For years, Shade had been rejecting her power to maintain a form she hated. She felt its pain at first, but was cold to it. The hurt turned to anger and, now, disdain. Beneath all that, love still existed.
The wind blew cologne into her nose. The sound of sharp and determined heels followed soon after. She opened her eyes to the moon, then directed them to the streets on either side. No one passed her for more than ten minutes. No one noticed her.
It was safe.
Shade willed her sleeping power to reach into Darkness’ body to find the Bria it possessed. She didn’t feel anything. Her head pounded. Ample power existed in both physical and mental Darkness. She needed to feel it. Shade rocked her neck from side to side. The crack released her irritation. This human form was useless.
She moved into the moon’s immense arms. It took pity on her lost soul. Its touch awakened her Lifeblood. Her revived power reached through the Darkness and drew out the Energy, the Bria. Her head stopped pounding. Humans— their rules, their food, their lives— were knives sawing into her neck.
A tingle started at her head and stimulated the rest of her body. She moved into the shadows. Lifeblood embraced her insides with delicious arms.
The moan refused to submit to her will. She suppressed a shiver as her power’s benign fingers coaxed her organs, muscles and bones into transformation. It weaved its body into her skin. Shade bit her tongue. It didn’t stop the whimper.
The now active Lifeblood forced her hair out of its solid form into thousands of long, wild, black shadow strings. She knew the gray of her eyes became wispy black clouds.
Urine battered her now sensitive nose. Shade smelled everything in the waste container nearby. The scent of rotten milk, moldy boxes and the dozens of humans the items once belonged to blinded her. Thousands of sounds assaulted her ears at once.
Shade regained enough control to block out horns from the domestic convys, the sound of these vehicles’ wheels riding over the pavement and humans’ mundane conversations. The street tram’s screeching breaks nearly killed her.
She inhaled light’s death and closed her eyes to hone her overactive senses.
Now came the hardest part.
She commanded her Lifeblood to extract more Bria from the Darkness.
She needed to drown her human side, if only for a moment.
The Energy and the moon’s arms entwined. They mated within and produced a power that burst and became her. It flowed through skin and organs. Giving her flesh to the Darkness, her body collapsed into a sceadu- a form that could taste the night. She would’ve stayed in the musty deserted street to burrow in the rush of relief and strength from her released form and her ability to hear, smell and see everything if her stomach hadn’t given her an enraged jolt.
She released a small measure of Bria to become a little solid. Shade wanted the prey to sense her presence. She wanted to smell its fear, wanted to see the look on its face when it knew someone or something followed it, ready to attack.
The passing human’s casual strut turned into a stiffened walk.
The arms remained close to the body as if afraid they’d be severed if they strayed too far. The head was upright, the eyes wide and darting towards dark corners.
Its pace quickened. Shade returned to the shadows.
Those secrets residing in everyone’s hearts and minds held magnificent Energy. Humans were too inept to see it as anything but evil.
All Darkness produced a boundless supply of power. Shade felt this Bria and extract it. The human mind wasn’t the only source. Shade grabbed hold of it anyway. Seeing images of others’ Darkness was nothing compared to what humans were going through, now that Shade had pulled to the surface what they had suppressed. Mental Darkness opened its power to her in exchange for the strength to wreak havoc on its wardens.
Shade no longer had physical features, but she saw, heard and smelled as though she did. Her insides whined. Her skin of Darkness tightened. Shade ignored her body’s protests. Her vision sharpened as her meal moved farther away. She wouldn’t let it go. Nothing mattered now. Her nose tracked it. She’d wait until it believed it was out of danger.
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