Friday, July 20, 2012


I walked hurriedly into the alley, a large brick wall rising high in front of me. Maybe I wouldn’t be followed in here .But was this a dead end? I kept walking towards the wall, every cell in me alert to pick up the slightest of sounds in the vicinity .The half moon and many clouds of the night sky cast an eerie blue light everywhere and in the absence of streetlights, I had to scrunch my eyes and peer into this low light .Suddenly a long shadow appeared on the wall from behind, growing bigger with each step. I had definitely not lost the tail.

I broke into a run, footsteps echoing everywhere. Damn! The noise was definitely going to give me away. The alley turned left just in front of the wall and I sprinted into it headlong. I ran out into an open desert, sand shimmering in the noon sun and a stark blue cloudless sky hanging low overhead. Panting , I ran into the expanse , every foot fall sending a shower of sand behind me .Cacti and sparse vegetation was strewn around and low mountains seemed to rise at the horizon or was it a mirage ?An  illusion played on my tired eyes by the cruel desert? A cliff appeared in front of me and I took cover among its rocky folds, my heaving chest breathing hard. Footsteps were behind me now! Slapping my mouth shut, I worked my way around the rocks in the other direction noiselessly. Sweat flowed onto my face as I retraced my tracks in the sand .The tracks! They had betrayed me to her! But what did she want? Following me but never approaching… always staying at an arm’s distance but never backing off. Thoughts flying wild in my mind, I stumbled and fell down but picked myself up quickly and continued running, tears of frustration mixing and flowing down my cheeks and neck.

I ran back into the alley. There were metal ladders attached to the side walls which probably were fire exits from the building. I climbed up one of them up frantically, not once glancing down but kept climbing higher and higher whilst echoes of running feet ricocheted off the alley walls. I tumbled through a large open window into a long hall that ran the entire length of the building. It was white and Narnian! The floor was covered in snow and tall pine trees, their branches blanketed in snow, rose towards the high ceiling. Powdery flakes of snow floated down slowly from nowhere up above and invisible bells chimed. I took care to hide my tracks this time .Walking backwards, I carefully ruffled the snow and covered my tracks one foot step at a time. Reaching a bush covered in snow, I hid behind it shivering in the cold, sweat already beginning to crystallize on my skin. It seemed like an eternity when I opened my eyes though it was probably just a minute. Snow had settled on my eye lashes. I felt a shooting pain on my face where ice had formed in a thin line where my tears had flowed just a while ago. I patted my cheeks dry and started crawling through the snow floor not waiting for any signs of her approach. Climbing over another window, I rolled onto a corridor with wooden flooring, evening sun glaring off its polished surface through a giant window at the far end. There might not be a ladder outside that window , so I started backing away from it  .Towards the other end of the corridor was a  narrow stairway and I flew down them  jumping across 2,4, 6 steps in my flight. Several landings later I heard a second set of footsteps at the top of the stairs and I doubled my speed down the darkness. Reaching the ground floor, I ran into the open and got in a cab that was just pulling away crying, “Go, go, go”.

I got off the cab at the water falls. I figured the place would be swamped with tourists and that I’d be safe in a crowd. Surely enough, the water front was a sea of colours of brightly dressed people … orange caps and purple bags, red balloons and white frilly frocks. I spotted and picked up a cheap yellow sunglass from the floor, obviously a child’s toy, and put it on turning the whole world yellow. Throwing anxious glances backwards and taking care to stay out of clearances, I was weaving my way through the crowd when I bumped into a kid. Just a toddler, he fell into a sitting position from the impact whilst a multihued ball that he had in his hand bounced away. I quickly caught it and returned it to its young owner all the while rasping breathlessly to him,’”I’m sorry …I’m sorry …I’m sorry “. He just stared at me open mouthed .I got away from the kid on all fours through the crowd when I suddenly reached the iron railing overlooking the water falls. Water cascaded down over the edge like someone was emptying bucketfuls of blue ink from just beyond our line of sight.

Walking along the railing I reached a flight of steps that led into an underpass. The crowded scene was suffocating me and I suddenly wanted to escape this overbearing human presence. I took the stairs in two, and walking down I felt the whole underground tremble as a train passed overhead. As the handrails rattled and the air rumbled, I stopped for a second; eyes closed and felt the vibration passing through my body. I reasoned there had to be a train station nearby and headed out in search of it. The train I got into was filled with people and their ubiquitous earphones, so I stood leaning against a wall, swaying with the train’s rhythm. Tears flew freely from my eyes now as I sniffed and wiped them at my shirt sleeve. How did this happen to me? How did I let this happen? I thought I was intelligent and had it all figured. But it’s been months now. I had shifted from my cosy apartment to a dingy one hoping to wipe the trail clean, but she had surfaced again. I’d been found out; exposed. What was going to happen to me now? I looked around frantically for answers, choking on my own tears but people hardly noticed. . ‘A plan ... a plan ... I need a plan. That’s what I need. I can do this. I am a smart woman. Focus .Focus. Make a plan..! OK. I will run again .Pick up from where I left and make a dash for it. I will head home right away, get my stuff, draw all my cash and be gone...For good .That will be my plan’. . I calmed down somewhat and punched the air with balled fists – ‘That will be my plan!’

I walked around my room, throwing in clothes and other essentials into a rucksack .The getaway had to be fast .Next stop will be the bank and then I will be gone. Vanish .Disappear. Tying the strings of the rucksack shut, I walked out the door. It was when I turned around to take one last look that I saw it. The bag dropped from my hand and I started screaming.”She’s here too! I can’t lose her and I have been trying for months... She just won’t go away... what do you want from me??? What the hell do you want from me???” I was hollering and crying abuses in the hallway, backing away from the door and hitting the opposite wall. People from nearby apartments came running and milled all around me. I doubled over and fell to my knees shouting like a mad woman now. I felt hands patting my shoulders and smoothing my hair in failed attempts to console my deranged mind but I only kept crying out loud.

Faces peered into mine, trying to decipher my incoherent rants.”What are you talking about? Who are you looking at? “

And the faces that looked at me froze in a confounded daze.

Far away, Mrs Carter turned around in surprise. Did she just see the shadow of her small outstretched hand trying to grab the coffee mug on the table, drum against it with bony fingers and long pointed fingernails?

In the children’s park , little Emma thought it was funny how her shadow seemed to have sprouted a tiny impish tail in the last two days .Not that she would mention it to anyone . It was her secret!

Sean couldn’t believe the hawkish nose that he saw in his shadow .How could the light play that same trick all the time?

“What??” they gasped.

“My shadow… My goddamn shadow. That b**ch ….! “

1 comment:

Mystic said...

Interesting story.. Love the narration ! :)