"By that sin fell the angels." - William Shakespeare.
How did I get here? That was the first thought that ran through my mind as I shoved my hands inside the pockets of an unfamiliar black coat and began to walk. My breath was visible underneath the street lamps which lit the damp cobbled street, but I didn’t feel the cold. I hadn’t been able to feel the cold for years.
My bangles chimed against each other, their raucous song unnerving in the dark. Their song echoed into a deafening silence which unnerved me more. I tried to ignore my irrational fear of the dark and carried on walking further into the unknown, stopping myself from wondering what could be lurking in the shadows by humming my favourite lullaby from when I was a child. My mother could always make the monsters of my imagination turn and flee for a while with that song.
I thought I had been wandering aimlessly until I came across large metal gates; the paint peeling and the metal corroded. I was outside a park. Something was luring me inside. Part of me wanted to turn back, but I had an impulse to go beyond the gates. I wished to see what lay behind the trees and on the barren playground, to know what led me here and why my fear wasn’t prevailing. I was terrified, but on I went, one foot in front of the other, my legs shaking, my eyes wide and my wings ready to carry me away should I be approached by danger; an old nemesis of mine.
As I walked deeper into the park, not daring to stray from the path, the street lamps started to flicker. I felt sick, sweat beginning to form on my brow. I began to hear faint footsteps behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks, and felt a warm breath right behind me. The creature came closer and suddenly its face was next to mine, its chin lightly brushing my shoulder.
I turned quickly and hissed, but there was nobody there. Paranoia began to flood through my veins, my eyes darting towards the source of any sound.
I could hear laughter coming from the trees, and then a figure stepped into the light.
This ‘creature’ was a man. He was well dressed; his face hidden by a top hat at an angle so the shadow cast by it would fall over his face. He was wearing a white shirt, black waistcoat and black trousers. It was almost... theatrical. He seemed to be playing some sort of game. I wanted to play no part in it.
The light kept flickering, the pauses in between dark and light increasing until the glass shattered. I smiled softly. Yes, I was afraid. This man seemed threatening and I had no idea where I was, but he could not win in a fight against me.
Although danger loved to try and destroy me, it was also a large part of me. I was definitely dangerous. First of all, I could play with fire. I could feel electricity running through my veins like liquid power and the current flowed to my hands, which turned into nothing but bones under the blaze. The fire never left a mark when it was gone.
There was nobody in front of me anymore.
I ran as fast as I could until I came to a fork in the path. I stopped. I could hear footsteps again. Only this time, they were coming towards me on one of the paths ahead of me. There were three, and I chose the one on the left next to the lake; the moon’s reflection rippling on the surface. The footsteps grew nearer and nearer and nearer until... They stopped completely. I saw a shadow. It was still. I looked to my left. There was a bridge which stretched across the lake. I couldn’t see into the tunnel of the bridge, as it was concealed by painted wooden walls. The shadow was leading into this bridge. I swallowed, my throat dry. I tiptoed, trying to avoid any fallen leaves.
Our shadows were now crossing.
I moved quickly, my hands poised like weapons. There was nobody there. The shadow remained, the silhouette of the top hat as clear as the sky above my head. This was his shadow, so why wasn’t it with the man himself?