A J Thompson | Andrew Thompson, Rockhampton Australia

Shadows Have No Names, a short story by Andrew Thompson

Shadows Have No Names is an excerpt from my novel, "Creatures of the Faith".

©2012 Andrew Thompson

THE final moments of sleep began to drift away as Cheron opened his eyes to greet the new morning. He glanced out the window to see the dawn but the sky was still utterly black.

His mind began to clear and he realised that something had woken him. A faint glow tormented the corner of his eye, and he rolled cautiously on the pillow to see it.

His breath suddenly caught - a girl sat in his armchair, staring at him. Her face was without flaw and only the hint of a smile tainted its perfection. Her hair was as dark as the night outside, and her bare skin the peach of a late-noon sunset. Nude, save for the green silk cape tied at her throat, she crossed the room and sat on the edge of his bed.

Cheron tried to speak but found that his voice was mute. The girl opened her mouth to whisper, revealing perfect white teeth and breath that was scented with sweet mountain spice.

"I am a messenger. The Old One begs your attendance."

She placed a carbonite message cylinder beside Cheron's thigh then lowered her mouth to his. Her soft lips moved away too quickly, and Cheron swallowed hard to find his voice.

"Tell me your name - I beg you."

She smiled again then brushed his cheek.

"Shadows have no names."

Cheron watched her retreat through eyelids that grew heavier with each passing second, until finally the blanket of sleep enveloped him again.

Countless hours seemed to pass before he opened his eyes to once again fend off the final moments of sleep. Daybreak shone through the window now, filling his apartments with glowing dawn pastels. He smiled in blissful surrender to the magical dream that was yet to fade from his mind, and he drew the morning air into his lungs. The lingering scent of sweet mountain spice suddenly filled his senses.

He lay dead still, remembering, revisiting every detail of the night's events. With each apprehensive heartbeat, his memories of the dream continued to fade until finally they were gone, leaving nothing in their place but a sense of loss.

He lifted his head from the pillow and looked around the room, his sense of unease changing to confusion. For some reason he had expected to see someone in his armchair, but his instincts were apparently wrong. He was alone after all, the cylinder against his thigh, the only memory of the night just lived.

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