I pried my eyes open to the sounds of painful groaning from Helena’s bed. I turned under the warm blankets to face her bed and saw Helena grasping her head while trying to haul herself up into a sitting position.
Quickly, I threw the blankets back and instantly felt the whip of cold air as I ran over to her side to keep her from falling over. “Helena, are you alright? How are you feeling this morning?”
She steadied herself and looked up at me with a confused expression colouring her face. A few more bruises had shown up across her face this morning and the bump on her forehead looked quite tender but her eyesight was clear and she seemed focused enough, despite being confused.
“Morning? Where am I?” she croaked.
“You’re back in our apartment. Do you remember anything that happened last night?” I asked her patiently. With a bump that large on her head I wasn’t surprised she was a little hazy about the details from last night.
Silence fell over us as she recalled the events from last night. The moment she remembered her hand flew to her mouth and she gasped as her eyes widened. “The shadow!”she whispered. “Where did it..? How did I...? What...?” Half finished questions came stumbling out of her mouth.
She looked so confused and scared that I couldn’t help wrap my arms around her to help calm her down and offer a little comforting until her breathing returned back to return from the erratic hyperventilating she was bordering on. “Deep breaths, Helena. Calm down” I instructed her.
She breathed deeply through her nose and slowly blew it out through her mouth and once she seemed in control I began to explain to her what happened. “Blake brought you back last night. You were unconscious and have a few bumps and bruises but nothing serious enough that we needed to bring you to the Healer. Blake said he heard you scream and ran over to you when he saw the shadow hovering over you”
I saw Helena shiver, whether she realised it or not, and I didn’t think it was from the chilly air. “The details are a bit unsure because Blake didn’t explain it all too much but Sparky came down and proved that fire was a weakness for the shadow. They said the shadow flew off into the forest and they immediately brought you here” I shrugged, “And that’s all I know. We’re going to Mr Obsidian to inform him about what happened last night and I really think that you should come along”
Helena nodded and winced at the sudden movement, “Sure. I wonder if he’ll know why the shadow came at me”
“So far, there are way more questions than answers. I can just hope that we’ll find out at least some of these answers”
We showered and dressed and ate a quick breakfast before stepping out of the apartment and to walk down to Derrek and Blake’s apartment. Helena looked down while we walked anytime a student walked past to hide her wounds and I couldn’t help but think of how her self-esteem had once again taken a hit.
A year ago she was running around shouting to the entire floor that we were holding a party for my birthday and now she shied away from too much attention. I smiled at the memory of when I lectured both her and Derrek that they would not throw a party for me again this year and I guess with all these different events happening they forgot about it. Which I preferred.
We reached their door and I knocked firmly against the smooth wooden door when I heard shouting from the other side. I rolled my eyes and sighed heavily, “Geez, it’s honestly never ending with these two!” I sighed to myself.
I turned the knob of the door, unsurprised to find it open, and my jaw dropped once I stepped inside. “Blake! What the hell happened to your eyebrows?!” I shouted.
Blake turned to look directly at me and I held back my laugh that wanted to burst from my chest. Blake was breathing heavily in anger with half of one eyebrow completely gone. “What the hell do you think happened to it!” he shouted pointing straight at Derrek who was holding onto the arm of the sofa as he tried to stand straight on the ice that was on the ground.
“He wouldn’t shut up!” Derrek shouted back before putting on a high pitched voice, “ ‘Do you think she’s awake? Do you think the shadow did something? Was I too late? Let’s go already, do you think we should check on her?’ Christ! You’re worse than a screaming newborn on ten bottles of coffee!”
I stared at Derrek, thinking of how he managed to compare Blake’s rambling to a baby on caffeine, before shaking my head and rolling my eyes again. “Stop it the two of you! We have places to go today and Helena and I don’t need your whining. Let’s go!”
By now, Derrek had melted the miniature ice rink that seemed to have covered the ground and Blake was pouting as he rubbed at bald spot on his eyebrow. Something must have snapped him out of his pouting because he did a double take and stood straighter.
