Silence closes in as the car door shuts, vehicle driving away into what passes for darkness in the city. Standing at the edge of the street, eyes focused on the building across the street she considers what to do next. There should be no considerations about her next actions.
Cross the street.
Unlock the door.
She doesn’t want to do these things though. A part of her wants to turn and walk into the darkness never to be seen again. Not that anyone would notice her absence. They hadn’t noticed when what she’d been drained away, dirty water swirling down a rusty metal hole of her own making.
When you’re a child people tell you dreams can come true. It might be your parents, a friend, or teacher, but they’re all liars. Oh, they don’t realize they’re lying and even if they do they write it off as a little white lie. A promise of hope for a better future, encouragement to try your best in a world riddled with pitfalls. At some point you begin to believe in the lies or at least she had. But then she woke up and the dam broke, everything she’d hoped, dreamed, and fought for flooding away in a rush of tears and frustrated screams no one else could hear.
Simple. It should have been simple, yet it wasn’t.
The distant rumble of thunder pulled her from thoughts best left buried. Deep breathe and then another as she forced her legs to move. Step by step across cracked asphalt, over the concrete curb, and into lush summer grass. Faint glow of street lights guiding her to the door, key warm against her cold fingers as she inserts it into the lock and turns.
Inside it’s bright as day, but still the silence clings to her as she moves up stairs, tile worn and faded by generations of feet and she wonders if any of those before her felt it. Not the silence. No the silence doesn’t bother her. Its followed her since she was a child. It has been her constant companion through bad and good.
It is the other shadow. The one that reared its ugly head when she’d woke from the lies.
Another key, another door. It swings open and she steps over the threshold into the arms of the other shadow. It curls around her, pressing around the shell she has become.
A shell empty of everything…