“I should just go.” Ciar stared toward the hallway.
“Because I don’t want you dragged away from me? That’s why not. Haven’t we been over this, like, a thousand times?” Lon hovered near his friend, managing to loom even darker than their surroundings.
“Well, yeah. But I don’t get it. The hallway is the same right now as it is in pitch darkness. Why shouldn’t I go?”
Lon growled, his black eyes hard as glass pebbles. “You should not go because when you step into the light, I will lose my best friend. Imagine the guilt. Imagine my shame. Imagine…” He cut off as Ciar drifted closer to the light.
“I just… I want to know what it’s like.”
“Dude. You’re crazy. Seriously. I think you need help.”
“I don’t need help. I just need something different.” He edged even closer to where the beam cut through the darkness. “I want adventure. Something other than just the endless darkness.”
Lon stretched himself thin, allowing a tendril of grey mist to merge with his friend. “Don’t go,” he said. “I need you. You’re all I got.”
“Come with me. Come to the light with me.” His voice sounded excited for the first time in a long time. “We can go together. Think of it – the two of us. Out there.”
Ciar brightened which made his friend shudder and pull back. “Oh, come on. You used to dream with me. Now you’re just like everyone else. Afraid of the light.”
“Wisdom looks like fear to idiots, man. It’s one thing to wonder. It’s one thing to dream.” He drifted deeper into the shadow behind him. “But I remember what happened to Isra.” There was sadness in his voice. “She’s still out there.”
“Don’t go there.” Ciar sounded angry, but he moved closer to the shadow with Lon. “I am not Isra.”
“Of course you aren’t. She didn’t know the danger. You do. You’re much stupider than Isra.”
“I hope you get washed out.” There was genuine anger in his voice. “She was supposed to shadow me. ME! And she just… left.” He turned back towards the hallway.
“Without her what’s the point of staying?”
“Putting yourself out there won’t change anything,” Lon said, his voice soft and full of regret. “Until her carrier gets out of the light, she’s trapped. And even then, she has to want to come back.”
Ciar pressed himself to the far wall, spilling down onto the shag carpet below. He couldn’t escape Lon’s words. “She’s not free. Hasn’t been for a long time. And if you go out there, you won’t be free either.”
“I’m not free now,” Ciar said. “I miss her too much.”
“No. You don’t.” Ciar sighed. “Nobody knows. Nobody understands.”
Lon flinched at the desperation in Ciar’s tone. “Hey… come with me. We’ll talk about it. Maybe I’ll come with you tomorrow.”
“No. I think… I think I’m going now.”
Lon stood helpless as the other shadowman moved into the bright hallway and instantly attached to a man walking past. The man’s shadow deepened and Lon watched his friend carried out of sight.
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