"A Shadow Man Story"
By John Pirillo
He stood there frozen in time and space, the shadow streams whirring past him, his arms outstretched, a pistol in each one. The classic two fisted gun slinging detective poses from the old Golden Age Detective Stories. Except. Except he was real. He wasn't really a detective. And he wasn't trying to stop a crime. Least not the kind that most people might think of as a crime. No, he was the Shadow Man, prepared for...
The shadow streams opened up and he slipped into the one on his right and into the middle of hell. He had no choice. He began firing his weapons over and over and over.
By the time he was through. There was smoke from the weapons curling through the air, like snakes of smoke with lives of their own. Death stank. All around him. Not the kind of clean death you might smell in a mortuary, or a hospital. But a foul death. Of something that had no right to exist in norm space. The world of humans.
He kicked at the lifeless blotch of red and fur at his feet. It rolled over, revealing tusks the size of razor blades and equally as sharp. There were multiple eyes, all wide open in the shock of its sudden death. To its right and left were four more of the Death Bringers, as he preferred to call them. Because that's what they did in our world. Brought death. Death and destruction. They were invisible to everyone, but whom they were killing or him.
Sobbing caught his attention.
He swung around, snapping in fresh clips into each weapon without thinking as he did so, prepared for a new siege if necessary. It wasn't.
Huddled in a fetal position in a corner of the sealed room was a small child. Her hair was golden brown...once. Not anymore. His eyes saw the goodness of her soul. She was bright on the inside, just a bit cooked on the outside by the Death Bringers.
"It's okay." He finally said, stepping towards her. "I'm here to bring you home."
She kept sobbing.
He finally stopped next to her. He put his weapons back into their shoulder slings in front of his chest, and then stooped to gently turn her face to look at him.
Her eyes were filled with tears.
"Please don't hurt me." She begged.
"I would never, never, never hurt you." He promised, and then gently lifted her into his arms. She was a bit too old to carry, but this once he'd make an exception. She was crushed by what had happened to her and around her. "Close your eyes and don't open them until I tell you too." He told her.
"Will it hurt?"
He laughed gently. Hurt?
She looked into his face. "Will it?"
"Trust me. Just close your eyes."
And what she saw in his eyes at that moment must have met her need for security, because she pulled tighter against him and shut her eyes. He slipped back into the shadow planes that same moment, not wasting a second of the precious time he had. They flew like the wind, except there was no wind in this void of shadows. Only currents that ran throughout time and space, throughout the universe.
His eyes narrowed a moment, and then he caught the thread he had been sensing. He slipped into that and lit on a nice and clean shag rug, complete with a huge shaggy dog, which jumped up and began barking at him. He set the girl down and the dog, which had been targeting him, leaped on her instead and began licking her face happily. She was solemn at first, then she let go and began to laugh like the child she was.
An adult woman, her eyes blood red from weeping, saw him standing over the dog and girl. "Who are you? Get out of my house!"
He smiled at her. "My pleasure."
"Mommy, he saved me!" The girl yelled.
"Who are you?" The mother asked before he left.
He smiled at her again and tipped his hat. "The Shadow Man."
Then he slipped back into the shadows and vanished.
He'd leave it up to the mother to figure out a way to explain it to the little girl. She would probably have a tougher time accepting it, than her daughter who had experienced it. When he had time later on, he would slip back into the child's room and help her forget. It was part of the gift he had been given as a child, along with the ability to move swiftly and with certainty through the shadows.
He stepped to his right and into his living room. He threw off his overcoat, unslung his weapons and tossed them both on his sofa, then went into his bathroom to take a long, hot shower. The needles of hot water massaged the cramps from his muscles. There were a lot. He had saved two people this night. More than usual.
The Shadows were being stirred up by something. Something that didn't belong in the Shadow Realms. The fields of light and dark were ripe for something. But he never thought it would happen in his life. The balance had always been so perfect. Even his excursions made very few rippling effects on the fields. But this time, something was moving through the balances, disturbing them, breaking them up.
