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The Realm of Shadows

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Many people find fear in the ideas of psychopathic murderers or evil spirits lurking about in old houses or in strange cults that practice dubious rituals. There’s no doubt that these things are to be feared and avoided at all costs. However, what gives me the most horrific sensations of terror I could ever feel is not in any of that. Instead, I find it when I look at my own shadow.

To this day, I have no idea what had led me to experience that unheard of phenomenon. Even thinking about it causes me to shudder just remembering it; that nameless, hellish astral plane of existence. It happened many years ago, when I was very young.

I was a curious child who had no true desire to spend it like other youngsters. I’d always spend time lost in my thoughts and read about subjects not many people usually take an interest in. I suppose that caused me to become ostracized by my classmates at school and I never truly developed any real friendships. Ultimately, this led me to becoming very lonely so I’d often find ways to entertain myself in unique ways.

Because I was so lonesome, I’d often spend time in my thoughts and observing odd little things I would spot in random places. As a result of this, I began to take an interest in my shadow.

Walking home from school on pleasant days, I’d often walk with my head down studying it since I was so fascinated by it; the way it changed its height if the sun were a different position or how would it change color or appearance depending on whether the sun or the moon was in the sky.

I studied textbook after textbook on shadows and learned what they were scientifically and what they were to cultures all over the Earth. I found myself absolutely intrigued by them and what they did. Although I found myself learning about them practically, I couldn’t help but think about them in another way. I felt that there was something much more to shadows than what meets the eye.

I’d be happy whenever there was a full moon since the moonlight would pour directly into my room and give a pleasant ivory tint to the darkness. Furthermore, it cast shadows against objects on the wall, including my own shadow. This brought me oodles of fun and wonder.

I’d spend hours at night entertaining myself by creating shadow puppets or flailing my hands around in humorous ways to have my shadow emulate me.

One night, however, things became very different.

As I drifted off to sleep one idle night after I had spent my time doing my usual routine of making interesting puppets against the wall and making myself laugh, I laid down to rest and just as I was about to, I waved my hand as if I were waving good-bye and goodnight to my shadow. I suppose this was just my childish innocence at play, since after all, I was only a child when this all happened.

This is where the eeriness truly began. I was waving my hand a bit quickly in that way kids do things in a sloppy and careless manner sometimes. However, my shadow’s movement seemed to be a bit slower, as if they weren’t in sync with my movement. At first, I had thought that perhaps it was just me being tired and seeing things incorrectly. That often happened to me.

As I lowered my hand and placed it by my side, my shadow kept waving its hand in that strange and slightly creepy way. To make things even creepier was that its fingers didn’t resemble mine at all. They suddenly appeared longer, thinner, and the tips of the fingers appeared pointed and sharp.

I suddenly felt afraid and sat up in bed, staring at my wall. My shadow was following my motions perfectly once again. My eyes remained on my shadow for a good thirty seconds, feeling very nervous. What had caused that? I know I was tired, but I still awake enough to discern uncanny happenings.

For a minute, I had thought that maybe something was in the room with me. That alone was enough to fill me fear and shook the sleepiness out of me. Being only a youngster, I peered over the side of my bed and looked underneath to ensure that no monsters were dwelling under there.

I lied back down, bringing my blankets up to my chin and my eyes swinging from left to right, but avoiding my shadowy silhouette.

The next night, before climbing into bed, I pondered more and more about that weird occurrence. I must have been dreaming, I thought. After all, that was just silly. Shadows can’t move by themselves. It was most likely my tired brain playing tricks on me. When I hopped into bed, I played with my shadow once again and, as usual, dabbled in my puerile activities of making fun little figures.

Thankfully, from what I saw, it didn’t do anything odd or unsettling. I placed my head on my pillow and went into a sound, pleasant sleep.

I felt myself stirring awake at some unusual and random hour of that sae night. I sat up in bed, lifted my hands to my eyes and tiredly rubbed them. My eyes shifted over to the wall where my shadow appears, and what was there that night still haunts me to this very day many years later.

Although what I saw was indeed my shadow, it didn’t reflect me sitting on my bed. Instead, it looked as if it were standing up completely straight. I couldn’t tell if it was either standing right next to my bedside or if it were just pressed against the wall.

The most unsettling aspect of this uncanny shadow was that it seemed to have eyes. Two shining purple orbs seemed to be on the upper side of its head. It just continuously stared mindlessly at me.

