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"I was always glad, whenever you saw me out of the corner of your eye-” He said, in the dark apartment living room. “Even when you got scared, I was always glad you shifted your glance in my direction because I was afraid of what would happen if you noticed the much darker, and bigger thing to your right.” He looked at the shivering girl in front of him, who was no longer a girl and now a beautiful young woman, a young woman whom he had watched grow up, a woman he had helped protect ever since she was a baby, at this moment he felt a slight twinge in his chest. “But now my dear, I need you to notice, because I don’t think I can distract you any longer”

The women looked at him, Andronika was her name, and the apartment they were sitting in belonged to her, and it had, only moments ago been empty until she had felt an icy cold presence, one that she had felt so many times before ever since she was a little girl, one that she had always associated with danger.

He knew she was scared, he could see her paralyzed on her living room couch, thinking of a plan for escape- It had always been hard, knowing she was scared of him when he had always loved her so much, but now was a time for action, and he needed her to warm up to him fast or he didn’t think he could save her.

“You’re right to be scared, and I know you probably have a lot of questions, but now I need you to trust me, ok,” He said awkwardly, knowing it sounded cliche and a little idiotic.

“Ok,” Adronika said, shifting her position and trying to regain her breath and fight off the temptation to leap up from the couch and lock herself in the nearest room.

“So-er, can I ask one question?” She asked

“Yes of course, sorry I didn’t mean you couldn’t ask questions, just- trust me” He laughed awkwardly.

“What’s going on?” Adronika asked, who now realized she had no idea what was happening.

“Oh yes, well I guess I should start from the beginning. My name is Alastair, I have been protecting you since you were born, don’t really know why, I think I was assigned to you, or your family, not really sure, it was a while ago and I lost the paperwork- uh anywho” He said, trying to crack a smile, though when Adronika twinged a little he realized this must be quite terrifying seeing as he was basically a black cloud of smoke with a mans face hidden somewhere inside. “Well ever since you were small I saw something dark next to you, I discovered I had some sort of sense whenever it was around you, which I guess makes sense since you have ties to me, I have ties to you, you have ties to it and it apparently also has ties to you-” His eyes shifted up when he said this, as if he was checking to make sure it was factually accurate. “I don’t fully understand this so you’ll have to bear with me here- I was never sure why I was supposed to be protecting you, but as time went on I had some time to think and grew a few theories and I discovered that the thing I was protecting you from, was not, as I had previously thought, an extension of you. Well as you started to grow up, had new experiences, I noticed the thing get stronger, I was so afraid you would notice it- so afraid, but only because of the stories I had heard”

“What stories?” She asked, taking a steady deep breath.

“There are these things- don’t ask me what they’re called, I can’t recall the name at this juncture nor at any juncture because I never bothered learning it, anyway, they can become very powerful, from what I understand- I’ll get to what they are in a moment hang on. Most people have a very ‘downgraded’ version of one, I believe these are called Primis Tenebris, I think it means dusk, it’s Latin I believe, though don’t quote me on that. Anyway most people have one, but it is relatively harmless, stronger ones can bring on insanity though meds have been able to keep them subdued. Anyway, the strong thing, what I believe you to have, it’s pure darkness, pure fear, it feeds on any sort of bad emotion. I don’t know how you have survived this long with one- I like to think I have something to do with it, though I won’t take all the credit for your strong mind. Anyway, it destroys, wishes to hollow out the human, feast, make you do all matter of unspeakable things, I believe it wishes to make you into one- the process would take a whole lot of emotional and physical torture, ghastly business. Sorry, we are getting off topic, any more questions?”

“If it’s always with me- or mostly always with me, then where is it now?” She asked, finally coming to her sense and timidly reaching for a lamps switch to brighten up the room.

“Well you’ve seemed to have starved it, see while it was getting stronger so were you. Its job is to turn you into it. You have done beautifully with not letting that happen, you’ve always been so happy.”

“Right so-er, how do we stop it?” She asked, trying to be more blunt, despite thousands of questions now swirling inside of her head.

“It will be very difficult, though I am glad you have asked. It’s going to be coming back soon, it’s been feeding- much grosser then it sounds by the way, and we need to make sure your mind is not in your body when that happens, this will confuse it, we should then be able to get in contact with my friend Horatio, we’ll have to move fast so things may not make a lot of sense, all I need you to do is trust me, know I am your friend, and please please please do not be afraid. You’ll be going through a lot of emotions in a very short period of time and I need you to stay positive.” He finished by reaching out a hand “I believe our journey is beginning!” He said his fingers hovering near her forehead.

“Sorry, who’s head are we jumping into?” she asked nervously, flinching when his hand got near her.

“We are going to be joining Horatio, ready? One, two, thr-” and they were sucked inside, first there was nothing but black, then an oozing sensation and Alastair found himself in a white room next to Andronika, he scanned the room, he knew what he was looking for- it was a blue door rimmed with the color coal.

“What are you looking for?” asked Andronika

“Just tell me if you find a blue doo- ah yes there it is,” He said looking to the door directly in front of them, “I know, it wasn’t there before now, was it? Things tend to work like that in here, now in you go” and with that, he opened the door for the both of them and stepped inside.

“Where are we going?” Andronika asked as she and Alastair walked through the room.

