A Shadowlander's Dream - Book One: A Tale of Shadows By Kathryn K Williams

Part Eleven: Lost and Found

Chapter Fifty-Four - Darkness Amongst Darkness

Akaime marched down the streets. He was beyond displeased with the way the situation had evolved out of his control. The girls should be cowering in a corner by now. To terrified to even raise a hand to him. Not even able to run and yet here they are scampering about, forcing him to search for them time and time again. He touched one of the freshly made cuts in his fake face and winced as they stung. That angel was not part of his plans either. He was so deep in his thoughts that he almost didn't notice one of the girl's dart down a road. He turned just in time to see a fleeting glimpse of red hair. The game was on again and a grin crossed his face.

Kima ran around yet another corner to find Natalie awaiting her arrival.

"Are you really sure about this idea?" Natalie nervously asked, "I mean this is out of the ordinary."

"And so am I." Kima's smile made a shiver creep up Natalie's spin, "You can be a very spooky girl. I never really realized that before."

"There are many side to me that you have yet to meet." Kima stated then jumped over a fence, "Come on, everyone is waiting."

"Just for the record: This is insane." Natalie then followed the girl just as Akaime came around the corner.

"So while the other two are playing bait, what do we do exactly?" Tanya asked, still not understanding what was going on. She walked along side Alyson with Cherilyn holding close to her side.

"We protect her." Alyson repeated what Kima had told her, "Kris is checking on her sister while we get Kim safely to those apartments." She pointed to some buildings in the distance.

"Then what?" Tanya asked.

Alyson shrugged, "We wait and see what happens."

"This doesn't sounds like such a great plan." Tanya admitted.

"Well you see have any other options to add?" Alyson asked, "We would be open to another way to resolve this situation."

Tanya thought for a moment then shook her head.

"Then we continue as we were told." Alyson stated, promptly ending the conversation.

Jenn walked along side Kim. She could not get her mind off that kiss or off Kris. She glanced behind herself in search of her friend to find she was nowhere in sight, then turned back to look at Kim one more time. She found herself doing this several times over again. First searching for Kris and then returning to Kim. Her head felt muddled and confused. Her memories were colliding into each other and contradicting each other. She had only met Kim a couple of days ago, however she now clearly remember meting her before that. She also was almost certain that she first met Kris just last year and yet her heart keeps telling her it has been much longer then that. So many knew thoughts and emotions that she felt a need to scream or just fall into a deep slumber. She turned to look at the girls behind her and her eyes fell upon Tanya. One of her oldest and dearest of friends. She suddenly back stepped so she was walking along side the girl.

"Tanya..?" Jenn asked timidly.

"Yes?" Tanya gave the girl a beaming smile. She seemed to be handling the whole situation rather well, or was just very good at concealing her own fears. Her smile faded when she saw the sad worried look in her friend's eyes, "What's bothering you?" She asked concerned for her friend.

Jenn rubbed her head, "I don't know." She said, struggling to keep her emotions under some kind of control, "Everything feel so messed up. Nothing is making any sense and I don't know what is real anymore."

"Yeah..." Tanya lowered her head to look at her feet, "I know what you mean."

"We have been friends since Kindergarten, right?" Jenn asked, unsure of her own memories.

"Yeah." Tanya said with a smile, "We all were taken to that special school because we had 'problems'." She stated with a cynical giggle, "Like that would help. It just caused us more problems and worries. Being an out patient at that place just signalled us out from the other kids in the neighbourhood."

"What school?" Jenn was startled by this notion, "I thought we went to an ordinary school together?"

"No." Tanya gave the girl an unusual look, "You really don't remember do you?" She asked cautiously.

Jenn shook her head, "Nothing is clear anymore. Things are coming back but are mixed up. I'm not sure what is real anymore."

"That is why we're at the academy." Cherilyn finally spoke up, "We all have some kind of darkness inside of us. A lot of us start by visiting during school hours and going home afterwards while many others end up living there soon after. Almost everyone can't remember why they are there at first." She shrugged and drew silent.

Jenn thought about this carefully, "They why do I remember other things..?"

