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 Shadowman Chapter XIII

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Shea Ballard



Posts : 53
Join date : 2012-11-28

PostSubject: Shadowman Chapter XIII   Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:46 am

Chapter XIII: The Watchers

‘Am I dead?’ Jade wondered. She had read about people having so-called “near-death experiences” where they had visions of being in a tunnel with a bright light at the end. She couldn’t tell is she was in a tunnel or not, but the light was excruciatingly bright. Jade shielded her eyes with her forearm. As her pupils dilated, adjusting to the abundance of light, she slowly put her arm down and stopped squinting. The light itself dimmed somewhat, transforming from an amorphous white blob to a smaller, more focused center of brightness.
Jade looked up at the white hot light source with the rapt attention of an insect. The round, shapeless glob of light slowly began to take on a more definitive form. She watched in fascination as it started to resemble a human face. A few seconds more and the features of the face of light became more distinct. When the metamorphosis had completed Jade beheld the countenance of a young man. The huge apparition of a floating head smiled down at her. She felt suspiciously like a bug under a magnifying glass. Her heart beat faster. Was this the face of God? Was she about to be judged? She thought of the three villains from Superman, being stared down by the giant holographic face of Jor-El.
“Hello, Jade,” stated a voice that boomed with authority.
The face that spoke was beautiful. Terrifyingly beautiful, Jade thought. It had pale skin that looked it rarely saw the sun, bright blue eyes like that of aquamarine, and blond, curly hair that would be the envy of any teenage girl. In fact, the face itself was very androgynous. It looked like it belonged to a Greek god, or at the very least a 70’s teen idol.
“Who are you?” Jade asked.
“That is not important,” replied the beautiful face. “What you need to know is that we are watching you, Jade.”
“Watching me? Why are you watching me? And who are you?”
“We’re watching you, Jade. Watching you. Jade. Jade. Jade.” The voice just kept repeating her name, like a skipping CD. Then something strange happened. The voice changed from that of the god-like face to a familiar feminine one. It took a few moments to place, but then Jade realized it was her mother. “Jade. Jade. Jade, wake up. Wake up, Jade.”
Jade opened her eyes. Her mother was standing over her, trying to shake her awake. She was lying down on her bedroom floor, her face pressed up against the hard wood paneling. A small puddle of drool leaked from her mouth.
“Jade, what are you doing?”
“Uh.”
“Are you okay?”
She sat up. “Yeah, fine.” She looked up at her mom, bleary eyed. “What time is it?”
“Almost six.”
Jade said nothing. She just rubbed her eyes and yawned.
“Honey, if you want to take a nap after school, I think you’d be more comfortable in your bed.”
“Yeah, I don’t know what happened. I must have been really tired.” She rubbed her temples, trying to remember what had happened.
“I’ll say. Well, why don’t you get yourself cleaned up then come downstairs and help me with dinner?”
“Okay.”

A sudden gust of wind kicked up the loose, dry dirt. A dust-devil twirled about an earth and leaf mixture into a mini-cyclone. Jade looked up at the diminutive tornado, half expecting Iblis to materialize out of it. There was something wild, elemental, and more than a bit frightening about those things. Perhaps their abrupt appearance and angry quality was the reason they were called dust-devils. She imagined the fury of long forgotten gods breathing them into life. The gale blew Jade’s hair into her face. She swept her bangs out of her eyes and the dust-devil was gone.
Jade sat under her willow tree in the school yard. As always, she clutched a book in one hand. Before she could get back to it, Amber approached.
“May I sit?”
“Of course.”
Amber sat next to her friend under the tree. “I’ve been worried about you.”
“I’m fine.”
“Really?”
Jade hesitated. No, she wasn’t really okay. She felt like her life was falling apart and she was losing control. But how could she tell Amber all about Iblis and everything that happened since he had come back into her life? She couldn’t. Amber would think she was completely crazy and she’d probably end up locked up like Ruby. “Yeah,” she finally replied. “Really.” She tried to fake a smile but it didn’t come out quite right. Nevertheless, Amber seemed to accept this.
“How are things with Adam?”
Jade sighed. Her shoulders slumped. “He’s getting a little annoying.”
“Annoying?”
“He’s making me feel…,” she struggled for the right word. “I mean, all his attention, it’s like…”
“He’s smothering you?”
“Yeah, smothering.”
As if on cue, Adam approached. He had that same stupid grin on his face that he had had ever since Iblis worked his magic.
“Speak of the devil,” said Amber.
“Oh shit.” Jade lowered her head. “His ears must have been burning.”
“Careful what you wish for.”
“Hi, Jade. Can I join you under your tree?” He was still all gaga over Jade. He had his hands in his pockets and his shoulders were slumped. He looked like a shy schoolboy asking for his first date. Of course, he was a schoolboy, but he was never so shy before he was touched with Iblis’ spell. The smile on his face matched the love-struck awe that sparkled in his eyes.
“It’s a little crowded here,” replied Jade.
“I could go.” Amber started to get up, but Jade grabbed her arm.
“No, don’t go! I still need to talk to you about…uh, something important.” The pleading look in her eyes made Amber sit back down. Jade looked back up at Adam. Flashing him an annoyed look, she asked, “Don’t you have some place to be?”
She said it with an angry tone, hoping Adam would take the hint and get lost. He didn’t. Completely oblivious to her irritated affect, he replied, “Only to be with you.”
Jade felt her stomach jump up to her chest. She felt nauseous. All that time she had been dreaming about what it would be like to be with Adam, she never even imagined how she would feel if he wanted to spend every waking moment with her. At the time, she probably would have thought that sounded great, but now, now she was feeling miserable. Panicked, she suddenly jumped up and yelled, “I gotta go to the bathroom!”
“I’ll be waiting for you, my love!”
Jade waved back in acknowledgement, but had no intention of returning.

