What if you slept?
And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven
and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then ?
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge
They were with me already when my mother cradled me as a newborn. They were there when I learned to stand and walk and started exploring the world on my own. They were there when people looked at me and I could see surprise and fear in their eyes.
“Do not mind, my lovely,” mother whispered to me when I understood I was different from others.”Yours is a gift that has to stay in the shadows.”
And so I stayed there, at the edge of the shadow world, the one they called Shuet, the Shadow. I hid from the sunlight and night became my friend. And I learned to talk with the shades and the stars and the whispers of the night and they taught me their deep secrets.