Monday, October 09, 2006


The first moment he saw her he could not meet her glance. A repelling force stronger than magnetism diverted his eyes to the sidewalk and her shadow borne by the tips of her toes. She stood among friends. Talking. Unaware. He moved in sideways, looking upwards, as if searching for clouds, inching closer until his sliding steps pinned the shadow. The girl's bus came, and she left with her friends, but the shadow remained with him. The living girl did not miss it. Shadows are transient creatures with as many incarnations as there are angles and shades of light.

Once home with the girl's shadow he arranged the apartment for cohabitation. Shadows enjoy a cool room with sources of light, to accentuate the nocturnal nature of their animation. The shadow girl explored her new abode, casting herself upon the wall, rippling over curtains, and brushing by her newfound protector. That night they lay side-by-side on the bed, the dim glow of the nightlight absorbed by her figure, so that he could only sense her presence where the bed was darkest.

Have you ever felt the warm, breathlike touch of a shadow as it slides upon you, like a second skin melting into your own? He felt it then, as the girl-shadow wrapped him like a larva in a silk cocoon. He became conscious of every nerve in his body, and through each nerve coursed tingling pleasure. The incessant stream of total sensation dazed him beyond sleep into a contented stupor that ended with the morning rays through the chiffon curtain.

The intensity of those hours drove out even the knowledge of who he was. He was someone new now, and so stunned he could only wonder if the intangible memory of the night was of a dream or a reality, or some twilight compromise between the two. The shadow rose and began anew to explore the walls of her home. With ultimate agility she merged herself into corners, danced a twirling dance across the wallpaper, looming or shrinking, depending on her mood. Her two dimensions contained a universe.

He sprawled in the arm chair in the center of the room, head turning to trace her flickering motions, much like a paralyzed moth might follow a moving flame. She grasped the shadow of his camera, began an orbit around him, shooting snapshots from all sides. Then she stood still in the morning light. He planted his gaze directly onto her blank face, wanting more than anything to decipher the wistful emotion that directed her. She stood poised to snap his picture, to capture that moment of bafflement. She did so, then turned the camera upon herself and snapped. The sharp burst of the camera's flash was too much for her to absorb. And she was gone, without leaving a note.

Story #376

Many thanks to Alexandra Shcherbakova for allowing me to repost her photograph. You may view more of Alexandra's photography at her fotocommunity.com gallery.

Also, many thanks to all who contributed their creativity this weekend! You guys are great!

Previous shadow stories at Indeterminacy:
Story #24
Story #43
Story #340

And for those who are fascinated by the art of shadows, here is a link to the marvelous Shadow Art Gallery of Mayuko Fujino.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi
Would you like exchanging banners & links?
This is an Iranian blogger.

Indeterminacy said...

If this is not spam, sure we could exchange links. But the link to your profile is broken, ao I don't know what to link to.

Anonymous said...

Hi Indie,
You are right, it's an amazing photo. Love the yellows, the pattern on the walls, the feel of the wood, the lamp, the silhouette. Everything is just perfect. Where did you find it????

Indeterminacy said...

Hi River: I knew it wasn't just me. Lately I've wanted to add variety to my photo searches so I sometimes surf around at flork.com, and write to people with interesting profile photos. (She's said I can post her link - which should be there by the time you read this.)

Anonymous said...

Quietly, I slipped into the room and slid along the door. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the woman who comes out when the sun shines brightest through the large paned window of my room. Before she could turn her head and catch me with my camera I snapped a shot of her to relish when the golden orb of light fades into the horizon. It is the secret moments alone with her I treasure so much.

cheesemeister said...