Jade twirled. Her thoughts raced. Adam. Iblis. Ruby. Everything that had happened was overwhelming. She felt trapped. Tears began to well up as she fixed her Spaghettios. Jade desperately wanted a drink, but there was no more alcohol in the house. Wiping her eyes with her sleeve she thought, ‘I’ll go watch Spongebob. That’ll calm me down.’
A few seconds later and Jade was in front of the TV with her snack and her favorite show on. She tried to concentrate on the antics of a talking yellow sponge but was finding it difficult. The same thoughts kept intruding, like a rude person interrupting a conversation.
Meow. Gary!
What was that? Oh, Gary was back. Jade was focusing on her anger and frustration with Adam and missed what was happening in the show. ‘Damn these thoughts for butting in. At least I’ve seen this one.’ She tried to pay attention to the show.
Suddenly the lights dimmed. They flickered on and off, like some cheesy horror flick from the 80’s.
“What the hell?” Jade looked around, wondering what was going on. Then the TV went off. “Hey, what the fuck!” She yelled at the television as though it was personally responsible for the abrupt power failure. “Bring back Spongebob!”
A loud crack pierced the air. It sounded like something electric, like a high-voltage power source suddenly flipped on. Next came a hissing noise, like static from a radio. Jade looked at the TV. It was completely turned off. Finally, there was a low rumbling that made her look around the room, trying to locate its source. She thought that it resembled the sound the Ark made in Raiders of the Lost Ark, a very low humming with a lot of bass.
Just when Jade thought things had gotten weird enough, a small black hole opened up in the center of the room. It started out the size of an orange and then quickly expanded. When it finally stopped growing it was a good 3 feet in diameter.
Jade slowly walked around to the other side of the hole. It was the same on the opposite end. A big, black hole with nothing inside it. The space around the edge shimmered like water. Someone had punched a hole in the fabric of space-time. ‘Iblis?’
As she thought the creature’s name, Iblis and two other shadow beings came flying out of the opening at tremendous speed. One of them passed right through her, causing on odd cold sensation in her chest. She gasped as if suddenly dowsed with cold water, but the feeling was over as quickly as it had come on.
“Stop!” yelled Iblis. The other two shadowmen had nearly run into a wall when they hear their leader’s command. Instantly, they stopped and changed direction, slowly floating toward the void from whence they came.
One of the shadow beings regarded Jade for a moment, then turned to Iblis and said, “I think I just passed through the human child.”
“Yes, you did! Please don’t do that again.”
“Sorry about that, Jade,” apologized Iblis. “It’s been a while since he’s traveled via wormhole. I’ll make sure it never happens again.”
“Wormhole?”
“It’s a little short cut through space-time,” explained Iblis. “Like tunneling through a mountain instead of going around it. It takes a lot of energy and very exact mathematical calculations, but I won’t bore you with all that.”
“What are you doing here? And who are your friends?”
“M’lady, allow me to introduce you to, drum roll please.” Iblis paused while Jade listened to a drum roll suddenly sound in her ears. “The Watchers!”
Jade examined the two other shadow beings now standing at attention, like army privates presenting for inspection. They were nearly indistinguishable from Iblis. Shadows appearing in human form, glowing red eyes, a hint of a mouth, but no other clearly defined facial features. One of the watchers appeared slightly taller than Iblis while the other was shorter and maybe somewhat more husky.
“Nice to meet you,” replied Jade. “Do you have names?”
“Their names are unimportant,” said Iblis. “Just know them as ‘The Watchers.’”
“Alright, Watchers, why are you here?”
“This is an intervention!” declared Iblis.
“We’re quite concerned about you,” stated the taller Watcher.
“You’ve been using your friend Iblis’ power far too often,” said the shorter one. “The consequences have been…”
“Not very desirable, to put it mildly,” interrupted the tall one.
“We want you to stop,” said Iblis.
“Thank you, Iblis, but you don’t need to worry about me.”
