He Only Saw Her Shadow
As he wandered the halls of the growing castle, Tom peered around every single corner. Until now, it was a mere rumor that someone was residing within its walls. The castle itself had been standing for over 400 years, passed down from ruler to ruler, conqueror to conqueror, and was eventually abandoned in favor of cheaper abodes. What served as the servant’s quarters now housed an upscale restaurant with a rooftop bar and a dance floor that was booked months in advance for tables as small as two, and whispers of ghosts and ghouls showered the abandoned castle as people traveled from every country in the world to tour its halls and partake of its food.
But one evening, when he was dancing with a drink in his hand, he turned around to survey the castle quick enough to see a figure.
Not a ghoulish figure or a ghostly waft, but the jagged outline of a person.
A person who had been staring.
Now, after booking a tour and straying from the crowd, Tom found himself wandering the halls of the overgrown relic, adoring the murals, running his fingers along the stones of the walls, and gazing up at the 30-foot vaulted ceiling that decorated the almost-palace.
Until a shadow caught his eye.
He dashed to his left and wrung his hand around a worn marble column as his feet carried him swiftly down the hallway. His tall, lean figure thrust itself forward as he ran to its end, darting his eyes around every corner in an attempt to find her.
He doubled over, panting for breath before hearing the pitter-patter of little feet.
He took off behind him, dashing down the dark alleyway as the walls began to close in on him. Soon, the grand hallway had funneled itself into a small stone staircase, winding its way up to one of the lookout towers as he pushed his burning legs up the steps, two by two.
He kept seeing her shadow just beyond his reach.
“Hello!?” he called out as he came to the top of the staircase. “Is anyone there!?”
The wind began to howl through the openings in the watchtower as the storm forecasted for that evening slowly began to roll in.
The castle would be under siege any minute, what with it being surrounded on three sides by water.
“Please!” he called out, begging her to simply step into the light.
But, as she peered upon him from the darkened staircase, slipping out of a silent crevice chiseled over time into the stone of the walls, she took stock of his figure as she held her breath.
He looked just like his pictures.
Her complete opposite.
And this reality sent her gliding down the stairs just as he turned around, his eyes frantically searching for the disembodied shadow’s home.
But all he saw was moving darkness… and all she afforded him was her back.
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