Alyson looked up at the sky, "Because our minds will not let us face the truth." She said, closing her eyes then turning and looking at Jenn again, "Our minds are trying to protect us and at the same time they are hurting us. We end up forgetting the good with the bad. Being haunted by nightmares without understanding their nature and in the end being torn apart by our own memories." She let out a deep sigh, "This is the nature of our souls and I guess why we are all here."

Jenn glanced up at Kim who looked back at her then turned away quickly. Now her mind felt more a mess then before and she fell back into silence. Being consumed by her thoughts.

After seeing Akaime follow Kima down the road Kris came from her hiding place beneath a large pine tree and quickly headed back towards the mobile homes. It didn't take her much time to back track and she was stunned by the amount of chaos that was left over from the battle. At least three houses were torn to shreds with pieces of plywood scattered across the road. Kris had to search some of the wreckage before she found her sister laying on her back with her eyes closed. If Kris had not known better she would have thought her sister to be dead, but there has yet to be anything that could kill one of her family... Hurt them, yes. Kill them... that is another story. She herself was unsure if death could come for her now that she was no longer one of the sisters. The idea had crossed her mind many times over the years, but she had yet to try to test that theory.

She lifted a few pieces of wood off her sister. The angels wings flickered and faded transparent a couple of time. Kris took this as a good sign that her sister was surely alive, "Hey sis?" She bent over the girl closely so she could listen for her breathing.

"Unnn..." Gwen muttered, "owwww..." she moaned again.

"Gwen!" Kris sat up, excited to see her sister starting to stir, "I was beginning to worry."

Gwen opened one eye and peered up at her little sister, "I'm not going to die if that is what is worrying you." She lifted a hand to her head and rubbed her forehead, "What hit me?" She asked groggily.

"A very big man." Kris replied, "I never thought someone could knock you flying like that. What is he?"

"A faceless." Gwen answered while trying to sit up. Her back ached and her arm hurt. She struggled to conceal her pain.

"I've never seen a faceless like that." Kris stated, "There is something strange about that one."

"He was a man, a dream ghost." Gwen corrected herself, "And somehow he merged with a faceless becoming something else. A creature that grows with strength in dreams and feeds on fear. He needs to be stopped."

"How can such a thing exist?" Kris asked, helping her sister to her feet.

"It shouldn't..." Gwen stated shaking her head in dismay, "Morrigan said he was in a lineup to death's corridor when she stumbled upon that red haired girl and the next thing she knew he was missing. She thinks that he might have followed the girl and escaped."

"Kim?" Kris became more worried, "What was she doing there?"

"Searching for your friend." Gwen added trying to shake the last of the lightheaded feeling from her, "Your friend was being haunted by a faceless for the past while. A faceless that had taken the shape of one of her dead friends. I thought you of all people would have noticed that girl was not real when you were in her dream."

"May..." Kris shook her head in dismay, "I felt she didn't belong, but I just thought she was another ghost of the dream."

Gwen shook her head in disappointment, "You were never any good at sensing those kinds of things. I shouldn't have allowed you to enter that girl's dreamsphere in the first place."

"I'm sorry..." Kris apologized sadly, "I just wanted to be with her." She lowered her head in shame, "I thought I could help free her."

Gwen patted the girl on the shoulder, "I know... I know..." She looked around their surroundings, "Where are your friends by the way?"

"They think they can stop that monster." Kris stated, still unsure of their plans.

"How, in the name of our father, are they going to do that?" Gwen ask shocked to hear about this turn of events.

Kris only shrugged, "We need to hurry. They are heading for those apartments." She pointed in the distance.

"Hang on." Gwen wrapped her arms around Kris's waist, spread out her wings and took flight.

"Hurry up!!" Natalie called out behind her as she ran down another back alley.

"I'm... trying..." Kima panted taking a glimpse behind herself to see Akaime was following close behind, "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea." She remarked.

"You think so!?!" Natalie said with a snarl. The apartments could be seen just ahead of them, "We are almost there."

Kima stumbled and fell the to ground, scrapping her knee and hands, "Nat!!!" She cried out as she tumbled to the ground.

Natalie spun around, "Kima!!!" Akaime was already upon the girl. He grabbed Kima by the scruff of her overalls and slammed her up against a brick wall with a thud.

