Shadows by Emma Finlayson-Palmer
Senka sat with her back pressed firmly against a wall, legs crossed and lost in thought. She daren’t move too much in the sunny afternoon for fear of someone noticing her peculiarity. She preferred being out by the dim light of the crescent moon where no-one would notice she was any different to the other teenagers.
Her family had moved from city to city, and on more than one occasion made a plane journey to a new country. They could never stay too long in one place, or at least so far they’d weighed up the odds and decided to move on before their cover had been blown. Senka was fed up and lonely, and longed to stay somewhere long enough to make friends, although she knew her parents would never allow this.
‘It’s for your own good!’ They would say. ‘You know it’s far too dangerous for people like us.’
Senka watched as the long shadows slowly gave way to the cover of darkness, and realised she had sat for hours on the cold, stone path. She rubbed her legs as pins and needles pulsated like a shower of arrows, and tingled with icy pain. When she could walk steadily once more she set off for home.
Outside the house she looked up at its large, dark windows, like glassy unblinking eyes gazing back at her. Her parents very rarely used any of the rooms at the front of the house, another tactic in keeping a low profile. Senka needed answers, she knew they were different but whenever she started asking questions they told her she was ‘too young to understand’ and that they’d tell her ‘when the time was right’.
Her hand brushed across her pocket and she felt the crinkle of paper stuffed inside, and this renewed her determination. The letter had arrived that morning, and already she had read it so many times that she could recite it word for word.
Holding her key a little too tightly, Senka strode purposefully up the front steps and let herself in. She listened for the sounds of her parents, feeling drawn towards them as if she were magnetised she was quickly up the stairs and standing before them.
“Senka! We’ve been worried sick! Where have you been all day?” asked her Mum as she tossed aside a half packed suitcase.
“You’re packing? We’ve barely unpacked from the last move.” Senka’s voice raised several octaves higher than normal as she struggled to keep her composure.
Her father sighed, “I’m sorry sweetheart, it’s time, we really must move on. We’ve stayed here too long as it is.”
“No!” Senka threw down the crumpled envelope in front of her parents. I know now why we don’t let people see our shadows. I know it’s the only way humans can see our true form, and I’m not leaving this time.”