It wasn't a shadow that fell on the world. No, it wasn't a shadow, but that's what she called it anyway, because it swallowed anything bright or glittery or capable of bringing any sort of serotonin to the world. It acted like a shadow, a dark hungry shadow that wouldn't stop devouring until everything was changed - until everything was shadows, too. Like she was. The shadow ate more and more every day, and all she could do was bury herself in her blankets and hope it didn't swallow her like it swallowed her friends, her fantasies, her freedom. And as a shadow herself, she didn't have any power besides her watchful eyes and her own will to survive. But what is there to live for in a world where one can't even step out of their house without the fear that the shadow will take them, too? What is there to live for in a world where the shadow is the king? As time went on, as social bonds grew weaker and people grew tired, the shadow installed something in her, deep inside of her. It buried itself into her chest, sending shockwaves of numbness to every inch of her body until she could only sit, motionless, emotionless, her own shadow of a being fading into a reflection of what she was on the inside - broken. And with no friends to console her, no place to run to, she began to sink into herself. But she wanted to. She wanted to sink, if that meant this dark, shadowy world would sink, too, at least from her perspective. So she closed her eyes, and she gave in. She was a shadow now, too. Completely. The sickness spreading around the world had poisoned her with a different kind of sickness, something deep and complicated and yet not physical at all. No, it was all in her head, and it was driving her crazy. Because it wasn't the shadow or the sickness or even the looming idea of death that scared her. It was being alone. And that's what she was, that's what they all were. Alone. But for how long?

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