“But things are getting out of control.” Iblis paused for a beat. “Aren’t they?” Jade had been had. Iblis knew everything. Of course he did. “You’re face reveals everything.”
Jade sighed and looked down at the floor. “Yes.”
“Adam has gone off the deep end.”
“Yes, you’re right! And I don’t know what to do about it!” Jade started pacing. A hand automatically reached for a clump of hair.
“You brought this on yourself, you know,” stated the tall Watcher.
“I know.”
Iblis watched Jade pace and twirl. Pace and twirl. “You know, you really shouldn’t twirl your hair like that,” he finally said. “You’re going to damage it. You already have split ends.”
“Sorry.” Jade dropped her twirling arm down to her side.
“Perhaps a better coping mechanism would be in order,” suggested the shorter Watcher.
“Could we please stop talking about my hair?!” I have other, more important things to worry about!”
“Then could you please stop pacing?” asked Tall Watcher. “You’re making me nervous.”
“And he never gets nervous,” added Iblis.
Jade sat down on the couch. She sighed loudly. Her shoulders slumped and she stared at her pair of Converse.
Iblis floated over her to her and knelt down to look in her eyes. “Jade, sweetheart. I can’t break the spell without more severe consequences for you. You’re just going to have deal with this boy.”
“But how?”
“Talk to him. Tell him how you feel. Say that you like him but that he’s smothering you. He’ll understand.”
“What if he doesn’t?”
“Then break up with him. You always have that choice, you now.”
“Yes, it’s that thing called Free Will,” said Tall Watcher.
“Terrible mistake,” mumbled Short Watcher.
“Yeah, but the way your spell is working, I doubt he’ll listen to even that.”
“If he ever wants to sleep with you again, he will,” replied Iblis.
“Oh God, you were watching me?”
“Please,” replied Iblis. “I’m no voyeur. But there are certain things we know about.” Iblis stood up. He turned away from Jade, his shadowy back now facing her.
Jade buried her face in her hands and started to cry.
Iblis turned back around. He looked down at the sobbing little girl. “We need you to promise to stop.”
Jade looked up, the tracks of a few tears staining her face.
“No more wishes. And if you ask for another, I’ll have to say no. You’ve gone too far.”
“Yeah, but how can I do that? Everything’s gone so wrong. You’re the only one who can fix it.”
“Have I fixed anything? Everytime you use my power, things get worse. You wanted revenge, Ruby almost died. You wanted Adam, now he won’t you leave you alone. How is that fixing things?”
“Yeah, but you can make that better. You can undo the spell. I know you can.”
“And the consequences?”
Jade said nothing. She just sniffed and wiped away tears with her sleeve.
“Do you remember what just happened?!”
Iblis yelled so loud it made Jade jump. She’d never seen upset like this before.
“Time sped up for you, and reversed itself. You saw the past. You saw a possible future.”
Jades eyes widened. “You mean she doesn’t have to die?”
“Forget about that for right now! Did you enjoy that experience?”
Jade lowered her eyes again. “No.”
“Promise me you won’t use my power again. Promise me no more.”
Jade looked up and right into Iblis’ red eyes. “Okay. I promise. No more.”
“Good. Very good.” Iblis paused a beat, then added, “The spell will wear off.”
Jade’s eyes grew big again.
“But it won’t be overnight this time.”
She nodded.
“It’ll take a good month, and it’ll wear off slowly, not all at once. Each day he’ll be slightly less clingy and annoying.”
Jade wiped away fresh tears. “Thank you. Thank you, Iblis. Did I tell you I love you?”
“Many times.”
I love you, Iblis. You’re my best friend.”
“You’re welcome. Now, why don’t you go upstairs and take a nap. You look like you haven’t been sleeping well lately.”
“Yeah, I haven’t. Good idea.” Jade got up from the couch and started off toward her room. She looked back. “Goodnight, Iblis.” She blew him a kiss. I love you.” She turned to regard The Watchers. “Goodnight, Watchers. It was nice to have met you”
“Same here,” said Tall Watcher.
“Pleasure’s all mine,” replied Short Watcher.
When Jade had finally gone, Tall Watcher turned to Iblis and said, “’I love you?’”
“’You’re my best friend?’” mocked Short Watcher.
“Yeah, with friends like me who need enemies,” replied Iblis.
“So,” asked Tall Watcher,” do you think she’ll listen?
Iblis sighed. “Not a chance.”
Short Watcher seemed to smile. “Good.” For a second, his red eyes glowed brighter.
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