She opened the door.
Red screamed at her. Royal blinked, closing off her enhanced senses. Blood and body parts painted every inch of the cabin.
The shadow creature stopped their feasting. They stared at her. She walked in, leaving footprints in the blood and innards. The Authorities would know she had been here. It didn’t matter. Murder was almost legal.
Fear, depression, longing, anger and hatred poured from the carnage. It felt delicious. Maybe she could find a piece of jewelry. Something that absorbed all these lovely emotions. Something that would always remember this day. If only she could bottle this scene. She could feed off it for months.
The shadow people stood, dousing the light. Damn the Darkness, they could’ve at least given her time to find her souvenir.
Fear soaked their red and black clouded bodies.
She told Mom and Dad about these things as a child. They called them her imagination. She told teachers. They sent her to the school doctor. Maybe now she could get some answers.
”Can you speak?”
These creatures made her hungry. Not for physical food. Her core wanted what they possessed, wanted what was under their skin.
A black and red mass raced towards her.
Hundreds of shadowy tentacles shot from Royal’s center. They sliced through the creature. They devoured its Darkness.
Royal dragged her tongue across her lips. More.
The Energy that creature possessed made the world sharper. All Royal’s senses snapped open. She still saw the world— not just colors. Sounds, sights and smells attacked. Royal’s body made them submit. The air smelled of anticipation, depression, hope, dread, lust, longing. Passengers talked about family, food, their destination, each other, The Wall. Four cabins down, the train officials were lounging in their private area. They whispered about the passengers— who was pretty, ugly, who would make it through The Dark Wall unchanged and who would kill themselves. How and when they would do it.
The pretty ones went insane. The ugly ones suffered enough damage. The white-haired female would slice open her wrists shortly after passing through the black barrier. They all wanted to be there when it happened. They all wanted to cut off a piece of her flesh and take it home with them. As if that was possible, train rules forbade them from crossing The Wall into the trapped cities.
No one knew what was going on in the Lunch Cabin. From the smell of the passengers inner Darkness, no one would make it through The Wall unchanged. Well, she would.
The creatures collapsed into a puddle of Darkness. The shadows raced off the train.
Her body moaned. Her stomach sighed. Sated, Royal left the cabin.
Passengers leaned out of their seats as she passed. Some fell across her path. They smelled desperate to feed her scent to their brains. She met each of their eyes. She put enough poison in her glare to eat away their souls. She wasn’t in the mood for this nonsense.
She returned to her seat and dove into her book.
Ladies and gentlemen, due to technical issues, the Lunch Cabin is closed.
Royal pressed the book to her face, stifling her laugh. They were going to leave people in the dark. The Darkness was useful for so many things.
Uniformed officials raced up and down the corridors— their expression pinched. She snorted out a laugh. They looked like they were trying to squeeze a fist-sized rock out of their back passage.
Royal close her eyes. She honed in her sharp hearing. Several cabins down, one man was screaming about someone’s incompetence. He acted as if the lower officials ate those murdered passengers. One male with a deep, rumbling voice said they needed to keep this away from the Authorities. People went missing all the time.
Four stops later and still, they didn’t tell the passengers. Those murdered couldn’t have all been traveling alone yet their companions weren’t screaming about their disappearance.
Royal opened her book, Before the Wall, to the chapter on assault and murder. Over fifty years ago, murder was an offense punishable by death or life in prison. Authorities would spend weeks even months trying to find those responsible. Ever since The Plague swept through Middle Jael, people ignored violent crimes, even when it happened before their eyes.
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