense of familiarity washed over me, but any attempt to remember was as unclear as the night sky.
Everything sat on the tip of my tongue; my heart beat quickened at each footstep and I knew only time would answer my questions. Like a switch being flipped, the rain bombarded down like a broken dam; pools of water formed on the road and the water surface reflected the hazy glow of the street lights as if they were a thousand little mirrors. My two companions walked on either side of me and we ventured further down the mysterious road.
Eventually, we arrived at the biggest shadow so far; it was like a beach ball in size and seemed just like the rest, but I noticed a unique detail; the center glowed with a faint white light. Just like the other shadows, I touched the surface and ripples danced across. The ball twisted and contorted longer than the other two; my heart raced to the point I thought it’d jump out of my chest. However, that anticipation died off shortly after when the silhouette of a human stood in front of me
One look was all it took; fear and anxiety washed away to welcome relief in their place. The figure stooped down to pet the shadow cat and dog for a few seconds before standing straight directly in front of me. It held out its hand towards mine and I instinctively grabbed it. The figure guided me further and further through the street while more shadows followed us. Each step released pounds and pounds of weight on my shoulders with each inch we moved.
I couldn’t remember how long we walked for, but the figure eventually came to a stop along with all the shadows. The rain ceased, I held my breath, and the whole world stood still. One by one, the street lights faded out and bathed almost everything in darkness once again. Yet, it didn’t last; My eyes gazed at the white light and watched as it grew brighter and brighter until it banished the dark night into oblivion. I realized I had shut my eyes for a few minutes and I carefully opened them not expecting anything.
The first thing that caught my view was the beautiful blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds here and there; the deep-green trees looked like precious emeralds and their branches swayed in the calming breeze. I glanced down at my feet and that distinct fur pattern of my feline friend returned to my memory as well as those deep-brown eyes that accompanied the floppy-eared dog. But most of all, I locked eyes with the person who had the most beautiful smile in the world and a wide grin threatened to split my face apart.
After all, I just couldn’t truly forget.