In a small village, there lived a young boy who was cursed to live with a monstrous shadow tied to his feet. 
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By Ely Estrada

In a small village, there lived a young boy who was cursed to live with a monstrous shadow tied to his feet.

He was warned that it would destroy what it touches, and that he should stay in darkness to prevent it from appearing.
From that moment, he stayed in a small hut to
avoid the light of day, fearing that the shadow would consume everything and everyone he
knew.
The shadow grew and grew, enveloping him in greater darkness, until he couldn’t
recognize himself apart from it. The days and months slowly blurred him into the darkness until
he felt like a shadow himself.
He kept on hoping for a cure. He kept on wishing that the curse would eventually be lifted, perhaps by magic or by chance. However, even hope left him as darkness slowly pulled him deeper, and deeper into it.
Hope eventually came back to visit him half-awake. Hours before sunrise, an
unexpected visitor came knocking on his door. A faint but desperate voice woke him up from sleep.
“Please, let me in,” she begged.
Reluctantly, he opened the door, surprised to see a girl dressed in ragged clothes.
Without warning, she barged in and hid in the darkest corner she could find. As she blended into the darkness, he saw his own fears reflected on how she desperately avoided light. He realized
that she was cursed too.
“You’re… like me,” he said in surprise and confusion.
“I guess I am,” she laughed halfheartedly.
After spending the whole day in his dark cabin, he learned more about her journey and their curse. Eventually, he learned about the cure, and that she was on her way to find it.
“It’s called the rainbow flower,” she said.
“Where is it?” he asked
“It’s in the Northern Mountain, and I’m going to find it.”
She paused, hesitating for a second. After that, he looked at him with earnest that he has never seen before.
“I want you to come with me,” she said.
The plan seemed impossible. They might not be able to find the flower while completely
avoiding the sun. However, she seemed to be threading on hope that’s on the edge of breaking.
He didn’t want to be the one to tear it apart. Besides, he started hoping for the cure once again.
He badly wanted to leave the hut.
She had hope. His had turned into desperation.
I want to find hope again too, he thought.
“We’re going to find it together,” he replied.
The two set off to the mountain after dusk. The boy was filled with amusement when he
saw what his village looked like. He saw a glimpse of homes, and trees, and flowers partially
covered in darkness. He saw stars once again.
“I wonder how it looks like in the morning,” he said.
They continued their journey until signs of dawn started to appear. Luckily, they found an
abandoned small cabin where they decided to stay until the sun sets once again.
Upon entering, they met a frail old man who had the same curse.
“Come with us,” the boy said after talking about their journey
“I’ve stayed here for too long. I already lost my feet to the shadows… I won’t be able to
help you,” the man replied.
Reluctantly, they had to leave the old man behind after dusk. He wished them luck and
gave them some food to eat before sending them off.
For days, they travelled at night and hid in huts, caves, whatever form of dark refuge
they can find. The shelters they found were often abandoned. However, there were moments
when they had to deal with ghouls and goblins for the whole night.
This continued until they reached the foot of the mountain, where there was no refuge
they can find. There were neither trees nor shade to hide in. They had no choice but to find the
rainbow flower before dusk.
They hurriedly climbed the mountain, in fear of their dangerous shadows. They scoured
through rocks and grass, looking for any sign of color. However, they were surrounded by black
and grey. There was no sign of a flower, or anything else.
The two continued to search eagerly for hours. They searched tirelessly, barely pausing
to catch their breath. Unfortunately, the flower was still nowhere in sight.
After a few more hours, small streaks of light started to appear. The sun was starting to
rise. Frantically, the girl started looking for places to hide but there was not a shade in sight.
It was all in vain, she thought with tears running down her eyes.
The boy remained calm. He took in a deep breath while staring at the quaint town below.
The sun started to reach the mountain’s peak.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” he said, without turning to look at the girl who’s been pacing back
and forth.
She suddenly stopped in her footsteps and looked at the streaks of sunlight for the first
time. It was starting to close in on them.
Accepting their fates, the two held hands and faced the sun together. The warm light
filled the land around them, turning the dull grass into green until finally touching their pale skin.
Their shadows started to grow and take form.
It continued to grow and grow, seemingly about to destroy everything it touches. Then, it
stopped.
To their surprise, it remained obediently tied to their feet. Its deformity remained
unmoving on a patch of grass.
The pair started to walk towards the peak, still shocked at the silent shadows glued to
their feet. They couldn’t get rid of it, but they were both glad that it didn’t consume everything
they knew. It always followed their tracks.
Looking down, they saw the whole village filled with light for the first time. The houses
were painted in colors they have never seen before, and even the pale cobblestone streets
seemed more vibrant now that they’ve seen it away from darkness. Further ahead, the sea
gleamed in a shade of blue, reflecting the even brighter color of the sky. It seemed like a
beautiful day.
Then, the whole village started coming to life. One by one, the village people started to
come out of their homes. They went on about their daily lives, merrily greeting one another. The
sight oddly fascinated the boy and the girl, until they saw a familiar figure following each of the
villagers from behind.
Everyone had shadows too.
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