He was impossible to figure out. His mind was a puzzle – whenever you thought you had found your way inside, you discovered that you had hit a dead end. If there was anything behind his cold, dark eyes, it was completely hidden from the outside world.
She was quiet and pretty. Her sparkling blue eyes watched everything. She was smart, always thinking things over and choosing the right words before she spoke. Every task that she faced with, she completed with an astounding degree of perfection.
They had second hour chemistry class together. He drew pictures in his notebook. She wrote down endless pages of notes and equations. Third hour, they both had creative writing. He walked to class by himself and she walked with her friends. He wrote dark, disturbing stories while she wrote beautiful expressive poetry. After school, he smoked cigarettes while she read mountains of books. Although they had gone to school together for so years, they never even acknowledged each other's existence.
His name was Shadow. To the regular person, it seemed a strange name but it suited him perfectly since Shadow was not a regular person. It was questionable as to whether or not he was human at all. He was a killer. His human side hated that about him.
But the other side of him loved it. He enjoyed the fear in the eyes of his prey as they spent their last moments looking into his horrible, cold stare. They were terrified of him and he savored the feeling of overwhelming power. He was very skilled and able to complete the job neatly and quickly. There wasn't even time for the victim to scream.
The worst part was the ride home. It was then that his human mind began to take over again. He felt sick with guilt and his hands shook so much that he could hardly hold the steering wheel straight. The world seemed a blur outside the windshield. Sometimes he cried silently, sometimes he suffered without tears. Each drive was so similar that they all blurred together in his mind. Except for one.
It was the flash of a cop car in his rearview mirror that caught his attention that night. The sound of the sirens drifted toward him through the haze of guilt that surrounded him.
"Fuck!" he slammed his hand down on the dashboard. "They caught me!" He pressed the accelerator to the floor. The car hesitated a moment and then began to speed down the road. He reached an intersection and turned right, not sure where he was going.
He saw the red light too late. He tried to slow down but it was not soon enough. He watched the trunk of the car in front of him crumple as if in slow motion and felt his face slam against the steering wheel. A wave of blood rushed into his mouth as he felt his teeth sink into his lower lip. For a few moments, he remained with his head resting on the steering wheel and his foot pressed down on the brake.
When he looked up, there was a girl standing at his car window. Her light blue eyes stared into his. "Shadow?" she said quietly. "Is that you? Are you all right?"
"Yes." He said, accidentally spitting blood onto the steering wheel. "I'm sorry I hit you." He was beginning to wish that his car wasn't built in the eighties. If it had been equipped with airbags, he wouldn't have to suffer the humiliation of spitting blood all over himself the only time a pretty girl ever started a conversation with him.
"We go to same school, you know." She said, seeming to not notice. "I'm Meredith."
He gave an attempt to smile. "Second hour chem."
He started to hold out his hand to her but pulled it back quickly as the cop shoved Meredith out of the way so that he could stick his fat face in the window.
"What the hell do you think you were doing, kid?" he shouted, spit flying from his mouth. "I'm going to ask you to step out of the car."
Shadow opened the door slowly and walked a few steps away from his car. The flashing lights from the cop car reflected in the wet pavement beneath his feet. He wiped the blood off his chin with the hem of his shirt. Meredith stood nearby. She seemed to be inspecting the damage on her car, but her eyes kept flickering up to watch Shadow.
The cop approached Shadow, his gaze furious. "It would have been so much easier for all of us if you'd just have accepted the damn speeding ticket instead of running away like that." He shook his head. "Let me see your license."
Shadow breathed a sigh of relief. They hadn't known. He pulled his wallet out of his pocket and handed it to the officer. The policeman watched him closely.
"I'm not drunk, you know." Shadow said finally.
The cop did not respond. "I'm going to search your car."
Meredith had gone into her car to get a jacket. When she returned, she stood closer to Shadow than before.
The policeman forced his massive body into the driver's seat of Shadow's tiny car. Shadow watched a flashlight beam dance around the inside of his car. When the policeman finally forced his way out of the car, he was holding a pack of cigarettes. "These yours?" he asked.
"You're seventeen." He said, holding Shadow's license.
"I'm aware of that."
The policeman shook his head. "Kids these days!" he said in a disgusted tone of voice. "I'm going to have to take these."
Meredith pulled a cell phone out of her pocket. She walked over to the side of the road, speaking softly into it. Two more police cars pulled up and parked next to the first. A second policeman emerged one of them, somewhat thinner than the first. The two spoke quietly amongst themselves for a moment.
At last the second policeman pointed to Shadow. "Get over here." He said. Shadow held out his hands as the hand cuffs clicked onto his wrists. Obediently, he walked to the back seat of the police car.