In His Footsteps

Dark Shadows

Back on Earth, Antarctica…

“Mr. Jordan,” the man called out, trying to find his friend through the aisles,

“Mr. Jordan,” he called again, before he turned to a corner, and found Hal lying on the ground, he quickly ran up and checked to see if he’s okay. He discovered him breathing normally, deeply asleep, and yet very cold. He called one of his men to help him carry Hal away from the area, and placed him in his office where it is warm.

They placed Hal on the sofa, and wrapped a blanket around him,

“He hasn’t eaten or slept in days,” his co-worker said,

“That’s how some fathers are, always thinking of their children before themselves,” the man stated, before he turned to him,

“We need to continue looking while he rest,” he said to him,

“I agree, he’s gonna needs some energy before he might hurt himself,” the co-worker said concern, before they both left sleeping Hal alone, and back searching through the warehouse,

Hal continues to slumber, his mind continues in hope of finding what he came for, so he can go find his son and bring him back home.

Back in Lantern Corps. Academy, Yellow Sector…

Harold, Kihwog, Walter, and some of the other young Lanterns, made it to the mountain area, where they are about to head up through the cave to search and collect the three orbs,

“We made some excellent process, and have 30 minutes to spare,” Walter said as he and Kihwog are about to head up the mountain, unless they noticed Harold isn’t following them. Harold is at the lower end near the ground, he felt himself frozen while looking up the mountain,

“So… high… up,” he whispers through his teeth with fear, he rarely got over the falling part, but having to fly all the way up to the mountain.

“Come on, we need to keep up,” Kihwog said,

“…I… I don’t…uh…” Harold hesitated and nearly backing away,

“Relax Mr. Jordan, you know we’re here to help,” Walter comforting him,

“I’m sorry, maybe you guys can go without me, I’ll just slow you down,” Harold said,

“Not gonna happen, we stick together as a team, and we’re finishing this course together,” Kihwog stated.

Harold looked up the mountain again, he sighed, Walter sensed his distressed but then though of an idea,

“Mr. Jordan, would you like to see a trick my mother showed me when I use to be afraid?” he asked Harold,

“Sure, I guess,” Harold answered. Walter levitates down to pick up a small pebbled-rock from the ground, then he flew back up and handed to Harold, who crooked his eye-brows looking at the pebble on his hand,

“Why am I holding some kind of pebble?” he asked him,

“All you need to do is stare closely at this mineral object, and don’t take your eyes of it after you count to ten,” Walter instructed him,

“I don’t see what this has got to do with anything…” Harold is confused,

“Trust me, it helped me, and it will help you. Just give it a try and you’ll see,” Walter assured him. At that brief moment, Harold inhaled and exhaled,

“…Okay then, I’ll give a shot,” Harold said, before looked directly at the pebbled-rock in his hand and started counting,

“1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10,” he turned to look at Walter, “Now how does this even wo… WHOA!?” Harold became stunned after discovering himself, and his team mates, standing on top of the mountain.

“HOW DID WE GET UP HERE?!” Harold is beyond shocked that one minute they were down bottom, and then in a blink of an eye, they made all the way up to the mountain just like that.

“I told you it will work,” Walter smiled,

“I hate to interrupt this moment, but we need to catch up and finish this course,” Kihwog reminded them, and they immediately started heading towards the cave to locate the orbs.

Meanwhile, at Planet Yeghij…

Peaceful alien citizens, enjoying the day at their home village, cropping their fields, children playing, and many more along with nature, everything was going great until… two alien fishermen on a boat, pulling up their net that collected many lived fish creatures they caught, then they noticed the sudden ripples of the water, and an unusual wind that occurred. By then, they spotted a shadow that appeared in front of them, coming from behind. They turned around and discovered…

A Black Armored Warrior floating in the air, and before then, he positioned his activated weapon on his right arm, locking onto them…

BLAST!