"Enough of these game, princess." He snarled at the girl, "It is time for you to return to where you belong."

"I'm not going anywhere with you." Kima struggled against the man's grip, "Leave me alone!!" She yelled.

"Let... her... GO!!" Natalie flung herself at the man and kicked him in the side, having little effect.

Akaime looked down at the girl, not even flinching at her efforts, "I'll deal with you later." With out swing of his arm he hit Natalie across the side of the head, knocking her into a pile of trash cans.

"NAT!!!" Kima cried out, "Don't you hurt her!"

"No worries." Akaime turned back to face Kima, "I have plans for her." She said with a sinister grin.

Natalie shoved the garbage out of her way and sprung to her feet. Her fear of the man had been replaced with a rage that boiled from the depths of her heart and a need to protect her friend. She clenched her fist and a long blade sprung forth from beneath her sleeve. Unlike her normal blade this one shimmered with glowing blue light. Akaime was to busy struggling with Kima to notice the blond approach from behind him and she jammed the entire blade into his side with all her might. He screamed in agony as Natalie twisted the knife. Blackness oozed forth from the wound. Akaime dropped Kima and turned on Natalie.

"You little..." He reached out for the girl only to have her produce three little daggers between the fingers of her other hand and stab them deep in to his leg. She pulled out the blade causing a tar like substance to come spluttering out then the darkness suddenly changed and became a tattered cloth, like some strange silk cloth a Magician would pull from his sleeve, but if the sleeve was a hole in the side of a man. The cloth fluttered for a moment then came free of the blade leaving it as clean as ever. She raised the blade high over her head and slashed the man across the face cutting a chunk of his flesh off and causing a crack to form in his mask. He fell to the ground writhing in pain, clenching his face and screaming. Natalie quickly grabbed Kima's hand and helped her to her feet and they both dashed out of the alley towards the apartments.

Kim and the others arrived at the fifth floor of the building and came to a stop in front of Kim's old apartment. She stared at the door uncertain about opening it in fear of what might linger within it's confines.

"Kim?" Jenn set a hand upon her friend's shoulder, "You don't have to open it." She reassured the girl.

Kim shook her head in disagreement, "No... Kima is right... I have to face this." She took a deep breath and set her hand on the door knob.

Jenn set her hand upon Kim's, "Then we'll do it together." She smiled at the red head.

"Guy, Nat and Kima are here!" Jessica called out from her lookout at the edge of the balcony hall, "It looks like they have company."

Kim nodded at Jenn and they both turned the nob and opened the door. The apartment was dark and a smell of death assaulted the girls causing them to quickly cover their mouths. The first thing Kim noticed was the silverware scattered across the floor. Fear welled up on the girl and she froze in place. She suddenly wanted to run, wanted to hide. Anything, but enter that house again. Jenn stepped around her friend and entered the kitchen. She stepped around the clutter and took a look around then gestured for Kim to follow. Kim simply stayed rooted on to her spot. Jenn returned to her friend and took her by the hand, "Come on." She coxed, but Kim would not budge.

"Girls, you had better hurry." Jessica stated with a tone of worry in her voice.

"Hide!" Jenn commanded to the others. The girls did as they were told and ran back to the stairs, up one more level.

Tanya stopped before following the others and turned to Jenn, "You be careful." She demanded.

"We will." Jenn assured, "Now get going." Tanya hesitated for a moment then rushed up the stairs. Soon after Natalie followed Tanya and Kima appeared on the floor running towards the apartment.

"What are you two doing?" Kima asked anxiously, "Get in there." She took Kim's other hand and pulled her into the apartment, closing the door just as Akaime came stumbling up the stairs. Kima fumbled with the locks and just as she flipped the bolt they heard Akaime start banging on the door. Kima shakily latched the chain in place and spun around, "Quickly! Our bed room."

Kim was still frozen in place and shaking her head, "No no no... I don't want to be here." She protested.

Kima grabbed the girl by the arm, "We have to. Just remember this is only a dream." She reassured the girl.

"But it isn't a dream." Kim countered still shaking her head.

"It is if you want it to be." Kima stated boldly, "You can't keep being afraid for your entire life."

