Three things; first the beginning is a little slow so bear with me.
Second, please review anything is helpful. Tell me you love the story, you hate it or you want to strangle me all is accepted!
Third, the beginning is a little dark but the whole story won't be gloom and doom.
Now then onward to the journey!
"Death, like birth, is a secret of nature."
In a hospital room on the fourth four laid a young man 19 years of age. He was minutes away from death and he knew it. His body was failing, he could feel his innards rotting away here on the hospital bed. As he finished what would probably be his last book he looked out the window to see the rain pouring. Really? I couldn't at least get a little sun on my last day?
The young man thought over his life once more and was not impressed. Growing up on a small ranch had made for a short childhood and some skills handling horses and guns. He had barely gotten through high school being too focused on girls and having a good time. When he wasn't busy with those things he was working construction which wasn't too bad in his mind. Over all though, it seemed like his life had been rather pointless. He hadn't done anything real special, no saving someone's life, no becoming a millionaire, not even having a job where they couldn't replace him in a few days. The fact was in the end he hadn't been anything more than a red shirt and it filled him with regret.
The thoughts of his past slowly turned to present. It all started with feeling like he had the flu and then next thing he knew he was throwing up bloody vomit. The doctors had said that it was literally rot gut. His organs were starting to die off and were deteriorating at an extreme rate and there was next to nothing they could do to even slow it. The pain had wrecked his body and almost shattered his mind. It was always present even in his dreams he felt the sore dull ache that served as a reminder of his ever encroaching demise. With every move he made pain would spike through his muscles and each breath he took felt like someone trying to squeeze his lungs into mush. The most he could do was read books or watch TV. It was a literal hell for him, stuck for three weeks in a bed, unable to move, hardly able to breathe and feeling his body waste away. He prayed for respite in any form even if it meant death.
He held his hand up to his face and cringed as he took in the details. It had once been dark and calloused from the long hours of labor in the sun. Now it was ghost of its former self pail, weak and sensitive. His gaze dropped to his arm and disgust began to fill his soul. Had he the strength to lift his other hand he would have easily been able to fit his fingers around the widest part. He was angry that this disease had taken so much from him. His life, his future, his mobility, his strength and his hope it was all just too much.
His head sank back into the pillows and darkness began to creep into his vision. Death was here to claim him and his final thoughts were Wish I could have had one last cigar before I went.
And with that James Bowdrie died.
Hell was not of fire and brimstone, it was nothing but blacks and grays. A barren rocky land of silence, twisted husks of trees and a fog so thick you could barely see your hand in front of your face. In this hell is where James found himself curled up with his knees to his chest eyes screwed shut hoping to block out the landscape around him. His first feeling of the afterlife was cold. It was bittersweet, the pain that had wasted his body away was gone but in its place was a deep chilling cold. The hospital gown did very little to keep the cold out. Guess you can take it with you when you go.
"Just can't catch a break," he muttered to himself as he got up and took in his surroundings. Shivering he wrapping his arms around himself trying to keep the warmth in. Attempting to walk James realized just how much the disease had taken from him; his legs shook from the strain of getting up after weeks of rotting away on a bed. He fell face first his first attempt but quickly got to his knees and tried again. This time was successful and he began to walk a little unsteady at first but quickly regaining his balance through persevering. The fog began to disperse a little revealing more charred and burnt husks of trees but also the flicker shadows.
James's heart flickered as his sharp eyes picked out the shadows waiting in the fog. They collected just ahead him still cloaked in the fog intent on cutting him off. Turning left James saw yet more figures gathering. Turning again to head back the way he had come he could see that rout had been cut off by the figures that had probably been fallowing him. Trying not to panic James didn't move a muscle and thought. The only idea that came to mind made him cringe. He had to run in the only direction left.