Back in the Lantern Corps. Academy, Yellow Sector, Cave…

Harold and his friend walked through the cave while using their rings to light their way through darkness, sticking together to find the orbs, and yet having a hard time even finding one of them,

“Are we even close to them?” Harold asked, feeling a bit tired,

“Locating the orbs is rather complex, considering they are well hidden separately within the interior structures inside this mountain,” Walter explained,

“So then the best option is to split up and find them,” Kihwog suggested,

“Woah! Wait a minute, didn’t your sister mentioned about those three dangerous creatures trying to capture us, what if they’re here?” Harold nearly panicked,

“I seriously doubt that Jordan, we won’t encounter any of those creatures until we leave the cave through the other side,” Kihwog clarified,

“And it is unlikely the counselors would even consider to liberate the creatures before we have the chance of leaving this place,” Walter stated. After it, Harold calmed down,

“Maybe you guys are right, I guess I’m a little worried because we’re in a big dark cave, and I’ve seen many horror films of deadly monsters prowling around dark shadows, attacking their victims one-by-one, is all,” Harold explained,

“Seriously, monsters prowling in dark caves like this, you say just ridiculous things,” Kihwog said with his eyes rolled. However, three shadows lurking through the cave, quietly appeared and hidden away from the three young Lanterns, unnoticed by their presences. They breathe silently, watching them from a far, yet close, distant, as they are about to split up,

“Just remember to use your rings to locate the orbs, they illuminate themselves reacting to our energy rings, and we also remain in contact so that hopefully we’ll find each of them in time, and meet up at the exit,” Walter explained,

“Yea, well we best make it quick before the others might take all of them before we could,” Kihwog stated,

“Alright then, I’ll see you guys there,” Harold said, then they part ways to find the orbs, still unaware of three shadows watching them, silently growling, and started splitting up themselves, following them.

Back in Planet Yeghij…

Homes and shelters burnt in flames, crops and boats destroyed, and the once innocent citizens are now under the influence of the Black energy, and control by the Black Armored Warrior, standing at the mountain hill, looking at the army assembling in their position, awaiting for his orders. Until, he received a contact his captain, he answered it on the device, placed on his left arm,

“Progess report,” Black Hand speaking to him through speaker,

“All villagers are under your source, and more will carry on throughout the next, as you ordered,” the Warrior answered,

“Well done, once you finished here, return at once so we’ll move on to the next,” Black Hand ordered him,

“Yes Captain,” the Warrior replied,

“End of transmission,” Black Hand said before he disconnected him. The Black Armored Warrior turned to his army, all set and ready to spread throughout their planet until there is nothing but deadly energy of the Black Lantern.

Back in the Academy, Yellow Sector, Cave…

Harold walking through the dark cave, using his ring to guide him and search for the orb, he sighed,

“Where could they possibly hid them, in the walls, the ground, ceiling? I wish there is at least a sign to know I’m close,” he said. Then the next thing he knew, he encountered a small crystals, attached to the walls, illuminating themselves through their reaction from his ring,

“Well how about that,” he smirked, as he might be able to find one, he followed the crystals, hoping to lead him to the orb, unaware of a shadow following him from a distant...

Kihwog walking through the cave, using his ring to locate the orb, and with a stroke of luck, he spotted something illuminating it’s light reacting to his ring, and it’s coming from inside the wall in front of him,

“There you are,” Kihwog said, before he constructed his Green Sledge-Hammer,

Bam!

He smashed it on the wall, enough to get the orb out of there, he pulled it out,

“Got it,” he said, unaware of a shadow above him, looking down at him…

Walter floating through the cave, tracking down the orb with his ring, and not long, he detected an illuminating light reacting to his ring, located at the corner ceiling. He flew up there, and gently, though roughly, pulled out the orb that was attached to it,

“Success,” he said, unaware of a shadow below him, looking up at him…

Harold continued following the crystals, as it led to a small room,

“Wha… why did it lead me here?” he said, before he looked around the room for any orb, but saw nothing, and then his comrades spoke through his ring,

“Hey guys, I found one of the orbs,” Kihwog speaking through his ring,

“As do I, any progress in your section Mr. Jordan?” Walter spoke as well,

“I haven’t found it yet, I thought I was close but I was led to this empty room,” he said, then left the room,

“Maybe, it’s in the other side or some-” he said until stumbled over something. He looked down and discovered an illuminating light reacting to his ring attached to the ground, he found the orb,

“Hey Harold, what happened?” Kihwog asked,

“I found it! It was right below me the whole time,” Harold answered,

“Excellent work Mr. Jordan, well done,” Walter replied,

“Ok then, now that we collected the orbs, we should meet up at the exit get the heck out of here,” Kihwog said, wanting to leave this place,

“Yea sure, I’ll meet you guys there,” he said to them before they disconnect. Harold then started trying to pull the orb out, which slowly loosen up until… it finally came out,

“Got it,” he said before he got back on his feet.

