His shadow had a different voice beneath the moon. It was cold, like the light that cast it.
“What is it you want?” his shadow asked.
“I want to know what to do,” the boy said.
“In what sense?”
“I feel a pull, but I don’t know which direction to turn.”
“Have you tried listening?”
“Listening to what?
“To the pull,” his shadow said.
The boy kept silent. He listened for a sound beneath the tugging in his chest. Crickets chirped, waves fell. He strained and heard the movement of the earth, felt its rotation through the void. But there was no sound beneath the force inside, the pulling had no voice.
“Nothing,” the boy sighed.
“Not all desires speak,” said his shadow.
“What am I to do?”
“What you must. Choose a direction, make a path.”
“What if it’s the wrong one?”
“If it’s wrong, turn around and you’ll know the right direction at last. "
“How long will it take?”
“As long as it must. But it will take forever if you never choose,” his shadow said.
The boy stood. He closed his eyes and turned in a slow circle. He felt the pull, waited for it to lead him, but it remained constant in each direction.
The boy stopped. He opened his eyes. His shadow stretched out before him, pale beneath the moonlight. At its head, a narrow path opened into a forest. The trees were thick; deeper night clung to their trunks.
“In there?” asked his shadow.
“It’s a direction,” the boy said.
“It will be difficult.”
“The road behind you is easier.”
“I know,” said the boy. “But if I take the easy road, and it doesn’t lead to my goal, I may not have strength enough for the difficult path.”
“Do you have the strength now?”
“We shall see,” said the boy.
He took a step. His shadow rose to meet him. Together they stepped out of the night and into the waiting darkness.