"Into The Shadow Of Dark" is a short story, based on the coming book "The Mysterious World Of Professor Darkk And Miss Shadow" by Jeff Walker. All characters and story are © All Rights Reserved by Jeff Walker
All the people were trapped in fear and panic as a horrid grey-scaly monster floated over top of them all. Constant screams of horror from the many cowering seemed to fuel the hellish beast to no end. They were being held hostage by a multi-tentacle demon that roared with malice; the employees and unfortunate individuals in this small city bank were no doubt wishing they had picked any other time to do any financial business.
The chatter in the room was limited to sobbing of their desire to go home, to see a loved one or even hug their children – perhaps for one last time. But any chance of taking a dash to the exit seemed all but futile, as the creature managed to float over and send them back into the center of the darkened room.
Daylight had long passed into night; it seemed the torture of being stuck with this creature was never going to end. The bank tellers shivered under the counters, desperately trying not to cry too loud; the other people scattered about the room tried to keep out of sight, focusing on keeping out of the way of the snapping beast's maw.
All seemed hopeless to the many frightened scattered people just hanging on for any sign of hope. The demon, which continued to whip its tendrils at the various individuals, almost sounded like it was laughing in delight at scaring the many below as it hovered overhead. The bank manager, a balding out of shape man, was closest to the door hoping to escape to freedom and bring help to the others - but the beast would not let the middle aged man get past its sight. Deep within its scaly skin were dark pearl eyes like that of great white shark, they darted about as it could see everyone and everything around the room. A quick whip of its tentacles put the man in his place; there was no escape for anyone.
The feeling of doom filled the air as many thought their days were soon to be over. It was at that moment the front doors flew open with a blinding white light that pierced the darkness and caused the creature to shrill with pain. Two silhouetted figures appeared out of the brightness and slowly walked inside. The pair approached the center of the room in a calm demeanor; the bank manager gave a sigh of relief and held his hands in praise at them.
"Thank god." He muttered silently. "The police have come."
The doors quickly closed behind the two and the light vanished back into darkness. The man gawked at them with confusion as he soon realized this was not the police; There was only these two – no cluster of law enforcers behind them. It was just a man and a woman; both dressed in dark clothing and ghastly in pale skin tone.
The woman was strikingly beautiful, like a tall slender model, her short jet-black hair came to the neck and pointed out to either side of her lower cheeks; the black lipstick matched the dark, tight fitting dress that seemed to shape all of her curves. The manager would have remain fixed on her if it wasn't for the man staring him down behind a pair of dark glasses. He sported a thin black top hat, frock coat, suit and shoes, and held a twisted black cane of ominous design and mystery.
The frightened man tried to speak to grab their attention, but before either one could hear him, the man with the black top hat slammed his cane to the ground; the sound was Earth-shattering and reverbed throughout the whole room. The orb-like top of it opened up like an eyelid and revealed a bright red light. It shone into every corner of darkness and undressed the room of its eerie gloom.
The monster shrilled from the very light beaming into its many dark eyes. The people too were just as overwhelmed by the brilliance and shielded themselves from it. The pale woman gazed at the creature hovering high above and stretched out her hand.
"What is it?"
"Interesting." The gothic man replied while stroking his thinly bearded chin. "A Hydroctinite. "
"I thought they were a myth." The woman said in a sarcastic tone.
"Not a myth, my dear." He quipped. "Just a rare sight for these modern times."
"You told me you've never seen one before."
"I never implied that -" He said easing a brow, "Had you been paying attention to my teachings, I simply stated that they are regarded as mythical creatures by those unfamiliar with the species."
"I see." She hesitated for a moment and looked back with puzzlement. "By that, I take it, you are in fact referring to me. You talk in riddles, you teach in riddles and you imply in riddles. It's like one riddle after another – is it a normal teaching trait you've adopted or is just something you've honed over the years?
