Date: November 25, 3008
Location: Navasota Island
I woke up in a dream today and put my cold feet on the floor. I tried to run from the mistakes I’ve made, but I’m not what I was anymore. I’m a little bit of a paradox, slow to realize, what all of this means. I run towards the light but the closer I get, the further it seems. Why must this always happen to me?
Blackness above shrouded my view as the storm raged overhead. A cold draft from an unknown source rushed into the room, filling me with a chilling despair. Slowly, I propped myself up against the backboard of the bed I had been sleeping in. Looking down to my side, it felt as if a part of me was missing, for Damiver was not there.
A rumble of thunder shook the building, as if Zeus himself was hurling thunderbolts onto the island. Though there were no windows, I felt as if I could see the lightning. Another blast shook the room like a miniature earthquake.
Suddenly, voices screamed in my head, followed by a loud bang that I could hear both physically and mentally. Opening my mind, I searched the building for any signs of disturbances. There they were, standing rigid, immobile in the kitchen. Maldran’s heart seemed to be beating extremely fast, as if excited by something, but Lily’s was calmer than calm. Whatever they were doing, Maldran was getting the worse of it.
Shutting their voices out, I focused again on the pattering of the raindrops on the ceiling as I lay back down in the bed. Whatever had woken me had passed from my mind, leaving without a trace. I’m sure it was not important.
He remained still as a fox, not daring to move. Yet I could not see his face as he stood with his back turned to me. I wanted to shout out to him, but something was holding my voice back.
Hey! I thought, trying to reach him telepathically, but he did not respond, nor did he even seem to have heard me. He couldn’t be ignoring me purposely…
Hey! Don’t turn your back on me! I shouted at him through my mind. But he remained ossified like a skeleton left out to dry. Confused and enraged, I stormed up to him, grabbed his shoulder and whirled him around. Immediately, I fell back in horror, for Damiver was not Damiver anymore.
His once soft black eyes had crystallized into star-shaped pupils. His sharp incisors were growing at an extremely fast rate, protruding into fangs that dripped of saliva. There was a wolfish aura about him, and when he roared, it made my hairs stand on end. Everything about him, everything that made him human, that made him mine, was gone, replaced by this foul beast.
As tears welled up in my eyes, he lunged forwards and I felt his fangs sink deep into my neck.
Bolting up, I let out a cry of astonishment as my dream left me in a pool of sweat. I sat there, breathing heavily, feeling my chest painfully heave up and down. Looking up at the black wall, I could still barely see the faint image of the deformed Damiver from my nightmare, but it faded away before long.
Slowly, I put my cold feet on the floor and walked to the shower. As the nozzle turned, I stepped in as the first drops of icy water landed on the floor of the shower. It was frozen at best, but I loved it. The feeling of arctic water running down my bare skin somehow thrilled me like no other. Tilting my head up, I thought of the rain as the shower pounded my face with its downpour.
I don’t know how long I stood there, just letting the shower engulf me, but when I finally let myself out, I could not feel anything anymore. I was numb all over, but it felt so good. Reaching for a towel, I started to wrap it around my body when something in the mirror caught my attention. Peering closer to the reflection, I noticed that triangular scar on my side. For some reason, my finger went to trace the pattern.
But as soon as my index finger reached my bare skin, it flinched away, as if shocked by an electric current. Yet indeed, I was shocked by the flood of memories. Shadows were all branded with this triangular scar for a reason that the Dominion never mentioned to me. Sometimes I had suspected that they just did it for fun, but other times, I could read into the minds of some of the careless officers that they just didn’t know why. But if they didn’t know why Shadows were scarred, then who did?
Then, without realizing why or how, I zipped up my black combat boots and stood up from the bed, dressed and prepared for battle. But to battle what? There were no enemies on Navasota Island. What had driven me to prepare for something that was not to be? What was wrong with me… with my mind?
Without warning, an explosion of voices erupted in my head, foreign intruders. Their thoughts immediately processed within the depths of my brain, and I instantly knew every single aspect of their lives. Quickly shoving everything into the back of my head, I dashed for my S-36 and inserted a clip. No sooner had I locked and loaded, an explosion tore through the building, making me stumble to the ground.
Hastily regaining my ground, I bolted towards the door. Not waiting to open the handle, I blasted the metal sheet off of its hinges, making it smash into the opposite wall. As I walked through the threshold into the darkened hallways, it clanged to the ground in defeat.
I rushed through the hallways, trying to meet up with the people I knew, but the intruders’ voices made it hard to define friend from foe. Whipping around a corner, I was suddenly face to face with ten people that I had just gotten to know. Acting upon instinct, I rolled to the ground and sprayed the entire hallway with my S-36’s steel cartridges. As their surprised bodies fell to the floor, I sprinted over them, not caring what their final thoughts were.
Rounding another corner in the labyrinth, I suddenly collided into Naz and Lily. Both of them were dressed in their respective pitch black and pure white uniforms, pistols hanging on the sides and katanas in hand. Something dark crimson dripped from the ends of their blades.
“Come on, Nova,” Naz hollered as the two Shadow Templars whipped around and sprinted in the other direction, “We have the others. Now we have you.” As the three of them ran through the dark corridors, Naz and Lily suddenly met up with a group of intruders. With amazing reflexes and skill, their katanas flashed in the faint light and before the men’s bodies hit the floor, they were already dashing away. As I stepped over the pool of blood oozing out in all directions from the soldier’s mutilated bodies, Naz called out from the front, “We’re getting out of here!”
