Shadow on the Sun Ch.2: A Shadow of Nightmares by Nils Durban

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SUMMARY: In which we catch up with Sleet once again, commited, assured and on the offensive, perhaps prematurely?......

His progress through the denser areas of Hyde Park was both directionless and painful, propelled as he was between the roughly barked trees, lurching from one to another as he tripped his way through the undergrowth with only the barest hint of moonlight to guide his way. The Shadow that was his pursuer, however, seemed to touch not a one, but to rapidly glide between all obstacles, intent upon its elusive prey, eyes aglow in the gloomy damp darkness.

The evening had been proceeding according to Sleet's somewhat haphazard plan. He had been tracking this particular beast for some weeks, following reports of mysterious disappearances in the locale. Entire nights he had spent secluded amongst the bushes, waiting pensively like some kind of pervert.

Tonight, though, he had received his reward, in the guise of this single creature that had descended from on high to feast upon the unfortunates to whom the park offered a place to bed down for the night and the various miscreants for whom it served as a nocturnal playground.

The Shadow had descended purposefully to land upon a pathway close behind a young male goth who had been making his way somewhat haltingly along it. The boy had detected the soft thud as the monster's talonned feet touched down upon the gravel and had spun round to face what he surely could only have dreamt up in his darkest nightmares.

Yes, Sleet had thought, they are something out of a nightmare. The nightmare that I am living through.

From his place amongst the dense shrubbery he had watched as the youth, too petrified to flee, fell back upon the pathway, his limbs scurrying into the gravel in a desperate attempt to propel himself away from the hellish creature that loomed menacingly over him. But Sleet had been able to tell that the Shadow's spell was already cast and that the boy was transfixed, captured by the penetrating crimson depths of the beast's deeply socketed eyes, caught as surely as if he were a tiny fly ensnared upon a spider's web, every twist and turn only serving to further seal his doom.

Sleet had taken a moment to study the creature, convinced as he was that everything he could learn, every slightest nuance, would strengthen his position, committed as he was upon this crusade that he had launched single-handedly against them.

The Shadow was some seven feet in height, perhaps seven and a half, somewhat average from what he had so far seen of them. It stood upright upon its clawed feet, its bowed muscular thighs akimbo, balanced at the rear by a rudimentary tail that swished rhythmically from side to side. Its torso was impressively broad, its pectorals bunched up high on its chest. Powerful arms reached forward, claws that Sleet knew from experience were as sharp as needles, extended threateningly towards its helpless victim. Upon its broad back its wings hung flaccidly, totally out of proportion with the creature's enormous dimensions. Its skin was a leathery grey which gleamed somewhat in the light of the moon. Its head was squat, centred as it was upon its wide shoulders, with very little neck to speak of.

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