Bracing the bridge of his nose slightly with his left hand, a displeased sigh rushed out of him and motioned with the cane clenched I his other hand towards the threat before them.
"Yes, yes." She equally sighed back, "Focus on the task at hand."
She stepped out close towards the being and moved her outstretched hand slightly further. The motion made the creature to look upon them both as if she had a lasso around it and forced it to do her will.
"It's afraid." She stated continually holding out her hand, "It tries to resist. I think…I think it's trying to fight me."
"Use the power within, my dear." He replied in a commanding tone, "Lure it with the darkness it seeks, just enough and then – grab hold."
"Yessss –" She hissed out slowly.
The bank manager observed her eyes as they began to change colour; he was in awe of how deep black they became, as if they slowly were replaced by darkness. The creature above also had become mesmerized by her stare it could see its own reflection in them like a mirror. Her voice, an elegant British tone before – had now faded and deepened into some darker, sinister echoing nightmare as she continued to speak, "It knows who you are – it knows why you've come. But it won't give them up to you without a fight."
The darkly dressed man stood motionless as the woman turned to face him. The blackness in her eyes could not reflect his image as if he was not even standing there looking back at her. With only a quiet sigh out of his nose, the man merely stepped closer and peered back with his darkly tinted glassed.
"There will be no fight. You do not belong here and you will let these people go."
"No." The woman defiantly smirked. The creature had successfully merged its thoughts to the female host, "These ones are mine and I will feast forever. Go and leave me alone, or I will take you and your companion as well."
The gothic man turned his glance upward to the creature now, never changing his demeanor, tapped the head of the orb of his cane with an index finger as it still sat in his hand.
"If you know who I am, then you should know a threat like that will not curb my resolve. You will return to your dimension willingly or I shall force you there myself – and this is not a threat, but a ultimatum."
"You?" the creature laughed through the woman's voice and slowly licked her lips. "There is nothing a insignificant little man like you can do to me, this world is ripe of fear – it feeds me, makes me stronger and I shall devour all who stand in my way!"
As the woman deeply bellowed with evil laughter, the gothic man shook his head in disapproval and once again slowly released a snort of frustration. There was no reasoning or even giving this creature any sort of warning that would make it relinquish its hold. The frightened people all around buried their heads in woe, as any hope of freedom would not come; not even for this strange man and his possessed companion.
He then soon pulled out a book from within his coat that was as dark as the clothes he wore; yet it looked mottled with organic threads that incased the cover from every angle. The pages, as he opened it and tuned them, looked old and yellow - it was ancient in colour and in texture.
Each turn from this unholy looking relic seemed to glow and pulsate, even more so when he began to utter the words from it aloud. The language was utter nonsense, as no one there understood the meaning of it, yet he was translating the text with skill and fluidity. Whatever he was uttering it became louder and louder. His voice echoed and then pulsated throughout the air; this became more like a chant then someone reading text – strong, rhythmic and repetitive.
The cane he had been holding soon grew brighter and brighter, the red crystal shone and opened like a demonic eye. The room flooded with a blinding white light that seemed to engulf everyone and everything – including the creature as well. The woman housing the voice of the beast soon cried out in pain and held her head as the link between them was cut off. The cane increased its pulsating light as it levitated high above as the creature drew closer.
The booming chant became so loud it was like a sharp pain penetrating their brains. Whatever this man was doing, they were in agony from this ever-growing power emanating from his voice. The creature contorted and writhed in torment as the cane's light penetrated its body; a massive rift in dimensional space formed around the being and suddenly vanished out of existence. The aperture from the rift quickly closed and was gone in a blink of an eye.
The light from the cane abruptly stopped and quickly dropped to the ground. The gothic man grabbed it before it hit and gave a confidant smirk as he playfully tapped it on the floor. His female companion was no longer possessed; the rush of the demonic creature exiting her mind caused her to collapse – she held head trying to recover from the ordeal.
"Are you well enough to stand, my dear?" The man asked as he walked up to her. "Do you need my assistance?"
