It bounced with the beat of my heart. Every time I moved, it moved. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes, but the shadow wouldn’t disappear. How could I get past it? Behind me, my self-inflicted prison yawned like an abyss. If I plunged back into the depths, my descent would take me straight back to the pits of hell. Before me, the thing refused me the right of passage. It morphed into grotesque shapes and shifted from left to right. The sweat rolled down my backbone. I clenched and unclenched my hands willing my stubborn digits to cooperate. Grasp the light, my tortured mind demanded. Grasp the light and conquer the fear. My fingers wrapped around the base of an oil lamp. Its blue-black flame flickered, teasing the dark. Now or never, my mind screamed. Take action. Defeat the fear. Rushing the remaining few steps, I faced the shadow and challenged it on its own turf. The ethereal form coalesced into a human shape. As I tossed the lamp at my biggest fear, the fire engulfed the negative image of my soul. My mind cleared, and I stepped into the light.
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