IN THE DARK STREETS OF THE CITY, corruption hangs in the haze. The stink of garbage rises from the gutters to kiss the graffiti, profane and vile. The blessed few are not good but apathetic, seeking refuge in their towers of crystal and light. For a maniac, a monster, rules the world of shadows below.
In those dark and quiet streets, a timeless game plays out.
She comes, heels clicking through the silence, rough but pretty like an uncut stone. Seemingly lost, desperate, and frightened, she scurries and glances nervously from time to time, but sees and hears nothing. Still, she knows she’s not alone.
From shadows darker than his soul, he lurches. He seizes and stifles her, his heart surging. His sick and simple mind thrills at what he believes to be ultimate power. He begins to chuckle at her muffled pleas and helpless struggle. He promises her he will make it last.
He likes it when they fight and is little surprised when she bites his suffocating hand. But this bite is more than he bargained for, owing to her hungry fangs. In an instant, he no longer has her, but she has him. And with no small pleasure she finds his filthy neck and brings death to a killer.
She drops him in the garbage, thinking it suits him… him and his kind. She regards his staring eyes and nearly pitiful expression. This is a moment to convince herself that she is not what she is, that she is somehow different from him.
Then, the night draws close and deeper. The streetlights flicker and dimly glow. The air is colder and, at its touch, she shivers. The swollen shadows stir with motion no mortal eyes could see.
Staring out are a multitude of lingering shells that were once living beings.
Somehow she knows they are jealous, jealous of her facade of flesh. That they would rip her spirit free and drag it down to depths of darkness she cannot comprehend. She knows that they would save her from the lies she tells herself.
Despite her terror, she readies herself to fight or flee. But even as she takes a step back, it dawns on her, how strangely familiar all this seems. Late, too late, does she sense the danger behind her, and know she is the prey.
Wheeling, she sees it. A hideous thing, it towers in a form mocking man’s. Shadow clings to it, darkness drips from it, and oblivion radiates from it. Whatever it is, even the elders are like nothing to it.
It feels closer.
She wants to run, but something holds her. Memories flood her mind as life flashes by. As they fade, it pierces her with cold, silver eyes.
It is closer.
She wants to beg and plead, though words will serve no purpose. Her powers are distant and forgotten and meaningless as it draws away her life.
No, please… cries a voice from somewhere far away, Please, I don’t want to die.
Darkness overcomes her, she understands…
Nothing wants to die.
by Joe Stanley