The Boy In the Shadows

He came at night. His eyes wide and empty, his face pale with fear. His thin lips moved in the dark, a question that had bubbled through and his voice quivered as though afraid to step outside. He managed to push the words through and they sat there in the open, waiting to be acknowledged by her. She saw them staring at her, she heard the shaky voice, but didn’t speak.

After a few more minutes of the mocking silence she took the words in her arms, looked at them and smiled. She pushed out a few of her own, answering his question in her soft and whispered voice. He was dazed by the situation, not knowing how to react. This was the first time in many months that he had had any human interaction. He saw her in the dark, her lips seemed to be pulled up in the corners, making two dimples appear on her cheeks. Her hair was dark and spilled over her shoulders in long locks and her eyes gleamed with a sort of…Hope that broke the darkness around them.

She was clad in a coat and her hands were fisted in her pockets and she wasn’t sure what to do either. The boy was thin and weak and his eyes, like mentioned before, seemed empty. She couldn’t see him breathing but the small movement of his stomach proved otherwise. She couldn’t quite sum him up, he was different, this boy. For some reason he refused to step into the soft light of the small kerosene lamp that the girl had lit and when she asked whether he’d like to come forward, he simply shook his head. Having had enough of the curiosity burning inside her, when she finally asked for his reason he simply let out a humourless chuckle with great effort, it seemed and again struggled to push out the words from his mouth. They resisted but he was stubborn.

“The dark is my friend.” He managed to say.

She stared at him wide eyed, while he just pulled his thin, colourless lips into a warm patient smile. She wasn’t afraid or creeped out. No, she was curious. And so she asked again.

This time the words willingly left him and he made no effort to stop them. “The dark doesn’t judge me, no, it embraces me. It stays silent and just listens. We’re both afraid of the light and so we comfort each other. The dark is my friend.”

The girl only smiled and put out her lamp, relieving the boy of any fear to approach her. She only had to wait for another few moments for him to come forward. She smiled a bit wider and told him her name, “Felix,” she whispered to him and raised her hand of for him to take. He looked at this friendly gesture and looked at it some more for it was too foreign to him. Finally he raised his own hand placed it in hers. Her skin was soft and it felt warm on his own. He didn’t mind the contact, he realised, in fact, he seemed to like it.

All the while the boy contemplated his feelings, Felix looked at him with curious eyes. He was afraid of the light he’d said and she wondered why? What was so cruel that the light had done to the boy? For some reason, she wasn’t afraid as the boy would have expected. She was…Something else, something different and he was just as curious about her as she was about him. He told her his name, “Baron,” his voice not managing to be louder than a whisper and the one syllable word danced on his tongue before it slipped out of his lips. They smiled at each other, not minding the company.

She wasn’t used to such interaction either. She wasn’t used to speaking to people, not even her own mother, but for some odd reason, she spoke to him and he listened. He listened and spoke to her as well and in the company of the dark, he made another friend.

So when the sun began to come back up, she watched the sky bleed and the boy retreated into the shadows, the dark quick to follow him, but when he left, he left with a promise. A promise to return. The girl smiled and a sliver of hope seemed to cross her eyes when she turned back towards bleeding sky.

Hope, she thought, was all she needed.

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