As soon as the dawn lifted and allowed me to see my shadow, I realised that today, my shadow could also see me. It had started to do more than just follow me, trail me and glide around me and it was on that November morning that I finally acknowledged it.
I was standing at the busy junction as usual. Holding the huge lollipop stick which was at least five inches taller than me. The stick which my shadow held was more oval, less tall and it quivered under its responsibilities. My shadow was scornful of it, so full of your own importance, it told its stick, you are nothing but a plastic moon, a beaming assumption that traffic will slow, smile and do your bidding. My shadow then allowed the borders of that stick to blur and stretch hiding it among the dappled sycamore pattern dancing around the concrete.
It was just after eight and the earliest school children, the ones traipsing along behind harried working mothers who could not even find time to throw a Weetabix at them each morning, were heading in for Breakfast Club. They walked past me and onto my shadow. I felt their feet pressing down onto it. Each of their dwarfish steps was a tiny rubber mallet pressing the shadow down. My shadow hated this and it arched its back like a furious cat melding and darkening itself with their inky smudges. The coloured trainers of the mums were more like slaps but the one mother in high heels caused sullen stabs of pain to surge through my shadow. And me. Our arms holding the sticks shook a little.
Before I was fully back on the pavement, a toadish driver moved off. His winter tyres scraping and rasping across my shadowy torso. I doubled over in pain feeling that the whole weight of the car had just pressed across my bowels and lower back. My shadow’s head bowed in sympathy and rose to meet my own. A gentle, leaning-in of alliance.
The camaraderie was short lived. My shadow began to throw itself under the wheels of every vehicle passing close enough. Curving, thinning, making itself squat. Each time shaping itself to suffer the weight; the pressure and the agony in a deadly game of chicken. I weakened with each car that passed. The arm holding my stick become too heavy to hold up and I yearned to press myself against my shadow, mould to its silhouette and absorb its indifference.
A bus was coming. Very fast. With the arrogant speed and precision of a driver who keeps his vehicle just an inch from the kerb. My shadow gathered itself together and summoned a great stretch to place its head under the wheels. My shadow was showing off. I had seen enough of this now and so, taking it by the feet, I placed my shadow behind me and led it to face the thundering traffic.
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words). So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.