It Was You

Mike Lane

“It was you.”

The broken voice of Mike Lane greets us. The Shadow is standing before a mirror, his eyes reflecting into one another. His body is gripped by sadness.

“I still remember, Lee. It’s burned into my fiber with a flaming brand. You made me choose. You held them hostage. In one hand, you held my heart, open and raw, weak and helpless. In the other you held my soul, everything I ever was or wanted to be. My destiny. And in a split second, you tore me in half, leaving a gaping wound that I thought would never be filled. My soul was gone, Lee. You killed it. You took my happiness from me, my joy. You washed it away like common filth. But as I knelt there on that canvas, with my heart in my hand as my soul’s blood ran down my cold body, I made a promise.”

As Lane continues to speak, the mirror seems to be growing darker.

“You see, Lee, you have claimed your whole life that all you want is a family. Whether it your blood, your Asylum, or this Virus, you latch yourself onto others. But time and time again, you rebel against those you claim to love. Like the body rejecting sickness, you cannot truly handle being in a tribe. No, your sick and twisted mind only cares for one thing. Yourself. And any person or thing that stands in the way of your personal success is an obstacle. There’s no line you won’t cross. There’s no wall you won’t knock down. As long as it gets you what you want.”

A resigned sigh escapes Mike’s lips as his expression turns weary.

“So as I felt her pulse fade to nothingness in my hand, everything that I had ever dreamed of having faded away. Because unlike you, I wanted a real Family. I wanted a wife. A daughter. Somewhere to belong. But you took that away from me. You crossed a line that Mike Lane never could. Right there, on the blood-soaked eternity that haunts my nightmares, you squeezed me. You hammered me to the point of desperation. And in my desperation, in my promise to her, I turned to something I didn’t fully understand.”

The darkness takes him fully, leaving only the whites of his eyes.

“And as the darkness filled that gap in my soul, Lee, things began to become clear. I could see you for what you truly are. You don’t use logic. You can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Your life is an endlessly rolling ball of destruction. There’s no answer to you, there is no category I can put you in, no analogy I can make. But at the end of the day, Crowley, you made one mistake. You didn’t finish the job.”

The reflection of Mike Lane shimmers in the mirror, the darkness itself seeming as if its alive.

“I still stand drenched in the blood of Destiny, but even with my head bloodied, I will not bow to the Mad King. Because that gaping hole is now a shadow. And that Shadow is passion. It is war. Darkness has become my destiny. And despite the blood in my eyes, through the Virus itself, The Shadow sees you Lee Crowley. I see you. And as I crush your heart and eradicate your soul, I will look in your eyes, and you will find out that Mike Lane is dead.”

With sudden clarity, Mike Lane stands in full light. A tear has run down his cheek.

“And it was you. You killed him.”

The former Champion bows his head, his final words a whisper.

“But the Shadow endures.”