This is a proof of concept for a collaboration between wolfiebrewer and CrimsenOverlord. I wanted to showcase what it could be like from different perspectives. (Both 3rd person past tense & 1st person present tense)
Until we begin the story in earnest, I will be posting tidbits here.
I wake immediately, the dream still vivid in my mind. It shook me. Not since I was a little kid have I had a dream that felt so real. The crying is still echoing in my head. Even with the blanket draped over me I'm still shivering. The image of all those dead students, torn and bloody on the floor, won’t leave me. So many familiar faces.
I lift my arms to push the blanket away. No resistance. I stare blankly at my uncovered arms. Where is the blanket that I feel pushing down on them. Slowly, my head turns to the right and I see the bottom of my bed. I’m on the floor.
I quickly stand and stare down at the mattress. Lying there, sleeping soundly is a body. It kind of resembles me… If I were made of black energy. It’s covered with my blanket. As it shifts I feel the blanket shift on my body. I’m feeling what it’s feeling. But why? And what is it?
I don’t want to leave this thing alone, but I need to alert someone. The instructors will know how to handle it.
I try to grab the door handle and it slips right through my palm. Why can’t I grab it? I tentatively push my hand against the door and am surprised to see it meet no resistance. Apparently I can walk through walls now. The rest of my body follows out into the hallway. The hall seems unusually dark. I can see the lights are on above, but they don’t seem to be giving off much light. Even the windows seem to be dampening the sunlight.
Someone walks by me and I have to rub my eyes and look again. He seems to be made of the same energy as the thing in my bed, except a dull white. I can’t make out a face, or any other defining features. He’s just a being of pure light. Something whispers behind me and I turn to see what it is. Nothing’s there except more light people.
There lights are varied at least. Some are white, some are grey. Each is a different level of brightness. I can tell them apart if I need to, given enough time. The strange part is that they seem to have taken over the academy. They interact with one another as if this is their place. Where are the normal people?
More whispering, this time it’s at my ear. I turn again to nothing. No, not nothing. Something small and black just barely flits out of my vision, underneath a door. I didn’t have time to make out any details before it was gone, but I’m sure it was made of that same energy as everyone around me.
I start toward the door the creature crawled under. Someone bumps into me, no through me. My body feels as if it’s been lit on fire as the light being passes through me. I turn to it as it continues. This one’s bright white, except for a small tendril of black snaking from the shoulder to the middle of its back. That’s different from the others. Why the black stripe?
“Oh no.” A dejected voice is behind me.
I turn, preparing myself for another light being. But it’s just a normal man. In fact, he’s one of my instructors. Professor… What was it? Allenora, that’s it. I’ve only met him once. He’s supposed to be my Dark Magic teacher for next semester.
“Professor?” I step toward him cautiously. This might still be a dream after all. “Where is everyone?”
He half-heartedly gestures around us. “There here.” The look of defeat on his face is infectious. I can feel my shoulders dropping. “It looks like they’ve started on the students already.”
“Who started what?” He’s fiddling with something in his left hand. A cigarette. “What’s going on?”
His eyes widen as the whispering returns to my ears. My head begins to turn and he shouts at me. “Stop.” My eyes dart to his, my head halfway turned.
“What’s wrong?” My heart is racing now.
His right hand stretches toward me slowly. “You don’t want to see it.” He’s visibly shaken from whatever is behind me. “Trust me.”
So what do I do? Just never look behind me? I grab his offered hand. “What is it?”
He shakes his head and pulls me toward him. “Nothing good. Come with me.” He turns around and begins walking down the hall at a hurried pace.
I struggle to keep up at first. I’m not used to being led by the hand. “Where are we going? To the Headmaster?”
He barks a laugh as he takes a hard right into someone’s locker. For a second I’m warm, warmer than I’ve ever been, then I’m standing in a room of dark gray energy.
He let’s go of my hand. “We should be safe here for a few minutes. You didn’t touch any of them did you?”
I shake my head. “The thing that was whispering to me?”
“No, the other students. Did you touch any of the other students?” His eyes are darting over me, looking for something.
“You’re the first person I’ve seen, besides those light beings.”
“You stupid little fool.” His hand grabs mine again and he pulls it up for me to see. “I knew you felt warm.”
My hand has a line of bright white coiled around it. “What is that?”
“You touched one!” He’s angry now. “Why would you touch them?”
“I didn’t…” The being that walked through me. “Why is that bad?”
I don’t think I’ve ever been angry and terrified at the same time before. It isn’t a feeling I like. Professor Allenora has a look on his face that screams doom.
“You’ve infected them.” The sound of defeat is back in his voice. “I’ve been so careful… I’ve hid and fought, made sure to stay away from the regulars, kept myself alive. Then you come along and infect the whole school.”
Infect. The word hangs over me like some ominous rain cloud. “What do you mean, infected?”
His eyes snap to mine and he lets go of my hand. “That’s right. You don’t know, do you?” He turns and begins pacing, the cigarette twirling between his fingers. “Why would you know? Let me tell you a story kid.
“A few millennia ago there was nothing. Just light and darkness sharing the void. When the world was formed, by whatever force, the light and darkness warred over which would control it. The light argued that it should be in control, for without it the darkness could not exist. The darkness laughed at that, for without it the light was meaningless.
“Of course, the logical decision would have been to divide it equally, but screw logic I guess. Eventually Humans came about and the light had a new weapon. People are inherently good, at least that’s what I’ve always been told, so they could combat the darkness in the name of the light. So the world was the light’s.”
He stops pacing and turns to me, his sunken eyes haunting in the dim gray light of the room. “But the darkness doesn’t play fair. It took the hearts of man and thrust a seed of corruption into them. War, hate, lust. The darkness is in all of us.”
He stops talking after that. He just watches his fingers fiddle with the cigarette. “And?” I ask impatiently.
His eyes snap up and he blinks. “Oh, right. Well, what got us; what you infected the school with; is the darkness. Not the normal darkness that we struggle with every day, but the essence of darkness. It takes our impure thoughts; desires, fears, hatred; and it uses them to control our bodies.
“I’ve been trying to fight it from this side… It doesn’t work. The best I’ve managed is to hide from it for a few hours at a time.”
This is a lot to take in. “Professor?”
He shakes his head again. “Quit calling me that. I haven’t taught in months. Call me Adrian.”
“But I met you a few weeks ago. You’re going to be my Dark Magic teacher.” His face seems to have aged about three years in a matter of seconds.
“So it kept me here. I wonder why it felt the need to stay so close.” He glances at my confusion filled face. “What you met wasn’t me. It was the darkness wearing my body like a suit. I’ve never met you.”