The Autobiography of A Shadow

A family lives together on a lush garden island. They eat dates and pomegranates and sweet potato french fries and drink much wine. They write music during the day and sing and dance around the fire every evening. Across the sea exists only a barren wilderness populated with men who have resorted to a diet of other men and also of women but only after they have produced for them other men. There is no music in the desert.

Tribes form, however, but only to go to war with other men to feed themselves and to resource their building of towers, which, upon completion each tribesman struggles to climb to the top and until no one else is left to fight.

As it happened, after many years of war all but one tribe remained. Realizing their threat of extinction they built a ship and sailed across the sea in search for meat.

One evening on the garden island as the children were playing a violin concerto for their parents, their harmony was interrupted by the harsh ring of hammers on the edges of steel and bellowing grunts and the creaking of tired wood. The ship was approaching. The family knew what it was and what populated it. It was another kind of creature. They were not human, not for any immediately apparent reason but because they did not believe in family and they did not believe in music. They also only knew how to speak in the first and third person.

But the family was compassionate and impossibly generous. So they made a great fire and stretched out their arms and waved happy silhouettes of welcome in front of the fire and laughed as they sang their special family song. When the ship arrived the men crawled out and walked toward the warm light looking down and shifting their eyes. It was their first experience of fear, but it didn’t feel like fear; it felt like shyness. They felt like folding their arms but then felt ashamed for folding their arms. The openness of the island was overwhelming.

The family ran to them covering them with blankets and throwing their arms around them to welcome them into their home. They set the table and filled it with the bounty of the garden and gave them gifts of stringed instruments and lyrics to all the songs they had ever written.

Within weeks all the men had been transformed by the joy of the family. Soon they were joining in song and dance and running around the beach with one another with arms spread wide open like a bird finding rest on the wind. 

All but one. There was one who was incapable of trusting the family and especially his former tribe. He couldn’t get over the fact that they had watched him eat. And as for the family, it wasn’t that he knew something about them that he feared so much as it was that they might discover something about him that they would fear. He felt like a stain on a wedding dress and at first it made him sad but soon made him bitter.

One night when the moon was a high hanging globe he set out to each room in the house. He quietly murdered all the men of his tribe with a cold metal knife and at last the entire family. He had thus triumphed over all the earth. 

He ate sumptuously the entire next day and sat on the beach the following night waiting for the moon to accompany him. But it was cloudy. 

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