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The Shadow Dancer

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My hands are shaking as I document this. I am not exaggerating in the slightest, my hands are literally trembling. I can’t tell if it’s from excitement or fear.

My apartment is in a post apocalyptic state. Empty bags of chips and cans of energy drinks are scattered all over my floor and desk. My eyes burn from staring at my laptop’s screen for hours. Going out seems like such a foreign concept to me, after spending the last month inside with the blinds drawn. I haven’t shaved or showered in quite a bit of time as well. In truth, I am rather disgusted by myself, but my lack of personal hygiene isn’t the main issue at hand.

I found her. I know a lot of you won’t believe me, but I am speaking the truth. Skeptical or not, facts are facts. I am not the type to mindlessly chase after a legend if there isn’t a spark of truth among the fiction. I never trust a story unless I see the being it describes with my own eyes. However, no one can prepare you for what happens when the supposed "legend" turns out to be more then a made up tale.

I maintain a forum that specializes in the paranormal. Just another place on the internet for us amateur ghost hunters. I am sure there are thousands of sites like mine floating on the web, but I’ve managed to build a fairly well maintain community around it. I’ve dug into various unnatural subjects suggested to me in the past, but had yet to come up with actual results.

Scrolling down treads one night, however, one caught my eye. It was titled "Shadow Dancer" and was last edited by someone with the username "Blackeye66." The thread wasn’t linked to an actual source, so I couldn’t tell who the original author was.

In short, it was about a supposed phantom which resembles a woman and could be seen after completing the required steps. Not further description of the figure was stated. It is said that one could only call upon The Shadow Dancer once in his or hers lifetime. Any attempts of doing it again are said to have deadly results. If successfully encountered, it is said that the apparition will ask a question. If answered correctly, that person will be granted eternal fortune. If not, he will be forever cursed.

As the ignorant self-proclaimed paranormal investigator that I was, I decided to try this out. From the start, my mindset was leaning towards this being bullshit, but I felt entitled to thoroughly investigate each case that was presented to me.

Plus, it wasn’t very time consuming or physically demanding to do. The instructions stated that I need to go out on a particularly dark night, armed with only a powerful flashlight. The less light there was, the higher were the chances for the Shadow Dancer to appear. Then, I needed to find a place that was abandoned and had no inhabitants. Keep in mind that the ritual won’t work if the area you choose as your improvised summoning altar was  never inhabited to begin with it, people must have been residing there at some point in the past.

For me, that location was a run-down hotel that had been scheduled for demolition the week after. As instructed, I made sure there wasn’t a living soul anywhere close and entered the crumbling building. I had to settle for the lobby, since climbing up the stairs to the second and third floor proved impossible. Then, I started singing. No, I didn’t just randomly decide to burst into a musical number, just another part of the supposed ritual.

The song I had to butcher in my terribly off tune voice was a lullaby called 'You are My Sunshine.' From what I’ve read, it was originally supposed to be a country song when published in 1939. What connection it had to the phantom I was looking for, I still have no idea. In hindsight, the lyrics were a little but eerie if integrated into the situation I was in. I get why most kids only know the first part of the song.

Anyway, I continued singing, which was supposed to draw in the Shadow Dancer. As stated in the thread, I did so while dipped in complete darkness. Conveniently, all the windows were covered in a thick layer of dust and filth, so very little light came through. The only thing I was concerned about at that moment was stepping on a rusty nail or loss board.

At some point, the realization of what I was doing came to mind and I couldn’t help but chuckle. No matter from which angle you looked at it, I was a grown ass man singing an old country song in the lobby of an abandoned hotel.

Suddenly, just as I was about to head towards the exit, I heard creaking. I stopped dead in my tracks, trying to figure out the origin of the sound. The creaking didn’t come back for quite some time and I managed to convince myself that I was the cause of it, but then I heard it again. It was louder, as if someone was walking towards me. I immediately shined the flashlight, scattering the blackness ahead. The beam of light stopped upon a pale face floating in the darkness, grazing over its features.

