What’s the difference between shadows and darkness? Darkness gathers, it rises only at night, it consumes all it touches and still wants more. Things live in the darkness. Shadows follow and are always present, shadows stray from the light but do not fear it.
Night has come and you rest. I wait as you drift off to sleep and I slink into your bedroom. I am as fluid as moonlight and as sleek as nightfall. My paws are soft and soundless. I do not disturb you as I pad across the carpet and leap onto your cluttered dresser.
Your breathing is shallow and even. You do not hear me and the darkness gathers while you are unaware. Quiet as a ghost and silent as death it grows and deepens. It’s occupants are restless and hungry. I will not let it spread. Every night I find a vantage point, sometimes your wardrobe, sometimes your windowsill, sometimes the pillow next to your head. Tonight, I sit next to your mirror, my reflection just a shadow of myself.
The night grows longer and darker. There is a gap in the curtains and outside I see a starless sky; a dark but blank canvas. I gaze across the room. My eyes glow amber and they do not like this. The light frightens them. They grow impatient with my presence and their impatience makes them bold. The darkness begins to move and spread. It reaches out and swallows all it touches. Before long, its tendrils reach the end of your bed. You sigh and turn over in your sleep as you grow colder.
I move, stepping lightly, my tail raised and twitching. I make no sound.
I leap onto the bed and land by your feet. I am gentle as a feather but the darkness does not react. It is bold tonight and will not be deterred by a mere glare.
I stretch my claws, white against my dark fur, and gently paw at the bed cover. My white claws rise and fall, stretch and retract. The tendrils curl in on themselves as the darkness recedes.
I settle. I sit and wait. I watch.
I curl up next to you in the crook of your arm. I am a bundle of fur by your side. I rest but I do not sleep. Together, we wait in silence for the dawn.
The rest of the room has been lost to the darkness and the bed has become an island. Just you and I, alone throughout the night and surrounded by obsidian enemies. Every so often a tendril will reach forwards and move towards you. When it does I yawn and spread my jaws wide, my pink tongue curls and my bare fangs glisten. The whispering darkness withdraws and I settle once more. I rest my head on your soft arm, I purr and feel your warmth.
All through the night when the darkness stretches its claws, I stretch mine. I am patient. I will wait and watch and it will not dare come close to you for fear of me.
Eventually, dawn comes and the sun rises, its golden beams stream through the curtains and pools across the room. You wake, well rested from a peaceful night’s sleep. As the morning grows brighter the darkness fades and hides. It will return again tonight and I will be with you.
I am your shadow in the dark.