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The Starving Shadow

Short Story

By Abdul QayyumPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
The Starving Shadow

The Starving Shadow

An ancient oak tree with gnarled limbs that resembled a beggar's fingers stood in the center of a forgotten forest. A shadow, restless and hungry, waited beneath its vast canopy.

A curse that confined the ghost of a vengeful sorcerer to the dark was whispered to have befallen the land. Because it fed on the souls of the lost who ventured to go too close, they dubbed it the Starving Shadow.

A wanderer by the name of Elyas came onto the woodland one beautiful night while looking for safety from a violent storm. He continued despite the residents' cautions, his lamp providing a little light against the approaching darkness.

The smell of rot and damp earth filled the air as Elyas continued his journey through the woods. He was chilled to the bone by strange voices that reverberated through the trees. But he pushed forward out of curiosity and desperation.

Abruptly, the woodland went silent, and Elyas was confronted by the ancient oak. Its contorted shape loomed over us, a shadow that appeared to pulse with a dark force.

When Elyas recognized the full nature of the darkness surrounding him, a chill went down his spine. But before he could get away, the Starving Shadow—its eyes flaming with hunger—came out of the tree's depths.

Elyas let out a shriek of fear and turned to flee, only to have the creeping vines slither around his feet, blocking his route. He grabbed for his lantern in a panic, thinking its flickering light would help him ward off the darkness.

However, as the light broke through the darkness, Elyas beheld the real face of the Starving Shadow—a contorted expression of suffering and anguish, imprisoned for all eternity in a prison of its own creation.

Elyas experienced a wave of empathy for the being that had been haunting the forest for a long time at that epiphany. Reaching out to grasp its shape with shaky hands, he offered consolation instead of terror.

He was shocked to find the Starving Shadow flinching away from him, its ghostly shape receding back into the oak's depths. And the curse was lifted, and the forest was at peace again, as the first rays of morning peaked through the trees.

The Starving Shadow mythology persisted after that day as a warning against the perils of unbridled vengeance and the ability of compassion to mend even the most severe wounds.

A peaceful haven emerged from the once-forbidding forest as Elyas watched in wonder as the first rays of dawn peaked through the branches. The great oak was no longer covered in shadows and stood proudly, its branches gently waving in the early wind.

Elyas, full of gratitude, said a silent prayer for the spiteful sorcerer's spirit, which was now freed from its agony. He was aware that the events of that fateful night would alter the forest forever, leaving it never the same.

Elyas told his story to the villagers when he returned, and they listened to him in shock and bewilderment. While some thought it was just fiction, others took it as evidence of the natural world's secrets.

However, Elyas instinctively knew that compassion had won out over evil and that understanding's light could drive out even the most terrifying of shadows.

The forest thrived in the ensuing years, with its species living in peace and its trees blossoming with new life. Furthermore, the Starving Shadow served as a reminder of both the frailty of existence and the resiliency of the human spirit, even though its memory lingered like a ghost in the minds of those who had witnessed its passing.

Carrying the lessons he had discovered in the forest, Elyas resumed his journey, realizing that true courage is not about being fearless but about being willing to face fear head-on. And he told everyone he met the story of the Starving Shadow, inspiring and giving hope to everyone he met.

During his journey, Elyas came across numerous other marvels and difficulties. He traveled over enormous deserts, up steep mountains, and across turbulent waters. Nevertheless, the image of the Starving Shadow was ingrained in his consciousness no matter where he went.

Elyas encountered individuals from various walks of life during his travels, including farmers working the land, academics pursuing knowledge, and fighters for justice. Everybody has a unique story to share, complete with hardships and victories.

However, Elyas's travels were led by the teachings he had acquired in the forest. Knowing that underlying all of their differences lurked the same spark of humanity that had bound him and the Starving Shadow together, he showed love and respect to every stranger.

And while he went, Elyas told everyone he met about his meeting with the great oak, sharing its wisdom of compassion and understanding. By doing this, he transcended the role of a vagabond and became a ray of hope in a world all too frequently wrapped in darkness.

As the years went by, Elyas got older, his once-strong limbs growing weaker. But his energy never wavered, propelled by his youthful memories and the awareness that he had changed the world.

When the moment came, Elyas confronted death with the same bravery and composure that had led him all his life. Knowing that he had survived, he experienced a wave of serenity as he closed his eyes for the final time.

Thus, the story of the Starving Shadow persisted, being handed down through the ages as a tribute to the strength of empathy and the eternal significance of one man's quest. Even after Elyas passed away, his memory lived on in the hearts of everyone who had been impacted by his tale, serving as a constant reminder that even the tiniest actions can have a profound impact on the world.


About the Creator

Abdul Qayyum

I am retired professor of English Language. I am fond of writing articles and short stories . I also wrote books on amazon kdp. My first Language is Urdu and I tried my best to teach my students english language ,

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (1)

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  • Renee Watley2 months ago

    How creative! Love it! I’m a sucker for anything that resembles an “origin of a legend” tale. 👏🏻👏🏻

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