To 2015 - 2016
January Shadows 

By Svetha Pulavarty

  1. Untitled
    by Amy Zhang
The month has just started. The year has just started. January has come, and Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, has taken the form of a shadow in the streets tonight. The shadow moves swiftly between the lampposts, between the buildings. It flits past the lights of a cafe, the lights of a Christmas tree, the lights of a celebration. Janus has come to this town, this city, this village. As he is bound to do, he chooses a door and slips inside.
Locks are irrelevant to the god of doorways and choices.
Janus lowers his hood, then, to survey the house and its contents. One of his two heads smiles. The other curls its lip in contempt. But Janus has not come to judge the worth of the occupant. He comes to offer a choice. A pathway. A door. He will offer this choice to many more this month, and the next. He will offer it to those his King deems untested.
The shadow comes to your room, then. The door is slightly ajar, and as he looks past it, he can see you sitting there. You wait for him, for you knew he would come, and you know the choice he will offer.
It takes no bravery to face something you do not fear. In this case, you are afraid, but you will face the choice regardless. Janus approves of your bravery, although he does not show it. Many people have run from this choice, and he has waited for them, waited until they stood at Death’s doorway and saw him there. Janus, the god of doorways. No one can hide from him forever.
“Have you made your choice?”
Two doorways. No, four. Eight. Sixteen. They multiply, the choices he gives you. There are too many to choose from, each with its own repercussions, each with its own rewards. But your choice has been made. You made it the instant you were chosen.
“I will not choose.”
Janus pauses. One face is astonished. The other is savage and pleased. “You would rather live with the uncertainty than the choice?” For if you choose, you know what it will bring. You know the repercussions, you know the rewards.
“I will not choose.”
One head laughs. The other smiles gently. “If that is the choice you have made, I will respect it.” And the god slips out of the room, bound to knock on another door to offer another choice.