Growl!

Harold suddenly heard a ground, looked around him, but saw no one, then went back getting the orb out, and then he heard some foot dragging, he looked around him again, but still saw no one. He begins to worry,

“Come on Harold, there are no monsters in this cave remember… well, no monsters except maybe those alien creatures…possibly lurking through the dark shadows… watching your every move… waiting for your guard to be down so they will pounce at you at any second,” he started to freak out a bit, he look at around once more, and slowly backing away, trying his best to remain calm…

Tap!

He felt a sudden tap behind his shoulder,

“AHH! GET AWAY FROM ME YOU UGLY FREAK!” he yelled, and constructed a Green Bat, and swung it… but stopped when he spotted a small, little chubby, blue alien, has 3 black eyes, 6-fingers, has no mouth but a whiskered mustache, and no legs but is attached to a hovering machine that levitates in mid-air, and is a Green Lantern,

“Who are you calling ugly,” the small blue alien scolds at Harold,

“You’re no good-looking alien yourself, you two-eyed skinny-legged chump,” the small blue alien glare at him. Harold realizes his mistake, and his Green Bat immediately disappeared,

“Ooh… I am so sorry, I thought you were…” Harold apologizing to the small blue alien, but then the small blue alien hovered up to his face.

“I’m one of the volunteers sent by the counselors to inform young Lanterns you have 15 minutes left to finish this course, but instead I received your little outburst and almost got hit by your construct,” the small blue alien complained, making Harold feeling little guilty,

“Okay, listen, I didn’t mean to do that to you, I thought there was something following me and… I freaked. I’m real sorry man, I really didn’t mean to-,” Harold once again apologized, and before he know it…

Slap!

The small blue alien slapped him crossed his face,

“What the heck was that for?!” Harold complained while rubbing his face,

“For mistaking me for a male, I am clearly a female!” the small blue alien yelled, which surprises Harold,

“Seriously? It’s kinda hard to tell with your deep-voice, the little mustache, and the oddly size of your-” he was describing, which made her very upset, clenched her fist,

Punch!

“AAH!” Harold replied when she punched him hard between the eyes,

“You insensitive, inconsiderate jerk!” she said before she hovered away from him. Harold rubbed his mark where the small blue alien punched him,

“Well she sure punch like a dude,” he said, before he started leaving the area, to meet up with his friend at the exit, still unaware of the shadow behind him.

Center Control Room…

Kilowog and the other counselors continue monitoring the young Lanterns through the hidden cameras, some of them already completing the task, and the rest are catching up to them. Everything seems to be okay until…

Kilowog suddenly turned his attention to the third camera, he noticed an unusual shadowed figure passing by,

“What the…?” he said, and then he spotted another shadowed figure passing the fifth camera, and then another on the seventh camera,

“Something isn’t right,” Kilowog clarified before he turned to one of the Yellow Lanterns,

“Show me the creatures’s cell,” he ordered him, the Yellow Lantern operated the camera, and displayed on screen of the creatures cell has been opened.

“Why are they opened? Who released-?” Kilowog said until a thought occurred to him, and then quickly turned to Sinestro, who stood quietly next to the other Yellow Lantern, he approached him,

“Sinestro, do you have something to do with those creatures out of their cell?” he demands,

“Now what made you think I would do such a thing?” Sinestro acting innocent,

“Those creature were not suppose to be out at this time, they could seriously hurt these kids inside that mountain,” Kilowog clarified,

“Now let not get hostile Green Lantern Kilowog, I did mentioned earlier, that these young Lanterns will at some point face unexpected events, and I thought I gave them a little challenge to see if they can make it out of there,” Sinestro stated.

“You’ve gone done it this time poozer, I’m outta report you to the-” Kilowog glare at him, until,

“Green Lantern Kilowog!” he turned to one of the Green Lantern,

“We may have a situation,” the Green Lantern said, showing Kilowog the camera screen of one the creature is very close to one the young Lantern, and it’s Jordan!

