Only the Shadow Knows

Just the beginning

The ambulance alarm wails.

And I am numb.

Nothing is clear, my eyes are dry and stiff.

Touch has no feeling.

The sound revolves, deafening.

I am too new.

                Unused, my feet drag along the corridor, following the shiny metal gurney as if by reflex. The bleach white halls sting my shapeless body like wasps, yet I feel no pain. My body sags along the floor, seemingly lifeless, slithering toward the loosening soul. I lose the bed around a corner, but a stuck-squeaky wheel leads me by sound to his room. I quietly wait outside, breathing against the window while the dying man is switched to a crisp sheeted bed, yet my breath doesn't fog the glass. All flustered commotion stops, the doctors look around at each other, heads hanging low. I cling to the wall as the doctors vacate the room, but before the heavy wooden door close with one deep-toned click, I slide as if weightless into the room.

                I could smell the blood soaked bed sheets and hear a strained breathing only I can hear. Most of all, I could hear his "life chords", snapping free one by one all over his deformed body, like a violin bow when played against the instrument too forcefully. Life chord, invisible to the human eye, but to mine I see thin worn out bungee chords, sewn onto their souls like a shadow. Faint outlines of the man appear in swift images before me, there is no real sight for me, this employment only consists of souls. I search for what is left of his face, guiding my arm across his living corpse. The back of my hand tries to touch his face, feeling his sharp stubble and loose skin, to feel his humanity, yet material things slip through my fingers like the heartbeats of a dying man. My hand hovers further down towards the center of his chest where his soul is concealed. The magnetic pull, the drops of each sand crystal falling slower and slower, ending his last few seconds of life as a human. The man’s sagging arm shot out quickly, grasping me tightly, pulling me towards his face.

"You must give this to my daughter, please, in any way possible..." he said in a gruff voice. His senile wrinkly arm strained as he reached toward his chest attempting to rip off a brown leather necklace resting there.


    Shakily the nearly dead man set to put it into my outstretched palm, but it slipped through, landing in a pool of blood on the floor. Footsteps were echoing closer, halting outside the door. I snatched at his last dwindling cord that tied to his heart, using all the strength I could get; but my time ran out, my form disappeared like a mist that was blown by the wind. As I drifted away, I heard the silent shrieks of his daughter before she even uttered a word. I knew I was in trouble. I lost his soul. I murdered him, in the distance I saw him fading away quicker than me into nothingness. He was truly dead, there were no more paths for him.

This, my friends was an example of someone who shouldn’t be doing this kind of dirty work. I need someone sensitive, and willing to not leave when humans arrive. I mean really, death is invisible except to those who are the almost dead. He did not realize who this man is---was. Now, to live this man’s daughter’s mind and insight is my number one priority. For I believe she will come in handy some time soon. Let’s all take a ride and fall into her mind.

The End

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