Shadow Casters

A girl lies down in a sunny spot to study. Leaning on her elbows in the deep grass, she reads from a thick textbook. Fully engaged, it takes a minute to notice the shadow across the well-used pages. She turns her head expectantly, a half smile ready to greet the friend who is standing beside her. The girl finds herself alone. Puzzled, she brings her attention back to the book and recoils at the sight of the shadow remaining there. Huh...that's odd. The girl hastily gathers her things and leaves.

Unable to shake an increasing feeling of unease, she heads to the campus library and learns the following from a dictionary:

Shadow - the dark figure cast upon a surface by an interposed opaque body intercepting the rays from a source of light.

Opaque - blocking the passage of radiant energy and especially light.

Body - the organized physical substance of an animal or plant either living or dead.

Of course, the “dead” in the last definition refers to a corpse, but the anxious girl thinks only of “ghost”. More likely a person walking by or a passing cloud...

She tries to rationalize what just occurred but can’t; the sky was clear and she was lying by herself in the middle of an expanse of grass. Returning the dictionary to the shelf, the girl decides to dig a little more. She moves to an empty section of the library to research paranormal phenomena. In an old book entitled “The Ones Among Us”, she finds a passage within a chapter about reincarnation. It reads:

“Neither alive nor dead, Shadow Casters roam the earth unseen in search of their lost souls, feeding on the light they absorb. To fall under their shadow is to be marked for death, for they will not rest until they reclaim what was once theirs. When found by a Shadow Caster, a mortal man can do nothing but wait for his inevitable demise.”

A shiver runs through the girl’s body as she slams the book shut. This is crazy…just relax! I’m sure if I search the web I will find plenty of sites that say this is just urban legend. As she pushes her chair from the table and starts to rise, her foot becomes tangled in her backpack strap. The girl turns and steps away, only to trip into the next row of tables. Broken by the edge of the hard oak top, her nasal bones drive into her brain as her face slams down on the seat of a chair. She is dead before she hits the floor. If she were still alive, the girl would surely see the shadow darkening the worn carpet beside her.