Fighting Shadows

A young woman comes to a new city to learn how to fight the nightmares that haunt her... beings of ancient evil that few can even see...

The tide withdrew in a slow hush-hush-hush as the tiny stones of the beach succumbed to the inexorable pull of the outgoing tide.    Tamarin stretched her legs, moving each joint in turn, as the last of the sun dipped over the horizon.  Faint lavender and cyan sky darkened to purple and navy.

So this was Seavan.

Tamarin had been told to meet someone here, someone who would introduce Tamarin to others like her, others who saw the same kind of nightmares in the shadows that she saw.

The house she'd been watching was a small white-washed cottage.  It couldn't have had more than five rooms total.  It was well taken care of and looked well loved.  But Tamarin had noticed that there was no hydro-electric, cable or telephone lines.  There wasn't anything wrong about it.  Still, Tamarin could tell there was nobody home.  It felt empty.

This part of Seavan was nothing like she had expected.  She'd thought it would be a run-down wreck of a neighborhood with prostitutes and drug-users on every corner.  Nothing about the place looked run-down.   Whatever Molly did, she made good money to live in this kind of neighborhood.  It felt like a bloodied and torn canvas stitched whole and washed to startling brightness. 

Tamarin rotated her neck slowly, letting the tensions of her travel ease out of her.  Thirty-hours on a bus had left her feeling sweaty and grimy.  But the water at her feet, cool air teasing her hair, and powerful mountains at her back did much to alleviate the discomfort. 

As the shadows elongated, the wind picked up.  The receding tide started to chop, the hush-hush-hush of the waves becoming more insistent.  Behind her--towards the direction of the trees and townhouses, a low ululation began, thrumming in time with her own heartbeat.  Tamarin turned, curious, as the shadows around her deepened.

Tamarin reached for her bag and undid the top-knot to expose the hilt of her sword. The sound rose to a full shriek.  Wind pulled at her sleeves and young saplings bent under the force of the gust. Tamarin had to press into it to maintain her balance.

A black shape hurtled from the shadows, to land in the sand only feet away.  A woman grunted as the body came to a stop, one glistening arm scrabbling in the sand for purchase.  She was smaller than Tamarin, wearing the torn remains of a wetsuit.  Her arms and legs were taut and well-defined, but covered in blood.

Tamarin swore and took a step closer, her hands reaching for the gloves in the pouch at her side.   "Take it easy."  she said, trying to sound more calm than she felt.  Every step toward the woman was a step further from any real defense.

The woman in the sand watched her, the whites of her eyes reflecting the moon. "Just get me to that house."  she pointed to Molly's place, "I have a first-aid kit."

The End

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