Alice and Her Shadow
It is not a moonless night, nor is the moon full. It is not a half moon, which can be argued is more symbolic than either. It is not even a crescent, which can be meaningful enough for the magical practitioner on a budget. It is a waxing gibbous. Bulging. Grotesque. And hanging too low in the sky like the misshapen eye of a cosmic horror that has taken an unusual interest in humanity.
Your name is Alice. Your last name is uninteresting and will soon be irrelevant. Your name is Alice, and you are walking home. It is too dark for your mother’s purposes, and she worries about you being out too late, but Katherine’s house is less than fifteen minutes away, and down two hills. No one waiting to ambush a defenseless teenage girl is going to bother walking up two hills, you told your mother.
You still believe this, but you’ve since developed other concerns.
None of the streetlamps are working and your shadow is beginning to worry you.
You are particularly worried that it may not belong to
It is stretched out in front of you and you don’t remember it looking like that.
Your mother has told you that you’re going through a late growth spurt, which is apparently why you keep walking into doorframes.
This might, might, account for the fact that your shadow’s limbs are unnaturally long and moving in ways you don’t recognize.
It does not account for your shadow’s head.
Your shadow’s head is freakishly large, weirdly distended, and there are two bumps emerging from the top of it.
You try not to speculate about the bumps.
You move your arm. Your shadow moves its arm, maybe a fraction of a second later.
You shiver and fold your arms in front of yourself. Maybe it’s just the way you moved, but your shadow seems to swell.
You stop. The sound of your footsteps seems to continue a little longer than it should. When you start to walk again, the noise echoes a little more...
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