Quentin suspected that Xaviera was up to something, but the private investigator he'd hired to follow her swore that she wasn't cheating. Perhaps, Quentin thought, his fears were getting the better of him after all.
When he had met Xaviera she had been an internet model, nothing pornographic but certainly enough to raise eyebrows and more. He had told her that if she wanted to be serious with him, she'd have to discontinue the provocative posing and find a more acceptable line of work. She liked the stability he offered, so she had agreed. She had turned her bright mind and love of people to becoming a hematologist, helping treat individuals with blood diseases. It was a noble profession indeed and Quentin, himself a rheumotologist, was proud to be able to introduce his wife the doctor to all of his doctor friends. Yet in spite of the oaths she had taken, both hippocratic and marital, something wild remained in Xaviera that could not be tamed. It was driving Quentin insane. He'd had her followed, tapped her phone, hacked into her email. Yet there was no evidence that she was in any way being unfaithful.
Quentin sat back in the reclining chair. Perhaps he really was just being paranoid. He would see his cousin Victor the psychologist tomorrow and discuss his fears.
Xaviera was in the bedroom. She had drawn the curtain and turned on some soft music and the bedside lamp. Quentin watched discreetly as his wife undressed. When she thought no-one was watching, she moved like a stripper. It was a bit unsettling, but there was no real harm, he supposed. He reclined back in his chair again and glanced out the window.
In an apartment across the way, a man with binoculars was gazing towards the window of Quentin and Xaviera's bedroom.

cooper said...

That's a great photo, you are a genius of the investigative photo search.

I can't wait to see what everyone writes.

CyberCelt said...

All that was left of the woman was a shadow on the wall. You still see them, you know, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Indeterminacy said...

Wow! So many stories already - I'm trying hard not to peak until I've written mine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Indie,
I look at tha photo and have one thought. STOP HERE IF YOU'VE NOT WRITTEN YET.

As I watched her thinking of another, she had no idea I was thinking of her.

Kyahgirl said...

Hi Indie, that's a great photo. I don't have a story to tell but the photo instantly made me think of our Minka because she posted a 'shadow' photo of herself once for half nekkid Thursday. Maybe it is her!
Check it out!

Young at Heart in San Diego said...

Morning. Not the early morning that the full-life commuters willingly subjected themselves to, but morning for her, an as-yet-unnamed obscura. By the time she woke up, the sun had already risen in the sky and shot warm rays of buttery light into her bedroom. In contrast to her shadowy self, the colors of the full-life world outside were rich and warm as they burnished the walls of her room through the windows. Just the thing to rouse her from her sultry sleep. As she rose from her bed, she grabbed her jeans, which were lying across the floor at her feet, and she pulled them on in one sweeping move. She was ravenous. The only sustenance she could receive in this emergent state was via the renewing machine. It stood mounted in the corner, always ready for its daily operation. She carefully aimed it at her 4th chakra with anticipation. This could be the day that she bloomed into full-life and was able to walk outside into the real world. This might possibly be the day she had been dreaming of her whole life. Maybe today her dreams, vivid with color and sensation; full of taste and colors only glimpsed in videos, would become reality Possibly this was the day that she would receive her name. Only the full-lives, the beings who had reached the highest state of evolvement, were allowed to have names and leave the confines of their rooms. Only they were allowed out into the world to contribute to society by adding their unique expression to the entirety.
There it was. She felt the familiar rays enter her being, warm and tingly, filling her and radiating outward throughout her murky self. This would be the day. She could feel it. Her name slowly came to her. It would be Chroma.

Cocaine Jesus said...

shadow plays on silent walls. her camera captures a fractrued moment. a moment of phantom kage-e.

he is still sleeping. i know he is. i can hear the slow deep rythms of his breathing

the moment is the caffine thrill of hushed trapped breath. a moment of single minded solitude shared by a flat window and sunlight.
sunlight that floods the frame with a razor white light that slices the morning.

he is waking. i can hear the change in him. breath a sharp intake

she puts the camera away and draws on a gown. she touches a hairbrush, the wardrobe door, the beds footrest.
reality returns by common touch.
the moment has gone.

coffee hon?

Miles to go said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Miles to go said...

Bo a pudgy two year old was in the kitchen and Dee on the opposite end offered her daughter Reyna’s some hot soup. “Bo, keep still!!!” Bo swung his bowl off the table and the soup splattered. He began crying. He wanted some of Reyna’s soup even though it came from the same pot. Bo made a spear with his stubby little hands and chopped the air glaring at his mother. “When ya gonna learn to respect your elders little man? Looks like your dinners on the floor!” Dee pulled Bo from the table and set him on the ground to see the results. She reached up toward the back of the cupboard and grabbed a photo from an old album “Reyna I ain’t seen your daddy in quite some time-maybe ten years. They say he’s been in China. Here’s a picture of what he looks like. He is a pretty man and he’s rich too. He’s in the Train business.” They both turned to see what was gurgling and saw Bo holding his little knobbin “Bo-quit peeing in your cereal bowl!!!” Dee grabbed Bo and held his legs high. She ran to the bathroom but his reservoir was still half full so she angled him away from her. Reyna help wipe up the mess “Momma why would he visit us now? It was then the door bell rang…

Indeterminacy said...

