When it came to sleep it was always best to have a comfy bed, soft sheets and warm blankets. I always loved the fluffy pillows as it helped me rest my head easier. My bed was made perfect after time in the military. Never again would I have to sleep on those stiff beds or cots. It was time I felt the comfort of good sleep and spoiling myself.
Rest did come to me but something felt off as I laid in bed. Everything was right and in place. I wished I could remain there sleeping my day away. Yet my mind returned to the fact this did not seem right while everything was as I remember down to the finer details. Where was this feeling coming from? It made me toss and turn trying to understand till a voice drew me from the darkness.
“Ma?! I need your help!” It called out muffled coming through the walls.
Both my ears raised as I tried to sit up in bed but bumped into something causing a moment of disorientation. A grumble escapes as I try to look up at what was in my way. Nothing should be above my bed but what was that? That odd feeling slowly creep in as my vision returned.
A voice rose up with a dark twisted sound to it, all too familiar to me. “Oh don’t worry about your pup. He is perfectly fine. I made sure his room was all rooted up. No point in letting him escape the apartment.”
My eyes instantly shot open as I stared up at the twisted smile I knew all too well. It was him, the shadow that never let me even rest properly. But he was in my bed! Knelt over me with what I figured was some kind of weapon in his hands. It was till he raised it up over his head that it was clear some form of Scythe. I was unaware of him owning such a weapon but it’s been years since we saw each other face to face.
His chuckle brought fear into my body as I shook for a moment. “What? Did you think I would never come back? I’m back and I am prepared to deal with you. Your mind is dangerous and I need to get rid of it. And here you never realized you actually have family here. And she had not figured you out. Oh well. Goodbye.”
Time felt like it slowed down as his words trailed off. The scythe was moving rapidly in my direction and I froze. A slight tug on my arm brought my senses back allowing me to roll out of bed to let the blade slice into the bed itself. It ran through all layers before slamming into the floor below.
Landing on the floor I looked across under the bed making notes before grabbing at a hidden compartment. Pulling it down I was ready to grab what was within. Feeling around in the compartment I tried to find a hidden pistol. As more seconds tick on I realized that there was nothing there. My prepared weapon is gone. Confusion filled my mind as I reached for another. It too was empty of the weapons I kept in case of an emergency. And they're all gone!
A wicked chuckle rose up as the weapon got pulled from the floor then bad to rest on the shadows shoulder. “Oh no. All those weapons are missing. Where ever could they have gone?” A grin spread across his whole muzzle “I made sure they are not there to aid you. I know what your thinking…You can’t get anything past me, remember?”
I let a growl escape glaring up at him. “I still keep things from you. You know that. Don’t play this game with me.” Taking the chance I moved to roll into a somersault to the end of the room to get some distance. Coming to a stop I spun around to bare my teeth at him as I could feel the rush of panic and anger going through my body. I had two objectives, one to save Simon and another to contact Campus security.
I could see a small shrug as he addressed my comment. “You do. But I know enough of your important thoughts to make a full proof plan. You are not getting out of this one. Just accept your fate, soldier. You can rest as you will never find yourself a true goal. Oh, all alone as a single mother. You almost had a full family again. Oh well.”
Standing on my bed he turns to face me fully with no defensive stance. It confused me as he knows I am combat trained. Closing my eyes I worked on clearing my mind and drawing in the darkness around me. To touch the depth of cold and draw it close. I always found it funny that I welcomed the cold of loneliness when really I wished for someone else. Why these thoughts arose, I was not sure unless it was like me giving in.
He stood there watching me with little amusement. Like he was expecting something or the opposite. As I tried to call the shadows there was no response. None of them would come to my aid leaving me with no weapons or my arts. What were my options here? My eyes widen as he suddenly lunges at me with the scythe rotating around his body and coming at me. Rolling to the side I watched the blade slam into the wall, grazing a few hairs of my fur.
A snort escaped him as he felt the impact and looked at me. “You sure are a pain in the ass. Just die so I can continue my work. Always hated your reflex and limber body. Just a tad higher than your strength.”
Just as he spoke my ears rose to the sound of wood starting to groan and crack. Other screams filled the air after as the world started to shift. I stood next to the door to the living space where I saw it. A fracture line suddenly formed through the center of the apartment. What was this idiot doing? Going on all out war against the University? But that was not his normal goal.
“What the hell are you trying to do here? You're not this reckless if you're doing this much damage…And how? If your after the stupid book, you have my memories to copy them down.” I spat on the floor taking in my situation. Was there a victory here or would I need to retreat? But where? He knows my family home in Duskwood.
“Ma! Please help me!” Simon’s voice called out again. His voice grew more desperate as I turned in the direction of his room.