Kim looked towards the living room, "But..." Images of her dead parents entered her mind. The blood soaking in the carpet and their dead eyes.

"You have too." Kima commanded, "For Jenn's sake."

Kim looked at Jenn who had the same level of fear in her eyes, then back to the door that was bulging at it's hinges, "O...okay..." She took a deep breath and entered the livingroom. It was just as she feared. There lay her mother, a pool of blood under her head and there was her father with the knife still sticking out of his stomach. She began to shake her head and turned to leave the sight when Kima stopped her.

"Just look straight ahead." Kima ordered, "And DON'T look down." She commanded, then turned to Jenn, "That goes for you too."

The group of girls quickly crossed the living room, stepping over Kim's father and ran to the end of the long hall to the bedrooms. Kima opened the door to their parent's room, "Jenn you hide under the bed." She ordered not leaving room for arguments.

"But..." Jenn began to protest when there was a large crash as Akaime broke the door down.

"There is no time!" Kima shoved the girl into the room and closed the door. She then turned to her double, "You know what needs to be done."

Tears were streaming down Kim's cheeks and she trembled in fear, "I'm afraid." She sobbed while looking at her bedroom door.

Kima held Kim's cheeks in her hands and looked her in the eyes, "So am I... so am I... but we have to open that door."

Kim shook her head, "I..." She had an idea what was behind that door and it scared her more then anything else in this nightmarish world. She wanted nothing more then to hide under the bed with Jenn and forget all this ever happened.

"There you are!" Akaime snarled, holding his side while staggering down the hall. He stopped and blinked at the twins for a moment, "So there are two of you. No matter. I'll take you both." Used the wall to support himself he stumbled down the hall dragging his wounded leg behind him.

Kima placed Kim's hand on the bedroom door knob and waited until Akaime got a little closer, "Wait for it..." She whispered.

Kim let go of the doorknob, "No..." She retreated from the door.

"NOW!!!" Kima commanded grabbing the girl's hand and forcing her to take the knob as they both turned it. The door was instantly sucked open and there was a black mass writhing upon the ceiling. Lines of jagged teeth could be seen twitching in hunger along the edge of the ceiling. It's tentacle like tongue with a forked tip dropped from the centre of the mouth and whipped around in the middle of the room and dripping saliva upon the carpet, then it noticed the girls and struck out at them. Kima looked from the creature to Akaime, then suddenly pulled Kim to the floor. The tongue speared Akaime through the arm just as he reached the girls. He screamed and pulled at the tentacle, trying to free his arm from the creature. For the first time he looked into the room and was startled by what he saw. Two more tongues appeared from the darkness and shot out at the man. One piecing his shoulder and the other wrapping around his neck. The creature pulled Akaime into the room. He grabbed the frame of the door, but felt his grip slipping and could not hold on for very long. The moment the man was pulled entirely into the room the door slammed shut and the apartment became silent once again. The two girls lay on the ground panting. Kima finally found the strength to open her eyes and was relieved to find that there were alone again.

"Is it gone?" Kim mumbled into Kima's shoulder.

"They are gone." Kima said with a sigh of relief.

Kima sat up and looked around. Her eyes fell on the door and she shrunk away from it. She could still sense that dark mass, feel it's saliva dripping upon her and the sensation made her shiver in disgust. She then turned to her parents room, "Jenn?" She quickly opened to door and found Jenn peering out from under the bed. She leaned against the door frame and let out a long sigh.

"Is it safe?" Jenn asked from her hiding spot.

"He is gone." Kima replied entering the room, "and I don't think he will be bothering any of us ever again."

Jenn crawled out from under the bed, "What did you do to him?" She asked curious and at the same time not sure she really wanted to know.

Kima helped the girl to her feet, "He was eaten by one of our nightmares. I figured it would be there and thankfully it was satisfied with just taking him and not us."

"Is it still there?" Jenn asked nervously.

Kima shrugged, "Hard to say."

Jenn smiled at Kim who was still standing at the door. Kim pushed off the door frame and looked down the hall, her expression changed and she let out a scream of terror, "Kim?" Kima turned to see Jenn's corpse like mother grab Kim from behind and wrap it's arms around the girl.

