The Girl in the Shadows

The Girl in the Shadows

I have finally completed my short story! Lucas had given me the inspiration; he was trying to motivate me to write something, and took a video of me reading my intro to a story I will be writing that I finally had down-it’d taken me years to figure out that opening! So from this video, he gave me the weekend to finish a 10-page story at the minimum. This is 10 pages of me writing, so typing it it’s only four. I hope you enjoy it, comment and let me know what you think! 🙂

The Monday sky opened like any other before it. The birds indolently flapping their wings and singing their songs into the fresh breeze. Flipping through the trending YouTube videos of the night previous, when sleep had come calling, Mandy’s cursor hovered, then clicked, on the popular now video.

There was a face, barely illuminated by whatever light was in the room where she sat. The video was just over two minutes, and the girl, Mandy presumed it was a girl, was just sitting there, mouth moving, with no noise coming through the speakers. What was she saying? Why did a smile play on her lips, defying gravity at the corners of her mouth? Who was filming the video? And what was she reading!?

The Monday morning started off the same as Mandy’s for many people. Wondering at this short video, whose only explanation was the title: The Girl in the Shadows. Who was she? Where was she? And really, the only question worth asking, what was she saying, or what was she reading?

It was the topic of the day, the mysterious girl in the shadows. Everyone speculated on what the actual message to be received could be.

Mandy had ulterior motives for her nosiness. She’d just gotten a job at her local paper, which was also available online-what wasn’t these days? She wanted to get as much information as possible, as quickly as possible, so she could have the ‘scoop’ before anyone else at The Paper.

Meanwhile, the Monday morning began for the mysterious Shadow Girl the same as everyone else, except significantly different. Hers was groggier, as she wasn’t used to waking up so early. In an age where the internet was what most people went to as a side for their morning coffee, the Shadow Girl decided to look at the early morning as a gift, and sat outside to watch the world around her slothfully awaken. At the start of this particular day, she was blissfully unaware of the sensation her less than few minute video was causing.

The Monday panned out as one might guess it would. People went to work, school, whatever was on their daily agenda. In between breaks, however, the Shadow Girl dripped off everyone’s tongue. The video had cemented itself into the minds of all who’d watched, heard of it from others, and re-watched. Thoughts and ideas spewed from everyone, although no one knew which theory was correct, if any.

Mandy did her normal work for the day, but her ear was listening solely to the conversations and contemplations of those around her in relation to the ‘Girl in the Shadows’. She really didn’t have anything remarkable to add. Everyone’s musings were reverberations of her own thoughts. She decided to leave a comment on the video, and could only come up with: “What drove you to make this video? I’d love to know the “why”? Please contact me at:…”

Meanwhile, the Shadow Girl went about her day as usual, granted the only difference being the time of day she was awake. Doctor’s appointment-hence the early waking- work, then back home to relax. Even then she didn’t get on the internet. Isn’t there more to life than a screen?

Mandy kept waiting for a reply. She was obsessive in checking her inbox to see if the sender of an email was unknown to her contact list. What would the email address be? “ShadowGirl3000”? The anticipation was suffocating. After work she decided to go to her favorite local coffee shop and get a latte. Perhaps another patron there would shed new light on the Shadow Girl, and Mandy could eavesdrop in.

Unbeknownst to anyone, anywhere, the Shadow Girl also decided to get a latte. At the exact same coffee shop.

Some would call it fate, but the Shadow Girl still didn’t know about the uproar her video had caused. She waited for her latte to be made, and then found a tiny table by the window. She loved the smell of the coffee shop, and sitting there watching the people walking by or other coffee-lovers inside. She did hear people mention a YouTube video, not really eavesdropping, you just hear everything in a coffee shop. She didn’t, however, realize they were talking about her.

