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The Rising Shadow

By silvanuszed All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Fantasy

Familiar Face

They said that the wet nurse who first laid eyes on him screamed for three days straight and was soon carted off to an institution. His mother and father quickly abandoned him, sneaking out of the little town in the dead of the night; never to be seen again. People came from miles around to witness for themselves what their ears refused to believe and shrieked with disbelief, the men crying with abandon and hugging their protective talismen while the women fainted in droves.

As the boy grew his features became sharper and more defined and the terror it inspired grew with it.

Sure, his features were all arranged properly, with his inky black eyes and pointy nose all set up in the right places but there was something about his face that filled brawny men with terror and made little children burst into torrential wails. It was a face that stood for all that was evil and wrong in the world. It was a face that every soul in the land had tried so hard to forget. Tried to forget and failed miserably. Those harsh, cruel eyes sought them out in their dreams and waking nightmares. A long, curved beak of a nose, so much like a vulture, poked itself into the peoples every business. For whole generations that face stood for the terror and death that always accompanied it wherever it appeared. It spread a darkness over the land and into every heart until the Great Hero stood against him in the Battle Most Epic. And all the people were finally at ease.

And now that face once again looked upon then in the flesh.

Markel was born with the same beak of nose and the same black eyes that bespoke of an evil intelligence behind then. His mouth formed the same mirthless smile that folk remembered so well, and his maniacal laugh had the tendency to curdle the blood and set the flesh with goose pimples. In the course of his short life, three old ladies had suffered from heart attacks when he entered the room, and six kittens had committed suicide merely by his presence.

These incidents only added to the knowledge of what was already known by the townsfolk: Markel was evil. The reincarnation of the most evil being to ever afflict their poor lives. It was no wonder that everyone averted their gaze when he passed them in the street and quickly changed direction when they saw him coming. They all knew that the young man was evil and they held their breath and braced themselves as they waited for his darkness to manifest.

Sure, he was sweet and polite when he spoke to people, and he had a habit of petting stray puppies and passing coins to beggars, but everyone knew the true nature of his soul. The darkness in young Markel would surely manifest...unless they acted first.


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