I woke up in the middle of the night to write my story, then checked here. What a great set of inspirations for this photo! I'll make my comments tomorrow. Going to take these story impressions and go to sleep with them...

Sar said...

Indie, I don't have a story at this time, but I see what you mean about the shadow. Great photo find, my friend.

Piloto Automatico said...

Hello.
Cheers for the link back to my blog (title means "cruise speed" by the way. I've only recently discovered your blog... As soon as I get to know it better I'll probably send in some contribution of my own. Nice photo, it's a funny thing about shadows, they'll always be associated to the image of the self, like a projection of one's soul, as in: me, my shadow and I type of thing.

Indeterminacy said...

Whew! It's going to take longer to answer these comments than it took to write the story! Well, let's go...

Number 9: It's lovely and poetic and entirely worthy of the image. That's what I think.

Cheesemeister: I never saw the end coming, and it just reaches out and grabs. Wow.

Cooper: Credit Alexandra for capturing such a brilliant moment.

CyberCelt: That's a sad legacy, shadows made in that way. But there's something mysterious about the idea of shadows frozen for eternity.

Liz (ME Strauss): Your one sentence story captures the whole idea of the shadow and the psyche. If only my story could have been as brief.

Kyahgirl: I checked it out. Thank you. What a shadow she casts!

Young at Heart: This was wonderfully mystical and intriguing. I have to print this out. I have to print out all of these.

Cocaine Jesus: A special reflective moment. Lovely!

Miles to Go: Impressive! I never thought of the shadow being that of a little girl!

Sar: I think the photo inspired everyone. It's really great.

Piloto Automatico: You're always welcome to stop by, comment, or not comment. Very Jungian, what you said. Thanks again for linking.

Doug said...

Indie, that should be published.

Indeterminacy said...

Doug: Thanks for such a kind compliment. If only you were a publisher...

Anonymous said...

Gotta love that picture.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Doug, Indie.
Your story is wonderful!

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you Liz - maybe I "jumped over my shadow" with this one. (A German expression)

Indeterminacy said...

Anonymous: It's really a great picture, and do check out Alexandra's gallery! There are more.

cheesemeister said...

Very, very cool story about the shadow girl. Quite bittersweet. Like the fleeting nature of romance.

Indeterminacy said...

Cheesemeister: I've been trying to figure out myself what the story means - much is left open, but I like stories like that. I'm glad you saw something in this.

cooper said...

Excellent story Inde, it was quite a big deeper than I expected for this photo.

Jamie Dawn said...

Good story! I could see her flitting about the room, kind of like Tinkerbell. The story is both sensual and fun.

Kyahgirl said...

indie, I thought your story was inspired! You could write a whole book on that premise.

and the commenters stories are just great. What a talented group of people!

Lammy said...

Absolutely wonderful story and it reminds me of Plato in his cave, if he had seen that shadow, then he may have had a much different philosophy.

Indeterminacy said...

Cooper: Thank you - I think there is lots of depth to shadows.

Jamie: Thanks! I thought of Peter Pan's shadow but wanted to avoid writing a repeat of those scenes. I hope it worked.

Kyahgirl: What a compliment! I'm never really satisfied . I wish it had been a story with dialogue, but shadows can't talk, and even if they can, I can't think of what they would say.

Lammy: Thank you, too. I never knew what a philosopher you are. I wish your sister could have read it.

Frances bo bancess said...

I could say I love this picture for the awesome contrast of light and shadow or for how well the shadows been framed. which I do. But one of the first things i noticed was the huge roll of sticky tape.
A wonderful and a quite intriguing story Indie.
I'm really enjoying the other commenters stories too.
And congrats on being Blog of the Month.
*applauds*

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you Frances! It's very rewarding to hear all these nice things. I'm sometimes not very observant - I only saw the shadow. Not the the tape.

Maybe this photo will start a new trend: Boys walking up to girls, and girls walking up to boys and saying "I want your shadow!"

Arpita said...

nicepic

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you Arpita, on behalf of Sasha. Why not pay her gallery a visit?

Arpita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.