Of Seized Shadows 

I’ve never believed that the shadows on these walls hid within them an ugly monster. She’s exquisite, with her eyes alight and greedy for mayhem. She stands right behind me and peeps over my shoulders at you with her metal claws on my shoulders or my hands, well hidden under my hair or the sleeves of my sweater. At times like these, I see hope. I make promises of trying to get better at being happy, what I internally call going back into the darkness to fight her. But in moments of solitude, her hands shift and begin to slowly trace my spine, freezing and sharp. Her smile widens with every teardrop that leaves my eyes as I beg for mercy. She does it anyway. She twists and twirls and wrenches her metal claws into my back and scratches my arms and I scream and cry away my nights in anguish. Too proud to ask for help, too scared to fight back. 

I used to want to know what she was like when I was a kid. She smells of burnt roses and crushed plans and broken promises. Addictive. I haven’t owned my shadow in a long while. That’s her, you see. Her shrewd and rusty hands have been too deep inside me. So deep, she has a hold over my heart now. At times I dare to think it has stopped hurting, only to realise that I was being misled by all the numbness. I’ve tried hiding from her this numbness, but she always seems to know. And the moment she finds I’m breathing again, trying to crane my head up in search of light, she smiles silently, traces my spine and begins again.

-Dhanya Nair.

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