The first few steps were little more than a somewhat fast stumble. The weakened muscles in his legs began to remember the simple action and picked up the pace. The cloaked figures were already on the move attempting to cut him off. One got between him and freedom. It quickly shot out its 'arm' at James. He narrowly dodged under it and kept running he could feel the shadows fallowing him but he dared not to turn and look instead he focused only on running. He was already winded but he wouldn't stop, not till his heart exploded.
The fog suddenly thickened and the ground dropped away and James found himself tumbling down a steep incline covered in sharp rocks. They tore at the hospital gown and the body underneath, drawing blood and curses. The young man hit a large bolder that brought his tumble to a painful end. Clenching his jaw to stop from crying out he crawled behind the bolder to hide. Weakness threatened to overtake and it would be so easy to just close his eyes and fall into slumber, but he didn't give in. Steeling himself James held his breath and waited for what felt like an eternity. Then the Shadow People, as he now thought of them, drifted by heading the same direction as he had been going. Dozens passed by none seemed to notice the young man almost choking behind the bolder. When they all seemed to pass James let out the breath he had been holding.
Shadow, Seer Of More Than Most, watched as its siblings chased after the non-shadow down the hill. It knew they must destroy and consume the soul within the non-shadow or else it would bring more non-shadows and that would destroy its home. Moving down the hill it began to think, something it hadn't done in millennia. The non-shadow had fallen down the hill but Seer Of More Than Most hadn't seen it running away at the bottom. This confused it immensely how could the non-shadow not be where it should? Maybe its siblings had been right to keep going in the direction they had last seen the non-shadow go. Then true to its name, Seer Of More Than Most, spotted the large boulder that blocked its view of what was beyond it. Moving towards and around the boulder it was greeted with the sight of the non-shadow cowering like a cornered beast. It knew it should have summoned the others but that would take precious seconds and the sooner it ended the non-shadow the sooner it could stop thinking. It was not worried nothing could react faster or more precise than a shadow. So it drew its self up ready to rip the soul out from within the non-shadow and consume it. It launched its' shadow scalpel but the non-shadow was quicker! It sprang forward ducking under the attack with a snarl, its hand shot out and gripped at it where its neck should have been. Seer Of More Than Most panicked, the forward momentum of the non-shadow had set its balance off and it fell back and tumbled down the hill. At the end of the tumble the non-shadow came out on top still gripping its' neck still. Fear gripped it as it saw the rather large jagged rock in non-shadows' other hand held above its' head ready to strike. With one last desperate move Seer Of More Than Most shot its shadow blade out hoping to claim the non-shadows soul.
As the rock came crashing down ending Seer Of More Than Most its shadow scalpel brushed against James's soul it witnessed an image of a dark tan snake coiling around two weapons, one was silver, the other was black and both had ivory handles.
The rock plunged into the Shadow person causing it to disperse like smoke caught in a strong wind. James shivered as he suddenly felt what little warmth he had drain from him at the touch of the shadow. Standing quickly he scowled and spat where his attacker had been slain, a little warmth returned at that. He breathed heavily his lungs starved of oxygen. Taking a quick look over his body James noted that his feet were badly cut up, his arms and legs had a few gashes and cuts but nothing too serious, his torso how ever had a deep slice running diagonally down his chest to his hip. Taking the ripped and torn hospital gown off, he rolled it and attempted to cover the deep wound on his chest.
"Not much use for modesty here."
James stood still for awhile just thinking trying to make sense of the world. Slowly a smile crept across his face. They had hunted him but he had flipped the tables. Not only did he get away but he had killed one of his hunters. It was a simple and clear message to him. If I can escape and kill one why can't I kill all of them? And with that in mind, James set forth knowing that he would be more than these shadows prey. He would be their hunter and thrive in this world where his flesh and blood was the only color.
James Bowdrie had always had a mean streak but on the day of his death he had gotten a little meaner.
A/N well there you have it! Please R&R and tell me what you think.
Thought of the day: Survival doesn't show who's wrong and who's right, just who's willing to go the farthest.