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I’ve always seen them, but I learned long ago to keep my mouth shut. However, I’ve always had a bad habit of not applying what I learn.
I’ve seen strange things since I was very small. Dark mist formed into humanoid shapes, and sometimes, they would follow me. Quite often when I looked, they would vanish from sight. It was as if they were never there. I was never afraid. In fact, for a while, I thought this was normal. Then, at the young age of five, I started attending school. When I told other children about these figures, they were afraid. After a few of them contacting teachers about my “scary story”, my parents received a telephone call.
I was unnerving the other children. My father just told the superintendents that I had an overactive imagination and had watched too many scary movies with my mother. He didn’t want to say that he was scared, too.
“Don’t tell people about that,” he used to say. Every time I mentioned seeing something “strange”, he would always freeze up. His posture would grow rigid. Fingers would curl into his palms to form a white-knuckled fist. Most memorable of all is that his lips would flatten into a straight line and the blood would drain from his face. Eventually, he started insisting that I didn’t see anything. Anger and frustration were clear in his voice. I quit bringing up such subjects with him. He chose to believe that his little girl had a vivid imagination and I didn’t argue with that idea. I assumed it would be for the best to let him keep that mentality.
My mother didn’t agree with him. She believed every word I said, and though she was visibly frightened, she was equally curious. She told me I was special. Like grandma, I was “clairvoyant”. I did not know what this word meant until she explained it to me. Yet she did say one thing similar to what Dad had told me. “Don’t tell anyone about it; they’ll think you’re crazy. And then they’ll say it’s hereditary and blame it on me.” I knew she was half-joking, but I understood. She added a few more words, only to make her point clear. “Do not speak of them.”
From that point on, I often kept such things quiet. I never mentioned these shadows to anyone except those who mentioned similar subjects. Most of us were confined to our own little circle of superstitious crackpots anyhow, so what harm could there be in sharing our experiences? It brought me some variety of comfort to know that I wasn’t the only one whose mundane life had a few strange additions.
After discussing such things with the others, finding comfort in being “odd” was a simple task. I wasn’t so nervous anymore, nor did I feel so insecure with this “overactive imagination”. Keeping my shadow sightings under tight wraps away from that small collective wasn’t difficult, either. Soon, I began to realize something: sharing your problems with others doesn’t always make them go away. In fact, the contrary was closer to the truth.
These shades began to behave in strange ways. The figures were growing darker. They seemed to be more substantial than they had been in the past. They were now coming closer. Distant shapes in my already poor peripheral vision seemed to be no more than ten feet away, if not even closer. Turning to face them didn’t swiftly banish them as it did before. They would shrink and “melt” into whatever darkness existed beforehand, as if to halfheartedly hide away. Gone were the days in which I saw them alone. Now they accompanied me even when I found myself in public places, bustling with life and a myriad of people. Once housed in darkness, broad daylight no longer even sheltered me from these impersonations of human shape. I was learning to fear.
One lonesome night, I found myself growing curious. I recalled upon a conversation with my mother. She spoke of her own mother fondly, but I had never met her. I had seen a few photographs, but even those were very old. In fact, I had never even spoken to her on the telephone or contacted her at all. I reached for my telephone, searching through my contacts. I had to call my mother.
We conversed about what we often did at the beginning of the phone call. How much I disliked my job, how poor my luck was when it came to finding the new one, and general bitching. Yet I still couldn’t shake that thought. Before I could hang up, I just had to ask that question. “Mom, what happened to grandma?”
For a few seconds she paused, hesitating to answer. Her voice had a slight tremble to it. “I don’t know. I came home one day and she was gone.”
“Dead?” I asked. I had to know.
“No. Actually, I’m not sure. She was just gone. Everything was so normal, but I knew she wouldn’t have left the stove on and just left.” Her voice sounded somewhat hollow. I could tell she didn’t want to talk about this.
“She saw things, too, right?”
“Yes, and she told everyone,” my mother stated plainly.
“Sorry, I need to go; I have work in the morning. I love you, Mom.” I wanted to get off the phone. I felt my stomach turn.
“I love you, too. Stay safe.” Those words meant more to me than ever before. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to smile. I was afraid it was already too late for safety. Both of my parents told me not to tell anyone about these experiences, and now I was far too enlightened.
Some things do not wish to be known. Some things are not meant to be seen. I had looked upon what was meant to remain ambiguous and undisclosed. As if that were not enough, I had divulged such existence to anyone willing to listen.
The nebulous silhouettes only draw closer and closer. I no longer speak aloud of such beings, but this is only a simple warning. Do not speak of them if you do see them. These replications of our forms are not meant to be viewed or discussed.
I fear that someday, I will understand the fate of my grandmother and these somber shapes will lead me to it. And perhaps someday, a familiar question will be asked.
“What ever happened to her?”
It will only be replied to with a familiar answer.
“I don’t know.”
The thought haunts me daily. I can’t seem to rest, and it’s not only that thought that keeps me awake at night. Those godforsaken shadows kept coming closer. Sometimes, I’d wake up and I was almost certain one was standing over me. The air was cold, yet it grew to a comfortable temperature the second I sat up in bed. Beads of sweat from my temporary panic collected on the fevered flesh of my forehead.
Only then, did I realize it. These beings intend to silence me themselves. Someday, I will be among them. So please, if you see them, heed the advice my own mother gave me before these dark facsimiles so ominously threaten to tear you from the mortal plain.
Don’t speak of what you see, or you may join the legion of shadows.
Written by Shinigami.Eyes