In the greater view of things, had he been a yogi, or a saint, he might have suspected that some kind of huge karmic event were in the making. Were he an avatar, maybe he would be preparing the masses for some kind of world event. But he was just a kid really. Hardly in his twenties. And a Shadow Man. A protector of those lost to the darkness, or about to be harmed by it. He wasn't a bringer of Light like Buddha or Jesus, but he didn't disturb the Light, he didn't avoid it or compromise it. He was its friend. Just not out in the open like the big guys. And he preferred it that way. No one would believe what he did unless he showed them and most who saw the shadow fields for the first time went mad or into total denial. He wasn't the one to try and shake up anyone's beliefs.
Let them believe that life was just getting up, making breakfast, going to work, coming home to dinner and going to bed. He knew better. Life was so much more. If his life was any indication, then a hell of a lot more.
His phone rang. He never used cells. They burned out around him, began receiving every text message ever sent. By the time he could scramble to stop it, his phone would overload and explode. Not literally, just kind of sag there, overheated, its plastic and glass fusing together. He had burned himself badly the first two times he had tried to use on in the shadow streams. Never three times. He'd learned his lessons.
"Hey!" He answered, his face lighting up. Even though he was beat, he always had time for family. He wiped himself further with his towel and sat down next to his overcoat and weapons. "Kind of late."
"Never too late for a brother."
He heard her laugh too.
"So what's up?"
"Is your TV turned on?"
He grabbed the remote and flicked the TV on. "Which station?"
Immediately, he saw a commentator with images of the White House burning. He flicked through channel after channel and saw the same thing. "God!" He exclaimed.
"They're all gone." She said, making choking sounds, no mistaking crying there.
"No one knows for sure. One of the President's men was outside on the main lawn, smoking when he turned around and saw the sky open up."
"Skies don't open up, Sis." He scalded her.
"This time it did."
"So what came out of it, big hairy monsters?"
He sat up hard, banging his head on the picture frame above him. "Damn!"
"You all right?"
"Just beat. Hard day."
"Loud and clear. Talk to you tomorrow."
"Love you too, you big oaf."
She hung up and he listened to the dial tone for several long moments, then slung the wet towel from him, rushed into his bedroom and hurriedly began throwing on fresh clothing. He ran into the living room, slung on his shoulder holsters and weapons, then his overcoat. He double checked the clips in his weapons were full, and then slipped into the shadows.
No rest for the wicked, he thought as time and space shot past him. No time for the good either. He thought next.
Then he stepped from the shadows into the burning hell of the White House, his weapons were out in both his fists.
"Ready or not, here I come!" He hollered and stepped from the shadows into the burning white hot hell of the White House.
Death Bringers. Everywhere!
He wasn't going to get much rest this night either.
He ran and fired as he did, sending the beasts flying to their deaths.
He had a vague idea of where the President's bedroom was and stepped into the shadow of a doorway, where the fires hadn't reached yet and slipped through the shadow streams into the President's room.
The very tall man turned from the door to his room, nursing his right hand which had touched the burning knob. "Who are you?"
"Right now, I'm your best friend."
"Did you cause this?"
He shook his head. "No, but I intend to end it."
He approached the President, who backed away.
"Don't worry; I'm not going to hurt you." The President looked into his eyes and what he saw calmed his fears.
"I know you?"
"No. This will only take a second. Close your eyes, Mister President."
The President hesitated.
"Please, it's for your own safety."
The President nodded and shut his eyes. "I hope I'm not going to..."
The Shadow Man touched him and they both slipped into the shadows, and then exited across the street from the White House. Reporters were there with camera men, commenting and taking photo coverage. One of them spotted the President as he stumbled onto the sidewalk. Dazed and confused.
"Thank you, young man." He said. But the young man was gone.
He had returned to the White House. There were a lot more souls in there that needed saving and time was running out.
He had thrown fresh clips into his weapons and he stepped from the shadows back into the White House and began firing, clearing his path of the Death Bringers, who leaped and clawed at him. But he was too quick. Faster. Smarter. And more importantly. He could see them.
It was going to be a long, long night, he thought as he found a Maid and headed towards her to save her. A very long night indeed.
He had left his TV on in his rush to save those in the White House.
He hadn't been able to save everyone, but he had saved a lot. But he didn't care at that moment, because as the TV commentator droned on about a mysterious man who had rescued the President and much of the staff, he was laying on the sofa, fast asleep. It had been a long, long, long night.
And even Shadow Men have to rest.