Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by and reading. 😀 xx
Sweat and Heat are this week’s prompt words chosen by Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes.
Ron hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge every Monday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your haiku poem. He is an author and poet and also does author interviews and much more on his blog. Be sure to check it out. Read Ron’s Haiku Prompt Challenge Guidelines for more information.
♥ I have a short story for you today and hidden (in plain sight) within the story is today’s poem. I hope you enjoy. ♥
Where Is My Shadow?
by Vashti Q
I walked past a schoolyard and noticed several children doing something peculiar. They used color chalk to outline each other’s shadows. It was a brilliant idea, so I entered the yard to join them.
“Hello! May I play too?” I waited for a response but the kids were too busy drawing and giggling to notice me. I shrugged and picked up a piece of chalk left on the ground.
I smoothed my hair and fluffed my skirt. I wanted my shadow to look pretty and neat. I looked down–– “Where’s my shadow?” I scanned the area but didn’t find her.
I watched the children trace each other’s long morning shadows, smiling and laughing all the while. The day was bright and hot and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I faced away from the fiery sun and stared at the ground. “Where is it?” I sunk to the hard pavement sulking while watching the other children play with their silhouettes.
After a while, I left the school grounds. “What was I doing there? I should have been looking for my shadow. Those kids ignored me, anyway.” I rolled my eyes and moved on.
Across the street a large smooth wall bordered the sidewalk. Perhaps, I would find my shadow there. I stood facing the beige wall, as if gawking at it would produce a dark form, which would resemble me and mimic my every move.
I sighed deeply and turned my sights to a beautiful teenage girl wearing pink satin ballerina shoes and a romantic tutu that reached below her calf. She twirled and pranced up the street toward me. Her ebullient shadow danced on pointes in a succession of slow, soft, lyrical movements upon the wall. As the ballerina’s pose changed from pirouette to arabesque her shadow’s dance created the illusion that their movements flowed from one into another.
The ballet dancer and her shadow enchanted me. I wanted to be her–– lithe and elegant and to have a lovely shade to dance with me.
“Hello! You’re a delightful ballerina. I love your tutu skirt and shoes and . . .” My words drifted toward silence as she past me by without a glance.
I dragged my feet on the sidewalk while heaviness settled in my chest. Nevertheless, I kept vigilant and continued to search for my shadow. “Where are you, my shadow? Why have you left me?”
I wandered not knowing where I was going and then I heard mellifluous sounds in the distance. I was compelled to follow it. The music led me to a large cemetery. At first, I didn’t want to enter but glorious angels made of marble beckoned me and I couldn’t resist. “Perhaps I will find my shadow here.”
I approached a group of men playing musical instruments. They played a cheerful melody whilst wearing somber faces. “Has any of you seen the lone shadow of a girl?” The musicians ignored me and continued performing.
Shadows drummed, blew on clarinets, tooted horns and struck tambourines. The sun was angry now. I raised my squinted eyes to it. It was high in the sky––noon time and the shadows were short.
No one took notice of me. No one cared that my shadow is lost. “Why is this happening to me?” I uttered a shriek and kicked a rock lying before me.
“Are you alright?”
The words made me jump.
A boy with a wan complexion stood a short distance from me. “You look upset.” He stared with doleful eyes.
“You are the first person that has spoken to me all day.” I smiled. ” My name is Emily––Emily Johnson. What is yours?”
“Hi Emily. I’m Michael. So, what’s wrong?”
“I seem to have misplaced my shadow,” I said feeling heat rise to my cheeks.
“I don’t have one either.” His voice was sad and he wore a wistful expression. “But the reason . . .”
“We both lost our shadows!” I interrupted. “Why don’t we look for them together?” I grabbed his hand before he could utter another word and tugged him all around the cemetery.
Michael pulled on my dress’ sleeve. “Emily wait . . . there’s something I must tell you.”
The sun began to dim. I brushed his hand away and hurried, my eyes flickering in every direction.
There were many people in the graveyard and their shadows were now long and scraggy, some looked rather creepy in the dim light. “We must hurry,” I said. “If we don’t find our shadows before sundown we may never find them.” I snatched his hand again but he wrested it out of mine.
He stopped and pointed straight ahead. “Look!” His expression was haunting.
I scrunched my forehead in confusion. I swallowed what felt like a sock rolled into a ball and took a few apprehensive steps forward. There was a dark form sitting on a headstone. I inched closer. The silhouette looked familiar. “Is that my shadow?” My words were but a breath.
Now, it was the pallid boy that took me by the hand. He led me to the grave where my shadow sat. I stood before it and read the engraving on the gravestone.
2005 – 2017
Here she lies but she never died!
Grief beyond all tears
Sweet bud that never blossomed
Turn to ageless dust
Burn in Mother Nature’s veins
Set all the blooms on fire
Suddenly, I was trembling like my bones had turned to frost. “That’s my name.” I looked at the boy and he lowered his eyes and nodded.
“That’s me? I’m dead?” My legs faltered and I fell to my knees. I stared at him. “You––are you dead too?”
He nodded. “We both died in the school fire. All the other kids got out but we were trapped and consumed by the fire.”
I shook my head in disbelief and pressed my face to my hands.
I glanced up and through misty eyes I saw my shadow leap from the tombstone into my grave and disappear.
Michael stood by my side and placed a hand on my shoulder. I had not noticed, until now, how cold his hands were. “I tried to tell you,” he said, “it was not your shadow that was lost; it was you.”
I hope you enjoyed the short story and the poem hidden within. Have a happy Friday!♥