“We are going to find Horatio, we have entered his mind, or a part of it he has left open to friends anyway” He said walking through room to room, all around him the rooms were changing scenes, one room was dirty with broken liquor bottles littering the floor and empty syringes lying on tables while the next room was warm and inviting, and had various stuffed animals lying on the ground. “It’s been a while since I was last here, it has changed a bit, but I guess that’s how it is with Horatio, constantly changing.” The rooms continued to change, one room had people lying unconscious, another had two teenage boys standing outside in posh schoolboy uniforms sharing a cigarette.

Finally Alastair and Andronika came to a room with a canopy bed, a desk, an old typewriter and a very tall, thin man (6 ft 4 to be precise) with bright orange hair, black high-heeled boots (They must have added at least 3 inches to his already impressive stature bringing him to be around 6ft 7)

“Aww Horatio, there you are, this is the woman Andronika, who we’ll be helping” Said Alastair gesturing towards Andronika.

“Hello darling, so good to meet you, I hope it wasn’t too hard to find me, I’m pretty sure I made it easy this time, but my mind can be so convoluted what with occasionally having to share it that it can be hard to tell, you’ll notice  Alastair that I kept it a lot cleaner than usual? Great, now I guess Alastair has already filled you in on everything, what, or whom I should say, you’ll be fighting? What’s that- a sort of? Leave it to Alastair to make my job harder.” He said, asking questions then answering them as soon as the answer had just barely crossed anyone's mind.

“Pardon how-” Began Andronika

“How do I know the answer to your questions? You’re currently inside of my mind, we’re basically one. Now enough questions, even if you have them please hold your tongue, a lot of this could have been solved if Alastair hadn’t lost his paperwork- you could have read it first, oh well. Anyway, the being you are fighting is named Melaina, greek I think, anyway, soon we are gonna be fighting it, and I don’t mean swords and fist fighting raw raw.  Melaina has at this point implanted apart of itself in Andronika’s mind, so it can still have a hold over her when it’s not around, the only reason it’s not here is that my mind hasn’t been mine for a while and nothing that serious could ever find its way in or out. Anyway, we will have to remove the part of Melaina that has been implanted into Andronika’s mind, that means we will all be entering your mind. I’m not sure how we’ll remove it but I know Andronika has to ultimately be the one to do it. I think everyone is caught up now. Ready?” He looked to both of them, stepped forward then pushed his hands onto their foreheads (It was hard to tell where Alastair's forehead was, but Horatio seemed to have found it.) He then pressed in hard.

Now they were back into the blackness, the strange oozing feeling returned, only this time it didn’t stop, Alastair called out to Andronika and Horatio, he felt space vibrate. He felt like he was drowning or suffocating in a cold icy liquid that was somehow wet and dry at the same time. He was stationarily swimming through pudding.

He was in a fog and could no longer remember where he was or why he was there. He thought he was looking for something but now thought he better relax into the ooze. Something grabbed his hand and pulled up, he felt light again and was suddenly on hard ground, he felt the air and could think straight again.

“Alastair!” Ejaculated Horatio, panting and wiping the ooze off of his hands and onto his slim black pants, “Are you o- what the hell” he breathed, looking at the dark space around them. It was black with a thick fog all around them, the room felt humid and it was hard to breathe.

“Bugger sure did implant itself in ‘er- probably has all sorts of nasty things planned, you know, a line of defense, should be pretty quick now-” Alastair gave him a stern look, “I mean for either of them. Wow, I’ve seen some nasty things but this is truly something- this is where the dark things hide.”

“What do we do now?” asked Alastair, now feeling extremely uneasy.

“We? This is all you mate, I got you in now it’s your turn, you know why you’re here? Yea, to give her strength-” Horatio was cut off by a horrible scream, the ground around them shook hard and the air flushed. “That can be your inspiration, do your thing, tap into her energy or whatever it is you do, probably something pretty cliche- is that the right word?” Horatio continued to mutter to himself over words while Alastair was tormented with the sounds of screams.

He motioned for Horatio to be quiet and began concentrating. At first he felt nothing but then felt something comparable to a ton of bricks being bashed into his head- a flash, Andronika was trapped in a maze- now she was in a bright red room surrounded by her family at the dinner table, he felt immense pain- now she was in her bed, there was a dark figure at the corner of the room- Alastair focussed on the good images, he could feel her pain. He opened his eyes and he was in a raging room watching from the corner. Andronika looked still but he could feel her pain. He closed his eyes and was now in a calm baby blue room. In the room was a crib, and in the crib was a baby- Andronika, next to the baby was Melaina, the baby started crying, he walked over next to it and put a hand on the side of its face, once the baby stopped crying the thing faded away, suddenly he understood what he had to do. He opened his eyes, for real this time and was now next to a crying Andronika, across from her was a raging Melaina, he stood next to Andronika and put his hand on her shoulder, he could feel how scared she was, he knew if he could calm her down she could take down Melaina, he whispered into her ear “It’s all right I’m here, you are doing so well, you’re almost there, just remember I will always be right here.” He waited for a while, he could feel the room boil, then slowly it began to cool down, he felt an oozing again, this time soothing, he closed his eyes and relaxed into it, when he finally opened them again he was in Andronika’s apartment sitting across from her just as he had been. Her face was wet from tears though she was smiling. She scooted closer to Alastair, put her arms around him, and hugged him.




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