"A Shadow Man Story"
By John Pirillo
Some people spend their entire lifetime watching how others live. The TV is full of such avenues for the casual and not so casual viewer. Peeping toms have become acceptable, but perhaps in a more morbid way. Now people can look into other people's lives without feeling like they're invading that person's life anymore. Commercial perversion, I call it.
Look, I have no problem with someone trying to understand the other man's way of living, but face it, making it a regular habit of peeping into someone else's life, has got to indicate some hole in that person's life that needs to be filled.
And maybe that's how I fell into my latest job. Catching a Perv.
Perv's come in all varieties...peeping toms, voyeurists, abusers, murderers, criminals of every shade of gray into black. Even some shades of white for those who border on becoming a Perv, but just haven't stepped over that line yet.
My job. Stop harm. In its tracks.
I'm the Shadow Man. My life is not my own. But whose is really? Whether you think you have a Divine Purpose, or just a regular life of nine to five, we all have a mission. Do our best, get paid and move on to things we'd rather be doing. No. I'm not being cynical. It's just the world we live in. It's not Utopia. Even the rich live in constant fear, if only the fear of losing what they have.
But how different are we. I fear failing to help. You fear losing your wife, your job, your car, you life. Call it what you will, but fear runs our world. Big time!
I was kicking back in my small apartment, watching the shadows dance eagerly for me. They've come to accept me and willingly, now, beckon me into their travel lanes. And they have many. So go all the way to other planets, some only to my neighbor's next door closet. I've been from here to there, and from there to here without ever leaving the comfort of my home. But it always ends the same. I slip into the shadows, and the lanes cast me where I need to go. I do it automatically. I don't think about it. I just know where to go and the shadows help me.
Tonight I was making it a priority to rest. I've been tossed and turned from London to Moscow, China to Tibet this last week, with little time in between to even grab a doughnut, which has become my main source of nutrients lately. My body burns up a lot of fuel and I am forced to eat a lot of things I might find disgusting to eat in large quantities at any other time, but now I can eat doughnuts, candy, and other junk food like there's no tomorrow. This was one of those no other tomorrows. I sighed, burped, and peeled back the wrapper from another Burger King Spicy Chicken and began digging into it with my teeth, while holding a 32 ounce Doctor Pepper in my other hand, watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones on TV.
My one salute to the madness of this world is its entertainment. You want death and destruction, but don't want to be part of it. Game of Thrones. You want to have sex with a stranger. Turn on Fox or one of the other network stations at night and help yourself. There's always a program on to satisfy your needs.
As I was watching the Queen Denaris do her moral thing, and having already watched Peter Dinklage smart talk himself out of another beheading, I settled down into the finer aspects of the program, its attention to details of a world that could never exist. Here on earth.
Believe me there are such worlds. I've seen them. But that's for another story. Tonight I was watching Game of Thrones when the TV froze and a face poked through it. Not any of the characters from the show, but someone more dark and shadowy. Sometimes I have visions like that and usually when I least expect or want it. But it's my job, and so I job up and take it like the man I am. Shadow Man.
I jammed the rest of the Chicken sandwich into my mouth, and then slid into the shadowy form, allowing its shadow to pull me where I needed to go. I accelerated along the fastest lanes of shadow available, passing jets in flight, and rockets hurtling into space until I landed in a peculiar space just outside a large animal skin tent.
A fire blazed inside and I could see shadows dancing through the opening in front.
"No!" Came a woman's voice of distress.
It was always the women that hurt me the most. I'm a sucker for helping them, even though I do the guys as well. I'm not biased, just my shadow pull. I call it that, because it's an innate form of radar that always tunes me in to where I'm needed, and then blasts me off shadow speed...which is just shy of light speed to my destination.
I stepped around the opening and looked inside. A tall man stood before a very beautiful young woman. He held a knife in his right hand.
"You will marry me."
"I'd rather die." She said, her eyes wet with gobs of tears.
Her blouse was torn and her pants dropped to her knees. This guy was serious business. How serious I was about to learn. She could see me, but said nothing; she was so shocked by my appearance. Oh, did I say that I was in a little country called Azerbhajhan. And that their clothing was ethnic, and quite colorful. What was left of hers and his. He stood there in his shorts, his own clothing kicked to the side near me.
