They were sweet men, his shadows, needing very little. They lacked almost all form of social skill even with Allister, to whom it seemed they owed their very existence. But, this flaw aside, they had no base for negatives in any way beyond their appearance. Allister would often offer them whatever he might be eating, knowing fool well they would turn it down most politely. He wondered where they received their sustenance. But, he rarely lost sleep over it. Each shadow seemed content with whatever means it survived on.
Though nothing was said, Allister remained in the sun as much as he possibly could. The shadows, it seemed, put all matters of faith in Allister and Allister put his in the sun. Allister felt as though they were equal parts sun and equal parts him and, in that way, Allister became the sun with rays of Allister's beaming from him, the core. This was the equation Allister accepted, one in which it was just decided that the formula makes sense, like the ability to add numbers together and get zero.
People often asked him how he obtained the extras and Allister shrugged his shoulders and always said, "your guess is as good as mine." Initially, he thought perhaps his shadow got lonely. But, why all the extras? Could he have been that lonely? It was in times like these that Allister wished he could talk with his silhouettes. Allister sunk into a minor depression. Walking along, feeling completely alone even while surrounded by an army of Allisters. Allister felt like an outcast because, although he knew the shadows had nothing to say to each other, it was obvious they enjoyed each other's company. Allister was unsure if they felt the same about him. They had definite respect for him, this he knew. But, whether or not they considered him a friend, Allister could not say.
One day, Allister walked into Mr. Agee's General Store. Mr. Agee was a kindly old man whose wrinkles came from a lifetime of smiling. He was a short man, although you could not be certain if he was always short or whether old age had brought a shorter stature along with the wrinkles. Allister purchased a box of saltines. Mr. Agee took his money, gave Allister change, put the saltines in a paper bag, and handed the bag to Allister to which Allister said, "Thank you." Mr. Agee said, "Right." This was how he always responded to 'thank yous'. "Right." As if he were a kindly old etiquette teacher, tutoring everyone on the proper use of polite phrases. Allister noticed Mr. Agee's shadow seemed faded. He normally did not take any notice. But, that day, he could see a difference. Mr. Agee seemed unaware so Allister decided not to worry him. He headed out the door and into the sunlight, looking down only once and noticing that one of his Allister petals had fallen off. He looked around to see where he could find it and saw, through the front window of the general store, his shadow mingling with Mr. Agee's shadow. The old man's shadow gaining back its color and Allister's former shadow taking on a new, more Mr. Agee shape.
This is how it went until, one by one, all but two of Allister's shadows left him and found lonely shadows, needing company. Allister felt two was the perfect amount for him. He felt comfortable again. This was also how Allister acquired the moniker of 'Shadow Giver,' though he always diverted credit to his first shadow, saying all accolades rightfully belonged to him. For, it was his silhouette, and not Allister, that created shadow friendship.