My eyes widened and my mouth hung open. Interestingly enough, although I was afraid, I didn’t feel the typical overwhelming horror that often associates itself with seeing something scary in the dark. Instead, it was more of a curious fear, a type a fear only children have in which they are afraid but at the same time have an element of curiosity along with it. As it saw me staring at it with those terrifying eyes, it suddenly began to walk.

But as it did, it no longer looked like my own shadow.

Its body grew a hunched back and the hands suddenly shifted to that grotesque claw-like appearance. The neck became elongated and stretched out, and it had a bestial, inhuman way of walking.

I watched it move and it gave me a disturbed, sickening feeling. It looked like the silhouette of some deformed imp or devil creature. Its head swung around, as if it were an animal scourging for food.

Then, it disappeared into a more darkened, shadowless portion of the room, and it never came out. I stayed staring at the spot where it had vanished for a long time, too afraid to move a single muscle on my body.

I don’t even recall when I had fallen asleep, or if I had even fell asleep at all. Perhaps instead I had fainted from seeing such a queer and somewhat horrible sight.

All I truly remember was waking up with that shadow on my mind, and if I should tell my parents or not. Unfortunately, my folks were not very understanding of me. They often wondered if I was “alright” since I did not partake in the usual hobbies of children my age, like sports or music.

Instead, they criticized me frequently due to my interests in topics they considered pointless or silly and they deemed it unhealthy for me to be researching them constantly. If I had informed them of the disturbing experience I had witnessed, they’d surely roll their eyes and scoff at me. They’d accuse me of reading far too much nonsense and cast it off as some sort of ridiculous thing I had dreamed up. The next night, however, I had noticed something.

The phase of the full moon had passed, and I’d have to wait almost another month before it would appear again. This didn’t mean the moonlight wouldn’t seep into my room, though. It just meant that the light would be much weaker.

This is where the nightmare truly begins, however, and I would forever doubt my own sanity.

Before the events in which I am about to describe happened, I could at least still judge the situation as being some sort of bizarre lucid dreaming event. But now I knew I wasn’t dreaming, and the horrific images of those nights still plague me endlessly to this day.

As long as the moon was shining even a little bit, the living shadow would freely crawl and walk around my room. I would see its loathsome purple gaze as its head creaked from left to right, as if examining its surroundings. I felt my blood turn into ice as its orbs stared deeply into my eyes hungrily, as if trying to peel back the layers of my mind and fill it with madness.

The impish thing would sometimes crawl on the ceiling and turn its head towards me, and just keeps its eyes on me for what seemed like all night.

All I could do, helpless during all this, would just be to look back and quiver beneath my quilt.

Although it seemed to have some sort of form, which I saw as a grotesque devilish humanoid shape, it never seemed consistent. At times, it would appear like a strange little monkey, curiously lumbering about the room and every once in a while would shoot a glance over at me.

Other times, it didn’t have any shape or form at all, and instead seemed like a black, shadowy liquid gruesomely slithering about, going underneath doors and under my bed.

One particular disturbing memory still stands out to me.

One day, I saw the dark entity pour out of the wall and it seemed to fade into the darkened region of the room. I had seen it do this a few times already and, dare I say, I found it quite “normal” at this point. But then, I saw the deplorable shadow suddenly morph into that queer liquescent form and slip through my window.

Shaken by this, I tossed off my blankets and quietly made my way over to it to see where it had gone. I peered outside, and even though it was dark, I could see the hideous shadow leaping from roof to roof of the other houses of my neighborhood with remarkable speed and dexterity until its silhouette vanished into the night. This went on for weeks, right until the night when the full moon was due to appear. I had no idea of the monstrous and ghoulish voyage that was awaiting me, but if I had known, I never would have looked upon my own shadow.

Before I relate to what I am going to say, I am going to detail the toll this took on my daily life. I felt myself beginning to take a morbid descent into madness. Every day, I would feel terribly paranoid and troubled when I was around my shadow. Whenever I walked to school in the morning, I would attempt to avoid staring down to see it walking in front of me. Even shadows that belonged to inanimate objects gave me shivers.

In the classroom, I could hardly focus on my schoolwork or the lectures. I often felt myself nervously glancing out the windows to see if the sun had reached the center of the sky and was beginning to cast shadows over buildings and trees. I frequently envisioned horrendously-grotesque shadows beginning to envelope the walls and floors.

