Light of the Shadow – Chapter 3 – Part 3

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Light of the Shadow – Chapter 3 – Part 3

 

Chapter 3

 

 

“The Destiny of the Warrior and a New Origin.
A new Step Ahead and Redemption.
The Past in the Past, Dark, Obscured.
The Present as a Portal to a different Future.”

- The Prophet of Truth

 

Part 3

Alexis squatted against a head stone. Its cold moist surface quickly seeped through the thin fabric of his shirt, freezing his skin and stinging on his recently opened wounds. With a curse he held his right arm against his chest and peered towards the tomb in front of him, where he knew two other men were hiding.

He had two choices. Either attack them frontally, even though surprising them would be practically impossible, or destroy the stone structure where they hid, which could imply enough disturbance to grant him some advantage. On the other hand, he thought watching the sky that was getting brighter by the minute, maybe he didn’t need to try that hard. The critical hour was getting closer.

He was certain that his adversaries would tend to retreat after dawn, but by then his own time would be in count down as well. The best option was to eliminate them as soon as possible, in case they felt pressured to attack him before daybreak.

Releasing his arm he took a deep breath and pushed the pain away from his thoughts. The whirlpool of emotions that threatened to swallow him had its advantages, he ironically found out. If nothing else, it allowed him to push back all other sensations that, right then, would only make him even slower.

He breathed deeply three times, in a mental count down, and then ran from his hideout straight to where he knew they were hiding. The anticipation burned in his chest and the part of him that called for the spilling of blood became completely alert, impatience itching on the tips of his fingers.

As the sky became brighter and the world regained its natural colors, his abilities would gradually dwindle. However, that was hardly comparable to what he knew was happening to the ones hiding behind that marble stone wall. And so, even though he was moving much slower now, he wasn’t surprised when he managed to punch the first man straight in the face before he’d even been able to stand up.

Sent flying backwards by the impact, the man’s body hit hard against the white stone wall in an agonizing sound that implied broken bones. Alexis, however, didn’t even have the time to check if he’d be able to stand up again. Jumping back, almost instinctively, at the last instant, he manage to avoid the other man’s blade by an inch, and even then he could only stop the next blow by sacrificing an arm, or the blade would have cut him in the face. A kick hit him right in the stomach, stealing his breath away, making him stumble back, and in the next instant the man was already on top of him.

With bright bloody eyes his expression looked more animal than human, the corners of his mouth curling backwards, showing a row of perfect white teeth. The raw violence emanating from him resonated with his own, and clenching his teeth hard it took all he got to counter his attack without giving in to that irrational impulse that told him to shred the entire world to pieces. Allowing himself to fall backwards on purpose, he managed to land a kick on the other man’s chest, sending him flying over his head. He was back on his feet even before he could hear the impact of his fall, and with an agile jump, he landed on top of his enemy, pressing his left hand against his chest. The scream of frustration and anger that filled the air was suddenly interrupted when what it’d been a solid body became mere black dust.

By the time he raised his gaze, looking for the second man, he was already running away, jumping from shadow to shadow, probably too aware that trying to face him alone while sunlight was slowly taking over the world was too big of a disadvantage.

With a sigh Alexis stood up and staggered, practically stumbling on his own feet, which left him a sardonic smile on his lips. It’d been a long time since he’d felt this tired and miserable.

At least I’m sure I won’t be easily destroying anything I shouldn’t …

Holding his now bleeding arm against his chest, his face contorted when a sharp pain stabbed his shoulder. And yet, even with his senses dwindled by pain and the growing light, he could still clearly hear her heartbeat, almost as if he had his head pressed against her chest.

Trying to remain awake, afraid he might still be attacked by surprise, he forced his feet to obey him and walked unwavering towards where he knew Sarah was.

There the headstones were much older, some even darkened or broken by the elements. There weren’t almost any flowers or other signs of recent visitors. And some of the lots were going through a clear change of ownership, the recently dug up earth opening new graves, that with arms wide opened awaited those that destiny would send their way.

Alexis stumbled on the ground and gritted his teeth when his legs threatened to give in. The sky was turning blue, now, announcing a sunny day he had no intention to greet.

The iron-like sweet smell of blood hit him like a bucket of ice-cold water, waking up his lethargic senses, endowing him with a renewed strength. In the next second he was practically running, which he knew should have been impossible at that time of day. The anxiety that took over him was so intense that it left him breathless, as if a gigantic hand was squeezing his throat. And yet he was sure she was alive, the persistent and constant heartbeat vibrating inside him leaving no room for doubts.

A mount of recently dug up dirt made him stop. The smell of blood was terribly strong there, mixing with the scent of her skin that he could still clearly recall from when he’d carried her away from that warehouse.

Fear …

Was the only word that resonated in his mind, and knowing how perfectly well it described what he felt right then made him feel sick.

Slowing down, he walked around the mount of dirt and his gaze fell upon a round hole recently opened on the ground. His legs shook as all the different possibilities of what he was about to find filled his head. What if it were too late? What if she couldn’t be saved? The degree of just how important that woman was to him left him terrified. How was that even possible? Just another life, among so many others … all just passing by, all insignificant … But not hers!

Decided, he walked to the edge of the hole and peered inside, allowing his eyes to wander over the darkness that, contrary to the world outside, still reigned in there. It was probably nine feet deep and no more than four feet wide. And, at the bottom of that well of darkness he could easily distinguish the curled up shape of a Human Being. He knew immediately it was her by her white sweater, as if her scent wasn’t enough, and the red smears randomly coloring the white fabric caused him spasms of fury that he was only able to control because he himself was on the verge of losing consciousness.

He thought about getting down there but there wasn’t enough room for him to fit. And so he knelt on the ground over the soft, recently turned dirt, and leaned inside, stretching his arm as far as he could, trying to reach her.

“Sarah?” he called her but she remained unmoving, as if unable to hear him. “Sarah! I’ve come to get you.”

The sound of the first rays of sunlight touching the earth echoed in his ears with the same intensity of dozens bells ringing. A deep groan of frustration escaped from his throat as he urgently looked for a way to get her out of that place. The limit of his tolerance had just been announced and, from then on, his own physical integrity would be at risk.

Why wasn’t she moving…? He couldn’t see anything that confirm that the heartbeat he heard was real … Was she unconscious or something worse? What if she couldn’t move?

From where he stood it was impossible to understand the gravity of her wounds, and no matter how much he stretched his arm he’d never be able to reach her.

For an instant he knew that the wisest thing to do was to simply leave, return home, and call the police so that they could help her. Now that day had dawned she’d be safe, even if he weren’t there … if only he were able to turn his back on her and leave.

“Sarah … It’s getting brighter out here and I don’t think either of us is going to like very much what will happen if I remain outside. So I need you to give me your hand, so that we can both leave this place. Sarah? Please answer me …”

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