Mandy noticed the Shadow Girl walk in, but didn’t realize who she was, obviously. Mandy had a knack for seeing people on any given day; this day that sixth sense was kicked into overdrive. She sat at her table in the center of the coffee shop – it was the best place to hear – and listened and people watched. No one said anything new, but there wasn’t much information to go on, so this didn’t surprise Mandy. She noticed there were a few customers who seemed oblivious to the static of the “Shadow Girl Sensation” as she’d been calling it. There was an older couple, Mandy figured they didn’t religiously check YouTube, and a college-age boy who seemed to be immersed in studying. “Good for him to work so diligently,” Mandy thought. But then there was the girl at the front window, seeming to be lost in her own world. Mandy didn’t normally walk up to strangers, but she’d better get used to it working at The Paper, right? So she grabbed what was left of her latte, and headed toward the Shadow Girl.

“Hi, my name’s Mandy. I was wondering if you’d like some company? I work for The Paper, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

“Oh, uhh, sure. Yes, please sit down,” the Shadow Girl said, gesturing to the empty seat across from her.

“Thanks!” Mandy settled herself into the seat while taking note of the girl. She was pretty, probably around Mandy’s age, with dark brown hair and green eyes. “I won’t keep you long, I was wondering if you’d seen “The Girl in the Shadows” YouTube video yet? It’s all anyone can talk about today, and I was wanting to be the first to write an article on it!”

The girl seemed lost for a moment, then replied with, “No, I don’t think I’ve seen it. I’m sorry I can’t be of any help.”

“Oh well here! Let me pull it up for you. It’s only two minutes long.” Mandy grabbed her phone and went to the web address where the video of the girl who sat across from her was located.

“All right then,” said the Shadow Girl, slightly perplexed at the forwardness of this reporter. Then again, she is a reporter. Mandy swung her chair around so they could both watch, and pressed play.

The Shadow Girl was amazed at how many views the video had gotten! Who were all these people who’d commented? Why in the world was it so popular?? She was baffled by the amount of responses from such a tiny clip. When it was over, Mandy looked at her expectantly. “Well, what did you think?”

“Wow. Why do people like it so much?” The Shadow Girl couldn’t help asking, plus she didn’t really know what to say.

“Because it’s wonderful! There’s so much mystery in the video; having no audio makes it all the more intriguing, don’t you think? Nobody knows why it was put up, or who did it. It’s the only video on that person’s page. Everyone wants to know why she made it, and more importantly, what it is she’s reading. It does look like she’s reading form something, doesn’t it?”

The Shadow Girl still didn’t know what to think of the whole situation, but she had to admit she liked her video being called ‘wonderful’. “Yes, I think she’s definitely reading from something. Perhaps it’s something she wrote?”

“Ooh, now there’s an idea! I wonder what it says. I made a comment on it, but so far I haven’t gotten a reply. I can’t believe you hadn’t seen it until now! I’m glad I came over to talk to you.” Mandy gave her a big grin and the Shadow Girl smiled back. Something about her dimples connected in Mandy’s mind, but she couldn’t place it fast enough, and dismissed the thought.

“Oh, me too. Thanks for showing it to me. I hate to run on you, but I have a few errands I need to take care of.”

“Of course! Thanks for talking with me. Here’s my card, in case you hear anything new or think of something else. Get a hold of me anytime!” Mandy said while handing her a business card.

“I will, it was nice meeting you,” the Shadow Girl replied along with a handshake. And then she was gone, and Mandy realized she hadn’t even gotten the girl’s name.

Mandy finished the last sip of her latte, and left the coffee shop hoping to glimpse the girl so she could call out for her name. Of course the girl was gone, and Mandy decided to go home and see if there were any new comments on the mysterious video.

The Shadow Girl quickly left the coffee shop and headed home. She thoughtfully sipped her latte as she drove, amused at how many people had viewed her video. What were their interpretations of it? Why did they want to know about it so badly? When she arrived home, she powered up her laptop for the first time that day. Reading through the comments, she began to see everyone was mostly wanting to know what she’d been reading. That, and why she seemed so happy doing it, plus the point of posting the video. They were all good questions, and she pondered them while sitting on her porch watching the sun fade from the day.

