Andrew Carnegie spent his cancer-riddled final years trying to give away all his money, but most of the rich bastards he knew weren’t that way. Maybe it was because that they could never be as rich as Carnegie, never be rich enough. Whatever the reason, they decided they wanted to try to take it with them.
The library’s microfiche newspapers had society columns where they would mention Mrs. So-and-so and her famous jewels. You look for a mention where one of these old biddies says she wants to buried with it. There might be a photograph.
The rest is easy.
“I have something to show you.”
“Will I like it?”
“I hope so. I like it.”
“I want to tell you about it first. Just a little. Not a long explanation.”
“I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but sometimes you find something that just makes you feel better. Feel…whole, you know?”
“I think I know. A little.”
“My old man, for instance. He says he only feels like himself when he’s on the golf course. For my grandma, it’s when she’s baking. Something about kneading dough gives her solace.”
“Promise not to laugh.”
I watch her through the window, smiling at people like nothing happened.
Like the love between us never existed. Like I’d never even existed.
And it was love.
It’s hard to look at her, even from far away. That smile she gives when she hands people back their change, like she’s giving them a special gift.
She smiled that way at me when I came in. Those white teeth and blue eyes, blue as the sky.
Made me feel like something.
Now she acts like she doesn’t know me, like she never cared.
Oh, she’ll care all right.
When the shadows first appeared, the press thought it was Banksy or some other street artist having his way with the city.
How clever, people said.
Shadows of people, of objects, of animals. You saw them on buildings and sidewalks, more and more of them as the days passed.
All the while, people and things were going missing. Man goes out for coffee and never returns.
The postal box on the corner is gone, but its shadow is still there.
Just another of those pranks, they said.
Then somebody noticed the painted shadows weren’t painted at all. They were real.