“Oh grotz!” Kilowog said with absolute concern, while Sinestro smiled evilly from behind.

Back in the Cave…

Harold running through the cave, hoping to either find his friends or the exit out of the cave, he stopped for a moment, when he found three passage way,

“I think made of went the wrong way,” he said, and was about to leave until,

Growl!

Harold heard that same as before, and it’s coming from one of the passage, then heard that feet dragging, and heavy breathing,

“Who is there?” Harold asked, but heard no reply but another growl, and then… he saw a huge shadow, with a huge red eye darting at him, and big wide teeth, showing it’s fangs.

“Oh crap!” Harold is stunned, gazing at the alien creature approaching him,

“Get back! I’m warning you!” Harold said and prepared to have his Laser Canon ready to attack,

The creature approaches him, Harold backed away, until… a huge breath blew upon Harold, which made him tripped and fell on his back,

Roar!

The creature roared at Harold as he crawled through the ground and away from the creature,

“Get away from me! Get away from me!” Harold cried, until… he heard three laughters, he stared at the shadow and saw a three Yellow Lanterns appeared out from that one shadow, revealing to be the creature; one, who is short, made the sounding ‘growl’ and ‘roar’, one, who has orange-skin, and does have one eye but swelled it up to make it huge, and the other, who is chubby, stretched out his teeth widen enough to be the fangs. Harold realized that he’s been played by their dirty trick,

“We got you so good!” the one-eyed Lantern said,

“He totally fell for it,” the chubby Lantern said with a smile,

"Get away from me! Get away from me! What a wuss!” the short Lantern mimicking him, all laugh and teasing Harold.

Though, it actually made Harold sudden feeling of fear replaced with angry at those creeps pulling such a prank. It also reminded him at the time he had bullies back in middle school, picking, teasing, laughing and making fun of him; he hate that so much!

“Some Lantern you turn out to be-!” the one-eyed alien said, until…

Punch!

Harold punched the one-eyed Lantern to the face, hard enough to knock out one of his fangs, and then fell into a small, yet deep, hold on the ground, and then the two Yellow Lanterns immediately pinned Harold against the wall, the one-eyed alien rubbed his face,

“You just knocked out one of my best fang, I just got it waxed for a hot date tonight,” he said with anger, before,

Punch!

He punched Harold to the face…

Kick!

The short alien Lantern kicked him on the gut…

Bash!

The chubby Lantern fist-hammered him on the back, enough to hit the ground.

“Little punk,” the one-eyed alien said,

“I don’t even get why he’s still here?” the chubby Lantern asked,

“No matter, we need to start heading out of this cave, and be done with this course,” the short alien said, and they started leaving the scene,

“Later loser,” the one-eyed Lantern said, before he and the other two Lanterns finally left.

Harold gets back up, despite the pain he receive from those Yellow Lantern thugs, he wiped his nose and looked at his hand, only a small smudge of blood after that punch he received. He gazed at it for a moment, recalling the time as a young child…

(5 years ago, Middle School…

It was after school, 10 year old Harold, wearing his dark-green t-shirt, black shorts and white tennis shoes, is holding on to his backpack while being cornered by three big kids, who chased him from the playground to the basketball court,

“What you got in the bag Howard?” the leader demanded him,

“It’s nothing, just stay away from me,” Harold backs away from them, but couldn’t go any further since his back is against the fence.

“He’s lying, get that bag from him,” the leader ordered the two, and they tackled Harold to get his backpack, but Harold kept holding on to it, so then they just pinned him against the fence.

“Stop it! Let go of me!” Harold yelled, before the leader pulled his backpack from him. He unzipped it and went through it, and then pulled a small clayed bowl,

“What the heck is this crap?” he said,

“Don’t break that, I made that for my sister’s birthday,” Harold said,

“Aw… how sweet of you to make such a lousy bowl for your sissy, I wouldn’t even imagine if I ever…” the boy said and then purposely let it fell off his hand…

Break!

Harold is shocked to see the bowl he made from art class damaged, the two kids let him go as he quickly went down to pick it up, but the pieces fell apart and too small to be put back together,

“Oops! I dropped it,” the boy teased Harold, who is still on the ground looking at the broken pieces, but unaware of Harold’s sadness slowly shifted to anger, clenching his hands on the ground.

