Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 2

Click here to read the previous chapter; Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 1

EPISODE 2

Escape From Shadow

*****

Paul felt every bone in his body freeze.

“Boss, are you alright?” It was Irene’s voice and though the man behind him could not hear her, she spoke in a whisper. “I can be there in three minutes, tops.”

“I can be there in less than one,” came Thomas’s voice.

“Negative,” Paul muttered.

“WETIN YOU TALK?” the voice boomed again, startling Paul because it was closer. “I SAID DO NOT MOVE!”

“I did not move!” Paul complained, slowly raising his hands into the air. “I am unharmed.”

“Then why is an assault rifle hanging from your side?” asked the voice. “SLOWLY!” he warned as Paul began to turn to see adversary.

The first thing he saw was a big ass assault rifle with a high powered scope and suppressive gear. He then saw the man’s utility belt, which held several high end frag grenades, an EMP grenade and a cluster bomb grenade. Strapped to the man’s right thigh was a holstered 9mm Berretta.

Paul’s mouth fell agape at how armed this sailor was even as his gaze rose to appreciate the man’s stature. He was burly. Really burly. He wore a singlet over his camouflage pants. His muscles were taut, veins bulging against the skin of his flesh and glistening in the harsh flood lights of the vessel. He was white male.

“WHO ARE YOU?” the man spouted, his face contorted in a gruesome frown. His hands were incredibly steady, his finger on the trigger. Only highly trained operatives could demonstrate such steadiness in situations like this. Paul concluded what this wasn’t some terrorist scum who had managed to get his hands on some high end weaponry. Terrorist scums weren’t this trained. Terrorist scum wouldn’t even consider speaking. They’d shoot first.

“My name is Paul White,” Paul said. He looked behind the man and  gasped in shock.

The man turned instinctively, before he realized his mistake. Paul moved to the point he became but a blur. The man, knowing what was happening, pulled the trigger. The gun jerked back with a loud report, the bullet cutting through Paul. But Paul had misted into shadow form. The bullet only went through him.

Paul passed through the man, causing the man to jerk violently. Coming out from the man’s behind, Paul swirled around, solidifying as he turned to face his adversary. The man had fallen to the ground. He was now thrashing violently and convulsing. From his extremities, he was turning to ice, all the light, all the warmth, all the life being sucked from him as a result of the pieces of shadow matter Paul had left inside of him.

Paul fell to his knees, totally overwhelmed by what he was seeing. He’d seen it before—this was not his first time of killing a man by what he called Shadow Pass. Still, every time he saw it, it overwhelmed him. Shadow Pass was one of the worst way to die. Paul could imagine what the man was feeling. Even as the man gurgled and thrashed and convulsed, he was fully conscious. The pain, the frustration, the terror—Paul shivered…No man should ever have to die like this.

The sound an alarm brought Paul’s attention back on mission. He shot to his feet and ran for the open hatch.

“Report!” he yelled above the screeching klaxons.

“I’ve been found out!” Scott blared back. “I’m in the aft section of engineering. Had to use my powers.”

Paul frowned, sliding down the ladder to the lower deck. He’d landed in a deserted hallway. “What do you mean you had to take them out? How?” Paul was now frowning. He hated unnecessary bloodshed. Heck, he hated any kind of bloodshed.

“I had to kill them all,” Scott replied with a defiance in is voice. “All twenty six of them.”

Paul was immediately stunned by what he’d heard. Twenty six? He didn’t ask for fear of being branded a sympathizer.

The Shadow Corps organization was as utilitarian as it got. They didn’t tolerate dissenters and had no value for human life, especially when it came to shadow powered people. Everyone was paranoid, and everyone was a suspect. Everyone was expected to comply. If you didn’t—if you as much as sneezed wrongly—you were branded a sympathizer, which is the worst thing you could ever be.

Sympathizers are usually taken away to a secret facility off the coast of Malta, where no one would ever see them again. The facility was called Purgatory. Paul had heard tales … disturbing tales. It is said that death is a better option than being taken to Purgatory.

Paul shivered. The very thought of Purgatory kept him in line. He didn’t always agree with their, but it was either he complied or he was taken to Purgatory. At the beginning it was an easy choice … comply and live your life fully. Now, with each innocent man killed, with each innocent family incinerated, it was getting more difficult to stand by the loathsome organization he was working for.

“Proceed to the lowest deck, Scott,” Paul said through clenched teeth, taking care not to allow his e motion bleed into his voice. He didn’t want to give his team members or the brasses back at their headquarters, who were no doubt listening in on their channel, any reason to suspect that he was a sympathizer.

“All remaining teams you are a go,” Paul said. “Sweep the vessel. And be advised, there are highly trained, highly armed operatives.” Paul paused for one second. He knew he shouldn’t add the next phrase he was thinking of adding. He knew he should just walk on and mind his business. But the way Scott had indiscriminately charred twenty six sailors, many of whom may not know what their Captain was up to unsettled Paul. He had to say something. So he did.

“And be mindful of civilians,” Paul breathed into his mic. “Watch your fire.”

There was a charged silence in their channel.

The next reply had an uncertain ring to it. “Roger that, boss,” it was Irene.

Paul ignored the man and stole down the hallway, bringing his assault rifle up to lead his way. He turned a corner, where he found three unarmed sailors running towards him. He tightened his hand around the trigger. As soon as they saw him, they cut to the right through a door and were gone.

Paul continued down the corridor until he came to an access way that slanted all the way down to a lower corridor. He marched on in.

“What’s your status, Scott?” Paul asked.

“I’m there, boss,” Scott said.

Paul got to the lower corridor and saw Scott standing before a small the door in the wall. The corridor was dark. The only light they had was the light from their weapons.

“Ready?” Paul asked.

Scott flashed him a weary look. He tapped his right ear, which disabled his comm system.

“You’re going to get yourself killed, Paul,” he growled, flashing a set of angry teeth.

Paul looked away to the door. He didn’t respond.

“If they tell me to hunt you, I will,” Scott continued. “Don’t think I won’t.”

Paul straightened up. He looked at the man and said, “I wouldn’t expect anything less, soldier. Let’s do this.”

Scott stretch his right palm towards the door. Reels upon reels of shadow matter spooled out of his palm, splashing onto the door and immediately spreading in all direction. Before long, the entire door had been swallowed by shadow matter. Scott balled his right palm. The shadow matter fizzled away. The door was gone.

Through the doorway, there were hundreds of little kids looking back at them in terror. They were all shadow powered. They all had to die.

*****

To be continued…

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