Gaberial and The Shadow Man

One of my first short stories.

Once upon a time there was a lad named Gaberial. He was a mild-mannered boy who did of which he was told, didn’t ever speak out of turn, or do anything bad, ever. He was but a boy of three when the Shadow Man first came upon him. He  came out of the wall, all the shadows of various things melting and drifting together into a black door, and all the candles in the house went out. It was so dark that nobody saw the man in black step out of the wall, stride over to the boy, lightly touch him on the shoulder. Nobody saw him bend down, and speak to the boy, whispering so softly that only the boy could hear him. He said only two words, but they were words of power. 

“DO EVIL,” he said, in a voice so smooth it could have been made of water. His words drifted out of his mouth, a black snake in the darkness, and slithered into the boy’s ear. The words went into his brain and nestled there, making their home. The boy obeyed. As soon as the lights were back, he began to scream, to shout, to lash out at anyone who came near. He kicked and ran and jumped, and a four-hundred dollar picture window shattered. The boy fell to Earth. That was where they found him, ten seconds later, howling and foaming at the mouth. Then all of a sudden, it was gone. He was back to normal. He stared up at his parents, wondering at the anger in their eyes, forgetting what had happened.

Behind him, a dark figure blended into the forest, done observing. The Shadow Man had done his deed, but he would come again.

He did come again. When Gaberial was fourteen, taking a quiet walk in the woods. He had grown up a quiet boy, and didn’t talk much. He was very smart, and had excelled at school. His walk in the woods was a nature walk, and during it he was thinking about ecosystems in the forest.

A strong wind began to blow, and leaves swirled up around him, flying crazily in random patterns. Then, out of the wall of leaves, stepped a man. He was very tall, and dressed entirely in black, as if he had just come from a funeral. The Shadow Man reached out a hand, reassuring the teenager. But Gaberial turned and ran, because he knew this man. He couldn’t explain to you how, but he knew him. And he was afraid of him.

He ran like he had never run before, sprinting, leaves crunching under his feet. He then ran into something. Something tall, and dark. The Shadow Man stood before him, and he reached down and whispered two words in Gaberial’s ear. The same two words.

“DO EVIL,” And, as before, the boy complied. He ran down the path through the woods until he found a house. He picked up a rock and  slung it towards a window, smashing the window  into a thousand little pieces. He then fell to his knees, searching, and then he found what he was looking for. A rock as big as a man’s head. He swung it around in circles, building up speed, and heaved it towards the house. The rock hit the door and kept going, smashing the wood into splinters. It hit the floor of the house with a loud bang, making a sound like a gunshot. This seemed to wake Gaberial from his trance. He remembered this time. He remembered what he had done. He ran, as fast as his legs could carry him, for the third time that day. A man in a dark suit stood in front of the house. He thought for a moment, and then snapped his fingers. The house shrunk rapidly and spun up, then down into the man’s palm. And then, with a blink of the eye, the Shadow Man was gone.

The Shadow Man returned to Gaberials life three more times, and the third time was much, much different then the first two. Gaberial was thirty-two, happily married to a nice woman named Jane, and living in New York City. The Shadow Man took a different guise, for this meeting. He changed his appearance to a rough looking man with cheap, dirty clothes. He knocked on the door of Gaberial’s apartment, and when he came to the door, the Shadow Man produced a rusty pistol and demanded money. When Gaberial refused, the Shadow Man fired his rusty old pistol twice, into Jane and Gaberial. Gaberial survived with minimal injury, but Jane died in the hospital three days later. Gaberial bought a gun after that. Partly for protection, but also partly for revenge on anyone who tried to rob him. 

The fourth time the Shadow Man visited Gaberial, was when he was thirty-seven. It was similar to the first two encounters. It was in a crowded square. The Shadow Man was invisible. He came up behind Gaberial, and whispered in his ear the two words.

“DO EVIL,” And Gaberial did. He pulled out the pistol he had bought after Jane’s death and began firing, randomly into the crowd. Seven were killed, ten more seriously injured. Gaberial was arrested, tried, and sentenced to life. 

The fifth and final time the Shadow Man appeared to Gaberial was when Gaberial was eighty-three, dying in a prison hospital. The Shadow Man had not aged one day since the first time they had met. When he appeared next to Gaberial’s bed, all Gaberial did was ask a simple question, not even looking up.

“Who are you?” The Shadow Man answered in his smooth voice.

“I AM THE SHADOW MAN,” he said simply. And he asked Gaberial a question. Gaberial thought for a long time. And he finally said yes. The Shadow Man touched his forehead. Black streams of liquid spread over Gaberial, and they covered him from foot to toe. They both disappeared inn a flash of darkness.

And now there are two, A Shadow Man, and A Midnight Man. Partners who roam the Darkness. Doing Evil.

The End

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