"No, no - I'm ok." She said in a groggy tone, "It was draining but I will recover, I'm fine."
The bank manager lifted himself up and gave a deep breath of relief. The nightmare was finally over. He quickly dashed over to the two strange individuals and raised his arms in praise.
"Thank you! Thank you!" He joyfully bellowed, "I don't know who you are, but you saved a lot of lives in here today. That thing came out of nowhere and has been keeping us locked in all this time."
"More then you know." The dark dressed man quipped back at him.
The bank manager's smile began to diminish as he watched the two strangers looking at him with little emotion. He began to sense there was more to the situation then just the beast they vanquished.
"So – uhm, where is the police and emergency services?" He asked looking beyond them to the main doors, "Shouldn't they be rushing in to help us? We've got injured and frightened people that want to get out and go home."
The oddly dressed man and woman glanced at each other; they offered nothing back to man waiting for an answer, nor the other people slowly starting to approach as well. Rather then press the two of them, the manager greeted and checked on various people that emerged from their hiding places. He assured them everything was fine and helped gather them over to the two strangers who saved their lives. The many still crying or shivering from the ordeal thanked them numerous times and seemed puzzled by the lack of acknowledgement back.
"We really need to get out of here now." The manager said firmly at the two, a nervous smile crept onto his face, "I mean, this has been quite the thing to go through, ya know? So if you don't mind – "
"I'm so terribly – " The dark dressed woman started to speak with a hesitant tone.
"I'm afraid that will not be possible." The top hatted man interrupted abruptly.
"What?" The manager scoffed with disbelief. "Seriously, come on. Look, We've suffered enough and we'd like to get out – Now!"
"Please calm down." The woman gestured with her hands, "Let us explain, before it's too late."
"Too late?" A short bearded young man behind the crowd questioned, "What do you mean? I have a family to get too. They'll be worried if I don't call soon!"
"My mother is very ill." Another distraught victim voiced; a middle-aged African-American woman in a red business suit, "I need to get back to her and my job! Who the hell do you think you are to keep us in like this?"
Others in the crowd also raised their worries and stressed their desire to leave. Bank tellers, elderly folk, young women and men and all creeds that stood about became bitter and riled at the two odd strangers. But as the noise level was too much for the black top hat individual, he took out his cane and slammed it to the ground. Once again the top of it glowed eerily and the mere sight caused everyone to stop talking immediately. The whole room began to light up in a faint red hue. He gave a contemptuous clearing of his throat and tried to explain to the many frightened onlookers.
"The creature was not of your world. Yes. It is now gone – of course. But, like it…you too are not able to return to – reality." He proceeded to walk around the group in a circle and tapped the glowing cane. With every step a shot of light beamed out of it while he continued to speak, "Hydroctinites are rare beings that manifest from fear and dark thoughts, and they feast on hosts that excel in these kinds of mental energy of this kind. One in particular, the one individual threatening this bank at the time, was the main source. The creature took that moment and increased the level to its most strongest point – thereby sending all of you into its realm and feasting on your fears for as long as it wanted."
"I could feel it draining you all of the fear." His female counterpart interjected in a somber tone, "The power from such a large group was overwhelming. No wonder it wanted you all to stay in this moment."
"Indeed." The man nodded as he faced away from her direction.
The people hadn't a clue as to what they were on about. The manager wondered if the local loony bin was missing a pair of patients. Their comments where met with several scoffs and ridicule, while others simply shook their heads in disbelief at the two spewing out utter nonsense. As the red light started to fade another softer white light took its place all around.
"Wait, wait – " The manager said rubbing his receding hair lined head in confusion, "Threatening individual? I don't have a clue as to what you're on about. You mean a bank robber? We weren't robbed, we were under attack by that thing."
"No." A young blonde female said behind him, a look of realization on her face, "They're right. There was a guy, I mean a – an armed man. I remember – sort of anyway – he – he told us all he was sorry, but he had to do it."
