The sun sunk below the horizon; stretching out darkened fingers of night across the land. While light walkers would retreat to their homes, and hurry into areas of light; the creatures of the night emerged. Shadowlings spread from small patches of darkness that acted as their daylight hideaway, and into the darkness to spread out their cramped limbs. They danced, and flew through fields, deserts, and abandoned homes. Where the light walkers were few; the shadowlings thrived. As the sun finally vanished, the city lights glowed against the dark; warning smart shadowlings to stay away. While many preferred the calm of the night surrounded by other shadowlings, there were a few who attempted to live where the light walkers dwelled. Ink, was one of those shadowlings.
He sat on the darkened porch of an apartment complex. His obsidian eyes watching as the city lit up in front of him. The street lights buzzed as they hesitantly light up, creating pools of light beneath them. Cracked brick buildings glowed ominously in the low light creating a forbidding look. To most this would be the worse place to end up at night, but not Ink. He smiled. He had waited on the porch for her every day for a year. He knew that when the lights of the city came on she would come home. As if on cue a bus pulled up across the street. Its brakes hissed as the dull porch light turned on. Ink quickly merged to the shadowy wall as the light burned his arm. Shadowlings had a unique ability to both be humanoid, three dimensional beings, and two dimensional shadows on walls. Through squinted eyes he watched the bus pull away, and leave behind a young girl. She turned and walked toward the apartment where Ink was sheltering.
Her name was Casandra. She was 21, and had hair that was as blond as sunlight. She wore a brown suit, having returned home from interning at a law firm in down town. A purse bounced against her side as she walked. Ink looked at her as if he were in a trance. She was the most beautiful light walker he had ever seen, and in his love struck mind he could swear that she thought he was the most handsome shadowling she’d ever seen. Though he was fully aware that she couldn’t see him. No light walker had ever seen a shadowling. Perhaps a few could see something move out the corner of their eye, or sense someone was watching them, but otherwise shadowlings were invisible to the light walkers. Ink’s thoughts were then interrupted when he heard the key in the lock click open.
“Come on my little ghost, time to come in” Casandra chuckled to herself, and held the door open for what she believed to be nothing. Ink blushed dark black. He unfused from the wall, and glided into the dimmed corridor. He fused onto the wall, and turned to Casandra. She walked inside smiling; letting the door close slowly behind her. The door clicked locked automatically behind her. She began to ascend the steps to the fourth floor. Ink followed a few steps behind her. They reached the fourth floor, and Cassandra started to search through her fob for the key to her apartment. Ink watched her like a curious child. He never understood why she had so many jinglies when she only used two keys. Finally Casandra untangled the key and opened up the apartment.
“See that didn’t take too long this time, did it little ghost?” She opened the door wide, and Ink slipped along the wall inside. He heard Casandra laugh a bit from behind him as he quickly headed to the corner with the light out. Casandra flipped on the light switch and the apartment filled with a yellow glow; save for where Ink was standing. Casandra kicked her shoes off by the door; then laid her keys and purse on the nightstand next to the door. She walked over to the old brown Sofa, and picked up the remote; turning the light box to the news as she headed into her bedroom. Ink watched her leave into the other room, then turned to watch the light box. It hurt his eyes to watch it, so many small pin pricks of light, he could only watch it for a small while, before having to look away. He could hear the man in the light box talking though still.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the evening news at 9:00. There have been a series of-“
There was a loud crashing of water; it sounded like a waterfall coming from the other room. Ink jumped surprised, by the noise. The man on the light box was practically drowned out.
“Citizens………advised to……stay……… ”
Ink decided to ignore the light box as he wasn’t getting anything out of it, and slid to the floor, eyes closing listening to the sound of rushing water.
After about 20 minutes the water stopped and Ink awoke to the sound of something whirring in the bathroom. He looked toward the room concerned, and covered his ears as his form distorted slightly. Finally after 5 minutes of the wretched noise; it stopped. Ink breathed out a sigh of relief. Minutes later Casandra came out of her room. Her hair was down and puffed up. She wore a solid red piece of fabric that reached her knees, pointed heeled shoes, and a jean jacket. Ink knew something was up; usually she would enter her room and come out in big baggy pants, and a sleeveless shirt. Tonight though, that was obviously not the case. Cassandra shut off the light box, and went to gather her purse and keys.
