I looked down before we stepped out of the train. But I couldn't see anything -- just a bright brilliance. We jumped to the ground and I was still blinded by that burning brightness. Shadow held my hand and dragged me along.

Thus began the most degrading chapter of my life.

I don't think I would have figured out what was going on if Shadow hadn't stopped and sat down on a shadowy park bench and explained it all to me.

He pointed at the shadows that reached up into the shadowy sky. They looked like shadows, but they weren't just a blackness of form without detail, as I was used to thinking shadows were. Instead, it was the objects that were reflected down below that were a bright brilliance without detail.

"Isn't it beautiful!" Shadow beamed.

Well, it was interesting, but to tell you the truth, it was kind of giving me a headache trying to orient my brain to the Escheresque mirror-images.

He then apologized for taking this short detour, but this was his first trip on the Trans-Dimensional Subway, and he just couldn't resist the opportunity of visiting the Shadow-Dimension, where objects are simply reflections of shadows.

I protested as we walked up and down the streets greeting other shadows and their reflections, and all I could see was blinding light.

"But," Shadow pointed out, "That's how the world looks to shadows. Everything is dull and shadowed, and we have to lick the pavement at your feet."

I had to admit the pavement didn't taste very good.

"Well, maybe just a short holiday," I conceded. "But then we've got to find my Pumpkin."

I guess I was fortunate that I had a decent shadow for a shadow. (Although, I admit, just a moment as a bright blob of light in that place was more than I could ever have wanted.) When Shadow had soaked in all the shadows he could, he sighed, and headed us back to the Station.

"Are you sad to leave?" I asked, blinking in the brightness as we waited in the shadows for our train.

"Well, I guess not..."

"When you've seen one shadow, you've seen them all, huh?" I offered.

Shadow glared at me, then softened at the edges.

"No. I don't know what's the matter with me. For some reason I just don't feel like I belong here. It's a nice place to visit and all, but it's not what I was looking for."

"What do you mean? What are you looking for?"

"I don't know. I came here hoping I could feel more like a shadow, but now I feel even more confused."

I looked at my only friend in the world. It must be odd to be so human and to be a shadow at the same time, and I started to think poor Shadow was as lost as I was in this crazy dream.

"At first," Shadow was saying, "I thought it was just because I have to lead you around everywhere. It would make sense that that would confuse me, right? I mean shadows follow in your footsteps, and now here I am responsible for you and all, always supposed to know what we should do next. The crazy thing is, for some reason, I always do seem to know what to do, but I can't remember why!"

Shadow sighed. "You know, I can't remember being your shadow at all. I don't even remember what pavement tastes like. Can you imagine a shadow not knowing what pavement tastes like!"

I was now an authority on that subject. "Actually, it's an acquired taste," I offered, because it really didn't taste that bad anymore.

"I guess we'll just get through this thing together, old pal," I promised, and I put my arm around Shadow.

He smiled. The train pulled up, and we dashed out of the shadows. Then Shadow pulled me inside the train.


Just Your Shadow
( Chapter 28- MP3 song demo by Lyndon DeRobertis)

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