Looking in the Mirror
Later, you asked me about the shadows. We were lying side by side on the grass in your backyard, sipping iced tea and staring up at the night sky. Your question startled me so much I spilled my iced tea all over my front. Then you told me about how you first saw the shadows the day Mang Ago died. How one moment you were staring at the bloodstains on the sidewalk, full of fear at the thought of what could have happened to your family. The next, it was as if somebody had plucked out your eyeballs and replaced them with bionic ones that made everything look all different and dark. Since then, you'd been seeing them at the edge of your vision, sneaky sons of bitches that grew bigger whenever something bad happened. Earlier that day, you'd woken up from an uncomfortable nap, feeling as if something cold and bitter was trying to slide down your throat. And the next thing you knew, you were running toward my house, terrified that something bad was happening, but not really sure what it was.
You turned to look at me then. Just what the fuck were those things, anyway?
And again, I couldn't answer. I was staring into your eyes, stunned by the change in them. They weren't clear anymore, but clouded with confusion and dread. I could see the memories of what you'd seen, and the awful realization that deep down, you know what the shadows are. And instead of fear, I felt a sense of familiarity in your clouded eyes. I saw the same thing in my mirror day after day, after all.
I understood then what the shadows were. But I didn't tell you. Stupid, selfish coward. I should have told you then, I should have tried to ease your confusion and fear in any way I could. But I didn't. My regret will be my punishment.