A burst of gunfire shook the entrance hall as we rejoined the others who were also dressed in full combat gear. Whatever had possessed us to wake up in the middle of the night to prepare for a war was apparently on our side. Ducking down behind a large, ornate fountain, I covered my head as the concrete walls around me were penetrated with streams of steel, plastering the ground with a grey dust.
Taking a peek around the corner, I could see their dark faces in a line as more and more emerged through the portal.
“How did they find out?” Lily screamed over the gunfire as she sheathed her katanas and drew out her pistols.
“Damiver!” Mikhail roared back, firing his own FF-20 Fair Frozen Heavy Duty Machine Gun.
Whatever Mikhail had said, I could not take the time to comprehend, for at that exact moment, a large surge of energy flowed into my brain; another Shadow had just entered the fray. Peering around the corner of the stone fountain again, I felt my eyes dilate in surprise as a few soldiers flew into the air. My pupils followed their flight, ending with sickening crunches upon the polished floor. Focusing back on the portal, I had noticed a shadowy figure had just stepped in.
He was covered entirely by the blackness of the unlit room, but as the last fading screams of the invaders died down (Mikhail and the rest of the group had done an extremely efficient job), the figure became more apparent in my mind. There was an eerie aura about it; something about this Shadow didn’t seem quite right. But the others couldn’t see it.
“Did we get them all?” Maldran called out, his voice echoing off of the massive ceilings. However, before I could stop him from standing up, what seemed like a bolt of lightning screamed across the entrance hall, hitting Maldran full on in the chest and sending him hurling back into the wall. His back impacted the stone with a crunch and he fell to the floor, twitching in agony.
“Sh**!” Michael yelled as he rushed to his fallen comrade. Mikhail pushed him out of the way and put his hand on Maldran’s chest. As gunfire commenced in the reverberating hall, I could feel Mikhail mutter some incoherent words. Instantly a surge of energy rushed into Maldran’s body, and he gasped, choking for air as his spine miraculously healed itself. Wherever Mikhail had learned his healing abilities was beyond me, but I simply did not care.
The figure was moving agilely, seemingly dodging all of the bullets pursuing it. More pieces of stone broke off of the fountain at amazing velocities and rained down upon our position. A feeling of claustrophobia set in as the figure returned fire with two pistols of its own, even as it flipped through the air. To my left, Felix suddenly gave a loud cry of agony as he fell back, his rifle clattering to the floor. Blood stemmed out of a puncture wound on his shoulder.
“F*** this…” Naz muttered as Mikhail made his way to Felix’s writhing body. Looking on in hesitant awe, I watched as Naz dashed out into the open, drawing out a katana. In the darkness, I felt the figure accept the challenge, holster its weapons, and pulled out a blade of its own. Metallic clangs of steel on steel rang throughout the dark and broken entrance hall.
My mind focused in around the duel as bullets continued to rain upon the fighters. Even though the opposite walls of the hall were considerably far apart, Naz leapt with astonishing inhuman speed from one side to the next, meeting the figure half way with a clash of steel. Everything else seemed to move in slow motion as compared to their deadly dance, each meeting resulting in a flash of golden sparks. Unknowingly, Michael and Maldran, who was up now, continued to fire at the figure, oblivious of the fact that Naz had just pushed himself into the crossfire.
But that did not seem to matter, for Naz easily dodged the bullets as if they were traveling at half a mile hour if that. He landed on the floor for a split second and sprang up into the air. In mid-flight, he whipped around and slashed out at the figure. However, Naz’s opponent cunningly deflected the blow as it itself darted past.
Naz skidded to a halt and launched himself back at the figure, his katana aimed at its throat. The Shadow ran alongside the wall and jumped down, slashing downwards at Naz’s soaring body. However, just as the figure parried Naz’s stab, Naz agilely unsheathed his other katana with his free hand. A stream of red splattered onto the floor as the cold steel sliced through the Shadow’s abdomen.
Just as Mikhail got Michael and Maldran to end their trigger-happy frenzy, the Shadow fell to the floor and skidded to a stop near the entrance portal. The two of them, alongside a renewed Felix, switched on their flashlights mounted underneath their S-16s’ barrels, and focused on the defeated foe. Naz was standing over it, his katanas hanging limply at his sides, a smear of blood dripping on one of them.
As our group advanced and surrounded the felled Shadow, I could feel his thoughts dying away at the same steady rate of his loss of blood.
“Who are you?” Naz growled as he sheathed his clean katana; he kept the bloody one out, letting it bask in its glory. Naz’s eyes narrowed at the same time I saw that the Shadow’s pupils were in the shape of a star. “What are you…”
It let out a sickly laugh, raspy and hoarse. Blood gurgled in its throat as it spat out. Looking up, I could tell now from the gaunt face that the Shadow was a man. When he spoke, I could see yellow fangs gleam in the flashlights’ beams. “I am Ganzykus… A Shadow Ancient,” he coughed as more blood flowed out of his snout-like mouth. “You may have defeated me, but sooner or later, Nova will die…” And with that, his soul passed into the shadow realm.
I felt everyone’s eyes twitch from the Shadow’s cold body to my own. I was shivering. Ganzykus’s last cryptic message frightened me more than anything else in my entire life. A genuine cold shock jolted down my spine as my mind tried to concoct plausible reasons on how he knew my name. Moreover, he wanted me dead. I stood frozen to the spot as flashes of my nightmare came back to haunt me once more.