Short Story #1: Shadow

By @ItsMeJoe1212

Short Story #1: Shadow

By @ItsMeJoe1212

A dying writer, converses with his shadow.

Chapter 1

Shadow

“I love this room,” I said, while looking at the shadowed brown, wooden wall accented by gloomy red wallpaper. The floor was a lighter brown, and so was the ceiling. There were two wooden drawers, both with models of old buildings on them. There were also some paintings on the wall, abstract art, to be more precise. The window left to my bed revealed a beautiful garden, maintained by a handful of gardeners. A recent addition was the hospital equipment, didn’t know what half of it did, but knew it kept me alive. “But, you already know that, I’ve told you before, haven’t I?” I said as I turned towards the shadowy figure sitting in a fancy chair. It nodded. I brought my hand to my face, looked at the shape of my stumpy legs, or what’s left of them, through the sheets, “ah, this old head forgets too easily.” I then lowered my hand back to my lap. It brought his hand up, as if asking to repeat the story.

“Very well, my father is the one who planned this room, this whole house even, but this room sure is special. He was such a talented architect, he planned it while he was still stuck on the street, saying that one day he would make it big, have his own architectural company. He hadn’t met my mother yet, still a young man.” I coughed and paused, to regain my breath. “He built his company from the ground, with the help of my uncle, of course. I always wanted to be like him, but I was only able to be half as great.” I coughed and paused once again. “He gave me this mansion, to follow my dreams, but I feel like I failed him. I remember him working in this room, almost all the time. He told me that this room would bring him inspiration, although it has done the same to me, I still don’t understand how. I’ve written so many books in this room, 32… no, 33. If I remember correctly, you’ve read each one of them.” I coughed once again. “But I’m afraid I’m incapable of writing more, this world has injured me too far.” I said while holding back a tear.

The figure looked down. I swear I could see a tear drop onto the floor. “I’m in terrible pain, Gerome.” It lifted it’s head. I stared directly in his dark eyes “I want you to end it, I wish to suffer no longer.” It got up, walked around the room, waving his hands in anger. “You know why, now sit down!” I shouted in anger, before letting out a series of wheezing coughs, blood splattering the palm of my hand. I took a long pause, to regain my stature. It sat down quickly. “I ask you, please, let me see my father and mother.” I said as I started to sob.“I’ve survived through many fights, and most of them cost me dearly.” I gestured towards my amputated legs. “Have I told you the story of when I lost my legs in the great war? Of course I have, you were there with me,” I laughed a bit, and started coughing again. It looked at me, lifting it’s hand up, once again. “Why do you wish to hear this old story again?” It put his hands on it’s heart. “It gives you hope?” It nodded. “Very well, at least I can do that before I leave this world.” I sighed.

“I was twenty-one years old, but a young man. My father insisted enrolling myself in the army, to help our great country. My mother couldn’t argue with him, since she died when I was but seven. She had lung cancer, I must have gotten it from her. I am lucky to be alive, almost a eighty years old.” I laughed and coughed, again. “Still have trouble believing it. Anyway, this story is of past, not present. I chose to follow my father’s advice, and went into the great american army, as infantry. I served for a single year, before I had to come back here.” I shivered, thinking of what happened. “I was sent to push back the german soldiers out of France. I hadn’t had the chance to fire a single bullet in that battle, when a grenade was thrown into the trenches I was assigned to.” I started to rub my left leg. “Luckily, I was able to jump away from it, but my legs still got hit.” It looked down to the floor, remembering the event itself. “All I remember seeing is you, standing next to me, it’s as if you spoke to me. After that, I must have blacked out, for I remember waking up in a french hospital, filled with injured soldiers.” As I looked at it, it lift it’s head back up. “ You saved my life back then, even if people don’t know of your existence, you are a true savior.” I laughed a bit. “They told me I was done in the army, I did all I could. So they shipped me back to america. My father was so disappointed in me. But, I kept on, and followed my own dreams, to become a writer. And here I am.” I sat there, trying to calculate the amount of time had passed, and had a bit of trouble, mumbling to myself slightly, “.. fifty-three years later. God, am I really that old?” I laughed a bit, before coughing up more blood. “Well, there you have it.”

It once again looked down, but this time lifting it’s head back, almost immediately after. I could see darker lined dripping down his face, onto it’s lap, it was crying. “Don’t be sad, it’s just an ending, everybody must have one. Wouldn’t it be bland if stories didn’t have endings?” He looked at me, I could see sadness in his shadowy eyes. “Now, I ask you again… Put me out of my misery.”I cough again. “This pain is too much for an old man like myself.” I spit out some more blood. “Please, help me, liberate my soul.” I looked him dead in the eye. It lifted it’s hand, and took one finger out. “Alright, one last story” I thought for a couple of seconds. “What about the one about my first novel?” He nodded.

I sighed “Very well, I was but fifteen years old, I still had my legs. My uncle owned a typewriter, which allowed me to write in a much fancier fashion than with my hands.This story was based off of reality, our reality. It was about a boy who had a special ability, his shadow was a living, breathing being!” I laughed and coughed. “You helped me lots throughout the writing, gesturing what was and wasn’t, and I still thank you for that, up to this day. But, the story was still all over the place, but I went on with it. I had so much trouble with writing, I constantly made grammar mistakes, but once I completed it, by constantly bugging my uncle to visit him, I had my father read it. This brought a smile to his face, something I hadn’t seen ever since my mother died. He started to ask his friends, and eventually found a willing editor. The editor taught me most about grammar, more than any other teacher did. After my father saw the progress I’ve done, he bought me a typewriter of my own. This was the start of my career, and I was but a kid!” I once again laughed, and coughed. “He told me I should never stop writing, and that I didn’t. As you have seen.”

I looked up at it, and stared it in it’s eyes, before coughing up a storm of blood on my hands. As it saw my pain, it got up, and approached me. It brought it’s face to mine, giving me one last customary goodbye. “I thank you, my twin of darkness. You have helped me, and I have no other way to thank you, but to say it. So, thank you, once again. I will tell mother and father ‘hello’ for you.” I said, as it crouched down in the corner, to unplug my oxygen supply. As soon as I heard a thud, I started to feel the air exit my body, I coughed and coughed and coughed, and I said one last time, in vain “Thank you.”

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