"Yes." The other older man in a wrinkled grey suit agreed, "I'm remembering it now too. He was crying, yet laughing…yes…I thought he was crazed."
Others shared the memory as it became clear to them all there was another event that happened before the creature appeared. The white light began to focus and swirled into one singular aperture on the other side of the room.
"It's happening." The slender dark dressed woman softly uttered to her cohort looking away.
"As it should." The man muttered back as he averted the increasing light.
"What – what does this mean?" The manager stammered in awe, "What's this all about? I don't understand."
"The man fired his weapon." The female stranger answered as she stared into the manager's eyes, "Not only at all those in room, but onto himself as well. You're all – dead. Living in one moment, a moment that is frozen in time and space."
"Wha-what do you mean – dead? I can't be dead!"
"You are." She assured him, "No one survived this ordeal. It was a fuelled moment of fear and anger that opened a rift and stranded you all in that moment. And now – " She said with a paused sigh of relief, "you are free."
The bright white light grew stronger and pulsated. In that moment, whispered voices danced about, various and numerous – they caused all the patrons to turn and walk towards it.
"Momma?" The red suited black woman questioned straining to hear, "Is that you? I hear you, is that daddy too?"
The woman walked into the focused light and slowly faded out of existence. The others, one by one, began to do the same. Each one heard a voice and called for them – the light absorbing their bodies and bringing them into its depths. The manager tried to stop them, he begged them to turn around and not listen to the light. For all that he saw, he remained defiant about his death, this was just some twisted joke in his view and pointed bitterly at the two darkly dressed individuals keeping their gaze away.
"I knew you two were trouble. What have you done?" He bitterly shouted, "These people have lives, families and you – you – you just come in here and give us some garbage about us being dead because of some idiot bank robber? Whom I have no memory of what so ever!"
"Naturally." The pale gaunt-looking man in black snickered, "I did not say there was a bank robber. The only robbing going on was that of lives. Yes, robbing the lives of all those innocent people – an awful, twisted crime to say the least. A last resort from someone tormented by a – demon, if you will; one who was more then willing to end not only his suffering, but one directed at others as well."
The manager stepped back in fear and gazed at the man with realization. Those heavily tinted sun-glassed with rounded rim circles stared back at him. In the reflection of them was the manager; he looked very crazed, laughing hysterically with tears streaming down his face - and brandishing a gun in hand. The imagery was in slow motion as showed the grizzly demise of the people from the bank – it was brutal, gruesome and terrifying to witness.
At the end of the killing spree, it showed the manager taking the gun to his own temple and ending the nightmare; the rounded dark glasses returned to normal and all that was left was a reflection of him in shock. It was a horrifying revelation that caused him to drop to his knees in anguish.
"You once where the bank manager, but no more on that day." The woman stated coldly, "You simply snapped after a long bout of loss, frustration and deeply disturbing thoughts. That gave the creature the chance to unleash itself upon you and have you bring all the others in as well. It simply was, for all intended purposes, a moment of weakness on your part to allow the being to guide your actions to the point of no return."
"I couldn't stop it." The manager blubbered, "I was just so angry at everything. My wife for leaving me, my children for disrespecting me, being investigated for fraud – oh, god it was all so much on me!"
As the man continued to whine on and on about his life woes, the dark pair turned to each other and walked back towards the darkly lit exit. The light had drawn in all of the people except the manager collapsed on the floor. He witnessed the pair leaving him behind and the light started to close and fade away. He rose up quickly and shouted to them.
"Wait! Don't leave me like this! I want to go too!"
The couple froze in their tracks; they turned to each other, but made no effort to look back at the distraught manager.
"It was not entirely his fault you know." She stated with a raised brow at her colleague, "You've always taught me that it's the moments that define our course of action. Perhaps the creature simply coerced him to make that choice?"
