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Growing Darker
PicsArt 06-22-12.38.52
Information
Writer TheRealSloth
Artist TheRealSloth
Editor-in-Chief BeholdtheVision
Published 03/07/2019
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"Shadow #2"
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"Shadow #4"

Growing Darker is the third issue of the comic series reboot Shadow from Paragon Comics, written by TheRealSloth.

Appearing in Growing Darker

Featured Characters:

  • Maya Hathaway
  • Henry Dalton
  • Cathleen Hathaway -Mentioned

Supporting Characters:

  • Richard Dalton
  • Abigail Downer

Villains:

  • Jackson Clemens -Mentioned

Other/Minor Characters:

  • N/A

Solicit Synopsis

Maya's interactions with the new spirit grow stronger, as she struggles to cope with her changed life.

Issue 3: Growing Darker

Durant, School for Teenage Therapy, St. Louis, MO, US. It was early Monday morning, and Maya had been dropped off at the boarding school by her adoptive mother. She was back here for a whole week, after spending the weekend in her room, as some sort of petty "punishment" as she saw it. She didn't have access to a TV nor the internet, and she was anxious to get back onto it. This is why she almost ran as soon as she got out the car, ran straight to the common room and entered, seeing a couple students haunting the place already. She ignored them and stomped straight for the shared TV, pressing the on switch and seeing a grey screen show up with some alert. The TV wasn't connected, so she looked around for the remote control.

Maya: Where is it? The remote? Where is it?! She turned, yelling at the wandering students. One groaned and looked at her, annoyed.

Student: You broke it, remember?

Maya: I didn't- okay, when are they getting a replacement?

Student: I don't know, they said they banned the TV for this week because of the fighting last Thursday.

Maya: What?! But I need to see the news!

Student: The news? Who cares about that? You know this is your fault, Maya.

Maya: I wasn't the one who started the argument.

Student: Half the arguments around here are because of you.

Maya: That's not true, I only start fights with a**holes.

Student: Yeah sure, so everyone's an a**hole to you?

Maya: Well maybe they are?

Student: Get over yourself, you're the one crying about a TV.

Maya: Fine, fine then. I don't need a TV, I'm back here, plenty of ways to relax here, right?

Student: What do you mean...?

Maya: She approached the desk next to the student, there was an open book next to his hand. She looked down at it and quickly tore a page out. Oops.

Student: Hey! What are you doing?!

Maya: Good luck returning that to the library.

Student: What's wrong with you?! That's not even my book, James is borrowing it from the library, not me!

Maya: Oh well poor James then. She rips out three more pages and scrunches them up, and quickly shoves them into the student's pocket as he rushes to take them out. Good luck explaining that to him.

Student: Oh you're so damn mean, Maya. He looks up as the student James enters the room and sees the book with torn pages taken out. Oh, hey James, look, I can explain, it was-

James: Maya? Maya, what the hell? He ran towards the book and inspected it, his voice was quivering and he looked anxious. I have to return this! Why did you tear it?!

Maya: What makes you think I did it?

James: I saw you! Ah, I don't care but how am I supposed to give this back? They're gonna ask me about it, they're gonna-

Maya: Oh calm down, it's four pages from the middle, no one will see it.

James: But-

Maya: But what? Stop crying, you're seriously going to have a panic attack over a damn book? Wow, it's easy to set you off.

Abigail: Maya! Abigail's voice came from the side, her having just entered. Maya, you can't poke fun at others issues here.

Maya: Oh look who's here, the prefect. And look what she's saying, to not poke fun out of "issues". Says the one who is literally a walking bundle of problems herself. They probably handed her the prefect badge to stop her collapsing into a puddle of disabilities.

Abigail: Maya-

Maya: I mean on the softer side there's your neurotic ADHD, which stacks onto your tendency to lie to support your lack of a spine, which are co-morbid with your history of drugs - probably so you can handle your own bitchy attitude-

Abigail: Maya, stop! Her voice almost cracked this time, and Maya noticed she was on the verge of tears.

Maya: Abbie? Everyone watched as Abigail stood still, holding her journal in one arm and holding her tears in with her free hand, silent. Abbie it was a joke, why are you cry-

Abigail: Stop! Just, stop. Please...

James: A-Abigail? Are you okay?

Abigail: I'm fine, thank you. She straightened herself up, wiping away her tears and looked back at everyone, a small fake smile. Maya watched her, her own face frowning. She felt she had done something wrong, Abigail was upset and it was probably because of Maya, and this effect made Maya feel uneasy. Abigail usually cries, and Maya felt they were a natural reaction at this point, but this time they felt more serious, with Maya at its cause, as if they were directed at her this time. Maya fell silent.

