The night was long, dragging on and on. Hours passed as I lay awake in my bed. Id watch the second hand slowly move as I fought for peace. Craving sleep like an addict needing a fix. It hurts, but my mind will not silence itself. My body cries out, yet my mind wonders. Tossing and turning unable to find rest. Shadows in my room begin to form. Mind tricks I tell myself. Yet they seem so alive. I look to the clock. Three in the morning, and I lay awake.
Out of the corner of my eye, something moves. A cold chill comes over my body. I fight the urge to look. Though curiosity has now formed, fear keeps me from looking. It’s not real I tell myself. It’s only me here in the empty room. The second hand movement becomes even more audible as I lay in fear. Madness is staking a claim in my mind. Fear grows as the shadow moves.
I feel a weight on the corner of my bed. This is real, my fear tells me. That must be a lie, my conscience brain tries to unravel the mystery. But the chill grows stronger. My body begins to tingle as it grows numb with fear.
“You do not need face me.” The shadow whispers. I am now paralyzed with fear. “I am not here to harm you.”
I cannot find words, my mouth sealed shut. But somehow my body groans. Making its way to my mouth and becoming sound. I can feel my heart beating harder and faster. As though it was to beat out of my chest.
“Why do you fight yourself?” The shadow asked me as though he knows me. Now along with fear I am confused. Still too afraid to look. “Why do you suppress the gifts given to you? Your purpose?”
Who is this shadow figure? Speaking to me as though it knows me. In the darkness of my room in the middle of the night. My brain still tries to rationalise this but cannot seem to figure out the physical weight on my bed.
“You’ve lived your life running from who you are, and yet you lay awake at night tossing and turning wondering why you cannot find peace in rest. How can you be so foolish to throw away your gifts? They have turned from dreams and passion’ and now they haunt you. Do you understand?” The shadow speaks to me as though it has known me my whole life.
Finally I gain the courage. I sit up, my back to the shadow. “You are not real, you’re a figment of my imagination, forming from a lack of sleep.”
“Oh but no, I am very real, as real as you are.” The shadow replies and I can sense a smirk on its face.
“Then who or what are you?” I question this strange creature.
“Turn and face me if you wish to know the truth.”
I’m still filled with fear, but somehow, without my consent, my body turns, and my head looks back. When I meet the shadows gaze, my body grows numb with fear. How can this be? I found myself staring’ at myself. And this copy of myself was smiling.
“Do you understand now?” The shadow asks.
“No, how is this possible?”
“I am you, well, a part of you. I am the you that you so desperately try and kill, try to suppress. I am all of your goals and dreams and hopes that you foolishly try and drown out with all of the drugs and alcoholism.” The shadow has grown angry in his responses.
“I don’t understand.”
“I’ve been given the privilege to manifest to speak to you. Now hear what I have to say to you. Do not ignore me any longer. I deserve to live. If you continue to resist me, I will leave, and you will become hollow, a husk. You will have no purpose in this life. And then, you will meet your friend on the cliff by the sea. I am you as much as you are you. Do you understand?”
“No, I still don’t understand.” I pleaded
“Do not run any longer. You are gifted. You have a purpose. You know this to be true. Yet you run and hide. To many people kill off this part of them and become empty. I could not stand idle by and let that happen to you and I. So I am here to warn you. Do not waste what you have been given. You are not like the rest. I will not warn you again. Pursue your purpose. Live your life. You are only given one. Do not waste it trying to suppress who you are. Do you understand me?
“Maybe?” I reply scratching my head and rubbing my eyes. I’ve become incredibly tired now. The room began to spin. I caught one last glimpse of my shadow self before I fall to the bed and my eyes close.
The alarm rings. My eyes open. I feel more rested than I have in my entire life. Confused about the night before. But the words imprinted in my mind. Unable to shake the encounter. What had happened last night? Maybe it’s time to start over. I know for one thing, I do not want to meet that shadow again, and I do not want to die or live life empty. Maybe it is time to pursue who I am. Maybe it’s time to live my life.
I walked to the bathroom. Turned the sink on and bent over to wash off my face. Trying to shake the night before. But as i stood up drying off my face, I looked into the mirror. The chill ran down my face again. There for a moment, I had seen a glimpse of the shadow from the night before. A chilling reminder that the encounter was very much real. And that I have a promise to keep. That something else lives inside of me. Something that makes me whole. What makes me who I am. And I have an obligation to keep that alive. I can no longer run from who I am.