"Mother..." Jenn stumbled backwards until her leg bumped into the bed, "No..."

"Jeeenniffer..." The creature hissed, "You dishonoured me. You failed me... you KILLED me!!!" It snarled gripping Kim by the hair while glaring with one good eye at Jenn.

Kima ran at the creature, "Leave her alone!" She demanded only to be instantly knocked to the ground and rolled into a dresser.

"Mommy stop it..." Jenn was shaking with terror as her mother stepped into the room, partly carrying Kim, "Please..." Jenn weakly pleaded.

"First, I shall kill your little girlfriend..." The corpse said with a grin, "Then you will join me as well." It gripped the bony fingers of one hand around Kim's tiny neck and began to squeeze the life out of the girl. Kim struggled against the creatures grip only to find her strength slowly draining from her body.

"jeennn..." Kim tried to speak as she gasped for air only to feel the corpse's finger close tighter on her larynx. Her eyes began to blur and she felt faint.

"MOTHER STOP IT!!!" Jenn screamed at the creature, "Leave her alone. Why can't you just leave us alone!" She cried in frustration as she watched the life of the first girl she ever loved slip away, "I love her..." she whispered.

Almost as if knives were driven into Jenn's mother she released Kim, letting the girl tumble to the ground, and staggered backwards, "You can..." The creature stammered, "You can only love me." The dead woman was becoming frantic as she watched her daughter rush over to Kim and wrap her arms around the red head, "You can't..." The corpse muttered again.

"I do!" Jenn cried, glaring up at her mother, "I always have... You never listened to me... always told me how to feel... Well I'm not your child, anymore." She felt strength build inside of her heart as she spoke the words.

The woman stumbled back out of the room in dismay, "but... you are my daughter... I love you... I know what is right..." It continued to ramble.

"Not anymore." Jenn's glare intensified with her new found courage, "You are dead!" She declared, "Dead, Dead, Dead!!!" She screamed at the woman.

Flames wrapped around Jenn's mother's legs and crawled up her body. For the first time the woman looked down at her hands and saw the corpse she had become. She looked at her daughter and saw the hatred burning in the girl's eyes. She bowed her head as the flames enveloped her, "I'm sorry..." she whispered then the flamed consumed her entirely and she dissolved into a pile of ashes that blew away in a passing wind.

Jenn watched the last of the ashes drift away as tears washed out her vision, "Good-bye... Mom..." She hugged Kim and let out a tired sob.

Gwen glided down the apartment balcony as Kim, Kima and Jenn exited the apartment. Kris ran over to her friends and hugged Jenn tightly. When she looked into the girl's eyes there was something different about her, "Are you alright?" She asked concerned.

Jenn gave the girl a weak smile, "I'll live... I finally said my good-byes." She glanced back at the apartment then back to Kim, "Can we go back to the academy now?"

Kris nodded, "If you wish." She looked around to see all the other girl's had gathered together. Everyone was hugging each other and listening to the tales of how they defeated their nightmares. She then turned to her sister, "Gwen?"

Gwen nodded, "Alright everyone. Time to go home." She walked down the hall to another apartment door, touched the door for a moment and when she opened it they could all see the path that lead them into the forest and the exit back to the academy. The girls rushed down the path and out of the forest. Each one grateful to be free of that evil place.

Kris stopped before leaving the forest to turn and see her sister walking the opposite direction. She ran towards the girl and wrapped her arms around Gwen's waist in a warm hug, "Thank you." Kris muttered into the girl's back then ran off before getting an answer. The moment she stepped out of the forest the entrance closed up behind her and she saw her sister wave at her before being surrounded by the trees. Kris looked up at the sun and smile. She finally felt like she might have a chance at life after all. She heard some of the girls calling out for her and chased after them. Ready to begin her new life with her friend and new family.

The end of Book One: A Tale of Shadows. Look for Book Two: A Tale of Sorrows coming soon.

Note: The world of the shadowlands, It's storys, Characters and ideas are a copyright of Kathyrn K Williams.

This story is based upon my manga of the same name. If you wish visit my site and see some of the art based on this series at http:www.KatAndNekoManga.ca

Also if you spot any typos or other errors please contact me at KathrynKatAndNekoManga.ca