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Shades of Light

By Aleksander All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Fantasy

Prologue

A dark shape speeds along slightly less dark streets through a city of concrete and smoke. The PA system breaks through the customary oppressing silence to start a blaring alarm. The sounds of stamping boots close in on the alien presence but is too fast. The men in black trench-coats are forced to watch the figure disappear into the night, hearing on their radio's how their comrades do the same. Their tense expressions are hidden behind stoic mask. Their reports are collected by their commanding officer and he plots out the course of the visitor. His hand trembles as he picks up the phone and gives his orders.

Soldiers, most of them conscripts, run to secure the borders of the compound. A three meters high chain link fence, topped by barbed wire, separates them from the rest of the world. Some of them even know about the mines but none of the men and women expect to make it through the night. They hold their rifles tightly to their chest as they peer over the barricades. Their unease grows as the dark intruder slows down and starts pacing along the fence. The commissioner shouts a few words of encouragement and the commander orders the soldiers to take aim.

Their target continues pacing with a malignant intent, observing them almost dismissively. It is human shaped, male, with red eyes that might just be an effect caused by the soldiers' lights. Long black hair flows down from the top of the head. It is hard to tell where skin ends and clothes begin. It is ragged and torn, a deep black that creates the impression that the figure is cloaked in shadow. In their hearts some of the soldiers believe this to be true.

When the commander raises his hand to give the order to fire, the intruder jumps forwards and scurries up the fence like an insect. It hardly seems to notice the barbed wire. It flinches, however, when it lands on the ground on the other side and a hail of bullets is unleashed. It rolls to the side and leaps forwards toward the line of soldiers. As they pull back the bolts to prepare another shot, the man-shaped thing cruises over their heads and sprints away. It heads right for the cliff face which forms the natural border of one side of the compound.

Soldiers open fire from all directions, ignoring the chance that they may hit one of their own. A second line of soldiers attempts to confront the intruding entity but it simply jumps on top of a building to break line of sight. It is forced to go over open ground in the last stretch of the journey and by a tremendous exercise of willpower it manages to reach the cliff. Shots and curses assault it from behind, the roaring waves are in front at the bottom of long drop.

The visitor doesn't hesitate and simply keeps going. Momentum carries it quite a distance before it finally hits the water. Soldiers crowd around the point where it had jumped off. Some are waiting for it to surface, others believe that the force of the impact has broken every bone in its body. The higher ranks know exactly what has happened and one of them is quickly dispatched to contact the appropriate authorities.

Eyes, full of red where white should be, open up to more light than they've ever had to endure. Unfamiliar sounds and sensation creep up on a barely conscious mind. Grunting, Alex finds some familiarity in the pain which has seeped into every part of his body. He looks up in amazement. The sky is blue! He twist his head, accepting the sharp stabs that come with it. The ground is soft and green! He's lying in a dense carpet of grass. His clothes are completely drenched and produce a weird sloshing sound as he sits up. For a moment he thinks about the amazing expanse of water he saw in the other world. It pales in comparison to the landscape he's seeing now. It fills him with a light but powerful feeling in his stomach. He wants to laugh but not in a way he has ever done before.

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