Maya:... Hey, Abbie- She was interrupted when another student entered the common room, and upon seeing Maya, he yelled at her.

Other student: Hey! Maya turned as the kid approached her, the latter aggressive. Maya, you evil b*tch!

Maya: What the f*ck did you just say? Maya's expression grew from a frown into one of anger, equalling the student's, as she faced him, ready to start a fight.

Student: Miles, you killed him didn't you?!

Maya: Who the hell is Miles?

Student: My hamster! You killed him, he went missing last Friday, you were in the room with his cage!

Maya: I wasn't the only one in there, idiot.

Student: So what, it's obviously you. You did this kind of stuff before, I know you killed him for fun or something!

Maya: Okay, I didn't kill your damn hamster, I just set him free, okay? Little sh*t was scratching on his cage a lot, I did us all a favour by stopping that noise, and did your furry friend a favour by letting him go.

Student: He was my hamster! That's my choice to make!

Maya: It's just a hamster, who said he cares what you say either? She looks back at Abigail who was facing them but looked distracted, her eyes on the ground and still watery. But fine, if you love it so much, I'll help you find it- The boy suddenly shoved her back with one arm, forcing her to quickly balance herself. Maya looks back up at him, as the other kids look at them in shock. She growls, and takes a step towards him, ready to attack him, but he suddenly screams.

Student: Woah! She's got a knife!! He backs away quickly as the other kids gasp and their eyes shift to Maya, she stands still, confused.

Maya: Knife?

Student: You saw that, right?! He asks the others, and some of them nod in agreement. Maya looks down at her hands, both empty.

Maya: I don't have a knife, stop being a coward.

Student: They saw it too, I told the tutors you were a killer, you even carry a damn knife!

Maya: What the... This is because of the TV thing, isn't it? Regardless of Maya's protests, enough students had told on her, and before she knew it, she was placed in detention. She was currently sitting in a chair in one of the senior's office, the latter of whom was pacing and asking her questions.

Senior: Look Maya, this could've been resolved if you would've confessed.

Maya: I already confessed, I'm innocent. I have no knife on me, how would I hide that with everyone watching?

Senior: You know carrying a knife is a serious offence, within the school grounds and out of it? You're 17 years old, you're going to be leaving this place soon, but with a behaviour like yours, well, it's either an extra year here or you could end yourself up in prison.

Maya: But I didn't have a knife! I'm clean, for everything!

Senior: But that's not exactly true, is it, Maya? Last week you started a fight and everyone lost their TV privileges, because we couldn't exactly pinpoint the reason why it started. But this time we see a correlation of the argument, you in the centre, and everyone pointing at you. The following punishment would be much more personal than before in such case. No point punishing everyone over something you did.

Maya: But I didn't. Do. Anything! Everyone was just blaming me because they think I'm the only reason you guys disconnected the TV!

Senior: Well, there have been other reports.

Maya: If it's about that stupid rat-

Senior: I believe it was a hamster.

Maya: I wasn't talking about the pet.

Senior: Well, it's not like you haven't had an unfavorable relationship with actual rats before in this school either.

Maya: I didn't kill this one.

Senior: Whether that's the truth or not, the other students are afraid of you, Maya.

Maya: Am I supposed to be concerned?

Senior: Not yet, that's our job. But with all these accusations against you, your history of breaking conduct, it is hard for me to take your side on the knife issue. Now, I'm not going to write that you did it, but I will have to lecture you on the seriousness of this accusation, for future reference.

Maya: Go ahead, I got all day. The senior turned away and searched through some files while he began talking, mentioning random knife crime statistics which droned on. Maya leaned on the side of her chair, noticing as the sunlight faded from clouds blocking it out. She felt something solid in her hand, and turned her eyes to look. She saw that within her palm, a black blade had formed, solid, three dimensional, as if it was constructed from physical shadows in the shape of a knife. She lightly gasped, as the senior turned to her, and she quickly shoved the blade under her shirt to hide it. She began breathing slightly heavier, she wasn't afraid, but very cautious and confused. A knife had formed, and it resembled her shadowy visitor from before. That wasn't a delusion after all, she thought, as she could feel something preternatural right now. She desperately waited for the lecture to end, each word couldn't go slower, but eventually it was over.

Senior: Now, that will be all, Maya. I hope I haven't scared you too much, you look nervous.

Maya: Just eager to keep my nose clean.

Senior: Glad to hear it. Now go.

