Shadowland

“I’m bored, Marx. I’m bored. I want to go outside,” a chubby shadow whined.

“You know we can’t, there’s too much light,” Marx replied.

The sun cast its bright rays on the kaleidoscope colored roofs of an assortment of oddly shaped houses. Every house twisted a different way, tying themselves into unique knots. But no matter what shape or spiral every house resembled, the colored roofs of every house would point to a giant clock tower as though the houses were paying their respects.

The clock tower’s height allowed it to be seen from everywhere in the city, and its crooked hands slowly swept across the clock’s stained glass face. The clock tower rang twelve times, and each ring sounded out different out of tune notes. The sun, directly overhead, revealed every dark crack left in the city. The shadows withdrew from their hiding places to the refuge of Shadowland inside the clock tower.

“But I’m bored! None of the other shadows want to play with me,” the chubby shadow complained. He rolled around his playground, made of many fluorescent lights and even more random cardboard cutouts. Sitting in the shade of his favorite cardboard shape, the chubby shadow began to think. “Hey I know!”

Marx, a shadow resembling a small boy, stared out the window at the strange houses below. “Hmmm? What Jones?” Marx mumbled, distracted by the clock tower’s high view.

“We should explore the floor above us!” Jones exclaimed.

The chubby shadow’s statement tackled Marx’s attention to the ground. “What?! We can’t do that! The Architect told us to never go to the other floors!”

“Awww, but I’m bored! And besides, aren’t you curious about what’s in there?” Jones pointed upwards, at a door in the ceiling.

“Now that you mention it, yeah I always wonder what’s in there. But we can’t even reach it even if we wanted to.”

“We can reach it at night. That’s when the other shadows leave too. The Architect will never know either, since he’s always out there, making more of his crazy houses.”

Marx pondered, looking up at the door. What resided there? He had to know. “All right fine, we’ll go in tonight.”

The clock tower chimed several more out of tune notes that day. The shadows slowly trickled out of Shadowland into the darkness of the city. The colored street lights turned on, brightening up small sections of wavy roads with random hues. Marx and Jones remained inside, staring at a wall. As the sun sank lower, the shadow on the wall crept higher, until it finally reached the door in the ceiling.

“It’s time to go! It’s time to go!” Jones said, jumping up and down in glee.

“All right, let’s go then.” Marx and Jones climbed up the shadow on the wall, stopping in front of the door. Up close, Marx could see that the door was made of a dark wood, with bits of rusting metal crossing random areas of the door.

“Um…how about you first, Marx?” Jones asked quietly. “I’ll follow right after.”

Marx quickly slipped through a dark crack on the side of the door, and looked around. He could dimly make out the silhouette of a rectangular object in the otherwise empty room. Suddenly, a bright light blinded Marx.

Marx panicked, and jumped into the shade of the rectangular object. At the door, Marx heard Jones give a surprised shout. Marx tried to head back to the door, but the rectangular object’s shadow fell short. Without the darkness, Marx could not get out, and Jones could not get in.

Marx looked around again in the now brightly lit, white room. The rectangular object was a mirror. Its clear surface perfectly reflected the white room along with a small shadow at its base. The mirror had no frame, and stood on its own without any support. Curious, Marx stepped closer to the mirror, and saw his own tiny figure in the mirror.

“Welcome to Mirrorland. Does the Architect know you’re up here?”

Bewildered, Marx spun around, but saw no one. “What? No he doesn’t, who are you?”

“Your reflection, over here!”

Marx turned back to the mirror and witnessed his reflection waving. “You’re my reflection?”

“Yeah,” his reflection replied. “My name is Kram. Everything has a reflection. Most of the time we’re just sleeping, but I woke up when you walked near the mirror.”

Marx stared at his reflection. Another world did exist up here in the clock tower! Excited, Marx asked, “What’s it like being a reflection? What else is in this clock tower?”

Kram smiled, and motioned for Marx to come closer. “Come to this mirror and I’ll show you. Touch the mirror and I’ll show you around Mirrorland.”

Marx wandered closer to the mirror, until he stood right in front of Kram. Marx saw how exact Kram resembled him, and he shuddered at the similarity. “Wow…you really are my reflection.”

“Hey, have you ever wondered, that maybe your world is the reflection? And that my world might be the real one? I sometimes wonder if my world isn’t the one being mimicked,” Kram said.

“I never thought about that. I suppose it’s possible.” Marx leaned forward and touched the mirror. He suddenly felt dizzy, and he keeled over on the ground holding his spinning head.

“So what’s the Mirrorland like, Kram?” Kram asked.

“What?” Marx said, confused. “I’m Marx…”

“No, no you’re not. You’re Kram, a reflection.” Kram shook his head. “I’m Marx. I’m free now.” Kram smiled a devilish grin, and started walking away.

“Wait, come back!” Marx shouted. He ran towards Kram, but crashed into the mirror, his incorporeal body not making a crack. What just happened? Marx began to wonder frantically. Was he really a reflection? No no, that can’t be right.

The lights dimmed, and the shadow of the mirror reached the door again. Kram walked towards the door, then paused and said, “Sorry Kram, but I’m the shadow now. You should have listened to the Architect.” Kram laughed, and continued walking.

Marx tried to respond, but with every step Kram took away from the mirror, Marx grew sleepier, until Kram disappeared from the mirror’s view.

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2 thoughts on “Shadowland

Feel free to reply. But I won't read cuz I'm shy. Unless it's haiku.

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