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 Shadowman, Chapter IV (for reals this time)

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Shea Ballard



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Join date : 2012-11-28

PostSubject: Shadowman, Chapter IV (for reals this time)   Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:43 pm

Okay, so I realize I meant to post chapter IV and ended posting V. So here is chapter IV. Hopefully, it will make my last post make more sense.

Chapter IV: Iblis Returns
Jade was not expecting any reply but the silence of her room. Her heart skipped a beat and her body jerked in a startle response. In a corner of her room a shadowy form with two glowing red eyes stared at Jade. She reeled back in horror, pressing herself against the wall.
“You never used to be afraid of me,” said Iblis.
As she heard the creature’s voice, memories came flooding back. She relaxed a little and slowly moved away from the wall toward the edge of her bed.
“I’m sorry,” she said. It’s been a while.”
“You forgot me.”
“It’s coming back.”
Jade was now seated on the edge of her mattress, leaning forward. Curiosity was overcoming fear. The dark silhouette in front of her was roughly in the shape of a man, but without any finely detailed features. It had feet and hands, but no discernable fingers. The eyes were prominent. They glowed red, like a cartoon or a video game character. She could not make out even the slightest hint of a nose or mouth.
“Should I come closer?” asked Iblis.
“Yes, please.”
Iblis floated slowly from his corner to within a foot of Jade’s face. When he stopped, Jade could see that he was semi-transparent. At this close range, she could see right through his body.
“Now you see me, yes? In all my glory?”
Jade nodded. When Iblis spoke, he did so without the use of any kind of a mouth. His words she could hear in her mind, not her ears. The voice in Jade’s head sounded echoed, as if spoken from in a cave. It was also calm, soothing even. It was that of a good therapist, the unconditional positive regard Rogerian kind. The range was neither high and nasally, nor low and smoky. It was not gravely, nor squeaky. Iblis had a great voice.
“Yes, thank you.”
“It is I who should thank you. I’ve never been summoned via Ouija board before. It was an interesting experience. “
It was Crystal who…”
“Oh, I know that. At least, that’s what I discovered when I got here. “
“When you got here?”
“Let me explain. I was in my dimension, minding my own business. I was about to sit down to breakfast – time is different in my dimension than in yours – and suddenly I heard your voice.”
“My voice?”
“Yes, yours, my dear. It was a voice of great desperation. You sounded almost in tears. You must have really missed me. I must I say, I was deeply touched.” Iblis paused a moment.
Jade said nothing. She just looked at him in awe.
“So, anyway, when I arrived in this dimension, I could see that it was your friend Crystal who was actually doing the talking, in very melodramatic words and tone. ‘Oh great spirits,’” Iblis said mockingly in Crystal’s voice.
Jade was quite taken aback by this. Hearing Crystal’s voice come out of Iblis’… well, he didn’t have a mouth…out of his being and into Jade’s head was quite disconcerting. Iblis picked up on her expression of shock right away, and did not miss a beat.
“Yes, I’m a man of many voices. I’ll be here all week, but I’m in Reno on Sunday.”
Jade said nothing. She sat on the edge of her bed, just staring open-mouthed at the Shadowman. Iblis waited a few seconds for a response. Getting none, he made crickets chirping sound in Jade’s head. She looked around to try to find where the noise was coming from.
“You’re a woman of few words, I see,” said Iblis. “You didn’t used to be. You were much chattier when you were four.”
“I’m sorry, I...,” Jade sighed. “It’s just, well, we haven’t talked for so long. I’m going to have to get used to you being back in my life.”
“Fair enough. We have been apart for some time, haven’t we?”
Jade nodded.
Well, it seems you need…”
Suddenly, Jade’s mother opened the door and walked in on the conversation. She stared into Iblis’ glowing red eyes, but only for a fraction of a second. The shadowman was gone before her conscious mind could register what she had seen.
As soon as Iblis was gone, Jade’s mother turned to regard her daughter. “Who are you talking to?”
“No one,” replied Jade.
“Don’t lie. I heard your voice.”
“Oh, myself I meant. I was talking to no one but myself.”
“Are you sure? It sounded like half of a conversation. Are you hiding someone in here?”
“Who would I be hiding in my bedroom?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe there’s a boy hiding in your closet, or under your bed, like in those damn teen sex movies you kids like to watch.”
“Have you ever seen me with a boy?”
“That’s a good point. Why not? You’re not a lesbian, are you?”
Jade laughed. She wanted to say, ‘No, mom, that’s Crystal,” but held back. She didn’t want to out her friend. She replied instead by saying, “No, mom, I promise. I’m not a lesbian. I actually like boys. They just don’t like me.”
Normal parents would have responded to this statement in a reassuring manner. It might have been a good opportunity for a tender mother-daughter moment, in which mom comforts her little girl with words of wisdom along with maybe a hug or a smile. Instead, Jade’s mother said, “Didn’t I tell you to get in bed? You’re supposed to be sick, remember?”
“Yes, mother.” Jade climbed back into bed and pulled the covers over her. When she was all tucked in she looked back up at her mother, head still in the doorway, scowling down at her daughter. She then asked, “Mom, can you make me some chicken noodle soup when I wake up?”
“I think you’re perfectly capable of making your own soup. Besides, I’ll probably be busy with work. I had to leave early ‘cause somebody decided to get sick today. So goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” With that, she closed the door and left.
Jade stayed tucked in, making sure her mother was really gone. Iblis, however, wasted no such time returning from his hiding spot. “What a bitch,” he said as he floated back to Jade’s bedside. “Of course, she always was one.”
“What do you mean?” asked Jade.
“I’ve known your mother for as long as I’ve known you, kid, and she didn’t just get like that yesterday. She’s been that way at least since you were four, and probably before that even.”
“Oh,” was Jade’s only response. She un-tucked herself and sat up on the edge of her bed, once again facing Iblis. “Did you know my father?”
“He was a very nice man. He really seemed to love you.”
“Then why did he leave?”
“I don’t know, Jade. People do very strange things sometimes, that don’t always make sense. They don’t always do what’s in their own best interests. I think a lot of human behavior is based on fear.”
Jade lowered her head and stared at the floor. She wondered what her father could have been afraid of that would make him leave. She thought of her own fear, and wished she could work up the courage to talk to Adam.
“So,” continued Iblis, “as I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted…” Iblis looked over at the door.
Jade imagined a look of contempt on his featureless face.
“…it seems like you really need a friend right now.”
“You can say that again,” she replied.
“It seems like you really need a friend right now.”
Jade smiled.
“Should I say it again?”
“Thanks, Iblis. You always did know how to cheer me up.”
“Seeing you smile is all the reward I need, m’ lady. So what can I do for you?”
“Can you mend a broken heart?”
“Unfortunately not,” replied Iblis, lowering his shadowy head. Now he was staring at the floor. “For all my powers, that is something I cannot do.”
Jade sighed. She made an attempt at a half-smile, but it looked rather unconvincing. “That’s okay. It was worth a try.”
“Boy troubles?” he asked, now looking at Jade again.
“More like friend troubles. Ruby stole him away from me.”
“Ah!” exclaimed Iblis, rubbing his hands together. “Betrayal! The plot thickens. How exciting. So what should we do? Want me to beat her up for you?”
Jade sighed. “No, I don’t want her hurt. Well, at least not physically.”
Iblis floated closer.
Jade instinctively pulled back.
The shadowman was just inches from her face. “So it’s revenge that you want?”
“Yeah, I guess so. I want her to pay for her betrayal.”
“Careful, Jade. Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means don’t do it. Revenge is a force like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
“But you can do it, right? I mean, you can help me take revenge?”
“I can do whatever you wish.”
“Whatever I wish? Are you a Djini? Can you grant me wishes?”
Iblis floated back in horror. He appeared to Jade to be offended. “A Djini?!” Iblis yelled. “A Djini is a common demon. I am no demon. My dear girl, if I were a Djini I’d destroy you right now. You’re not standing inside a pentacle. You’ve nothing to fear from me. I will not harm you. The Djinn are crafty and devious creatures. Besides, they’re from an entirely different dimension than I.”
“I’m sorry,” said Jade. “I didn’t mean to offend you. I just never heard of a…shadow person…granting wishes before.”
“The Djinn are slaves,” continued Iblis. “You call them up and bind them to your will with magic words. I am not a slave. You cannot force me to do anything. What I do, I do of my own free will. If you ask me, ask me nicely, I will do things for you because we are friends, and friends do things for each other, right?”
“Yeah, right. Of course. Friends do things for each other. That’s true.”
“I must warn you, Jade. There is a price.”
“A price? You’re gonna charge me? I don’t have any money. And you just said friends do things for each other.”
“Not money, Jade. I mean there is a price for using my power. It is dangerous. Remember my fire analogy? I am a force like fire. Without the proper preparation – study, prayer, reflection, and meditation – you are playing with fire. Don’t play with fire, kid. You could get burned.”
“Prayer? Meditation? What are you?”
“I am nothing. I’m long forgotten, even by those who know me.”
Jade sat quietly for what seemed like several minutes. Neither she nor Iblis spoke. Jade wondered what he meant. Why did this creature seem to speak in riddles? He was acting like some sort of dark Yoda. What did he mean he was long forgotten? Who knew him? Why did he say she should pray and meditate? What bad could happen if she used his power? A chill ran down her spine. Something felt not right. She pushed it away.
Finally, Iblis said, “I can see the wheels turning in your mind. Forget about Ruby, Jade. Let it go.”
Jade looked up. She met his eyes for the first time in many years. “I can’t,” she said. “Ruby must pay.”
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Angelique Clark

