After our heart to heart, I went to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and sighed, looking at the mirror. My neck and face was stubbly, I needed to shave soon. My hair was slightly greasy as well, a shower would be nice.
I left the bathroom, and checked my watch. It was just after eleven, time for an early lunch. I made myself a peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwich, and a handful of chips. The food felt good, I needed some energy and fuel. I rinsed my plate and left it in the sink. No point in doing the dishes and I honestly didn’t feel like it, even if the loop didn’t exist.
I faced the door and sighed. Time to get back to Ricky. Time to meet some more villains. I opened it and walked outside. I strolled across the street and knocked on the door. It swung itself open, and Ricky hovered out.
“You okay man? You seemed a little messed up earlier. I thought I heard some crashing too.” He seemed genuinely concerned.
I looked at the ground and shook my head. “It’s ok, I was just working through some stuff. I’m fine now, really.” I met his gaze at the end, and Ricky seemed half-convinced.
“If you say so,” Ricky sighed and we gently rose into the air. “I’m taking you to Darkdom now, to the north. A little bit of advice here, Darkfall isn’t…stable.” I glanced over questioningly.
“He’s charismatic and a good leader, but,” Ricky told me, “He can be a bit loose. Wild. Sometimes, he lets his number two run things so he can have fun. Darkfall came from Texas, Houston, Texas. He’s a real powerhouse, a gravity and darkness manipulator.” An odd combination. “Both are like, really strong. The kind of gravity that moves planets and creates black holes kind of strong.”
I nodded gravely. Not the kind of person we should piss off, we really don’t need any more enemies than Queen. “How does he manage his territory? How does he treat his men?” I asked, both would be good indicators for Darkfall’s personality.
“In Darkdom, pretty much everything is allowed. This is the place where most of the junkies end up, drug use is pretty heavy. Fights break out often, but you can’t kill anyone without Darkfall’s say-so. If you do what Darkfall says, he lets you sleep with his pet duplicator. She’s hooked on drugs, like a mega-junkie.” Ricky explained.
Smart. Seems like he rules with an iron fist, rewards and punishes with impunity. A gang full of scummy, doped up guys like that? I’m sure the sex is a good motivator, and the death a good deterrent. We landed on the street outside of Darkdom. I hadn’t really been paying attention on the flight over.
Darkdom was a swirling mass of what looked like airborne ink. It stayed inside a sprayed painted black border, though. It swirled and tangled, showing flashes of the inside territory. As I watched, the darkness gathered together to form a figure separate from the roiling mass.
It stood in a clear circle, with the rest of the blackness staying nearly a meter away from the figure. It beckoned to me with an arm of midnight.
I looked over at Ricky and asked, “Is this Darkfall?”
Ricky nodded. “Yeah, like I said, he’s got some serious power. Darkness and gravity, don’t forget it. Just follow the projection over there and stay close.”
I stepped over the black line and into Darkdom. Immediately, I felt lighter on my feet. I definitely weighed less than before. Right, gravity control.
The walking shadow turned around and ghosted away. I followed him, the bubble of calm staying close to it. I tried to peer through the roiling blackness on the outside of the bubble, but the inky swirls stopped me from seeing any details. If there’s darkness all around me, then how can I see anything? Powers are weird.
It was silent, the figure ghosted over the ground making no more noise than a shadow. I tried to keep my footsteps silent, they sounded eerie in the small bubble. I couldn’t tell how long I had been in the shadowy area, so I checked my watch. Damn, five minutes already?
We continued through the territory, never stopping or slowing down. As we navigated, I felt small changes to the gravity. A couple steps, and I weighed more. A couple steps, my feet bounced off the pavement. Hmm, the gravity fluctuations, the darkness everywhere. My guess is this territory is one giant booby trap. If Darkfall can sense and manipulate the shadow enough to make this projection, than he can probably monitor all of Darkdom.
After another ten minutes, I started to think we were going in circles. It would make sense that Darkfall would try to confuse and disorient me. It’s still a dick move though. A real man wouldn’t have to hide behind all this shadowy shit. A smart man would know that there’s no security in a prison full of lunatics and killers. He’s just trying to protect him and his people. I had a tiny bit of respect for that.
Finally, the wraith stopped walking. Floating. Gliding. Whatever verb darkness did to move, it stopped. The globe of calm began to grow as the darkness around us shrunk and boiled away. The figure I had been following started to dissipate too.
I was standing in a cul de sac. The tree lined street stretched behind me, into more shadow. The darkness in question had withdrawn to a few meters behind each of the three houses. To my left was a red one, in front of me was a white one, to my right was a blue house.
A small black path of the now familiar darkness extended from the center house to me. Well, I guess I know where I’m going now. I walked down the new path.