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Shadow on the Sun Ch.1: A Shadow Emerges by Nils DurbanSUMMARY: In which we take a step back, and discover how Sleet came to terms with his own sanity, following that terrible first encounter.....
N.B. read the Prologue first!!
He was a mess and he knew it. Furthermore, he no longer cared.
A strange sight was he. Unshaven, obviously, and haggard in appearance, but his physique was somewhat muscular. This in itself was unusual amongst the homeless of the streets of London. What really drew the stares of the passers by, however, was his attire – black suit and tie and black leather shoes that had seemingly been polished in the not too distant past.
When he had awoken, groggily, propped against the jamb of a side-street fire escape doorway, he had allowed himself to savour the instant during which he was a nobody, a stranger even to himself, without purpose, without a name, without family. Family!
It all came rushing back, flooding into his brain as it did every morning.
He scanned the glistening wet pavement about him. Sometimes, occasionally...yes, there, a polystyrene cup with a plastic lid, deposited there by one of the soup kitchen volunteers during the night. He reached out shakily and wrapped his numb fingers about it, drew it towards him, and flipped off the lid. Tomato. Stone cold, of course, but this was breakfast and it was more than he had been used to of late. He raised the cup to his lips and proceeded to pour the contents down his throat in a single gulp, fighting the reflex that would cause him to gag and vomit the red liquid into the street. It sat like a cold dead weight in his previously empty and aching stomach. He waited for the nausea to pass, his head in his hands, and then took several deep breaths of the cold autumn air before half pulling and half pushing himself to his feet. He checked the street briefly before turning to urinate in the doorway, and then he was once again on his way. On his way to nowhere.
"Mr. James," the doctor said, frowning over his horn-rimmed glasses, "there is no way we're going to make any progress if you fail to take the medication that I have prescribed for you. It really is in your best interest you know."
"But it isn't helping me." Sleet repeated for the third time since he had sat down opposite the large oak veneered desk.
"These things take time, as I've told you before," the doctor said. "There are no quick fixes for your particular problem, I'm afraid."
Sleet sighed. This was just going around in circles! "I haven't got a problem!"
The doctor looked sternly at him. "You're really going to have to face up to it Mr. James. The type of paranoid delusions that you have been experiencing aren't all that unusual. And with the loss that you have suffered, especially under such.....inexplicable circumstances, well, it's hardly surprising really. But I cannot help you if you won't help yourself."
"I am not delusional!" Sleet raised his voice.
"I thought we had moved forward Mr. James, I really did, but perhaps you need some dedicated therapy. There are plenty of local institutions, you know. I could recommend somewhere to you. All very discreet of course."
"Look...." Sleet began. But perhaps they were right. Perhaps he did need a padded cell.