Maya: Yes, sir. She quickly got up, almost knocking her chair over as she left hurriedly out of the office. She got outside and took out the blade, but it instantly evaporated. The sunlight, it made it fade from her hand, but she definitely felt it before. She looked at her hand, inspecting it and closed her fist and opened it a couple times to see if it had any effect, but it didn't. She heard a distant low rattling and looked up, notices something in the grass ahead and approached it, seeing a small hamster bobbling around. Her eyes widened, it was the hamster she set free last week, still alive. Maya quickly knelt and grabbed it, holding it gently in both hands and held it up to look at it. You're a survivor, aren't you? Still alive aft-

Student: Hey! Maya turned, recognising that same voice, seeing the student who owned the hamster in the distance looking at her. Is that Miles?! You have Miles!

Maya: What? Oh, yeah. I saw him in the grass, you want him back? She held her hands out to present Miles, but the student looked scared rather than angry or relieved.

Student: What?! N-no, this is a trick, another prank of yours. You have another knife somewhere, don't you?

Maya: Both my hands are holding the hamster, I can't stand you without any hands.

Student: You will if I come near you! Just keep him, but leave me alone, okay!

Maya: Look just take him. I'll set him down near you... She approached him, slightly kneeling to drop Miles near his feet, but the student backed away, almost whimpering.

Student: I said keep him! I don't want to owe you anything!

Maya: Look, I'm doing something nice for you, why the hell are you so ungrateful about it? Either way you're upset over it, hamster or no hamster?

Student: I-I'm not mad at you, we're even, right? No hard feelings? Stay away from each other?

Maya: She groans, annoyed at his response. This caused a huge fuss, so either you take the hamster alive and well or I skin the damn rodent and hand it to you tonight. The kid shakes his head, and quickly runs inside the nearest building. Maya sighs, looking down at the hamster. Guess he didn't want you alive. With one finger, she strokes the hamster's nose, as it sneezes. Gross... I wonder why they keep you things in cages... Never owned a hamster before, maybe they're better than dogs? She strokes it again, and walks off back to her dorm room with it in her hands. When she enters, she looks in the corner of her room near the window and sees an empty fish bowl of hers. She walks to it and drops the hamster inside, working as a temporary house for it. Should be big enough... Maya switched her room's lights on and went to the window, closing the curtains. As she did this, she felt a rush behind her, and quickly turned around. In front of her was her shadow, but standing up and facing her, that same shadow being from last week. It was here again, but the lights were on, which should've erased her shadow, yet somehow it was standing right there.

Shadow: Maya...

Maya: H-how are you here?! The lights are on!

Shadow: Our bond is strengthening as time goes on. I can feel us entwining more and more. This empowers us both.

Maya: Our bond? What bond?

Shadow: We are fated to join... It will benefit us both. It will take time... But it shouldn't.

Maya: What do you mean? How are you talking now, like, properly talking? Last time I recall you could barely speak. Am I just imagining this right now?

Shadow: I am as real as you. The longer I'm with you, the more I feel myself coming together. I am sorry, Maya. Passing through multiple hosts has splintered my knowledge...

Maya: What does that even mean?

Shadow: I...don't know.

Maya: What do you know? You said you're coming together, well, tell me what you know? Because I just formed a knife in my hand earlier and it looked awfully similar to you, is that your doing?

Shadow: Our doing. These powers, they're ours.

Maya: Okay...okay. Listen. I need to know everything you can recall. Everything.

Shadow: All I remember...I remember watching you, every night before I came down from the sky to join you.

Maya: What...the f*ck? Explain more.

Shadow: That is all I can remember...seeing you... I am missing parts of myself, but it can grow back...

Maya: I am so confused. I need to understand what you are exactly.

Shadow: That is not important now... Answers may come in time, but we can focus on the present. That way we can achieve both of our goals.

Maya: Our goals? What do you know of my goals?

Shadow: You want... Clemens.

Maya: Yes...yes, how did you know?

Shadow: I can feel what you feel. We are meant to be one...

Maya: How will you help me achieve that?

Shadow: Bonding allows us to tap into the supernatural abilities I contain, it cannot be achieved alone.

Maya: Abilities? Like that knife thing?

Shadow: Yes. Do you want me to show more?

Maya: No, f*ck no. Don't ever control me again.

Shadow: I won't. Nothing that will harm our bond.

Maya: Then how do I use these abilities?

Shadow: You must accept me, allow us to bond knowingly and willingly. Learn the sacred duty, and fullfil our purpose.

Maya: What sacred duty? What's the catch here?

Shadow: Peace, opposing injustice against the unpowered, becoming a protector of the less fortunate. That is our duty.

Maya: Isn't that what law enforcement does?

Shadow: The true shadows are incorruptible.

Maya: Fine, fine, you want me to fight crime, I get it, you could've said that from the beginning. If that's what it takes. These abilities will get me Clemens, right?

