With the air still, the sky dead gray, and bite of near-freezing temperature, my movement down the block was swift. The shadow had rounded the corner and was just out of my sight, but I was gaining fast. The shadow was no where to be found when I came to opening of the cross street.
Nothing on the street. Literally nothing. This small urban hub in the mid-west should have teamed with cars, trash, steaming vents, some homeless folks, and activity in the windows of the town houses lining the street. Nothing but absence, However. Again, the gray of the day muted the colors of the buildings. Everything had a little less life to it, and with the lack of activity there seemed to be no life.
I stood there, in the middle of a street, where any sane person would expect to be hit by an oncoming vehicle. Yet I was there, and in full knowledge of my abilities. I was more than a sane person of this town, more than a statesman of this country or even a religious devotee. I was a higher power.
I closed my eyes, breathed in the cold, crisp air. As I exhaled, I drew upon my orientation and training. I sent my self out of myself. I’ve been told that anyone gazing upon this feat would see a solid person become as a ghost, but remain in the same spot. I wasn’t in the same spot, however. I was within the wind, if there had been any. Nothing on this planet could measure or notate this presence for it would have seemed like magic or the power of the divine to even the best technologies the men-of-reason of this world could offer.
In This manner I searched the lifeless street for my shadow. I remembered no one had shadows when I first arrived, but this one was mine. Not because it resembled my form, for it was in fact feminine in contour, but it was mine. I had seen it, and somehow it saw meâ€”she saw me. Now, and this was the gamble, she could still see my form in the middle of the street. The shadow would then take pause, watching for my next move. In this wind-form, however, I would rush up next to her, and be upon this strange projection of a person before she was aware.
I twisted around lamp posts, street signs, and wastebaskets. Hovered in and out of the dead windows of the domiciles along the street. Life had been removed from these living quarters. Plants were grey and white, and there were no people. I flowed through house and public plumbing, over electrical and clothes lines, yet my shadow was no where to be found. Until I came upon a piece of the street I had crossed at least a dozen times in this pursuit. It had been a wall all previous times, but now it was a long dark alley. Not dark, but black. Not black, but blank. This street had been a drawing, a watercolor all along, and this alley was tiny detail the artist’s brush couldn’t get to, or the artist ran out of patience for. The angles defining the alley were perfect right angels to the facades of the buildings that defined it. Mathematically perfect, too perfect. My wind self rushed down this alley, but all too soon, like the lines that defined it, the alley became infinite. By the time I reached the shading of this alley painting that made it black and blank, there was no distance to be noted. My only point of reference was the increasingly dwindling dot of the opening of the alley. That’s when I saw it, a human shaped blur at the edge of the alley opening. My Gamble had worked.
Light doesn’t move as fast as one such as myself arriving at my desired location, and then returning to physical form. The effect is quantum, nigh on unnoticeable. I was directly behind the female shadow, and inspecting it briefly before seizing upon it. Her form was clear, making that which was behind the form simply darker than it’s surrounding. It was exactly how a shadow should have worked. I was a clear wind, she was a solid shadow. Another gamble came upon me, a transition trick that would reveal something about this unknown darkness.
The form in the street funneled itself to me as if through a pinhole, it would not have been noticeable by a passer-by. The shadow noticed, because the motion swirled the form straight to her as it disappeared. The shadow, startled, turned to run into the blankness, but by then I had regained all physical form behind her. As a wind, I had placed an arm form on her shoulder. Being wind and shadow we could not feel each others contact. My second gamble was working however. In the instant I solidified, she began to as well. Pale face and clothing details emerged as she struggled under my grasp, and I was struck by something oddly familiar. The capture had been swift and was also complete. The shadow had it’s face turned away from me during all this, but suddenly the head whipped around, yet the details of her whole face were unclear. I was able to see a mouth, eyes, and her nose. Still no voice or sound in general, but the mouth plead a single word that the eyes echoed in panic. This barely existing mystery woman seemed to shout, “No!”.
Suddenly, a wind that was not mine poured in from the dead street. The blank alley had become a vacuum, a seal had broken and now the alley and whatever was on the other side of this blankness had to equalize the pressure. Had there been anybody in the street, or even trash and waste, it would have hammered the shadow and I in the face. There had been nothing, intentionally nothing. This was a trap, and I had walked into it. The trap was sprung, and now this shadow and I would be sucked into this nothingness drain like a spider caught in a sink of running water.