"No." He grumbled in frustration, "He still had a choice. To listen or to let it go." With a quick glare back, he pursed his lips with a thought, "Perhaps…one last choice can be made."
The gothic figure turned around and tapped his cane in rhythm to his strut. As he approached the groveling soul, he sighed and took out a sheet of paper from within his dark coat. He uttered strange words to it and a glowing symbol appeared. It was almost alien in design, yet simple in its composition; the paper appeared to be of an old parchment of some type. He handed it to the distraught man and glared at him with those rounded dark-glass covered eyes.
"Here." He sternly said with a raised right brow, "Take this and end this suffering once and for all."
"W-w-what do I do with it?" The manager sniffled.
"Look at it and reflect." He simply stated.
"What will happen?" He sheepishly spoke with slight gaze in the darkly dressed man's rounded specs; he was only met with silence. He held the paper nervously and looked over at the woman standing behind. "Who are you people? How do you know about all this? What will happen to me?"
"The only thing we can give you." She sighed with pity, "And to your question of who we are…"
"Stop." The top-hatted man said with his right hand up, it silenced them both as he pointed to the paper again. "You've stalled this long enough. If you're looking for answers, then all you need is on that page."
The man reluctantly nodded and took his gaze to the page handed to him. It was an ancient parchment as he had thought, the red symbol flashed as if it was on a computer screen. As he studied the symbol with an intense curiosity, it leapt off of the page and attached itself to his forehead. It sizzled and smoldered as it burned into his brain and caused the man to shriek in agony. A sudden flash of red light engulfed the manager and vaporized him instantly. Now the room was dark again, the white light blinked out quickly and left only shadows of what was truly there.
The wooden pillars where in shambles, the marbled floors where cracked and dusty, the teller desks were ripped apart as if scavenged; the main doors – where both the dark clothed man and the woman stood near – had no glass, only boards covering it up. The building was vacant, desolate and weathered by countless years of aging. The slender woman picked up the paper the manager had used and looked at it herself.
"It's blank again." She observed, "Is the paper enchanted as well?"
"Enchanted?" The top hatted man scoffed, "Oh my dear, Miss Shadow – there is no such thing. The paper was paper, the writing was writing, but the belief in the meaning of the word – " He paused in thought, walked over to the woman, gently took the page from her hand and placed it back into his coat. "That is far greater power then anyone will ever know."
"Such riddles, honestly –" She mused in frustration, "I think you enjoy keeping these mysterious secrets to yourself."
He turned to her with a surprised glance and raised his right eyebrow. He hadn't been expecting such a blunt and disrespectful tone from her. It still rather amused him and gave a slight smirk in response. He gave a simple tap of his cane and turned around slowly to head for the exit.
"In time, my dear student, you too will learn all that I know – and perhaps a bit more."
"Another riddle, Professor Darkk?"
"No my dear." The man stated as he stopped to glance back, "Wisdom."
Miss Shadow shook her head and smiled at his response. Together they walked out of the ruins of the abandoned building and headed out.
It was full on into the night hours as they exited the derelict bank; old chain-link fencing that had been erected around the structure surrounded the building. The words on the weather beaten sign read:
WARNING! This building has been condemned by the city - Do not enter!
It clearly wasn't enforced as numerous offenders, including that if the two darkly dressed individuals, they stepped though the sizeable gap large enough for them without any effort to pry it open. The street was as vacant as the building; it was badly lit, eerily quiet and desolate.
The shadow of darkness embraced the lane way that was out of reach of the twitching streetlights that struggled to shine down on the crumbling asphalt. The duo almost melded with the darkness surrounding them as they stepped onto the cracked sidewalk. Turning back to gaze at the bank one last time, Miss Shadow, bit her lower lip in thought.
"I can't believe they were trapped in there for so long."
"Thirty-five years is a mere drop in the ocean of time." Professor Darkk quipped as he looked back with her. "In fact, probably less of a fraction of that"
"Could we not have at least attempted to bring them back to the mortal realm?"
