The Shadow is Following You: Part I

The following is an excerpt taken from a fictional collective I have been slowly putting together since graduating university last spring. These loosely bound stories will be published as an ongoing serial, and i expect they will involve a veritable selection of themes ranging from mystery, gore, ‘romance’, and perhaps a touch of post-modern existentialism, whatever that means..

Without any more delay; Welcome to the strange world of my totally effed up imagination!

 

A winding dirt road led off into the densely lined forest, and one imagined it slowly climbing up the crumbling peaks that clashed with the boldness of a summer sky defined by crisp cerulean blues and wisps of peach stained cloud. On either side of the ambling road golden wheat stalks stood silent sentry, their bodies swaying perversely in the mocking breeze that only wafted syrupy hot air around. Far below the eroding mountain skyline a young girl with dark bangs stood overlooking the scene, taking in the sorry sight of an aging single story duplex just barely visible among a grove of pines. A voluptuously fruited cherry tree planted in the middle of the modest yard waved up to her in a kind gesture of familiarity. In the distant skies to the south thunderheads billowed menacingly, their plumage growing darker with folds growing more pronounced as the afternoon minutes melted together in the intensity of the heat. The sun still shone fiercely in the west, creating the contrasting dramatics of a living, breathing chiaroscuro landscape. Looking back towards the fields, she noticed the shadow of a hawk as it dipped over the silent figures of wheat. Taking his post at the top of the highest Ponderosa, the hawk silently surveyed the land, his sharp eyes resting momentarily on the figure of the small girl perched serenely on the face of a large boulder looking back at him with an incomprehensibly thoughtful expression on her face.

Plumes of cloud clung tenderly to the mountainside while the thunder began to growl its familiar husky warning and the summer rains broke free from their atmospheric bonds to beat the dusty earth in a relentless violent torrent. The rage of the storm brought J. close to her own sense of rage that simmered far below the surface of her consciousness, brought about by a sense that she had been cheated out of something she thought she had a natural right to. She saw her father far below bringing in logs of firewood for the night, and gazed longingly at the way he fondly handled the wood in his arms. She couldn’t understand why someone who should be most like her was the farthest thing from her, that the relationship they should have had was instead a stiff and unconvincing performance of parental figure. She never saw warmth in those steely grey eyes of his, they were distant apertures whose coldness maintained an inaccessible interiority that always made him appear far away to her. This permanent evasiveness meant no organic relationship could ever form between them, and as such they existed as two separate entities living in proximate adjacency to one another. They had never spent stormy evenings curled up together by the fire exchanging articles of information about their lives, the history of the lands they inhabited or the people they had been borne of, though this was never because of an unwillingness on the part of the youth. J. had badgered and pestered him as a child, always hanging on the words that never escaped his tongue, but once she had grown to a certain age she acquired the intuitive knowledge that that his silence was more than a mere absence of words, that he was actively blocking her connective advances in some strange attempt at preserving something she hated but did not fully understand. The awkward lack of intricacies in their day-to-day interactions only heightened her perception that she was blocked off from something she thought she had a right to be privy to, but no matter what her father seemed determined to keep her at bay, as if he thought his performance was convincing enough to deserve a second act.

J. had always thought of going away from him as soon as she could, if only to repay the favor of psychological neglect that had damaged her so brutally in those vital early years. But her revenge was never to play out in the way she expected, and in that sense she always remained convinced that there was something incomplete about her, something that she continuously chased after only to bring her to agonizing tears of frustration that corroded her ability to see properly the damage she caused to herself and others around her. Over years she honed in on this destructive tendency, until one day J. realized that it had  taken on a life of its own, had morphed into am infectious morbid entity that unleashed its darkness wherever it roamed. The darkness was within her and without, her control over it no longer a limit to its endless ability for destruction. What follows from here is an account of the strange goings-on related to this entity as I can best relay them from first and second hand accounts – and although some may presume them to be inconsequential or a series of unfortunate but unrelated events, reader be warned that you yourself may encounter this shadowy darkness in your own lifetime, as it follows you as much as it haunts me.

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