No Self Felt Hurt by the Shadow Acts
Matthew Salesses

On our Island of Epidemics we suffered an epidemic of dissociation. We saw ourselves walking in front of ourselves like shadows on westward morning walks, acting out our actions in shadows, trodding on shadows that didn't affect ourselves. Ourselves removed, we did everything we would have normally stopped ourselves from doing. We fought fights started during the epidemic of hypocrisy or earlier, we made love to non-spouses and non-boyfriends and -girlfriends, we destroyed what we secretly wanted destroyed—it was glorious! And no self felt hurt by the shadow acts! Until the man was revealed who was becoming immune to the epidemics and couldn't see his shadow.

He didn't understand how free we'd felt to be ill—when we were all ill and all understood. "You ruined everything," we told him as he looked at us with pity. We feared what else he was immune to. We feared his children's children, and Darwin, and the end of our island's communality.

"But I'm healthy," he kept saying, the bastard.

We ran him into the hills. He threatened immunity on us.

And we feared immunity coming down from the hills and forcing us to fight for our healths: the only shadows ourselves still cast.

Matthew Salesses edits Redivider. He has stories in or coming from American Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, Mid-American Review and others.

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