Shadow: Our synergy does not work with disappointment on one end. Clemens is yours, if you agree to bond with the shadows.

Maya: Then I agree. The Shadow nodded, and began levitating. Maya looked uneasy, but the Shadow quickly dived at her, entering the surface of her whole body and coating her in shadows. She began to hover off the ground, feeling it grasp her and almost touch the ceiling, before it completely entered her and she landed on the ground, on her knee. She looked at her hands, and the shadows were gone, and she noticed that the lights of the room had fused, though she could still see in the dark. For once, she didn't feel that the voice was creeping into her, but rather a second thought process accompanying her own.

Dalton Residence, Iowa. Harry Dalton had arrived home from work, a case he employed himself in. He entered his home and passed his husband Richard's office, and overhead him arguing loudly on the phone. It was the same as before, arguing to the police about Clemens's escape, this was the only conversation Richard was having, he hadn't spoken to Harry in days. Harry listened in to what Richard was saying this time, hearing his excuses.

Richard: On the phone No, you listen to me. Clemens didn't know what he was doing, he isn't a completely sane man. Tell me, where was the prison psych ward located? Near the boiler room! He was trying to find the psych ward that the damn prison inhumanely denied him. And then a boiler room explodes? How underfunded is the prison's infrastructure that a boiler can casually explode as such?! Unless you expect Clemens to have been armed with C4, in which case I would also blame the underfunded prison protocols on contraband. Clemens helplessly wandered out of your prison because he needed support, support which you are denying him. Hell, if I was in such a situation, unaccommodated and witnessing random explosions in the prison walls, I wouldn't think so much of walking right out there.

Harry: Wow... He said to himself, walking away from Richard's office door and shaking his head. Richard was delusional, he thought, no one could defend a murderer who just escaped prison. Harry shrugged it off and examined these files he brought home with him, heading to his own office and placing them on his desk and began reading. We see they are files with Maya's name mentioned on them, her parents before her adoption. They were old papers detailing an old family therapist she used to visit, and Harry was reading them out of curiosity of Maya. The papers detailed that Maya's parents were concerned with her behaviour, and accounted that at age 7 she used to chase away the stray cats from her garden. Her parents taught her that she should feed them instead, so she used to feed them live rats she caught. Harry frowned upon reading that Maya's parents were unconcerned by this behaviour, but only showed action when Maya had attacked a cat with a stick for fighting over food with another stray cat. The therapist had returned the results stating that Maya's behaviour was benign as she simply didn't know what was wrong about her behaviour. Harry mumbled to himself reading this, it seemed like Maya's parents had buried these papers soon after removing her from therapy. At seven years old...before Clemens? Does the school not know about this? Harry took out his phone and saw in his contact list Maya's name, sighing. He felt guilty about what he had done to her, attacking her unintentionally the last time they met. She needed help, and he wanted to give it. In the background, Harry overheard from a TV playing the news from Richard's office room. It mentioned Clemens's name, and so Harry listened in.

News: The search for convicted murderer Jackson Clemens, who had escaped from Anamosa State Penitentiary last Friday evening, continues as officials state the inmate couldn't have travelled far without being spotted. It is theorised the criminal is hiding somewhere no more than thirty miles within the site of the prison, but regardless authorities have issued a warning for surrounding cities to impose a temporary curfew. As they have said, this is a dangerous man who has escaped, but not only that, he is a man who murdered one correctional officer and a fellow inmate during his escape. Authorities also say that this fact has motivated them to return Clemens back into Anamosa State Penitentiary within the following week, where he will soon be transferred to a Supermax facility- Harry heard as the TV was quickly switched off, by Richard having heard enough across the rooms.

Harry: Two more bodies... Harry's pitiful frown changed into one of frustration, at the man who continued to murder and is running free for it. He stood up, gathering the files together and texting Maya to meet with him outside the school. He headed into his car and began driving, but when he arrived in Missouri, Maya still hadn't responded to his text.

By this point it was the evening, and Maya had once again snuck out the school gates. She had found an empty basketball court somewhere far from the school, no one was here around this time. She stayed low as she saw there was an increased number of police cars on the streets, to which she didn't know the reason. When she reached the court, she sat down on one of the bleachers, shaded by the building behind the court. The Shadow formed in front of her.

Shadow: Make sure we haven't been followed.

Maya: No one can tail me. What's with the secrecy?

Shadow: People can't know of the supernatural, human curiosity is frighteningly infinite, yet our power is limited.

Maya: I wasn't planning on letting anyone know what I was up to anyway. So come on, spit it out, what abilities do I have?

