The stone-walled alleys of Peillon were once home to Frank. But today, those familiar streets made him uncomfortable. The thick fog trapped the street lights, making the night chilly and dark. An eerie calm gave him goosebumps. The blustery winds tricked his senses.
Is someone following me or is it just my delusion? Frank pretended to adjust his shoelace and surreptitiously scrutinized the vicinity. A few wavy shadows glided along the concrete walls, but not a soul was in sight. Yet, he failed to calm his mind. He must be hiding somewhere, using this damn fog as his ally. I need to dodge him.
A vague, stolid shadow was lying in wait in the vicinity. As Frank hurried his steps, it swiftly enveloped him in its grasp.
“Frank… Is everything ok? Why do you look so restless?” Grace, his girlfriend, noticed the odd behaviour during a casual meet-up in the park.
Frank nodded to affirm and leaned forward to kiss her. They were about to get intimate when he noticed a human shadow behind a tree. With a sudden jerk, he drew back. The motionless shadow overshadowed his feelings. Why can’t he leave me alone? I won’t let him seize me; not today. We need to leave, asap.
“Grace, I gotta go now. Let’s catch up soon, alright?” Frank walked out of the park in a rush. Grace, completely confused with the sudden change in his behaviour, followed without a word.
“Son, we tried our best, but your mom and dad succumbed to their injuries. I’m sorry for your loss, Frank.” The doctor, attending his parents after the fatal road accident, informed.
Frank was just 19 then. He was all alone with no peer or family to share his grief with. His wounds got cured with time and gradually, his life went back to normal. He attended college and took up a regular job. He was living a life of ease, except for one glitch. Frank was being stalked recurrently by a shadow.
Its emergence tormented his mind. Yet, he was too scared to confront the human behind it. He was falling victim to that shadow; slowly losing his sanity.
“It’s a figment of his imagination. The traumatic incident from the past is the possible cause. The cuts healed, but what failed to heal, was his mind.” The therapist informed Grace after the session. “His mind captured the shadows from that fateful event. Shadows of the rescuers and other objects. And his brain perceived it differently. I’m hopeful that after a few therapy sessions, he’ll do just fine.”
Frank didn’t hear a word. His mind was preoccupied with the shadow on the wall. Grace interrupted his reverie and advised him to consider the diagnosis. He agreed.
After a few treatment sessions, he was travelling towards the healing spirals. But the thickening veil of illusion didn’t quit playing games with his mind. That day, in the vaulted passages of Peillon, he became the slave of the autonomous shadow.
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