He waved his knife. A big one. About seven inches long and wickedly sharp.
"But Arabetha, I'm your father. Why would you want to disappoint me?"
I thought I was going to be sick then. Father! Was he kidding?
"You're my step father. Mother trusted you." She accused, her eyes searching my face for any sign that might indicate I was a friend.
"And I trusted her. Until the end." He chuckled. When he did, tiny spouts of saliva shot from his mouth and swept down his lips to his hairy chest. Did I mention he looked like a gorilla? A very, very hairy one.
"Who are you?" She asked me, but he thought she meant him.
He laughed. "Come now, don't pretend you don't know me. I'm your father."
"No. Not you."
He suddenly sensed he wasn't alone. He whirled around, the knife ready to plunge into my heart, except that I sidestepped his lunge by moving through his shadow to stand behind him.
"What!" He cried out in alarm and turned again. And yet again I vanished in front of him and appeared behind him.
"What are you?" He demanded.
"She has no friends." He cried out angrily.
"She does now."
He slung the knife over his shoulder, me not realizing he was that good, and it grazed my right ribs, taking out a chunk as it passed through. I sprung a leak, which I ignored as I leapt into the shadow of the flames and came out behind the young woman. I slid a knife from my pocket and cut her bonds.
"Oh no you don't!" He called out, racing for me.
I touched her shoulder, then embraced her with my shadow self and we vanished down a long line of shadows that emptied into a small, simple apartment.
She stepped from my touch and turned around, her eyes wide with fear and determination. "I don't know who you are, but you won't get away with this."
She hurriedly pulled her pants back up to her waist and snapped them tight. Her hand went to her right hip, covering something I couldn't see.
"Get away with what?" I asked in surprise.
"Stopping me from my marriage."
I gave her a double take. "But..."
She shook her fist at me angrily. "My father and I are getting married. And nothing is going to stop it. Not even the devil."
She grabbed a knife which I hadn't seen, that had been sheathed at her right hip and flung it at me.
I sidestepped it into the shadow of her body and slipped behind her. I pressed her arms behind her and held them tight. "Are you crazy? I've just rescued you from death and rape!"
"You fool. He's going to make me rich. Now I will have nothing. Nothing." She moaned. She flung herself free of me and dropped onto a worn piece of furniture. She rubbed at the tears in her eyes and gave me a look that made me want to shrink into the shadows and vanish.
"I've waited since I was ten for this moment, and now it's all wasted. All that time. All that anticipation. He will never forgive me now. He will think you are my lover. I am ruined."
I didn't know how to take what I had just experienced, so I sidestepped into the shadows and came out into an alley several homes away. The night was dark. Pitch black. No lights on anywhere. Then I heard something. I swept around, my knife ready. There in the depths of the alley I could see two children huddled together and as if a machine had suddenly turned on, I could hear them sobbing. Standing to their left and right were two creatures from the Shadows. Denizens who are neither flesh nor shadow, but somewhere in between.
Now I came to understand what had happened. I had to come here, I just couldn't come direct. The girl was my ticket to saving these two.
I rushed into action and ripped my knife first through the one shadow creature, then the other, tearing their tenuous hold on our earth plane into tatters. They both wailed horribly as their misty forms tore and flew away, leaving a vacuum, which sucked in dust and air, and left nothing.
The kids kept crying.
I dropped beside them. "You're safe now."
Both of them flung their arms around me and sobbed against me. Now my night was starting to make sense.
I felt their shadow homes and gently sidestepped with them into first one, then the other, depositing them into their beds. Their parents hadn't even realized they were gone. They wouldn't have, until their lifeless bodies had been found.
I warned them both to say nothing more, and they both gave me hugs and promises, and I vanished.
I sped through the shadow lanes back to my apartment where a stack of uneaten Burger King Spicy Chicken sandwiches were heaped. I had lost my appetite. But not my interest in Game of Thrones. I turned up the volume. Maybe my appetite would return after Sansa killed the crazy king's son with an ancient bottle opener. Maybe not.
But even as I watched that, my mind kept going back to that young girl and the older man. "Marry her father?"
I shuddered. Something's just never made sense. Shadow worlds or not.