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Monday, June 6, 2011

After the Shadow

Let me tell you more about the man who ran past me, nearly knocking me over. But you would only be interested in his obsessive chase after a shadowy figure he swore had been hanging around wherever he went. Day and night, he would point to a distance and claimed someone was staring at him. Running off for hours on end, he would eventually return exhausted with nothing but his conviction that he was getting closer to catching whoever it was he wanted to snare.

The truth is that he had stopped sleeping and eating. The only thing that kept him going was the belief that there was something out there worth him pushing himself one last time. He had lost his job months ago, because his firm could make more money without him – even though he worked hard and had much valuable experience. His family couldn’t take the strain and they fell apart. Next came the eviction notice for his home. Perhaps by revealing who it was who had been watching him in silence, he might end this conspiracy to destroy his life.

Yesterday morning he was seen in a confused state in the city centre. Before anyone offered him any help, he disappeared into an old, disused building. Given the haunted look on his face, it was probable that no one would have approached him anyway. Shouting was heard from the outside. And then, silence.

I can tell you that he went straight to the dark basement. There was something he had tracked there. He ran down one corridor and then another. He had his prey cornered. He had no doubt about it. Into the last room he pounced. Switching on the dim light behind him, he saw clearly at last, there in front of him, a flat lifeless shadow. It belonged not to him, but his former self. He shut the door, and turned the light off.