The shadows slithered like snakes in the grass. I could hear skittering and scratching like the sounds the bugs make on the walls of rundown complexes. Hissing and growling made of guttural sounds and underneath that I could hear voices – distant but they kept the shadows looking away from me as I wretched on the cement floor.
My surroundings were finally coming into focus. The floor was cold against my hands, and my knees were wet from whatever puddle I had landed in. It smelled of old paint – a warehouse maybe.
I moved slowly so not to turn the shadows attention to me. They were watching something else, slowly stalking and following in the dim light from the moon outside. Looking up I saw shadows moving in the metal rafters of the building. There was a faint glint of something against the moonlight and then an arrow was loosed just shy of my ear. A loud thunk behind me and I turned around to see a shadow disappear into fiery sparks as whatever it was vanished from sight.
I wove quickly in the dim light a sword of fire illuminated the area as a young man dropped down from the rafters carrying a bow and an arrow. I looked up and then back down to the man who’d just jumped thirty feet down without blinking an eye. He hissed at me, “What are you doing here? You should go.”
But before I could answer the shadows turned and the yellow eyes popped open slowly all around us. The man muttered a foreign word and a sword began to glow blue in his hands. “Stay behind me.” The shadows didn’t wait for my acknowledgement as they rushed the two of us.
I let the flaming sword go in favor of not letting them close to me. I threw a ball of fire at those behind the swordsman/archer as he leaped into a pile of them his blade swinging through them with ease. I put a wall of air behind us and turned to face the archer. I would keep them off his back, and mine, funneling them up and over or to the front of the semi-circle of air.
The shadows pounded at my back, unable to reach me. I watched above the archer’s back as he danced through the pile of shadows. One broke through and I couldn’t even begin to describe what it was. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. It’s scorpion like tail came down at me and I threw a fireball through its midsection and watched it float away on sparks of fire and whatever it was they did.
Behind us I could hear more fighting, in front of us I saw two other glowing swords besides the archer who’d jumped from the ceiling. I heard the tale-tell sound of a whip and I froze. My heart sped up even faster than it already was and I turned to see a silver whip struck through the air and sever one of the shadowy things in half.
The sound was near paralyzing, but I pushed it away. I focused on the hum of the fire in my ear and threw fireball at a shadowy figure that was about to land a tail in the back of one of the new additions in front of me. A female voice shouted, “Simon watch out!”
The tail struck moments before the fireball landed home and the creature dissipated into nothingness. In one corner a large blonde man was scrapping with two additional shadows but before I could lend a hand he had dispatched them.
Behind me I heard pounding and I turned with a fireball in my hand only to see a small brunette pounding on the air wall. I dropped the weave of air and watched her stumble forward and caught her elbow before she dropped to the ground. “Sorry.” I apologized, but she looked at me with confusion.
She smiled, “For what? You kept my brother alive long enough for us to get here. Though I’d wished you’d thrown that fireball faster.” She rushed over to their fallen comrade. “Is he alright?”
A second girl knelt down by his side drawing, no etching a black mark into his skin. She sounded frustrated, “The iratze isn’t working.”
I formed a glowing orb of light and let it hang above their heads so they could at least see, “Whatever that was, stung him in the back.” I commented.
The red-head who was kneeling down looked up at me then over to the archer who was on the phone. “Alec can Magnus come here?”
He was nodding his head as he took a picture of the area underneath my glowing orb. I listened to the conversation on the other side of the phone, “What’s that glowing thing.”
Mr. Archer, I grinned at my own thought, Alec it sounded like his name was, “I don’t know. You can ask him when you get here and after you help Simon.”
It was only moments before a purple hole in the world opened up and a man in fine clothes stepped through, his hair was spiked with glitter that sparkled in the orbs light, his finger tips dazzled as he stepped through glancing at the glow of the orb before the purple portal winked out.
He squat down on his haunches and blue light shot from his hands and the fallen Simon arched his back as the magic took hold of his body. Everything about this was wrong. Those were things I’d never seen in this world, and I thought I knew every monster that walked this planet. How could I have missed something so ugly as that.