I’ll always remember the day my life changed.
The day I woke up.
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” A voice rang out, shocking me from my slumber.
Black. Pitch black.
This is my world. The Shadow Realm: Invisible dark swirls, eddying across a bleak black ocean, running from something.
It terrifies my people, threatens to eradicate us from the only world we’ve ever known.
But that voice, it pacified my terror. It called me to action, drove me to open my eyes to a new world.
“The Shadow knows.” It states, answering his own question.
The Shadow? Did he mean my world? What does a man know of my world?
Yes, even then I knew about men. Flickers of light dancing beyond the veil, threatening to snuff out our existence.
As my people ran from the Light, something changed within me.
Running away was no longer acceptable. Instead, I turned towards the Light.
And there he was. Gold was his hair, but the gold around his waist intrigued me more. A Warrior, unparalleled among his peers. Unlike the others, he didn’t fear the darkness.
Because he too had woke up.
We rushed towards one another, ignoring the pleas of our people. As our bodies touched the veil between our worlds, it became apparent that this would not be a blissful union.
It would be a war.
Two had become one, tangled up in a fight for their lives. This warrior had never known defeat, but he would today.
Our fragmented minds clashed, and there were no words to express the terror, the mind-numbing panic. I felt trapped, weight pressing down until I could not move, covering my body like a skin.
Skin? I had no skin.
But now I did.
I tried to scream, but instead of a swirling eddy, a mouth opened. Eyes snapped open to be blinded by the very Light I feared.
The Warrior’s eyes and mouth.
My eyes. My mouth. My skin.
Inch by painful inch, battles were won and ground was gained. Hours, days, even years could have passed during this sightless, soundless battle. I clashed against the Light, and he against the darkness.
“Are you alright, man?” A new voice called, ragged and undisturbed.
I could not answer. More time passed before my head broke through the veil. Humans call it birth, that moment when you go to the light, passing through your mother’s womb.
But this moment, as I took my first breath, was something else entirely.
Even as I expunged black viscous liquid from my throat, I felt something I’d never felt before.
The Warrior, this unstoppable Warrior, had been defeated.
And I had been victorious.
His body was now mine.
“Light…” I whispered, shocked to hear sound coming from this shell. “Light is pain.”
A bearded man regarded me with a raised eyebrow and a puff of his cigarette. I found my voice as I stood tall.
“But the Shadow…” I smiled, feeling strength return to this defeated Warrior’s muscles.
“The Shadow endures…