“How are you feeling this morning Helena?” he asked.
“I’m okay, though I do think I owe you a ‘thanks’ for last night. So thank you Blake, I don’t know what would’ve happened if you didn’t get to me in time but I’m sure it couldn’t have been good” she smiled brightly at Blake and she ducked his head nodding.
“It’s alright. I was there anyway so... yeah” he mumbled.
“I saved her too. I saved them both!” Derrek mumbled as he stood next to me. I elbowed him in the stomach and heard the slight rush of wind pass my ear as it was knocked out of him.
“Let him have his glory” I whispered watching Blake explain the finer details to Helena. Derrek scoffed but said nothing else while we waited another five minutes for the two finish up.
“So... the dean’s office then?” Helena asked everyone. We nodded and left the guys’ apartment before we began to make our way to Mr Obsidian, hoping that he was in fact there.
We walked passed student after student and the girls were still looking at Blake with uncensored interest but no one made any move to actually approach him. As though he was some sort of untouchable celebrity or alien. We finally reached Mr Obsidian’s office and knocked while waiting for him to answer.
Derrek moved forward and knocked louder.
“Do you think he’s busy? Or not even in?” I asked. Derrek shrugged and pushed the door open slightly to peek in before pushing the door open to show that the office was empty. “Great... now what?”
“Well, classes are out for the day so we might as well head back” Helena answered biting her lip.
“Let’s grab the other Elementals and check out the forest” I commented out loud suddenly.
Everyone’s head spun to me and the looks on their faces screamed that I was crazy. There was nothing but the sound of Mr Obsidian’s clock ticking away in the corner and the faint chatter of the students outside on the grounds. Blake was the first to shatter the uncomfortable silence by half shouting in my face.
“Are you crazy?!” he shouted, “Did you suddenly forget what happened last night to Helena and me? Do you seriously, seriously, believe that’s a great plan?!”
Derrek stood in front of me as glared down at Blake. His eyes were a much deeper gold as they swirled with anger and warning, “You better watch your tone Frosty. If you’re scared then by all means, stay locked up in your room”
Blake straightened up and met Derrek’s stare with his own but it was Helena who broke their glaring contest. “Seriously guys, it’s okay. I’m fine, the shadow took me by surprise last night but if we go then I’ll know what I’m up against and would be better prepared. Mr Obsidian isn’t here and we can’t have any of the other students possibly getting hurt”
My eyebrows shot up into my hairline as her little speech surprised me. I wasn’t expecting Helena to come along into the last place that Derrek saw the shadow, especially after what happened last night, but it seemed like sheer determination to find out about this shadow was strengthening her confidence.
“I never said I wouldn’t go... I was just saying-“ Blake started but Derrek cut him off.
“Yeah, yeah whatever you say. Let’s just grab the other Elementals and torch some shadows”
“How did we not know about any of this until now?!” Sophia complained as all five Elementals, Derrek, Helena and I stood at the edge of the forest farthest from any other student.
I threw her a look and suppressed my sigh of irritation before answering her, “Because it happened late last night while the majority of the campus was sleeping”
“Did this shadow also have something against Blake’s eyebrow?” Bree asked curiously while trying to hide her smile.
Blake growled and looked as though he wanted to freeze Derrek’s head before answering Bree, “No. The shadow did not have something against my eyebrow. Matchstick over there thought it would be hilarious if he ‘took just a little off the side’. I should’ve given you a damn brain freeze instead of freezing the floor” He grumbled.
Bree, Sophia, Cara and Cameron burst out in hysterics and their laughter and giggles echoed off and around the trees of the forest. It was almost lunch and the sun shone brightly straight down onto us. I could see the spears of sunlight piercing through the breaks of the canopy above the trees. The forest was mostly dark and only lit up from the sun beams.