Shadow: Manipulation over the dark essence that manifests in the absence of light.

Maya: So...shadows?

Shadow: Yes.

Maya: But aren't shadows just...holes, in light?

Shadow: That's what outsiders see, but we deal with a substance that exists in those absences, one that can be seen as interchangeable to natural eyes. People like you can pull out this paranormal material and shape it.

Maya: Like that knife?

Shadow: That was something you conjured.

Maya: I wasn't standing in a shadow or anything, that was in the middle of a lighted room.

Shadow: Yes, our shadows can exist in lights if you drag them out from the dark spaces, but they lose their supernatural properties. What you formed was an ordinary knife in consistency, but appearing as a shaded blade to the watchers.

Maya: What do you mean by supernatural properties?

Shadow: Conjuring objects is only at the lower end of our spectrum of capabilities, when we are standing within darkness, things become stranger.

Maya: I'll get back to you on that one. My knife disappeared when I walked outside. How come?

Shadow: The Sun. Starlight is burning and harsh, the night is calm, soothing and empowering. It is where we act, as sunlight destroys shadows completely. Unnatural sources of light are weaker, but still effecting.

Maya: So I can't even do anything during the day?

Shadow: You created that blade during the day, did you not?

Maya: Yeah I know, I meant when outside.

Shadow: We are hiders, we stay in the shadows, that is why we should operate at night, it is easier for us.

Maya: Okay, okay, but back to before, you mentioned supernatural properties, list some.

Shadow: I...I don't know. It isn't hard coded in us, I believe... I am still missing...pieces.

Maya: Okay whatever don't start complaining to me. So I can keep forming knives, right? Any time I want?

Shadow: No, every time you stop holding the shape of an object, the shadows inside it fade. You carry a limited supply of darkness in you at a time, but we are built to generate more. We do it by eating light.

Maya: Eating light? How does that physically work?

Shadow: I can't explain how, but shadows do not exist without the presence of light.

Maya: Okay okay I heard enough of this cryptic information, tell me when you recover from your brain damage. Maya stood up from the bench and walked through the shadow and headed to the centre of the basketball court, right at the edge where the building's shade meets the sunlight. She looks at her hand and thinks of a knife, and she noticed as shadows form from thin air and forge a black knife in her hand, feeling it as she clenches her fist. It was light, almost weightless, but real. She stuck her hand outside the shade into the sunlight, and the blade instantly dispersed, Maya feeling a slight sting as if her powers warned her of the sunlight. She pulled her hand back in and tried again, once more forming a knife. She knelt down to the ground and carved an "M" in the concrete using the knife, standing up and looking at it. Alright, I'm convinced. You're real, this is real. I can make knives, how is that going to help me get to Clemens?

Shadow: The more we bond, the more abilities we'll be able to access, ones more useful to your goal.

Maya: I already bonded with you, how much further do you want?

Shadow: We have to merge more than physically, we need to share our ideologies, our goals, everything.

Maya: Oh right, you wanted me to do some crime fighting. How do I even do that?

Shadow: Follow the shadows, they'll send whispers of the powerless facing injustice around the city. You'll hear the cries of every person standing in or around shadows, and we'll step in to balance the scales.

Maya: Every person? There's a lot of tw*ts out there crying indoors, how am I supposed to know which ones need help from a mugging?

Shadow: You'll know when you hear them, Maya. You are different now, I understand you more, and you understand them more...

Maya: Understand them? What, people? I understand people, okay? I know exactly what everyone is up to, and I know people only cry to to get something from you. That's what they want, to get this from us. Maya held up her hand, showing the knife. This is some useful sh*t we have, why spend it saving them?

Shadow: We can't work against society, Maya, we are a part of it. Hear their cries, and you'll understand them.

Maya: Hear their cries? How do you expect us to stop crimes if tears slow me down?

Shadow: That was just your reaction for the first time, you will get used to their cries, and will get used to helping.

Maya: She sighed. I'll try this once. Once. And only if they're close. Maya walked straight past the shadow again and headed towards a particular shady patch near the walls of the court. She stood inside it and instinctively closed her eyes. In an instant, her mind was filled with distant screaming and yelling, inaudible voices, but they didn't hurt her brain, but instead forced her to analyse them. She tried hard to focus and pick out a single cry, and chose one, a loud one, that sounded close by. I hear them... These are just people right now? Getting...attacked?

Shadow: We have to save them, screams like this don't last long.

Maya: How do I find them?

Shadow: Focus on the call for help, and it'll stick with you, guide you to them. This one feels close, we must hurry. You need a disguise, people can't know who you are.

Maya: Fine. She put her black hood stretched over her head. Is this good?