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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter IV (for reals this time)   Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:57 pm

Wow, this is great! I love stories that you can laugh, cry and learn something from. And in this case, at least, I laughed and learned. Again not much to change in this chapter, except a few incorrect placings of quotations marks, and this usage of a second I*:

I must I* say, I was deeply touched.” Iblis paused a moment.

Also, I noticed most times you wrote "shadowman", but here and there you would capitalize it as though a proper noun. Perhaps you could choose which you will use, and then keep those consistent.

The comical behavior and language of Iblis is perfect, and that's one of the reasons why I find this story so capturing. I can't wait to read chapter VI that you posted! (After recalling V of course Smile )
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Shea Ballard



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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter IV (for reals this time)   Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:22 pm

Thanks, Ace! I'll definitely go back and fix those mistakes. Good call on to whether Shadowman should be caps or not. I'll have to go back and see if there's any rhyme or reason to that or whether I just can't decide. Thanks for reading this. I really appreciate your input. I wonder where everybody else is on this site.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter IV (for reals this time)   Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:07 am

You're welcome, and I know... it feels like everyone else has abandoned this site. Just you, me, and the Critique Corner. Oh well, at least you and I haven't left yet. Smile
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Shea Ballard



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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter IV (for reals this time)   Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:29 am

I guess it's our forum now.
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