Megan was special. He could just tell.
He wasn’t sure how, but he saw something extra when he looked at her that he’d never seen in anyone else. He actually saw it, like it was shining out from her, like a halo. Maybe it was her soul.
No, of course that wasn’t it. That would be stupid.
But he secretly hoped it was.
Hello. Before I introduce myself, I have something strange to tell you.
You see, I have no shadow. It detached from me and did terrible things, and then faded away.
You don’t believe me, of course. Ridiculous, you say. Impossible!
You might proceed to explain to me the rules and logic of light, how its beams and waves and packets work, and tell me of umbras, penumbras, antumbras. Shadow is a lack of a thing, you explain, not a thing. A void, a nothing, its edges grey and blurred.
But a thing is never whole without its no-thing.
I am a person just like you. My name is Thomas White, and I have no shadow.
When Sarah was eight years old, she drowned. It started when she dug a hole. Seawater rushed in, but it wasn’t the clear, calm pool she had wanted. It foamed in and tasted dirty and sandy, burning her chest and throat, filling her stomach like a stone.
Her memory blacked out, and there was only coughing, retching, shaking and aching. Her body was cold, and she felt herself filling it back up like it was something she’d forgotten, like water filling a hole. Then the sun was on her skin, and something was dripping onto her, and she felt like she was being born. When she opened her eyes, they ached with how bright it was and everything was blurred, but there was the unmistakable outline of her father looming over her, broad and haloed by the sun, dripping seawater onto her. She didn’t know that some of it was tears, because he had cried that day, harder than any other day of his life.
“I died,” she would tell people. “I died and my dad brought me back to life.”