“Sorry little ghost, but I’m going to head out for a bit tonight, you know, bit of a change of pace.” She opened the door making sure it was locked, and shut the lights out. Ink quickly glided out of the apartment before the door shut. He watched as she descended the stairs, then quickly follows her.
When Ink emerged onto the porch. He saw Cassandra walking down the sidewalk; her high heels clicked on the cement. Ink quickly glided to her side. Cassandra clung to the spots of light, while Ink clung to the shadows. Silently they both walked, where, Ink had no idea.
After a few blocks Cassandra turned down a dim alleyway. Ink looked at her confused as to why she, a light walker, would purposefully go down a dim alleyway. There was a door at the end of the alley; Cassandra knocked on it, and a man opened the door slightly. Cassandra produced a sheet of paper, and card from her purse to show the man. He looked closely at the two items, nodded, and opened the door for her. Ink followed her inside closely.
Ink immediately grabbed his head, his form distorting wildly. Inside the door were strobing multicolored lights, loud pulsating music, and light walkers everywhere bouncing around erratically to the pulsing music. Ink felt the music pulse right through him distorting his shape with every pulse. He drifted over to a dark corner of the club, and melted into the wall. He closed his eyes trying to adjust to the new scenery. In doing so though, he lost sight of Cassandra as she merged into the crowd of people.
After what felt like an eternity, Ink opened his eyes. He searched through squinted eyes for Cassandra in the crowd, but he couldn’t make anyone out through the strobing lights. Form distorting in the wall, he sluggishly moved across it. Slowly he glided around to a counter, returning to his humanoid form. The lights were dim here, and the strobe lights hardly passed over. He peered over the counter. There were glasses everywhere, and bottles of something lining the walls. There was a heavy stench of tobacco, and Alcohol that made Ink feel sick. He looked at the light walkers that surrounded the counter, and to his amazement spotted Cassandra!
She was sitting next to two girls that Ink did not recognize. The two girls chanted for Cassandra to chug the golden liquid in her glass. Cassandra rolled her eyes, and threw her head back; draining the drink in a single swallow. They all giggles and laughed, while Ink watched in confusion. He’d never seen Cassandra like this before. She was never in loud places like this, and he’d never seen her drink like this. It was unnerving, and Ink wished Cassandra, and him were back home with the light box on. This place was too loud, too bright, and it made him distort wildly; at least Casandra seemed to be having fun. He merged down into the floor as Casandra, and her friends ran into the crowd to join the other light walkers in their bouncing. Ink closed his eyes again shaking, wanting Casandra, and him to simply leave this place.
He woke up from what he could only guess was a few hours later. The music wasn’t blaring as loudly as before, and Ink regained his humanoid shape. He peered sluggishly over the counter. The light walkers were all giggling, and falling on one another, resulting in more giggling. Ink raised an eyebrow confused as he searched the crowd for Casandra. He was able to catch a glimpse of her golden hair in the crowd. She was bouncing around erratically with a man who was laughing playfully with her. Ink narrowed his eyes. He had a real bad feeling about the man. He seemed too in control. He wasn’t falling around like everyone else, and he wore black glasses over his eyes. He seemed to be talking to her, and she didn’t seem to really comprehend his words. The man smiled deviously, and started to escort Cassandra out of the building.
Ink went on high alert, and quickly began dodging light walkers in order to make it to Cassandra. A strobe light crossed his arm, burning him. Ink let out a silent yell of pain, but continued to cross the sea of light walkers. Strobe lights brushing across him along the way. He finally emerged from the mass of people; he was breathing heavily, smoke rising off his burnt body. He looked to see the man slip out the door with Cassandra. In a burst of speed Ink bolted out the door before it slammed shut.
Panting he quickly tried to catch up to them, but the man was putting Casandra in his truck. Ink’s eyes went wide, and using all his strength he jumped into the shadowy truck bed as the man ignited the engine. With a jolt the truck sped off down the street. Ink was tossed about in the bed of the truck; slamming into the sides of the truck bed. Ink managed to stabilize himself, and peer inside. He saw the man driving quickly, and he would glance from time to time to Cassandra. While Cassandra was hardly moving; Ink couldn’t tell if she was passed out or not. The truck hit a large pothole, and Ink lost his grip. He flew up into the air, and slammed back onto the truck bed. His vision blurred, and everything went dark.