"That is well beyond our abilities, my dear."
"But you've told me that the possibility could be achieved if one harnessed enough power."
Darkk held up his hand to quell her insistence. He could see the emotions rising up and tried his best to end this conversation before it turned into a full on debate.
"And learning to control such power is needed to understand why some circumstances cannot be undone." He stated in an authoritative tone, "They are free. At least you can find some comfort in that."
"Comfort?" She winced in anguish, "How can there be any comfort sending them into...well, oblivion?"
"You think it oblivion?"
"Yes." She nodded, but then arched her head back slightly gazing at him. "Don't tell me you believe in heav -"
"As I said -" Darkk interrupted quickly and with his right finger promptly pressed to her lips for silence, "There are many things you still need to learn. One of which is to not question your teacher."
As he released his finger, he proceeded to adjust his dark leathered gloves and raised his brows once again. With only the reflective black mirrors of his spectacles to look into, Miss Shadow could not tell if he was being comical or serious, she instead decided to release the tension by changing the subject.
"I found it odd the creature had such a deep fear of us, or I should say, of you - specifically. It was old, very old, and it had a vision of you in its minds eye. Tell me, Professor, just how old are you?"
"Old enough." He smirked playfully, but soon a look of concern washed over him and stroked his thinly bearded chin.
"What it is it?" Ms. Shadow asked with genuine concern. She had seen the sudden distracted gaze from him before, usually when something had entered his mind that disturbed him greatly - which was a rarity at best, never had anything shaken this mysterious man in all the time she had known him. Only a few times had there been any concern in Darkk's eyes, those moments signified something was about to happen – something utterly drastic.
"Can you not feel it?" He said to her.
"Feel?" She shrugged, "I feel nothing."
"I feel it…" Darkk straightened his back, "I've felt it ever since we came here."
"The time is coming." He uttered quietly, "If this being managed to get though, that means..."
She waited for an answer as his words trailed off only managing a sharp glare towards her with his rimmed sunglasses. Miss Shadow jerked her head back slightly as the intensity of the stare from those shrouded eyes; it caught her off guard and left only an inquisitive gawk in return.
"We need to prepare!" He suddenly spoke with authority; he tapped his twisted black cane to the ground and the crimson jewel flashed momentarily.
From out of the darkened street, intense blue headlights beamed out like the slanted eyes, like that of a predatory animal awakening. The roar of an engine revved up as the ominous eyes came closer with great speed. As street lamps revealed the vehicle, it showed its true form. It was darkly black with almost no sheen or reflection of light. While it did resemble the shape of a slim lined sports car – a heavily tinted windshield and the rumbling of an engine powering it – the skin of the vehicle was more like a hellish nightmare.
The car seemed alive and in constant motion; its mottled web-like strands of black twisted and contorted continuously. As it parked beside the two, Professor Darkk stepped to close to the vehicle and placed his cane over the front of it. With a deep, sharp thrust downward, the cane lowered inside as it was absorbed by the ever-shifting pattern of the dark web. On either side of car, the webbing pulled back to reveal the seats awaiting them inside.
"Care to elaborate?" Miss Shadow said as she stepped over to the passenger side, "What has you so spooked, my dear Professor? What are we preparing for?"
"Not spooked." He quickly retorted with a raised index finger, "Concerned. There is something happening and we must investigate it at once." He lowered his finger and patted the top of the roof of demon-like car, "As to what we are preparing for – let's just say – " He then smirked at her, "It's a challenge. Yes. Come my dear, Miss Shadow – the adventure awaits us."
"Adventure?" She smiled while fluttering her eyes with anticipation, "You always know how to spark my interest."
The two quickly sat into the hellish vehicle and allowed the doors to cover back over. Once it was finished, the engine roared like a beast and switched its panther-like headlights to full intensity. With one full squelching rotation of its tires, the car drove off into the night faster then a blink of an eye.