One particular day, I was seeing those shadows far worse than before. Eventually, I imagined them stepping out of their “natural habitat” and began moving about the classroom on all fours as if studying the objects in the classroom with some sort of abnormal curiosity. They had those wretched glowing purple eyes, much like the shadow that haunted my room. I did my best to conceal my nightmarish hallucinations from my family and my peers. It became increasingly difficult since my teachers took note of my lack of participation during lectures and my family noticed that I increasingly began to abandon my interests.

It was as if I became a prisoner to these damned shadows. I couldn’t take it. It was becoming overwhelming, and I had even contemplated committing suicide to finally put my mind at rest. I even saw these same evil shadows in my dreams.

What I’ve said so far, however, was just a preface to the real horror and terror that would happen to me a month later during this whole ghastly ordeal. I honestly hope to the Almighty that it was just some sort of elaborate and vivid dream I’d had. It will be very difficult for me to describe again, since some of it has been forgotten, but the portions I do remember still lurk around in my memories and leave me awake for hours lost in haunting thoughts.

The full moon phase returned once again. I nervously glanced over to the wall to see that matter-less, ghoulish acquaintance I’ve come to accept in my life. Amazingly, my shadow was absolutely normal once again. I waved my hand a few times and stood up to ensure that I was not, in an ironic twist, just imagining it. But no, it had finally returned to its appropriate state. It looked like me again! I was speechless. It was like I had woken up from a horrible, endless night terror and I was greeted by a pleasant sunny day and had a refreshing breeze kissing my face with everything as it should be.

I climbed out of my bed and slowly approached the wall with my arm outstretched. The return of my old shadow felt like a beloved friend had returned from a long journey. For reasons I really can’t describe, perhaps I was just intoxicated with happiness, I began to press the tips of my fingers against the wall, amusing myself with the thing following my every action. The sweet freedom of controlling my own shadow had returned.

Just as I was doing this, my shadow suddenly developed those wicked purple orbs that served as its eyes and it transformed into that grotesque and unnerving devilish form once again. I cried out in fear and backed away from it, but to my horror, the upper half of its body suddenly popped out of the wall, and its long, gaunt arms wrapped around my body.

I grew mad with fright and began trying to wrestle my way out of the monster’s grip, but it was incredibly strong. I tried to scream but my voice came out weak and as shortened gasps. I was too afraid. I opened my eyes and stared at the blasphemous thing’s eyes, and I immediately began to feel faint. It was so horrific and demonic to gaze into them, I wouldn’t even dare put it into words.

The last thing I felt, if this is the correct way to describe it, was the shadow pulling me into the darkness. I felt myself sinking as if drowning in some sort of other-worldly ghost pool, just going deeper and deeper until everything went black… When we fall asleep in an unknown area, we’re often taken by surprise when we first wake up. We often expect to wake up in our rooms or homes but we see surroundings we’ve never seen.

Unfortunately, this was not the case at all for me.

Before I opened my eyes, I could tell something was very wrong. It didn’t feel like I was lying on my mattress or anything for that matter. I felt my legs dangling in the air, as if I were some sort of marionette on strings. When I opened my eyes, I cried out in horror. My head swung from left to right quickly, trying to gather where I was. I didn’t see my room or my house. I didn’t see anything familiar at all.

Instead, I saw a sort of night sky.

But the thing that made me fearful was that this sky was not what I’d expected. It appeared more like a strange, surrealistic night sky. The constellations I spotted were very unfamiliar. The stars shined furiously and were much brighter than the stars I know of.

Even though I said it looked like a nighttime sky, it had a more odd purple and blue hue to it. I saw shooting stars pass by a few times and bizarre distant planets that I’d never seen before. For a moment, I felt as if I was floating on water, or at least that’s the impression I obtained. When I looked down, I shrieked in both astonishment and dread.

I was hovering in mid-air.

What was going on here? Where am I? Was this just some sort of bizarre dream? I felt myself breathing heavily, nauseous and thunderstruck with terror. I wanted to wake up, I wanted to go back home. I tried to move, but instead, all I could do was glide. I felt as if I had no choice, so I did so.

There were weird rock formations floating about, slowly and like the way clouds move by. The appeared like stalactites with platform-like tops just scattered about. The rocks had strange colors, dark blues and with tinges of green. I hovered over to one of them, and stepped on it, and observed my unusual and nerve-wracking surroundings.

I felt as if I had been taken to some strange and unreachable part of the universe. But how is that? I didn’t know that if I were actually able to breathe, but I felt fine (for lack of a better word) in terms of respiration. I wasn’t too well-read in astronomy, so I couldn’t tell if the formations and shapes of the stars were alien to the ones I knew.

