by Kate E. Lore
Jacob’s shadow stretches tall before him, the dark shape of himself pulled out like silly putty, like his past inescapable, and now thanks to the police light beaming directly against his back, his past is there, present in every step forward, darkening his future before it could begin.
Jacob’s shadow is small and round directly beneath his feet, and his forehead is sweating, from the heat of the high noon sun. It is as though he were trapped walking in the center of a bulls eye, and he could not escape it, he could not escape himself. Jacob is carrying his mother’s television set to his rust spotted van parked across the street. She works hard nine to five as an underpaid receptionist. She won’t be home for another five hours at least. The television will be pawned by then, and his veins will be filled, and he won’t hurt for it anymore. He will feel nothing, and nothing feels good.
Jacob’ shadow is behind him, it is a shorter, smaller, version of himself, like the boy he had been in the past. Like that fourteen boy year old boy who had coughed himself dizzy the first time he ever inhaled weed. Like that sixteen year old boy who drank himself away into a bottle. The sixteen year old boy who woke up the next day in an older boy’s house. He woke up on the floor. He woke up without his pants on. Not understanding, not wanting to know what happened, denying, lying, and crying alone in his bedroom that night after he got home, Jacob tries not think about it. He tried to think nothing. The older boy gave Jacob a hit of acid before he left. He said it was to celebrate, Jacob never ask over what.
Jacob’s shadow is sporadic and wild as the lighting effects of the dance club burst various colors from various directions. It is dizzying, everyone, everything is moving, nothing can stand still. Time is rolling, and Jacob is rolling, and his shadow does laps across the room. Vicky takes another hit of molly and Jacob has to stop her from taking her clothes off right then and there. Jacob offers to hold her purse as she goes to the bathroom. He uses his cell phone as a direct light source to look into her bag. Jacob has an itch for something stronger. He doesn’t want to feel anything. He doesn’t want to feel anything ever. Jacob pockets the money, he sends a text to his boy in the hood with the hook up he needs, and looks up just in time to see his shadow caught in the projected glow of the cell phone screen. There is a large black mass of Jacob hunched over on the ceiling looking down, larger than life, larger than himself, like his life out of control. That shadow on the ceiling is looking down, like a monster watching them all, waiting to catch its next victim.
Kate E. Lore is a queer, neurodivergent, she/they, born to a single widowed mother, youngest of four, second to graduate high school, first bachelor’s degree, first MFA in the family.
Kate E Lore is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction with many publications such as Longridge Review, Bending Genres, Door is a Jar, soon to include Black Warrior Review and Under the Gum Tree.
A jack-of-all-trades Kate splits their time between fiction and nonfiction, screenplays, flash prose, full-length novels, painting, and comics.
Kate strives to appreciate the small things in life but has been known to throw down hard at an EDM rave.
Kateelore.com, @kateelore (Twitter), kate.e.lore (Instagram), https://www.facebook.com/writerlore/ https://email@example.com?_t=8h1iuBvLcw2&_r=1