Mandy swiped through the comments on the video and periodically checked her email. She was still excited about the video and finding out the meaning, but was beginning to doubt she’d get the answers today. She pulled up a new Word document and began to start her Shadow Girl article. It wouldn’t be completed, but it had to start somewhere!

Meanwhile, the Shadow Girl had made herself dinner and was deciding what to do about her video while she ate. She knew what she wanted to do, but was afraid if she voiced her reasons, people would think them ‘lame’, or worse, be disappointed. In the end, she did the only thing she knew was right. Taking out the business card Mandy had given her, she opened her email and began to type.

Subject: Your Questions Answered

Hello, Mandy! I really enjoyed our talk at the coffee shop today. I’m really sorry for not telling you who I was then, I just had no idea my video had been watched so many times, and I didn’t know what to think of it all. I’ve spent the evening going over the main questions, and looking in my mind for the answers. I’m not sure if they’ll be what everyone wants to hear, but it is how I perceived everything. You can do whatever you’d like with this email, and use anything in it for your article. I wish you all the best in your endeavors with The Paper.

I’ve always loved videotaping things. It’s so much more fun to view a past experience with sound and motion than just a picture can portray. Don’t get me wrong-I love pictures too! I’ve just always loved videos slightly more.

On this particular night, I decided to videotape myself reading a poem I’d written a few years ago. There’s your answer to what I was reading. I always come back to this poem in one way or another. I really love the way I wrote it, and it makes me happy I did it so well. I suppose I look happy while reading it because I am. And I’m proud those words flowed out of me. It’s actually a malfunction of the recorder that the sound isn’t there. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t picking the audio up until I played it back. As to why I posted the video, it’s a simple answer and doesn’t even pertain to the video itself very much. One of my friends had suggested I post a video to YouTube a while back as a way to “break out of my shell”. I never had, but once I watched this one where you can hardly see me and can’t even hear my voice, I decided it was the perfect debut video. A little ‘too’ perfect in retrospect.

Again, I’m not sure if these are the answers you were looking for, they’re just the only answers I can give you. Perhaps the point is to challenge yourself to do something that makes you happy on a daily basis. Do something that will inspire others to do things that make them happy. I don’t know, life is full of surprises for us. If we aren’t careful, we’ll miss out on them.


The Girl in the Shadows

Mandy was just finishing getting ready for bed when her inbox beeped that a new email had been received. She shuffled over to her desk in her fuzzy pink slippers and robe. She sat down on the chair, and opened the email from “Anonymous”. Mandy read through the email twice, a giant smile spilling across her face. She’d actually met the Shadow Girl!! Sure she didn’t have her name still, but she knew exactly what she looked like, and had the answers to everyone’s questions! Excitedly, she started a whole new document for her article.

The Tuesday sky opened like any other before it. Dew waiting on the blades of grass to be evaporated by the sun’s rays; dogs barking off in the distance. The only difference this day held, was an article in The Paper titled “The Shadow Girl in All of Us” by Mandy. The Paper had loved the article, and had decided to let Mandy be a field reporter – which was exactly what Mandy had wanted to eventually accomplish. She never thought it would have happened so soon!

The previous night after finishing the article, Mandy had sent a copy to her editor and one back to the Shadow Girl, thanking her and letting her be the first to read it.

The Shadow Girl woke that same Tuesday to the email from Mandy, and smiled at how happy Mandy seemed to be. She decided to not read the comments on the article, and instead started her day with coffee, while watching the world around her awaken.

© August 2015

12 thoughts on “The Girl in the Shadows

  1. I love the contrast you create between the two girls. In the same time-span, two girls connected through a video and a short meeting – and then those blips of emails, heightening both the contrasts and the similarities in their lives. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’m so glad you read and enjoyed it. The story actually wrote itself; I didn’t quite know exactly where it was going to go but did want a warm finish so I’m glad it all worked out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree! Great story Lydia. I loved the way you described the mornings, both of them, and the visuals you provided – latte, the fuzzy pink slippers etc. My favorite part is the last paragraph in the Shadow Girl’s letter – very inspiring. ☺ The story left me with an overall good feeling. Thank you. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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