After the dreadful night I had I thought it best to consult with a doctor, someone who could determine what was wrong with me. Perhaps it was all in my head, some sort of illusion that had confounded me but if it was an illusion or an hallucination it was a mighty good one. I got dressed and took the bus number 15 on the other side of town, the so-called nice part. Doctor Prentiss had been my family doctor for as long as I could remember. He was now well over 70 years old but was as spry as a newborn chick. One could not say the same thing of his secretary, Mrs. Jukecrop. She was in her early 50’s but looked like she was dead and had risen from the grave, keeping her decomposed body as is. A truly horrible being, with no compassion or sympathy for the patient.
“And how will you pay?” was always the first question she asked, never hello or what seems to be the problem. I naturally told her that I would pay cash as I usually did when I visited the doctor.
“Very well, take a seat, it won’t be long now.” She barely looked at me during the conversation. I sat down and waited. And waited. For one hour I waited until I told her that I wanted to see the doctor today, not tomorrow. She looked at me in a stern way, and if her eyes had been guns she would surely have killed me. Finally the door opened and the doctor ushered me in. He seemed more tired than the last time that I had seen him, but I still recognized the same gentle man as before.
“Alright Walter, what seems to be the problem. Your eyes are red, having trouble sleeping?
“No, not really. I just think that I am….. missing a part of me.”
“A part of you? How do you mean? said the doctor, quite interested in my story. It must not come up often that a patient declares that some part of him is missing. At that point I explained to him how one of my shadows had separated from me, how I had been followed home by it and how I had found it in my bed only to disappear again. He listened to my story, at times smiling at my description of the shadow.
“Have you taken any illicit drugs before, or maybe some medication that could have caused this occurrence?
“No, really nothing. I don’t even drink you know. I can’t explain it.” I said. He looked at me again carefully.
“Maybe what you need is not a doctor of the body, but one of the soul.” I looked at him with a blank expression on my face. He continued. “I mean that what you may need is to talk to a priest. You are Roman Catholic, and that is what I recommend to you.” With that, he wrote something on his pad, tore it off and gave it to me. It read as such: John Verdi, priest at Hollytown. I looked at him in disbelief. Surely he didn’t think that a priest could solve my problems! I looked again at the writing on the sheet.
“You mean to tell me that there is nothing physically wrong with me, that it’s all in my head? That can’t be. I saw that shadow leave me and then later on visit me. Didn’t you hear my story?” I was incensed.
“Look Walter, the mind can play tricks on us especially if we have something on our conscience. Go talk to that priest, or any other priest and he might solve your problems. It will cost you nothing and at worst, you might only feel slightly better and at best your problem might be solved. Try it.” he said in a kind way.
The doctor looked at me and then got up, extending his hand. I, without thinking, got up as well and shook his hand without saying a word. I went to the secretary and paid my bill, leaving in a huff as my problem had not been solved. As I was walking towards my bus stop I entered a shop and bought the newspaper there. A murder had been committed the night before and witnesses had seen some black smoke in the apartment around the time of the murder. I shuddered.