Shadow

In my opinion, the Summer season is one of the most profound seasons of them all. Warm comforting weather that can hold your soul together ever so tightly and also unleashes uncovered sparkling beauty. As each day develops, a variety of events can evolve into lifelong scares which will always be imprinted within your mind. This particular day was one of those days. When she walked into our lives, things changed to a sustainable state of confusion.

Relaxing on the usual lumpy discolored forest green leather couch, with a room full of four egotistic males with the same agenda, there was a knock on the front door. One of the guys in the room slowly leaned to his left and crept up slowly to stroll nonchalantly to confront the disrupting knock. He opened the door without a mutter and stepped back to allow the visitor to proceed. The first to enter was one of the gentlemen’s associates who occupied an apartment eight or so houses down. Then a short pause of open space suddenly covered the open doorway. Everyone else who was watching the doorway watched with curiosity for a split second, that’s when she followed.

Five foot six inches of God’s gift to humanity graced my eyesight as she made her way through the doorway and closed it behind her. Stunned from her beauty, I remain to grasp my cool and composer in a tranquil manner. She moved to the other end of the couch which I was sitting and stood by the arm. Out of the corner of my eye, I could notice her graceful poster of confidence, but mixed with uncertainty. I began to wonder why she seemed that way.

The guy whom she was accompanied by was ventured into the kitchen with another male to strike up a conversation. Raising an eyebrow, I turned to look at the woman at the opposite end of the couch. Her back was straight as she stood there with elegant poise. She was listening to other conversations within her listening range and smiled softly along with a burst of blending laughter. My observation concluded that she wasn’t from around here. She was definitely out of her elements. As her friend exited the kitchen, a gleam of delight filled her gorgeous face. The gentleman expressed his departure and they both left the apartment together in a peaceful stride.

A few weeks later, I visited the apartment and spoke to a friend of mines who was there. I asked him, who was the beautiful woman who had accompanied the guy, who stopped by the last time I visited. He replied that he didn’t know her real name, but had seen them together for over a month. The two seem like a couple, giggling together and holding hands as they walked from the corner store, he replied. On occasions he would catch her walking alone; those days were the only available moments that gave him the opportunity to gather more information about her status. The young woman was a runaway who was brought up in a well-structured family. The parents of the woman were very successful and very strict. Although she was stable financially, she didn’t approve of the strict rules which her parents implemented. Nonetheless, soon after each conversation the two constructed, my friend would always ask for the name of the beautiful woman and she would simply say, “It doesn’t matter,” followed by a soft smile and proceed to walk away. Because of the previous conversations that led to no identification, he decided to simply label her with a suitable nickname, Shadow.

She approved of the newly gifted nickname and began to respond positively when it was called. Strangely enough, the other day she was making her way towards her building and my friend noticed that she was injured. An eye was violently bruised; a lip was split with evidence of blood residue. She replied that she had fallen down a flight of steps within the building she lived, a light was out and she could not see. Even though her words were sincere and calmly spoken, he did not accept them as believable and concrete. Moments after he finished his sentence of explaining his last encounter with Shadow, she appeared behind me, limping down the street towards us. Shadow’s face was badly bruised and scratches lined the side of her neck. Her jeans were torn and she held her side as if she was experiencing internal bleeding. My friend and I rushed to assist her, we gently led her into the apartment to place her onto the couch.

Motioning with soreness, she signaled that she was okay for the most part and did not want the ambulance to be notified. My friend and I looked at one another simultaneously. Not a word was spoken as we turned to Shadow for a last look then we both responded by locking the door behind us as we left Shadow inside for safety. Only sounds of breathing filled the air along our path as we walked aggressively towards her apartment building.

Upon approaching the building, a sense of numbness covered the atmosphere, my friend reached for the knob of the screen door, turning slowly, we uncovered that it was unlocked. Following my friend through the door, I spun my head to see if we were being followed by any unwanted individuals. Although the people in the area were minding their own business by doing their daily activities, unnoticeable eyes were on our location from noisy neighbors viewing from their window, but we didn’t care to acknowledge. We crept through the front room watching further outward for images on the walls which could resemble the human form. The back of the apartment had sounds coming from the bedroom, at that moment, my friend paused and told me to watch the front door.

When I redirected myself towards the front door, I can hear the bedroom door being pushed open with care. The man was sitting on his bed watching television when he suddenly noticed my friend. The door closed behind him, muffle of words was exchanged between the two, followed by high pitched screams and a deep thug as if something heavy hit the floor. Glass was smashed up against the door, the landline telephone was whaled against the wall. Pictures fell to the floor and dishes were being broken. Violent screams became no more when the only sound that could be heard was midrange taps over and over. Standing near the screen door, I noticed a city police car turning down the street.

The officer was on a routine patrol, providing protection for the neighborhood from the comfort of his driver seat. Words on the side of the police cruiser grew larger the closer he became, but the taping sounds that were busy behind me did not cease until he had completely passed by. The bedroom door swung open and my friend stepped out. We left the apartment in an average pastoral fashion, closing the front screen door behind us. Nothing had changed outside the apartment. Everyone was still doing their daily activities. To complete our journey back, we had to pass just a few homes along the way. A note was left on the floor under the front door of our destination.

It was from Shadow, she had thanked my friend and me for handling the situation in a manner she approved. Reassuring us both that she would be ok and we will see her again soon. She also mentioned that she would be more careful about the men she meets.