Shadows are like dreams haunting the memory with the hidden and the possible. The shadows haunt the dreams and the possibilities the dreams hold within themselves haunt all the shadows. Juliet was a woman who knew too much about the shadows. She was born in the darkness. She had crawled out of the deepest shadows of the cold city night, vowing never to return. She would not go back, even though she knew she had left part of herself behind.
Even now, years later, she distrusted the dark and kept away from the shadows. Away from those shadows calling out her name, whispering entreaties to her as she rushed from pool of light to pool of light.
Slamming her front door behind her, Juliet leant back against the solid door as though keeping it shut against a horde of intruders laying siege to her world. The hallway of her home, like the rest of the house, was bright and lit against the darkness with nothing that could cast a shadow. There was nowhere for those that haunted the surrounding shadows to hide. This house was her safe place. She need never fear the dark here.
Breathing deeply, she pushed herself away from the door, locking it against the night, bolting it. She stood back as if a locked door was a work of art that demanded contemplation and admiration. Juliet even nodded her satisfaction to herself as she turned for her kitchen.
She fancied a bright salad, the antithesis of the cold winter darkness outside. With a mug of some warm, white milk perhaps. Once she’d liked black coffee, until one day its oily shadows had whispered to her of what she’d left behind in the shadows and what had become of that part of her. Tears had fallen, breaking the darkness of the coffee into ripples and she’d never drunk anything dark or black ever again.
She drew the kitchen blind. At least the snow was white, hiding parts of the darkness of this world under its blankets, making it clean again. It would be good if the snow were still there in the morning. A dark winter morning was still the prisoner of the night and every day when she had to leave before sunrise she longed for spring to come.
Now, in her bright kitchen, with her clean, sharp, colourful salad and pure white milk she was safe at last.
Then the bright lights dimmed, flickered, stuttered and darkness dropped over her world as all the electrical hums fell silent around her. The mug of milk crashed unseen to the floor as Juliet screamed, knowing the shadows had come to take her back inside themselves.