I couldn’t sleep that night after having caught a member of the society practice his secret arts. There had been rumors about it, talks that sounded like bed time stories but actually seeing it was a completely different thing. I was in my bedroom, my eyes closed and yet the questions kept coming back, no matter how hard I tried to fall asleep. Did I really witness magic? Was he a member of that society or just some wizard passing through our town? And if he was a member, what if he or some other member saw me take that picture?
The cry of a cat under my window made me sit upright in my bed, my heart racing, cold sweat drenching my cloths. It was answered by another call, that sounded like a crying baby and I listened to the sounds coming closer, my eyes wide open, trying to pierce through the darkness of the room as I expected the shape of a black cat to appear in my window and brake through the glass. Another cat joined the concert and then a fourth and a fifth until the night was filled with the sounds. I had moved back in my bed until my back was pressing against the cold wall and I was about to scream for mercy when the hellish concert stopped and there was only silence and my frantic heartbeat filling my ears like jungle drums.
Dawn found me with my back still pressed against the wall and I only dared to relax when the first morning light assured my feverish mind that were no cats at my window that tried silently to get into my room and ensure the societies secrets remain untold. I eventually found some sleep and when I saw my pale face in the bathroom mirror I tried to convince myself it had only been a nightmare, fueled by my all too vivid imagination.
The next night was quiet and so was night after it and after a few days I had successfully convinced myself that I had only witnessed some optical illusion and the terrifying sounds the night after were a pure coincidental concert of cats in heat. But still my sleep was light and I kept finding myself waking up before dawn with a strange yearning to go back to that place. For days I resisted but then I convinced myself that in order to find my usual deep sound sleep, I should go and face my fears and so I left my home on a sunny morning in June just after the sun started to bath the city in warm golden light and walked the empty streets. I crossed the river Limmat and went up the small streets to the small place, not sure what I wanted to see once I arrived there.
At first it seemed to be almost empty, just a few people sitting at the far end of the gravel covered place, watching the sun rise over the city. I stood close to a large tree, listening to my shallow breathing and my nervous heartbeat as I tried to convince myself that everything was normal. My eyes scanned the environment. The people at the far end seemed to be ordinary tourists, just sitting there and not doing anything special. The low sun was casting deep black shadows on the gravel covered ground and my eyes followed a black line on the ground connecting the tree i was standing behind with another one further away like the black shadow of a rope tied to the two trees.
Only that there was no rope tied to the trees.
I tried to understand what I saw when the black line suddenly trembled as if a weight was added to the end tied to the tree close to me. I watched the shadow of a man appear, balancing on the shadow rope taking a slow step. I almost cried out when the young man appeared behind the tree, walking on thin air, his arms stretched out to keep his balance, just like his shadow, as it took step after step. I watched him take step after step as I lifted the camera without thinking and I pressed the shutter.
A sound as loud as thunder.
He stopped and turned in one elegant, swift motion. Our eyes met as he stood there, a few feet above the ground, effortlessly held in mid air by his shadow balancing the shadow rope. His eyes were black, no white surrounding his black pupils as they pierced into my core, rendering me immobile like a snake hypnotizing a rabbit.
I turned and ran. I didn’t scream as I turned. I don’t know why I didn’t, as I felt like screaming, just to make at least one of us use his voice as he didn’t use his to talk to me. I ran away, stumbled franticly along the small alleys down to the crowded Bahnhofstrasse, his soft laughter in my mind as I bumped into strangers until I couldn’t run anymore. I stared at the blue glass walls of the Prime Tower, realizing I had been running for miles. His laughter had grown weaker, the further I got away from him until it was barely there anymore, but there was still his last thought he shared with me.
We know who you are.