It is said good will always triumph over evil.
But who is to say what is truly evil and what is truly good?
The girl I spoke with before remains exactly as I left her. The tears that ran from her eyes are now dried up and a slight smile is played across her face. I kneel down in front of the cell. “One of my friends will come down here in a minute with the keys. They will take good care of you okay?” she nods happily, a glimmer of what could be hope lighting up her dark eyes. I waste no time in getting back to the others, quickly making my way back down the dirty corridors. When I return I am met by grins and laughter. “You did it kid! I knew you could!” Maize shouts. Xzenox has already got out of his chains and has removed my own as well. He passes the keys to me through the bars and I unlock his cell, along with Talow’s and Maize’s. “There is a kid at the end of the second corridor. I need one of you to get her out and bring her back here. Maybe Talow would be best.” I laugh a little. “As you and Xzenox can be a little scary.” Maize folds his arms.
“If you think I look scary with the mask on, you should see me when I take it off.” I was wandering why he was wearing that. I wasn’t sure if the church’s people had put it on him or he was wearing it because it looked cool. Well now I know. Talow takes the keys from me, starting her way to the small water spirit who was placing so much trust in me. “Now I have to find the weapons don’t I?” I ask Maize.
“Right. Then you have to find the second guard.” He replies. “Good luck.”
I open the wooden door from the cells and begin my search. I look around at the other workers. Surely one of them would know. I take a few steps then pause. Wait. There’s a better, easier way of doing this. I have the memories of the person’s body I take over. Therefore he should know where they keep the weapons. I close my eyes and sink into his thoughts and experiences, searching for information on the weapons room. I see a forest track with a small building at the end of the path. The building has only one guard out the front. I open my eyes again. The weapons are not even in this building. They are in the forest just a small way from here. As I begin to walk again my head starts to spin. Crap, I can’t stay in this body for much longer. I have to find the night guard soon or ill be forced out of this body. Tristen or whatever this guy’s name is will know something is up I he doesn’t come to in the right place. I decide to find one of the other soldiers that this body knows. Luckily most of the guards don’t have full body armour, I’ll be able to tell what each one of their faces looks like. I look through his memories once again and pick out a few of the people who work here. One has a long bushy beard and a buff build. He seemed to be the easiest to recognise. According to Tristen’s head his name was Beau and was a close friend of Tristen. He worked at the main gate but also had the same break time as Tristen. I looked at the clock which was sitting high up in the marble building. It read 11:56. I had barely any time to find this guy. The moment the clock went into the next hour the second guard would begin his rounds. I quickly rushed to the meeting room in which Tristen and Beau would usually sit and chat. Thrusting the doors open I ignored the judgmental stares and scanned the room for Beau. There were so many people in the room it was hard to tell anybody apart. A clock stood in this room as well, off to the corner; 11:57. I darted in and out of the crowd, looking in every possible place for Beau. I almost gave up on the room when. “Tristen! I’ve been looking for you!” the gruff voice of Beau giving me relief. I turn around and smile, doing the usual hand shake and hug, like they always would. “Where have you been at all this time?” he asked me casually. I thought my answer through carefully. “I’ve been looking for the second cell guard. You see he needs the keys for the cells and he lost his pair a while back. I was going to give him mine but I just can’t find him anywhere.” Beau has a confused look on his face. “You mean Max? He’s right over there you numb skull!” he chuckles. He points towards a tall man in full armour. It was going to be hard to pass through to him, but I had to try. I laugh, beginning to walk towards Max “Thanks Beau. You’re a life saver. As always!”
Beau waves, grinning. “No problem!” Max is already making his way out of the room. I glance at the clock again; 11:59. I run over to him, calling out “Hey, Max!” he turns and I bump into him, taking his shadow and switching over. Tristen almost falls over as he comes to. “Watch it Tristen, you could have killed me!” I growl as I start back to the cell block. Tristen shakes his head, completely unaware of what had just happened to him. The clock tower tolls as it ticks to twelve. Just in time. There’s just one thing different about Tristen now; his shadow is missing. Well most of it was. I had used its energy to keep me inside his body. He would most likely be chased down later, as it is said those without shadows are pure. I hope he likes publicity.
Once again I enter the cell block. Talow and Xzenox are on the floor laughing while the little water spirit girl sits on Maizes shoulders chanting “Corn! Corn! Corn!”
“I am NOT CORN!” Maize yells angrily. He turns to me with pleading eyes. “Make her stop.” The little girl stares at me with her shiny black eyes and stops her chanting. “Are you the demon that talked to me before?” she enquires happily.
