The Art of Living

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5: Untouchable

There was nothing more to notice than the volume of them. The sheer number of creatures that crawled out of nowhere had the Professor questioning his eyesight. They were different from each other even though they were all made up of the very same dark stuff. Like little black pillows stuffed with cotton, they crawled all over the place, some slithering up the cobblestone path unenthusiastically. The shadows with solid shapes clung to the Professor, while the slithering serpents tried as hard as possible to get away from him. The cobblestones in front of him soon darkened under their influence. The path was now lighting up only where he stepped, as if the only semblance of light was contained within him. He wondered if that would remain true- what with all these shadows clinging to him like gum on the sole of a shoe. His movement turned sluggish; the extra weight of a hundred shadows burdened him. He was a man of shadow walking into the shadows. It almost felt as if he were growing older, and the fear of this had him moving with far more effort. He put strength into every step, his feet pressing into the ground with extreme force. He almost willed himself to get on and off the ground, dragging his arms and head along with his slow body. If the shadows held him, he would pull them right along.

Then, all of a sudden, the cobblestone path rumbled, as if a gigantic tectonic plate below had decided to slowly shift its position. Like a giant drum buried beneath the city, the beats almost made the Professor lose his balance. The pathway began to crumble. Stones tumbled to a black abyss below until the Professor began to internally scream, for the very ground was disappearing before him. Soon, he stood on nothing but blackness, feeling around for more blackness. The shadows had conquered him.

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