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Annie And Metoo
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Annie And Metoo
A lonely girl befriends her shadow. One day it suddenly disappears.She is again lonely but finds her in a strange manner.
[1,400 words]
Literary Fiction
Arlene Gunn
An American storyteller and poetess with an unamerican sensibility and poetic imagination.
[July 2001]
[email protected]
Annie And Metoo
Arlene Gunn

Annie was a very lonely girl. She lived with her parents, on a small farm, way up on the side of a mountain in Vermont. They lived very far away from most everybody. Annie’s parents liked it that way, but Annie didn’t. Annie’s parents made sure she had plenty of toys and games and stuffies, but she didn’t have any friends. There was no one to play her many toys and games with.

Her dog Cyder was OK, and the farm cats were fun to play with sometimes, but what Annie really wanted was a friend. Her parents tried their best, but her father was gone most of the day, and her mother was usually busy with chores around the farm.

During the day, Annie would usually go outside and play what her mother called her “imagine” games.

Annie would imagine that the old tree in the front yard was a pirate trying to steal her family’s treasure.

She would imagine that the boulder in the back was a high mountain and she was the first ever to reach the top.

She would imagine that the little rock in the meadow was a desert island in the middle of a great sea.

She had many imagines to choose from, but her favorite she could only do on bright, sunny days. On those days, she would imagine her friend.

On sunny days, Annie would run out of the house early in the morning and go to the meadow, or down by the brook, or anyplace where she could see her shadow. On those days, Annie imagined that her shadow was her friend. Her friend’s name was Metoo, because it was her, too.

Annie imagined that Metoo was her big sister, a little older and a little bigger, but not too big. Metoo was just like a big sister should be. She never laughed at Annie, or called her names or any of the other things her cousins did when they came to visit.

Metoo would go almost everywhere with Annie, sometimes leading, sometimes following, always right there with her. Imagining Metoo didn’t work well in the woods except on the brightest of days, so they pretty much stayed out in the open whenever they could.

Often, Annie and Metoo would play hide-and-seek (Metoo would always win)

or tag (Annie would win those)

or just twirl around (they both were good at that!)

Sometimes on rainy days when her mother had a lot of work to do, Annie would take the shade off of the lamp in the living room and read to Metoo. She would ask Metoo questions about the book, and Metoo would try to answer them, but sometimes Annie had to go and ask her mother when her questions were to hard for Metoo.

Metoo was Annie’s best friend. She could tell Metoo anything, and usually did. Sometimes, Annie imagined Metoo telling her stories about where she went when it was cloudy or at night. Those she liked most of all.

Metoo would tell Annie about how at night, all the shadows came out from their daytime places and danced in the forest swinging and twirling around. The shadows were very big too. All afternoon they would grow longer and longer, until they took up all the night’s sky at sunset. Then they would dance around the forests and have a grand old time!

Metoo told Annie about the mice and deer and owls that came out to play with them.

She told her about how small the mice were and how soft the owls were.

How the deer would chase them (something like the tag game she and Annie played)

and how the mushrooms would grow for them, so they would have someplace to sit when they got tired.

Annie’s mother didn’t know about Metoo. All she knew was that Annie was happy. She had been worried, at first, about Annie being alone so much of the day, but Annie laughed and ran and acted like other little girls, so she had stopped worrying so much about her.

One bright and sunny day, when Annie and Metoo were playing in the meadow, Annie tripped on a root and twisted her ankle. When she tried to get up, she cried out because it hurt so badly.

She knew her mother was in the house, but it was too far for her to yell. She tried to have Metoo go and get her, but she wouldn’t leave Annie. Metoo said she had an idea though. She called to one of the birds that were flying by. When it came to her, she asked it to go to the house and fly to the window so the woman would see it. When it had the woman’s attention, The bird had to get her at least to the beginning of the trail to the meadow so when Annie yelled, her mother would be able to hear her. The bird didn’t want to do it, but it said it would try. It flew off towards the house, screeching all the way.

Annie and Metoo waited a few more minutes, and then they both started to yell for Annie’s mother. With Metoo helping, Annie’s mother could hear her and ran over to see what the matter was.

When Annie’s mother found her, she rushed Annie to the doctor’s office to make sure she hadn’t broken anything. The doctor said it wasn’t broken, but that it would probably hurt for a while. He gave Annie a white splint to wear for a few weeks until it felt better, and sent her home with her mother.

After Annie got back from the doctor’s (he had given her a lollipop because she was such a brave little girl), her mother told her to stay on the couch in the living room and to call her if she needed anything. Annie nodded, but when her mother had left the room to finish her chores, she turned around and took off the lampshade from the lamp beside the couch so she could tell Metoo all about the doctor’s visit. When she looked at the other end of the couch, though, Metoo wasn’t there. It was just her normal shadow. Her friend wasn’t there.

When her mother and father put her to sleep that night, she turned on the little table lamp next to the bed, but Metoo still wasn’t there.

Annie moped around the house until she was well enough to go out in the back yard (with her mother watching through the window), she looked all around her, hoping that Metoo would be there, but it was still just a normal shadow. She went to play on the swings by herself, but it just wasn’t the same.

Annie went outside for the next few weeks looking for Metoo in all the places they had been, but she was nowhere to be found. Metoo was gone.

After Annie’s ankle was better, she went out to the meadow and yelled for Metoo. All she heard was her own echo calling back. Annie stood there and cried and cried for Metoo, but all she heard was her echo crying back at her.

Annie had been crying for some time when she realized she heard something funny in her echo. Annie sniffed and sniffled herself under control, and as she did, so did her echo. When she was sure her voice wouldn’t crack, she called out to Metoo one more time. This time, though, she listened to the echo. It almost sounded like Metoo did when they had both yelled for Annie’s mother.

Annie wasn’t sure at first, but as she started to giggle and laugh, she became more and more sure. Metoo had somehow gotten trapped in Annie’s echo when they had yelled for her mother! That’s why she couldn’t see Metoo in her shadow anymore, she had moved to her echo!

Annie hugged herself; the way she imagined Metoo would have, and screamed and laughed and cried out in joy. She had never really lost Metoo, she had just moved to a different place!

When Annie came back home, she was smiling for the first time in weeks. Her mother smiled back at her and told her that she was very happy she was feeling better. Annie grinned and said “Me too!” and went off to play in her room.



"A perfect narrative with splended imagination and eye catching description. She is unrivalled in her poetic expressions and refined sensibilities." -- Nadeem Akhtar, Bahawalpur, Pakistan.


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© 2001 Arlene Gunn
July 2001

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