“Yup, and now we can plan on how to get out of here without being seen.” She giggles and runs up to me, her small feet padding on the cell floor. I smile as she hugs my leg. “Thankyou Mr Demon!” I ruffle her long, blue, curly hair. “No problem.” Talow and Xzenox finally stop their laughter. Xzenox wipes a tear from his eye, still grinning “So what’s the plan now?” The four of them turn to me and I shrink a little.
“Well I thought maybe you guys could help me with that considering that I figured out our weapons are not here but in a small building somewhere in the forest and the only way out of here is through the front gate which is guarded constantly.” Maize stares at me blankly.
“Our weapons aren’t even here? Well that makes it a little harder if we run into someone. Then again if we get out my powers will finally be of use to me again.” I’m guessing he smiles at that thought but I really can’t tell. “First things first, I need to get out of this body before I use up all of his shadow.” I look behind me at the dark, depleting shape. “We need to find something to tie him up since ill need him again. We also need something to cover his mouth. We can’t have him screaming for help.” The little girl runs into one of the cells and comes skipping back with a long piece of rope. She places it in front of me and grins. “Will this work?” she says. I nod “This will be perfect, thankyou.” She laughs and points at Maize’s mask. “We can use that so he won’t talk.” Maize puts a hand on his mask. “Unless you guys all want to have nightmares for the rest of your life, I recommend using something else. Plus he would still be able to talk with it on so there’s no point.” The girl pauses for a moment, and then yanks at his bandana “How about this then.”
“No way! I’m not using that to gag his mouth!” Talow stands and pulls the bandana off of his head. “Come on corn sprout, you have another one of these tied to your shotgun. Surely you can spare one. What would you rather; your bandana with prison guard germs or him shouting to be let out? Hrm?” Maize protests for a while but then gives in. His hair falls over his eyes and he flicks it out the way. It falls back almost instantly. He groans in annoyance but says nothing more. “Ok, I need one of you to knock me out.” I say, holding out the guard’s sword for somebody to take. “I won’t feel it, don’t worry. I just need to get back into my own body, plus we don’t want this guy to still be awake when I swap.” Maize stands looking scarier than usual with his dark hair over his eyes. “I’ll do it. Turn around.” I hand him the sword and turn whilst taking off the guard’s helmet. One blow to then neck and I’ll be back to myself. “You sure you won’t feel this coz I don’t want to knock the other you out as well.”
“I’m sure. Whilst in another’s body I can feel, but cannot feel pain.” I stand for a couple more seconds before darkness takes hold of my sight. I open my eyes again to the face of the little girl. “The real Mr Demon woke up!” she yells. I rub my neck. It was aching from sitting for so long in the same spot. My wrists were sore, the marks from the chains have yet to fade and a small amount of blood still came from the wounds. The others were busy tying up Max and dragging him into one of the cells. It would be a while before he woke up again. Xzenox sits by my side “Got a plan yet?” he asks, twitching. I shake my head.
“Still got nothing. We need to figure out a way past the frontal guards. Maybe we could scale the walls or something?”
“If you all let me go ahead, I could make sure all the guards fall asleep so we can get through.” Maize stands in the doorway to the cell and tucks some of his hair behind his ear. “It would be best if you could stay back until I’m done. I don’t want you to see my methods for doing things.” He seemed ashamed of his ability; like it was a curse. I nod. If he doesn’t want us to see, that’s fine. Not every demon was happy with their powers. Some were more afraid of them. “When do we move out?” I ask.
“Nightfall. At that time there should be only the guards out the front. We should have no problem in making it through to the main hall. At that point I’ll go on ahead and come back for you once I’m done. After that I guess we just have to hope we can avoid everyone. This is our only chance. If we stuff this up, then there’s not much hope that we will ever walk again.”
