Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Indefinitely Delayed Resurrection Of The Sun Dial King

Harry's shadow strides down the street, a colossus towering over all it passes. Or would do if it were vertical. He lifts his arms and the shadow lifts its arms, longer, more slender, its fingers tapering to graceful points spread against the grass on his left, the asphalt on his right. He flexes his hands as his shadow-fingers strum the shadow of the overhead power-lines. The shadow lines don't play a tune, the shadow fingers don't show his calluses but the sharp point of his thumbnail becomes a claw.

His shadow-legs moved strangely ahead of him, melting into each other and shifting shape as he walks. His knees run up and down his shadow-legs, dragging his shins up with them and then squashing them down again, like weights and two test-your-strength fair games.
The colourful lump of Harry's sneaker is in the way. He can't see the shadow of his foot. He kicks angrily, trying to tuck it back out of his line of sight, his eyes fixed on the shadow.

A car rushes past and for a moment his shadow is gone, obliterated, covered, obscured by the hurtling shadow-car. Harry catches his breath, stopped in mid-stride and doesn't begin again - walking or breathing - until his shadow reemerges. He lets his breath flow out of him, half expecting the shadow to waste away as his lungs empty. It doesn't, but it is taller than it was moments ago. Leaner, stretched and twanging against the ground.

His hair has lengthened to a mane that flows out behind him, flapping gently in the breeze. His shadow-head is indistinguishable from his shadow hair, its size fluctuates, its outline changes, his neck disappears only to reemerge again.
The shadow is streaming away, leaning towards the road, Harry picks up his pace, trying to keep up.

Behind him he hears the approaching murmur of an engine, another car, another shadow. Shadow Harry is too thin, won't survive another eclipse.
As the murmur becomes a growl, Harry begins to run, ushering Shadow Harry before him.

When the police officer arrives to take a statement, the distraught man sitting in the back of the ambulance, one hand over his bloodied temple, swears he'd had no warning. No reason to believe that the boy running down the side of the road would suddenly veer in front of him. Chasing his shadow into the ground and under the wheels.

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