Shadow: It doesn't obscure your face.

Maya: I doubt they'll recognise me either way, let's just get this over with. Maya walked out from the shadow and focused on the one cry she heard, and suddenly she heard it more sharp in her head, as if pointing out the direction it was coming from. She headed away from the court and hit the streets, looking through the buildings and jogging, hearing the cry for help behind one of the buildings. She ran across the street, dodging a police car that almost hit her, and headed in between two buildings, down an alleyway. I can hear them closer, like they're here... Maya slowed down at looked around, and heard someone scream again and looked to her right, seeing someone getting assaulted by a thug holding a knife, kicking a man on the ground. There...

Shadow: Hurry, interfere!

Maya: What? Are you crazy? He has a knife.

Shadow: So do you, Maya!

Maya: I'm not getting stabbed... Maya heard their scream again and winced, she rolled her eyes and jogged towards the two, in sight of the armed thug. Hey, stop kicking him.

Thug: What? Get the f*ck out of here, girl, this doesn't involve you!

Maya: Yeah I know, but I have to stop you. That dude doesn't want to be hurt.

Thug: I don't give a sh*t, stay out of this. He aimed his knife in her direction to warn her, as he kicked the guy on the ground again, swearing at him.

Maya: Look, he's had enough. Just get lost now. She began to walk closer to him, and formed the shadow knife in her hand as she was now under the shade of the two buildings. Unless you're prepared to use that thing.

Thug: I told you to leave. He walked away from the man and towards Maya as the two headed closer. As he got to her, she disappeared from sight and he halted, looking around. What the... where did you go?! He feels Maya quickly jump at him from behind, almost climbing his back, as he runs backwards trying to wrestle her off. He feels her knife stab into his shoulder as he yells. He flings her off him as she lands on the ground, disappearing again in the shadows. He kicks where she was but feels nothing, looking around for her again. He turns around and sees as Maya is there again, and swings the knife to stab his face but her hand clips a sun ray peaking through the alleyway, and her knife vanishes, leaving her hand to weakly slap his face. Ugh, you b*tch.

Maya: Wait, what?! She looks down at her empty hand and back up as him, he approaches and swings his own knife, stabbing Maya in her abdomen as she coughs. She quickly throws a punch, which sends him flying back against the brick wall behind him and instantly knocks him out after a single grunt and his body flops against the ground. Woah... I did that? Maya hears moaning as she sees the man who was being assaulted pull himself off the ground. He sees Maya having just launched the man and whimpers, running off. Maya angrily yells at him. Hey! Be careful next time! A**hole... Why do you want me to do this? He didn't even thank me and... And I got f*cking stabbed! Maya exclaims as she notices a stab wound looking down. She sees the criminal's bloody knife on the ground and reaches to pick it up. This wasn't worth it.

Shadow: That is not why we do this. There is no trade-off to look out for, just aiding the weak.

Maya: But why me?

Shadow: That I don't know.

Maya: Well find out soon because- Maya hears a voice yell at her, she turns and sees a police officer, who had followed her from the street.

Officer: Hey! Put the knife down! Now! He unholstered a firearm and aimed it at Maya, approaching her slowly.

Maya: Sh*t...sh*t... Shadow, what do I do? She whispered to herself with no answer. The cop approached her as she knelt down and placed the knife on the ground. He took out a pair of handcuffs and went to place them around her, but Maya quickly moved her arms and grabbed him, swinging him, flipping him off the ground and against the opposite wall. His body hit the ground and stopped moving, unconscious as well. Wait, no! That was an accident! I barely touched him! Shadow, how do I turn this strength thing off? Hello? Answer me!

Shadow: Maya! You can't attack law enforcement, they are on our side.

Maya: It was an accident, this sh*t is hard! Why is my strength suddenly so high? I've never worked out in my life.

Shadow: You're empowered by the darkness, standing in a shadow. You will have to get used to this with training, you attacked one cop and one criminal, and still frightened the victim. This is a failure, you must practise these abilities daily.

Maya: Screw that, I just got stabbed, and I don't even feel it. You want me to do this every day- She pauses, as she hears the cop's radio mention something. She turns to his body and kneels down, listening in.

Shadow: These things would be useful to find crime you're unaware of in the day.

Maya: Shut up, I'm trying to hear.

Radio: Alright, heading back to station for the next round. Still no sight of Clemens, hurry up and get back here, Thompson. We got patrols same time tomorrow.

Maya: Upon hearing this, Maya stood up, shaking. He's out?!

Shadow: We don't know that.

