Last week was difficult for me. For a while, I would try to start working on something, then feel suddenly sick and stop. I had all of these feeling inhibiting me and nowhere to put them. Until I started writing. (Go figure.)
This short fiction is pretty obviously highly allegorical (and also half inspired by a weird dream I had last week), but it helped me immensely to write it. And anyway, I hope it might help someone else too.
The moon cast no shadows on that night, and yet one still somehow darted from door to door of the cathedral.
One by one, the doors slammed closed as the rogue shadow passed. Each slam echoed around the open space, knocking loose dust, spirits, and spiderwebs from long forgotten nooks and crannies. A tension grew during the silent spaces after each ancient lock slid into place.
At the last door, the shadow slipped inside. Another door closed. Another lock fastened. But with an intruder within.
The spirits of the sanctuary began to become restless. They murmured to each other, whispers of dissent, trying to discuss what had become of the sudden new arrival.
But the rogue shadow had disappeared as soon as it entered. It had faded into the molding, seeped into the cracks. It had instantly become part of the place.
The spirits argued, they disagreed, they clashed and escalated, until the whispers became roars. They were everything at once, so many emotions screaming in unison: anger, doubt, sorrow, shame, pity, anxiety.
At the center of the cavernous room, one such spirit fell from above. She was their leader, the summation of each thought and whisper they made. She crashed to the ground, immediately curling into a ball. Her arms wrapped tightly around her knees, her fingers dug into her own skin, and she screamed.
Once she started, she didn’t stop until the other voices fell quiet.
But then the cathedral just felt empty. Then it was just the sound of her sobs. Then it was just… darkness, the shadow hiding somewhere deep within it. It would never be found. It would never leave now it was here.
Hours passed. Occasionally, the other spirits would speak up again in raucous discord before suddenly settling once more. Even while the sounds alternated between a crashing din and an empty silence, the spirit in the center stayed frozen still.
Slowly, the sun rose up to peer through the arching windows. She stayed still, though the beams through stained glass sent colors dancing joyously around her. The sun wrapped a blanket of warmth and light around her.
Slowly, she rose up. She drew strength from the colorful dancing lights. She drew energy from the warmth. She drew power from the sun. Suddenly, she was standing on her own again, draped in strength, energy, power—draped in a glorious light.
At the wave of her hand, the rest of the spirits fell into harmony with her yet again. She drew a breath and turned to look toward the sun. Somewhere under the stone floor, that shadow hid itself away. It may be scattered by the light, but with the doors locked, it would never leave.
But that was alright. The shadow lived beneath her. The light lived within her.
She embraced the sun.