Story Go Round 09/13/2009, #3

The Doctor Can See You Now

(post-titled by John)

A long dark shadow entered the room and coughed politely.

"Excuse me," it said softly, "I have an appointment for 10am."

The receptionist looked wearily up, peering from under her nurse's cap, and frowned. "Will you be in session with or without your host body?"

The shadow elongated silently until it reached her, and shadow hands reached up until they seemed to wrap around the nurse's neck and made little throttling motions until she sighed and said, "Sorry, my shadow-speak is rusty — is that a yes?"

It slumped and replied, "Listen, I've come for help with my bone chilling and heart stopping. I didn't come to make nice with the corporeal majority."

"Oh, of course, sir. Yes. You were ... quite scary." She laughed a staccato of five or six high-pitched laughlets. "I think I might have peed myself — just a little!" The shadow deflated, a sighing breath rattling through non-existent lungs until it ruffled her hair just a little.

She handed it a clipboard. "Fill these out, both sides, please."

The shadow darkened a chair and began going over the paperwork. But half of them impinged on what it thought of as trade secrets. Besides the pen she gave it was running low on ink. That's how it had died. When would people ever learn!

It dropped the clipboard and it fell to the floor, while the receptionist prattled on about nuclear physics to someone on the phone.

A mousy woman waiting nearby asked a question with a concerned look, but her voice was too soft for it to make out. It shouted "What?" with great annoyance, but she only heard the whisper of the wind. She repeated, "Perhaps the problem is that most people are only afraid of their own shadow."

She had her feet pulled up from the floor, arms wrapped around her knees, head ducked down unto her arms.

The shadow next to her edged ever closer, creeping up from the floor, now up to a leg of her chair. The mousy woman jumped up, now standing on her chair. The shadow edged further upwards, menacing her with each increment. In desperation she got out her keychain and pressed the button that made the little LED light up.

She thrust it at the shadow. The shadow waved like it was a trick of the light. The red light disappeared into its inky depths.

It laughed, but no one heard.

The shadow moved slowly up to her left foot, and onto her steel toed boot causing the mousy woman to scream. At that moment, something perplexing happened — or rather, began to happen. The shadow did not notice at first, being intent on her boot. But, for some reason it couldn't place, it began ... to feel. So long had sensations been nothing but sensationalized memories from its pre-death life that it felt like feelings were merely neurons firing from sensory perception and had no more meaning for it. But it had been dead wrong. And that was the worst kind of wrong.

"The doctor can see you now," said the receptionist.