I ran to the edge of the rock formation and leaped and began to hover again. I felt like some sort of fish swimming in a cosmic sea of lost star constellations and chaotic dimensions.

Just then, I heard an ominous and strange sort of chattering coming from below me. It sounded like a multitude of insects and snakes scurrying noisily in a large pit. I peered down nervously and saw a swarm of detestable shadows emerging from an unknown region from deep space with remarkable speed.

Before I could fly away to a safer spot, the black and transparent beings wrapped themselves around me. Their demonic grips felt like a cold burn as I writhed and attempted to tear them off of me. They were like constrictors wrapping themselves around my arms and legs and dragging me down to God knows where.

Miraculously enough, I was able to rip them off and slide out of those shadows’ hold and I floated away to another rocky platform, trembling from that strange experience. Now, I had felt too nervous to aviate around freely. Those devilish things might rise up again and try to pull me down into the unknown once more. I felt helpless and stranded in this horrible dimension.

Before I could organize my thoughts, another terrible thing awaited me. As I stood there, looking around to see how to escape this insane place, I heard a deep, baritone rumbling beneath me. It sounded like some sort of powerful earthquake were going on. Beginning to grow mad with fright, I made my way over to the edge of the precipice and glanced down.

My eyes widened with horror as I stared at the hideous and deplorable fiend that I observed.

An enormous and terrible monster lurked down there. It appeared to be made out of some sort of shadowy smog. It appeared more like a living thunderhead slithering down there like some sort of massive, bloated serpentine creature.

It detected me as I stared as it, because as I was observing this horrible thing, its grotesque face glanced up and its purplish eyes landed on me. It had a hideous frog-like face and a greyish bifid tongue hanging out. I stood up with my eyes locked on the monster, and I immediately whirled around and attempted to fly away.

As I hovered as rapidly as I could, I heard the monstrous thing’s growls and roars behind me. I felt myself unwilling to turn around and face it. When I had first saw it, it left me with a sort of loathing and sickening feeling, almost paralyzing me with absolute horror. That beast’s image was branded in my mind to this day, and I feel like I see it whenever I shut my eyes.

I truly have no idea where I was fleeing to. All I knew was that I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible and out of this dimension or realm of madness and horror.

Then, I heard that repulsive noise once again. Those shadow beings were coming up from their infernal depths. I felt a cold and despairing feeling of helplessness overtake me. The shadows rose up and took hold of me once again. But instead of dragging me down, they held me in place, and I began to thrash furiously as I heard the monster’s famished guttural cries growing louder and more excited. I did my absolute best to break away from their fiendish clutches.

It was no use. The shadows’ strength and numbers overwhelmed me. With my final breath, I turned around, and I saw that hideous purple-eyed shadow thing approaching me, roaring with its hideous mouth opened wide.

I could see what appeared to be some sort of muscle organ that appeared like a heart inside of it. It was covered with veins and seemed to have large, putrid valves and arteries attached to it. With each pulse, it seemed to change different colors. It came closer, closer and only then did I realize that I was screaming my heart out, mindlessly and having primal fear take hold of me…

Never again was I able to look upon my shadow after that horrendous experience or nightmare or whatever it was. What I remember next was waking up in my bed, sweating and trembling like a leaf. I wish I could properly claim what it was I had gone through that night.

I didn’t simply wake up and feel myself better and relieved that it was just a nightmare. No, instead, I felt myself so mentally-destroyed that my parents later told me they heard horrific noises emitting from my room. When they entered, they saw me suffering from an extreme paroxysm of maddened fear. They immediately called for an ambulance and rushed me to a hospital.

The physicians and medical staff had said they’d never seen someone suffer from such a nervous breakdown as I had. Many times they inquired as to what had led me to have it, but they never got a true response from me. I know that after treating, they’d immediately ship me off to some sort of insane asylum for what I’d describe.

Many years later, I still have not recovered at all from that evil scenario. Now, I can hardly even look at dark areas without feeling a wretched loathing of it, and I sit alone for several hours with every single light in my house to prevent any sort of shadows from appearing too vividly.

Every once in a while, as I lay on my bed at night in complete darkness to prevent any sort of shadow from taking form, I believe I see two hideous purple orbs watching me, waiting for me to approach them.

I know that, soon, the shadow people will climb out of the evil darkness and pull me back into their lair, their horrible realm of shadows…

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