The Shadeland Sorrows (Excerpt)

The stranger sat in silence. The only light was an ancient hanging fixture that looked to have come from a rummage sale, covered in dust. It’s bulbs flickering uncertainly, bathing the area in a sickly yellow light. The room was a perfect square, just large enough for an extremely tall man to stand without ducking. The walls, ceilings, and floor were a uniform color of gray. There were no Windows but, perhaps more peculiarly, no doors.

The stranger was uncommonly tall, clad in a plain robe the same color as the room and resting on one elbow, the classic thinker position. The hood is pulled up the face hidden underneath. The figure move, there is no rising and falling as would be present in a normal creatures breathing pattern. Gradually a new light begins to shine, nearly imperceptible at first, from beneath the strangers hood. It pulses like the heartbeat of the dying. Like the rumble of thunder beneath the deaf and blind’s feet. It is faint but it is there and yet we still cannot make out what is beneath the hood.
There is a sound, gentle giggling like a child. It fills the room seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, and a smell. Burning rubber like you might recall back in high school when someone had an especially fine automobile and wanted to show it off. Under this smell is a lighter scent, harder to describe but of a universal substance. A bit like copper. The medics and soldiers know it well.

Then the light fades, as does the smell. The giggling cuts off abruptly and we’re left again with the fluorescent flickering. But does it seem brighter?
The stranger straightens. The contemplation appears complete and either a decision has been made or the pursuit given over to something else.


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