Forty SixMature

With my eyes closed, I tried to focus and concentrate, but the nagging fear of the inevitable events completely absorbed my mind. I took a deep breath and tried again. I pushed away the fear and the noise. I felt the power flow into my body and prepared myself.

I opened my eyes. Darran was still curled in a ball, now rocking back and forth, still shuddering violently. I saw his black hair turning white. The shaking stopped, but 'Darran' didn't move. I glanced at Riley, not wanting to take my eyes off Darran for too long. Riley looked absolutely terrified. His trembling told me more than his wide eyes did.

After a few dragging moments, Darran's shoulder twitched and Riley tensed. I blinked, only to see 'Darran' hurtling towards our friend. That was when I stopped him. I let the power gather and flung it at Darran. He was knocked aside, but was still only mere metres away from Riley.

Before he'd even hit the floor, 'Darran' was already correcting himself and making for me this time. Tensing, I readied for the impact. The speed and strength of the leap overwhelmed me. Turning into an eagle was the easiest way to fix my position. Landing behind 'Darran', I turned back and wrapped my arms around him, using all the borrowed power I had.

I stepped back and whispered a word. Darran was trapped in a forcefield. I watched him sadly, trying to escape. Darran had become a Shade. He was vicious, blood-thirsty and made no distinction between friends and enemies. It wasn't his fault; he had no rational thought and acted on raw, animalistic instinct. Finally, he realised he wasn't getting out.

He stopped scratching and clawing at the barrier, instead sitting on his haunches. A low growl emanated from his throat. I took a step towards him and he threw himself around again, growling and roaring at the world.

I knelt in front of him and he tried to get at me. I had no doubt he would have killed me if he wasn't trapped.

"Darran, calm down. This isn't you. You hate this, you hate being this. Just calm down," I whispered.

The Shade in front of me stopped. The tremors started again and the deep panting became wheezing once more. The white hair was slowly being streaked with black. I sighed with relief.

When it was all over, Darran was sat there, a blank expression on his pale face. He fell backwards and curled into a foetal position. His expression didn't change, though a tear fell down his cheek onto the floor. I let the barrier down, and released the power.

I touched Darran's arm and he whispered something I didn't hear, though I knew what it was he wanted me to do. Hooking my hand under his arm, I pulled him up. He walked beside me, just following me. As we passed her, I gave Zoe a look, then glanced at Riley. She nodded, understanding, and went to help him.

Walking down the many corridors, we eventually got to one of the deepest points. I opened one of the doors and Darran walked in. I locked the cell door behind him. He'd always do that after an... incident. He'd always lock himself away and wouldn't talk for days, maybe weeks.

I looked through the peephole. Darran was curled up in the corner. He still had a blank expression, and was staring at nothing in particular, but tears were falling down his skin.

The End

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