Maya: Then why are they looking for him?! F*ck, I was grounded, I didn't see the news! How long ago was this?! He could be walking around right now! We need to find him, we have this now. She formed a knife in her palm. And this. She picked up the bloody metal knife from the ground. In case there's sunlight. We can go, we can kill him now.

Shadow: We can't.

Maya: Yes, we can. If we just lure him in the shadows. We have to leave now, I know where he'll be, we have to get him before the police do.

Shadow: This is dangerous.

Maya: Not if we go at night, we'll just wait at the school, they're probably looking for me by now. Come on, night is good, the whole city is a shadow at night. She walked off, jogging her way back to the school. When she arrived, she saw parked in front of the school Harry's car. She approached it and saw that Harry was sitting inside, he noticed her and quickly exited the car, looking at her.

Harry: Maya! Maya, you're bleeding... Why are you holding that knife?

Maya: I didn't kill anyone, it's my own blood.

Harry: That's not better, come on, I'll take you to the hospital.

Maya: No, they'll keep me there. I have to be here, I have to be outside. Clemens escaped.

Harry: I know Maya, I saw. The police will get him, but get in the car.

Maya: No, this is my chance to get revenge, we need to go to my old house. He'll be there, we were neighbours!

Harry: Maya, drop it, this isn't your fight to carry out anymore. We did what we can, but he escaped now, the police will throw him in a supermax for life when they catch him.

Maya: Life? Why should he get that privilege when he took the lives of my parents? You're driving me there, now. She opened the door to his car and sat i the front passenger seat. Harry got in with her.

Harry: The only place I'm taking you is the hospital.

Maya: It's not a serious wound!

Harry: I don't care, Maya, I'm worried for you. You can't be sneaking outside of school, getting...stabbed, obsessing over a murderer. Soon you'll become one if you keep this up.

Maya: What does that mean? I've never killed anyone.

Harry: No, but you could, everyone can, but you might not even know until its happened. I mean you're sitting here telling me you want to go kill someone, I'm not helping you ruin your life.

Maya: Fine I'll go myself- She turned to open the door but Henry quickly locked them.

Harry: Maya, I said no. You need help, you need to stay in this school. Let the police gun down that jack***.

Maya: I don't need this school, I'd be a lot better if I get to him. Don't you remember that he's ruining your husband's life too? Don't you want his obsession to end?

Harry: Not at the expense of your freedom. They'll lock you up too, you know? Don't let Clemens win this that way. When they catch him, he's done for. In the meanwhile, you need to stay here. Listen to their advice, get the necessary help.

Maya: Why on Earth would I need help? Not their kind of help at least.

Harry: Maya, do you even know why you're here?

Maya: Conduct disorder. It's all bull, anything that I do to everyone is something they started, why doesn't anyone else get told they have that?

Harry: Maybe it's not all bull.

Maya: What do you mean? That boy in middle school? He 100% deserved that, he was an ***hole.

Harry: No, I don't mean that. I found something from your childhood, something off-record. Do you remember seeing a therapist when you were younger?

Maya: Not really...

Harry: You did do some pretty serious things to some animals in your backyard. Do you remember that?

Maya: I remember playing with cats. Why the hell are you digging into my childhood?

Harry: Can we not change subject? You did some alarming stuff, which is why your parents buried the sessions. Now to me, that was wrong. This information could benefit the school in accommodating your needs. Teach you why what you did was wrong.

Maya: I know, don't hurt cats. My mum said it all.

Harry: This isn't about just cats. You'll understand soon, I'll just need to formalise these statements and hand them to the school-

Maya: No, don't. I told you I know, I know what was wrong. My mind won't stop thinking of this sh*t now. Animals feel pain, humans feel pain, whatever. I do regret it, okay? But only recently, it's...weird.

Harry: You regret how you attacked those cats?

Maya: No, I regret what happened to my dog.

Harry: Your file didn't mention a dog.

Maya: No, I got it later. She frowned, looking out through the window. Like, when I was 13. Cathy- my new mum bought me one, because I was lonely at the new school or something. Mandy, was her name.

Harry: From Grim Adventures? Harry chuckled.

Maya: Yeah, why?

Harry: Kinda fitting.

Maya: How?

Harry: Nevermind, continue.

Maya: That dog, I really liked her, she was a German shepherd. She was useful, used to walk her every day, play fetch in the park, have her chase squirrels and stuff...

Harry: You okay?

Maya: No...I realise what happened to her.

Harry: What happened?

Maya: Well, she was sick, right? Like, really sick. Not too sick that she would die, but she had expensive vet trips. Cathy saw how much I loved her so she kept paying, not much because of her teacher salary. I noticed she was losing money on that dog. Money she'd otherwise spend on me, for the TV bills and my phone and everything... She began to fiddle with the bloodied knife between her fingers.