“I guess you have nothing to give to your thumb-sucking, little wimpy sister of your-” the leader said to him, until…

Punch!

Harold gave him a punched hard on his face, enough to knock out his front tooth from his mouth, and his tooth bounced off the ground and then fell right into a small drain hole. Much to the leader’s shock and anger,

“You just knocked out my loose tooth, I was saving that for my trip to the dentist,” the leader yelled before…

Punch!

He punched Harold to his face, and made him fell to the ground,

“You’re gonna pay for that you little-” the leader lashed and is about to beat him more until one of the two kids stopped him,

“Yo man, I spot a teacher nearby,” the first kid said,

“We need to get out of here,” the second kid suggested, mush tot the leader’s dismay,

“You may got lucky this time Jordan, but next time you won’t be,” the leader said to Harold before he and the other two kids started running away.

“I can’t believe he just punched you,” the first kid said,

“First time I see him fought back,” the second said,

“So what, he just took me by surprise, it’s not like he’ll ever out beat me,” the leader stated before he and the other two kids finally left the scene.

Harold got back up after those bullies left, his face is sore and just wiped his nose, he looked at his hand that has blood on it. Then thought about what one of the bullies said earlier, that was the first time he fought back, he didn’t win but it did gave him a resolution; what he did maybe his first, but it’s not gonna be his last.)

Harold is walking through the cave to find the exit, and ignoring the soreness of his body he received from those Yellow Lantern thugs. Then his comrades spoke through his ring,

“My friends, are any of you close to the exit?” Walter asked,

“I think I’m half way there, what about you Harold?” Kihwog asked, but received no replied from Harold, who is not at all in the right mood, but did stopped walking,

“Mr. Jordan, are you present?” Walter asked,

“I’m here and already on my way,” Harold replied but with a low tone,

“Are you okay, you sound upset?” Kihwog asked,

“I’m fine,” Harold said with the same tone,

“You don’t sound fine, did something happened, were you encountered by any unexpected eve-” Walter said with concern, until,

“I SAID I’M FINE, SO WOULD YOU JUST SHUT UP AND DROP IT ALREAD-” Harold yelled through the ring, but stopped himself, realizing he’s lashing at his friends out of anger.

“Geez Harold, you don’t need to yell at us,” Kihwog complained,

“I apologize if I upset you Mr. Jordan,” Walter said, Harold sighed with the feeling of remorse,

“No Walter, I should be the one apologizing to you and Kihwog, it’s neither of your faults, it’s just… I’ll just meet up with guys and we can get out of here,” he said to them,

“Very well then,” Walter said,

“Whatever,” Kihwog replied before they disconnect from each other.

Harold sighed once again, because of the what just happened ever since he came inside this cave; it started out with fear when he thought there is a monster in this cave, then anger when he encountered a prank and got slightly beat up by those Yellow Lantern thugs, and now he felt guilty after he lashed his anger out on his friends. Then he suddenly heard that foot dragging sound nearby,

“… You know what, I’m just gonna ignore that and keep going,” Harold said, and went back walking,

Growl!

He stopped when heard a gruesome growl, which did made him turn around and a saw huge shadow appeared in front of him, it has a huge bright red eye, sharp-bladed teeth, and is glaring right at him. However, Harold appeared calm and annoyed at the same time, he grunted thinking it’s another prank from those Yellow Lantern thugs,

“Are you kidding me, you guys seriously think you’ll pull this same stupid trick on me again? Well guess what, I’m not falling for another one of your dumb games, so would you just leave me alone and go away!” Harold scolded at the shadow and went back walking away from it, but then he felt a huge breath blew behind him, which almost made him fell, but not this time, but is now pissed off.

“DUDES! I SAID TO JUST GO AWA…” he yelled and turned around, but then he felt his body frozen, his feeling of angry immediately reverted back to fear, his eyes grew wide, gazing at the shadow, realizing it wasn’t the Yellow Lantern thugs, this time it was the one-eyed dragon-like creature, who rose above him, glaring down at him,

“Oh…my…” Harold whispered, and…

RROOOAARRR!

To be continued…

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