When Ink awoke it was dark, well; it was darker. He bolted upright, looking around. Dark trees and telephone wires sped by as the truck thundered down the road. Ink looked around for the familiar lights of the city, but found that the only light around was from the stars above. Trembling, Ink looked into the truck again. Casandra was definitely not moving, and the driver didn’t seem concerned. Ink pressed his hand to the window wishing he could help her.
The ride became rougher and Ink was thrown to his back. Above the Sky was blocked out by thick trees. The truck came to a stop in front of an abandoned building. It stood in front of them, menacing, foreboding, tired presence among the trees. The man shut off the truck, and carried Casandra toward the house.
Ink quickly followed them into the house. He unsuccessfully tried to attack the man, but every blow was as heavy as light. The man quickly hurried up the stairs; Ink was right behind him. The man opened a door at the top of the stairs, Bright lights beamed out of the room as he entered. Ink stumbled back; covering his eyes. He screamed out in silent agony as the front of his body felt like it was on fire. Smoke curled from his body as his hit hard against the far wall, instinctively merging with it. The blinding light disappeared as the door slammed behind Cassandra, and her abductor. Ink trembled; his form distorted by his own fear, and pain. He cautiously looked to the door as odd sounds, and voices emanated from the other side of the door. There was nothing he could do; so he simply waited, and hoped that Cassandra would be alright.
Ink sat quietly by the door. He was still merged to the wall. Trembling; he held his head in arms. He quickly jerked his head up though when he heard the door open. The bright light was no longer present, and three man walked out holding coolers.
“Now you gotta take these to Vinny on 28th street, got that? You gotta move face though, these things won’t last forever in these coolers. We gotta freeze these proper like.” one of the men said.
“Yeah yeah we know George, this isn’t the first time we’ve done this you know!” Cassandra’s kidnapper snapped. The three men were arguing as they descended the stairs. “Oh, and Bobby on our way would you mind calling John to come and dispose of the evidence? Last thing we need is the cops down here investigating.”
Ink didn’t hear the response as the three men exited the house. He quickly unfused from the wall, and darted into the room before the door closed behind him.
The room was dark now. Four poles with lights on them stood in a circle; the now turned off lights pointed down on Cassandra. Ink’s eyes went wide and he kneeled by her side, checking to see if she was ok.
Cassandra laid in a pool of blood, and ice. Her neck has a large gash in it. Her abdomen, and chest were practically destroyed; practically all her organs were removed. Tears welled up in Ink’s eyes as he threw his hands to his face, silently sobbing. He would never wait on her porch for her return. There would be no more late nights watching the light box with her. No more watching her try to cook; only to have her end up ordering in. No more would he hear her call him her little ghost. No more anything; he didn’t even know where the city was, or where they were. He was alone with the one person he had called friend, and even then she was gone too.
His sobs were then interrupted by someone else crying. He glanced up from his hands in disbelief. He knew that when he entered the room was empty; besides Cassandra and himself of course. He looked around unnerved, trying to figure out where the crying was coming from. His glassy obsidian eyes fell upon a darkened corner of the room where a shadowling was curled up crying. Ink tilted his head and slowly glided to the shadowling.
“H-hello?” Ink asked quietly. The shadowling gasped, and looked up at him. Ink’s eyes went wide. She looked like Casandra, but that was impossible Cassandra was a light walker, and dead. Ink knelt down to the shadowling, “Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you. I call myself Ink, what’s your name?” The shadowling started to cry again.
“I-I-I don’t know! I can’t remember, and I don’t know where I am or how I got here!” she exclaimed, falling back into her sobs.
“Hey, hey, it’s ok, I’m lost too. I don’t know where I am. I followed my friend here, and she’s gone now.” Ink looked down, then looked at the shadowling. She had stopped crying, looking at him sadly.
“I’m so sorry. I wish I could help, but I don’t even have a name”
Ink smiled a bit, and held out his hand. “You know, I could help you find a name. I gave myself the name Ink, and well since we’re both lost maybe we could be lost together?” The shadowling smiled, and took Ink’s hand.
The two shadowlings had talked for almost half an hour; which included the naming of the new shadowling Dot. The man called John had returned to take care of Cassandra’s body, and the equipment. The two shadowlings took the advantage of the propped open door, and glided out into the night together to find a new place to call home.