Darkness creeps in and we begin our escape plan. In my arms I hold my own form, limp and unmoving. We decided it would be best if I walked in the guard’s body while we were walking through the village in case we encounter any civilians. If they asked what was going on we could easily say the demons were being moved for execution or purification. We needed to avoid all line of sight. The main hall seemed eerie in the dark of the night. The marble floor reflected light from outside giving it a slight glow. The little girl who has since told us her name –Reyuma- is being carried by Talow; she would not have been able to keep up or stay silent. Xzenox and I walk behind them, keeping an eye out for any passers-by. We walk as far as we dare go towards the main gate, hanging back far enough to be out of sight. “Alright, now no matter what you hear stay back and wait for me ok?” Maize whispers. As he walks away he brings his hands to the back of his head, releasing the clasp of his metal guard. We do not get the chance to see anything. There is just the noise of gasping and life-filled entities becoming lifeless. “Wh- what are you?!” a guard speaks his last words before joining his comrades. Another man is heard whimpering, as if something is standing over him and won’t go away. “Go to Hell you monster!” Heavy footsteps run through the night. They stop after a grunt of pain. We sit in wait after the silence falls once again, wandering what Maize could be doing now. He seems now to be dragging the bodies off to the side, somewhere where they will not be found. Maize returns, blood running from the tattoos that lined his left arm and from underneath his mask. No emotion is portrayed in his eyes, just his usual blank eyes. “It’s safe to go outside now. The guards no longer pose a threat to us.” Before we can say anything he walks through the front gate, expecting us to follow. Once outside I notice the fresh puddles of crimson, some of them smudged and trailing off to the side of the building. I catch up to the silent Maize “Are they dead?” I ask slowly. Maize stares ahead.
“No. They’re very much alive. I just took enough for them to pass out…” he trails off and I decide not to press any further. Darting through the dark streets as before I begin to wander if we can really make it out again. Before it had been so simple. All it took was a slight sound and the murderous God slaves had come rushing at us, weapons in hand, ready to kill. There were not any people outside and the patrols came as usual. They seemed more relaxed, with the thought that we were all locked up in a cold cell where not even the light could warm our skin. They thought all was well and good and that demons would leave them alone forever. They thought of themselves so highly. They all thought they would go to a happy afterlife and live with God while us demons were left to an eternity of suffering. What gave them such a high profile? How come they got to have the pretty future covered in soft dandelions and vibrant colours? We deserved better than this. Slowly, we found ourselves getting closer to the village edge. Patrols had gone past us numerous times but we had kept ourselves well hidden. Silent and barely a shadow we crept further out. The same path which had given Xzenox and I so much hope before lay before us again. We could hear in the distance the synchronised thud of a patrol squad’s heavy armour. Not again! Come on we are so damn close! Worried glances shoot between us all as we begin to sprint. I am NOT letting us all be caught again! I release the body of Max and return to my own. Using the last of his shadow I encase all of us in a dark shield, protecting us from prying eyes and speeding us into the inviting arms of the pine forest. I hear Max awake behind us “Hey! What the?!” he yells. The patrol clatters over to him, asking him what had happened and what he was doing away from his patrol. From the shadows of the forest we watch gleefully as the patrol turns away, carrying the weakened guard back to the church where we were held.
I beckon the others closer to me “Before we hurry off to get our weapons back, we should visit a place we used to stay. Xzenox hid a pile of weapons there a little while back. We can use those to help protect ourselves for the way there.”
“We have to get them back while we still have the night. They will figure out that we are not there by morning, or maybe sooner depending on how quickly they assign another night guard. Let’s make this quick.” Talow whispers.
The forest air is thin and chill seeps through the fog which covers the forest floor. Running along this path as I have done before seems no longer peaceful. It brings back memories of just a few days ago when things were as I’ve always dreamed they’d be; full of laughter and pure happiness. I shivered as a gust of wind probed its cold hands over my body. Winter would be upon us soon. Traveling between villages would become a lot harder. The rivers and ponds that dot the forest have ice creeping in from the sides and the once vibrant plants are turning dull and grey. We reach the old shack; the roof had now completely caved in. Xzenox disappeared around the back and returned with the dangerous mound of weapons. Emptying them onto the ground we all picked a weapon. Maize had chosen an axe while Talow had grabbed a few small blades. Xzenox and I had both taken swords. Reyuma stared at us all and then at the pile “Do I get to pick one too?” she asked excitedly. The pile contained nothing that a child of six years should be wielding. I notice a small sword lay off to the side with a wooden sheath. It had carvings of deer and wolves along its surface and seemed like it was made out of relatively strong wood. Discarding the sword which it held back into the pile, I handed the sheath to Reyuma. “Only use it if you really have to.” I instruct her. She squeals and pretends to attack someone with it. “Only when you have to.” I say again. Her eyes widen and she nods, bringing her weapon down carefully, as if, if she didn’t, something terrible might happen. Maize stands with the axe over his shoulder, his eyes shining in the crescent moon’s dim light. “Alright shadow kid, show us where our sweat little weapons are.” I smile and the five of us speed through the forest once again with renewed strength. Just hold on a little longer Zasha. I’m on my way.