Harry: And then...?

Maya: About a year later, when I was 14, I came back home without the dog. Killed by a coyote, I said. Cathy freaked out, cried, she liked Mandy too. But what really happened... I...I took Mandy and I...

Harry: You...?

Maya: Drowned her in the lake.

Harry: God, Maya... He turned away from her, holding his mouth.

Maya: I know. That was wrong. She might still be there, in the forest park near my new house.

Harry: I thought you said you loved this dog.

Maya: She shrugged. It cost too much. She turned to look at Harry, still fiddling with the knife in her hand. I didn't want to do it, not really. I'd actually trade my phone for her if I could go back. She was a good girl. Soon after that Cathy got really b*tchy, made me stay in school during weekdays.

Harry: Could you put down the knife? We need to tell this to your school, they can make sure this stuff never happens again. It's a very serious thing to hurt an animal you're close with.

Maya: I know, I know. I'm such a b*tch, aren't I? She sighed, putting her head against the seat. That's what everyone calls me. She chuckled. That's also what they would call female dogs. Though I think that's less rude...

Harry: No, no you're that, Maya. You're acknowledging it, you know it was wrong, that's good. It means the school is helping you understand.

Maya: No, I helped myself understand. Me and this thing. I got a better life ahead than that school is giving me. And there's one part of my past to reflect on before I'm redeemed, right? She waves the knife, smirking.

Harry: Not Clemens.

Maya: Yes, Clemens. Open the door. She went to open it but it was locked.

Harry: Maya-

Maya: Open it! She turned and held the knife near his face, as he quickly unlocked the doors from his side. She opened her door and got out, but stuck her head back in. I wasn't really going to stab you, Harry. We're friends. But not best friends, because you didn't drop me off to Clemens. She sticks her head back out and closes the door.

Harry: Maya! He exits the car and approaches her as she makes her way to the back of the school. At least go to the hospital first?

Maya: So you can go tell the school of the supposed "crimes" you think I did? They already hate me enough there, screw that.

Harry: Maya, stop! Get back in the car! He grabbed her arm and turned her to face in. Maya- He groaned, looking down and seeing that a shadowy arm had conjured from her wound and stretched over, stabbing Harry's abdomen with a shadow knife in a similar manner to the one Maya received. The two looked down as the arm disappeared, showing that Maya's wound had healed completely, and instead been transferred to Harry. Maya...

Maya: What?! I didn't do that! I didn't touch you! She dropped her real knife, as Harry kneeled down in pain. I'm... I'm sorry! It's this thing! This shadow thing! I-I have to go! Maya turns and runs, heading around the back of the school and sneaking in, going into her dorm room. When she entered, she put on clean clothes and saw the hamster sleeping in the fishbowl and approached, taking it out and then sitting on her bed, stroking it to calm down. She sees as the Shadow forms in front of her.

Shadow: You're upset.

Maya: Yeah no sh*t, I just hurt one of my allies in this.

Shadow: That is good, you're feeling things, empathy.

Maya: Is that what it's meant to be like? Guilt eating at you, stress building up, just because you harmed something?

Shadow: Yes, I believe.

Maya: That's horrible, I don't want this, how do I get rid of you?

Shadow: You can't. This was always meant to happen, becoming one.

Maya: But-... Oh god, your eyes... Maya stared at the Shadow glaring back at her, mortified. She saw its eyes and recognised them finally, she had seen these before, last week with Harry, they matched his for a second when he was strangling her. But furthermore, they go far back, to when she was nine years old, and Jackson Clemens was in her house and turned to face her, his eyes as dark as the night, exactly like the eyes of the Shadow before her. You... With one hand she grabbed a clump of her hair, pulling it to try and force this memory out of her. You were there, that was you... Inside Clemens... On that night, you were with him when he murdered my parents. You did this, you're just here to torment me! You came from Clemens to Harry, to me! They're your hosts! She stood up, yelling.

Shadow: I don't recall this night...The only time we have been together is now.

Maya: No, you screwed with my life. You made me hurt Harry and the policeman, and got me angry at Abbie!

Shadow: No, you were always like this, uncaring for the well-being of others. This is why I am with you. To put you on a better path...

Maya: No, you're f*cking with my mind! I want you to leave, go! The Shadow stays floating, staring at her. I said leave! F*cking go! Get out! She runs over to the window and swings open the curtains, turning around but the Shadow simply moves out of the way of the sunlight. Maya screams, dropping the hamster and holding her face, closing her eyes. She hears as the door bursts open, seeing that the Shadow had disappeared and Abigail and a caretaker rush in to check on Maya.

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