“You do realise we’re just asking for trouble... right?” Cameron sighed moving a little closer to Cara. “It’s a shadow, and we’re going into a forest that’s mostly shadow. We’re most likely going to walk straight into a damn trap”
“Look Elemental, we only asked if you wanted to tag along. We never forced you. If anyone else is going to whine and moan about this then go right ahead and leave. Go back to your comfy apartment!” Derrek seemed to be stressed and was letting it all out in anger.
We all knew that this was risky. Cameron was right. We were basically asking for trouble by going into the forest but I just knew that we couldn’t be hiding or running away from this shadow. It could turn up anywhere at any time and it seemed to be able to teleport to different places just by entering one shadow.
What was even riskier was that I knew the majority of our abilities wouldn’t work against it. We would be relying on Derrek for this. What it was just one shadow... so I wasn’t too overly worried. Derrek could easily torch one shadow. No one had said anything since Derrek’s outburst so with one more deep breath Derrek, Helena, Blake and I walked forward first into the forest.
The forest stood as though it hid nothing dangerous. Moss covered trunks stood tall and the odd fallen tree lay across the ground and propped up against other standing trees. A soft breeze howled quietly through the gaps of the trees and every once in a while we walked through a bright beam of sunlight.
“Sophia, are the animals saying anything?” I whispered keeping my eyes sharp for any movement.
The jittering song of hidden birds up in the tall trees and the odd scrambling filled the silence before Sophia spoke up, “The animals said the shadows have been acting odd. Tree shadows would move while the owners stood still and sometimes their own shadow would scare them because it would act differently to their actions” She spoke in a monotone, as though reciting it word for word before she stood straight and looked straight to me. “The shadow is most definitely still here”
I nodded once, “Keep tight together. We still don’t know what this shadow can do”
“Why are we worrying so much though?” Bree asked, “There’s one the one shadow right? It can’t possibly be that dangero- ahhh!” Bree’s shrill scream pierced through the silence as she was lifted into the air by what seemed like nothing at all.
My heart accelerated and we all tried to grab her hand as she flew straight into the air by her leg. “What the hell is going on!? Where the hell is the shadow!?” I screamed as I watched Bree throw her hands forward to try to use the wind to blow away her invisible captor, but it was no use.
“The ground! Look at the ground!” Sophia shrieked.
Our gazes dropped to the ground and the first thing we noticed was Bree’s flailing shadow, but what was more important was the other shadow the grasped her ankle and was flying through the air, or ground I guess I should say. “The shadow picked her up by grabbing her own shadow!” I cried in surprise. “Sparky!”
Derrek was already way ahead of me as an orange flame came throttling past all of us and was shot straight at the shadow. Before it could make contact the shadow released its hold on Bree and barely dodged the flame before hiding amongst the other dark shadows.
Bree’s scream pierced my ear drums as she fell, head first, towards the ground but Cameron was already there catching her. She looked like a ragdoll when her body stopped suddenly in Cameron’s arms but her limbs flailed at the sudden stop.
“Thanks” she squeaked before Cara ran over to hug her.
“Eyes open!” Derrek and Blake shouted together. The guys ushered the girls together while they stood on the outside. Once again the girls and I were being protected by the three guys but, with the exception of Cara, we were ready with our guards up. “There!”
To my left the shadow hovered between two tree trunks and for a moment I swore it looked like Death. “There’s only one of it... we have an advantage” Blake growled.
Which seemed to be a mistake.
Once Blake made his comment the shadow blurred around us in a circle, like an animal on the prowl and before my eyes it multiplied! One, two, three, four... more and more shadows exactly the same as the first appeared where the previous one stood, almost as though it was duplicating itself, until shadows completely surrounded us.
I gulped. “You were saying...?”
And. It. Is. On!
Firstly thank you for everyone who voted for The Elementals on the Watty Awards! It was because of your help that I won Most Popular in Action and I am seriously OVERWHELMED!!! Thank you!!!
Okidokes, what is your take on this shadow guy?! I can very much say that from now on I will be revealing who this shadow is in the chapter/s to come =) I was a little unsure where to go with it until I spoke to my best friends of 17 years. Gotta love friend input ;)