At that point I shat bricks. There was a ghostly face of a woman peering at me through the darkness, staring with crow like eyes.

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I found myself unable to move, paralyzed in place as if the darkness had enveloped me like quicksand. The woman’s mouth opened and she whispered, "Keep singing."

I did.

A blue spotlight suddenly fell upon the figure, originating from visibly nowhere. As if my horrible vocal attempts were sweet music to her ears, she started dancing gracefully with an invisible partner. The spotlight moved as did she, resting her gentle hands upon a pair of unseen shoulders.

She wore a dress that was, you guessed it, black, with a red ribbon tied around her waist. That accessory was the only outstanding part of her otherwise colorless form. Now that I had a better look at her, I was shocked to find that her skin was not white, but gray. The invisible gentleman that led the amazingly choreographed performance, lifted her into the air, which to me appeared like she was floating.

I was too scared to interrupt her, so I kept on singing, repeating the lyrics over and over until she was satisfied. As her display of pure grace had come to its graceful end, the spotlight that illuminated her before began to fade. Even more disturbing was the fact that my flashlight went out not long after, so I was blind once more.

My heart began pounding wildly in my chest as I felt her cold fingers upon my cheeks. Her nails trailed down to my neck and stopped at my Adam’s apple. I felt her cold breath on my face, making me shiver even more then I already was.

"Are you ready to answer my question?" She said in a voice that was a mixture of that of a child and a grown woman, both sounding independent of each other.

I nodded, hoping that she was able to perceive my movements. Speaking at this point was rather difficult.

I feel uncomfortable sharing it with anyone, but the question she asked me was very personal. Something that’s been haunting the back of my mind since my childhood. In fact, I am not sure if it can even be qualified as a question. After a few minutes of thought and feeling her freezing breath on my dry lips, I gave her the answer that I thought was right.

She leaned closer and whispered in my ear.

"Wrong."

After that, I woke up in my apartment, physically unharmed. For a while I debated with myself on how real the experience actually was. I could’ve been dreaming after a long night of web searching. Then again, I couldn’t shake the dreadful feeling that rushed through my body as I recalled the woman’s final word.

"Wrong."

After a while I indeed forgot about the ordeal, continuing with my daily life as usual. I stayed clear from creepy stuff for the time being, just to be on the safe side.

However, everything started taking a turn for the worst with the death of my brother. He was a victim of a very unfortunate accident during work – a crate dropped over him and cracked open his skull. He died on the spot, crushed by the massive container. A week after his funeral, my mother passed away as well. Again, due to a very unlucky turn of events.

It was getting very hard to convince my traumatized conscious that it was coincidence and avoiding the connection these events might’ve had with the description behind the Shadow Dancer. I lost my job afterwards, though it was partially my fault as I began lashing out at my colleagues for nothing. After experiencing the death of two of my closest people, can you really blame me?

I knew I was cursed when my father (My final living relative) died while mowing the grass. How does one simply decapitate himself with a lawnmower? No, I refuse to contribute everything to coincidence anymore. If all of this is because I failed to answer that damn question, I have to know.

By now, most people would qualify me as a hermit. I stay in my apartment, eating through the last of my savings in hopes of learning more about what happened that night at the hotel. Unfortunately, the old structure is demolished so revisiting the spot of my nightmarish encounter is not an option. 

No matter how much I search "Shadow Dancer" the results that come up have nothing to do with the phantom I saw. The thread that informed me about it in the first place is, unsurprisingly, also gone.

The only lead I have is the username of the last person who edited the article "Blackeye66." I tried private messaging and emailing him, but I have yet to receive any response.

I have no other option but to repeat the ritual and try to undo my bad luck, even though the instructions I followed back then said explicitly not to. Even if the punishment for disobeying the warning is fatal, what do I have to lose? I am unemployed, I have no family to care for and no friends that will miss me. It’s amazing how much close people body odor can cost you.

You could say I am writing this as a farewell note to whoever finds it, I guess. If I suddenly disappear, someone will at least know the reason behind it.

Sincerely, Adam Horton. 

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