Sound of wood breaking suddenly filled my ears as it came from extremely close to me. My eyes could barely catch this root slithering up out of the floor before me. Red thorns with a dark energy flowing through it. As it got close one of the thorns suddenly burst out, nailing me in the stomach and then nailing me to the wall. Its size grew rapidly and expanded too fast for me. I felt the warm sensation of blood slowly covering my hands as I worked to pull it loose. Things went from bad to worse at that moment.
The Shadow had his hand extended in my direction meaning he had to be the one manipulating it. But this root is corrupted. Where did he get this energy I thought was sealed away. Were there still remnants somewhere? The nightmare energy should not even be here or his grasp.
“So many questions, I can hear them all. Come on now. You think I was just sitting around? As if…I spent my time planning and meeting your friends, like miss Maureen. She was a delight if kind of weak.”
A feral growl drew up from within my being as I barked back. “She is not weak! You have yet to see what she can do. Trust me, I have…” At that moment my gut was on fire as I pried the thorn from my stomach and stood before him. Tossing it aside I ignored the blood running through my fur and clothes. “You sure are pathetic. Going at tactics like this.” I was about to attack him but then recalled Simon. Turning slightly I chose to run into the living room and seek his door.
Rounding the corner another shake ran through the apartment throwing me off. I fell to the floor a moment as suddenly the room started to split in half. More of the tainted roots rose up entangling the building. Room to fight or get away was getting even harder. Getting my eyes on Simon’s door I was faced with roots that have fully blocked the door and rooted in. He was trapped and I had no way of getting in. What was I to do?
His voice filled the room as he walked in twirling his scythe in hand. “See what I am talking about? You can’t get to him. I see he is about…done? So you should focus on yourself.”
While he spoke a sensation of panic filled me as I clawed at the roots of the door. “No! Give me my son! What kind of monster are you?” Wood curled up with the drag of my claws. I had to get in there no matter what.
In the heat of the moment I felt like static broke in my ears as a familiar voice spoke but in a feral tone. “You are on my territory! Get off my territory!” As fast as it came it went away.
I slowly stopped as I felt something deep within stirring. Many years ago I managed to keep it contained and under control. But right now somehow it felt loose and out of control. Turning to face the shadow I could tell he looked partly distracted with something. Something was up and I needed to know.
“What is going on…What was it I just heard? That was my voice but…darker.” I said starting to pace him. My footing wavered slightly as the building shifted a bit more to the point I could see across campus. The building almost looked ready to come apart.
That dark gaze from his red eyes focused back on me as he glares. “Just an unexpected side effect. Nothing to worry about. You have a world here being torn to pieces. And your son is about dead. Are you going to let him die?”
A part of me was very skeptical as I watched him. It was then another static sound came to me. “We protect this territory. Go near our son and I will have your neck…” The sounds were followed by a whine as a sharp pain filled my back. Something was there and I could not pull it out.
I let a scream of pain out as I grabbed at my back “What the hell is that? I…” Freezing for a moment I stared at the Shadow with growing hatred. “What is this? I know for a fact this can’t be real. You would never be this reckless.”
A huff escapes as he stares me down “Oh I can be. Have done it in a few places. You remember that last fight we had? You almost died from your injuries after the mission. I will kill you, that is my primary goal. And you're secluded here from everyone. They all have their own troubles to deal with.” His usual wicked grin returned to his muzzle while raising his scythe.
There was no hesitation as he charged in with a horizontal swing. I could tell he was not playing around as it held nothing back. Diving to the ground I worked to avoid the swing and take a leg sweep to him. It made contact and threw him to the ground for a moment. Roots from the nearby opening were quickly to pick him up and place him back on his feet and start curling around him.
A growl escapes as he peers over his shoulder. “Just give up. This is a no win fight….” As he said that his eyes look off with a wince. “Shit…This is too much…”
I watched him trying to figure out what he was doing. It was then that the world around me began to fade and an exhaustion overwhelmed me. Hitting the ground my eyes slowly shut with him fading off like a shadow. The world around me faded out with him as I drifted to sleep.
Sometime later I found myself regaining focus and opening my eyes. I was on the floor but it was not home. Instead I was on the floor of my office. Papers lay scattered about with some shattered glass. The shot glass she recalled had been shattered but there was a growing pain in my back. Reaching back I found a hook in my back. Then I realized it was my grapple hook that I found stuck in my back.
Sitting up slowly I reach back trying to pull it free. The pain was too much and it was hard to reach behind my back. Help was needed but who would she trust this with? My mind wandered a bit as I sat there bleeding out my back. After a moment I found myself leaning forward to cough a bit, spitting up some blood on my hand. There was only one person she trusted.