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The man was there in his thoughts. His creator of sorts. A dark Prometheus of diminutive proportions and incalculable power. His tanned profile flashed through Black’s brain often, flying about inside the hollowed cavern of his skull like a bat. Black felt fear of him, but little else. No awe, no respect, no hatred. He was just someone who had let Black through the backdoor of reality.

Black had been a temperamental man in his previous life, and images of his own sickly face lit by the fires of misplaced ardour and lent artificial strength through his fleeting rages sickened him now. These images were quickly chased away by his creator’s face, looming with the tight feral grin the man had possessed. Black was grateful, he supposed. If only some.

Black managed to displace thoughts as to his origins almost permanently, after some introspection. They became inconsequential. The shadows, they mattered. Thusly Black pursued his new goal, acquiring so many of the hungry demons he could feel them beating upon the iron walls of his soul incessantly, screaming for release. When Black encountered rogue shadows, or inadequate shadow masters, he vanquished them by sending a torrent of shadows eager to feast. They were contained within him, but for one moment, and thusly they fed with such speed and eagerness that Black could strike and leave before any normal person could detect more than a flutter of a blackness.

Due to his constant increases of power, Black was able to extend his senses farther and farther in search of a repast. And they found occasionally rips on the topography of the astral earth. They disappeared and reappeared, flapping like an open wound. They were a raw umber color, deep and wonderful. Black needed this color in his rainbow.

He went in search of this new taste, but was always stopped when the search jarred back into the physical realm. No prying by the shadows would reveal the place where this color sprang. Black sated himself on small fleeing shadows, less substantial than a sheet of newspaper. On lucky days, he would find groups of them lingering in the deepest pockets of true night. Places where the light never reigned, the sewers and the decrepit warehouses made with corrugated metal painted an uninviting green. After one such feast, Black sat at a corner where he knew the umber to spring forth from. He could feel in tangible tugs the force of other umbers being made across his city, but he disregarded them. When he waited a day, and no color came forth, he slipped back into a building’s shadow, becoming of it and in it, and he sat. Two days passed before he saw furtive figures move forward to a bus stop, look around, and vanish. And the umber filled him with its backlash as they slipped away, releasing a feeling of childish delight from someplace deep inside him. This delight subsided before it reached his lips, which were taken over by a whoop, such as one would think to hear from a savage in a distant and largely fictitious past. Black waited for another two days, before he himself shook off his cloak of shadows like rags and stepped forth with no trepidation onto the bus stop.

It was an unremarkable site, sparsely decorated with the filth common to such locales. Liter-size soda containers, broken glass arrayed in a haphazard groundside spiderweb, and cigarette butts. Black had never seen a bus stop by, nor did it feel wrong that this was so. It was a place of movement, not a place where anyone or anything stopped, excepting lonely cigarettes. Jack expelled the breath he did not realize he had been holding in a deep wheeze. It was a healthy wheeze, somehow.

Black called to the blackness inside him, he goaded it, he lifted it out of his body to center in a nexus above his head. He culled a few of the more powerful shadows, and sent all the others back. Until now, Black had relied on the shadows’ power. They had been his laborers, and the power of Black himself was unrealized. The full prism of glorious color he knew was at his beck and call was largely unused, replaced by the creeping black. But the black could not help him. So Black consumed the shadows, and they gave him power. He called up the umber that was engraved into his memory, and he crowned himself with a beautiful halo of light. The light descended upon Black and embraced him, eradicating the currents of purple and green pulsing at his feet. Black became the umber, and entered into a realm that was full of subtle differentiations of the same brown. He saw a palace made seemingly of crystalline soil, the delicious summer mud color. He saw a river of pulsing brown current. He saw people, walking along a path so broad that the broadest highways of the modern age could be fit neatly inside it with no trouble.

Black, surprised, released his control of the umber, and fell to the side of the path. The new realm was full of normal colors now, but everything else was a far cry from normal. The people Black had seen were like nothing the real Earth had ever seen, notwithstanding the lucid visions of the mad and genius. Burly bird-men covered in feathers, and taller than a streetlight, waded with surly expressions through a sea of smaller creatures. Lithe elfin people the color of spring leaves and covered with dull grey spikes played in the street. Miniscule beings the color of cooled magma walked along the street using carts pulled by stout lizards. Shouts echoed back and forth genially in tongues that had not been heard on earth in thousands of years, if at all. Ornate ships of gleaming dark wood, gilded with gleaming silver filigree, floated through the air lazily.

Black took this all in, confused and reeling, until he encountered a place that he recognized as human. He got up, and walked towards the shop, stopping once he had reached it.

“Excuse me, but where am I?” Black asked.

“I haven’t heard this for most of a Flip,” said a shopkeeper that passed for human. “What, did you get lost along the way? Your key working?”

“What’s a key?” asked Black, aware that this could be the kind of question that initiated conflict. He readied himself as he waited for a response.

His suspicion was unwarranted. The shopkeeper chuckled. “It’s how we all get around from place to place,” he replied. “Oh, and I forgot to answer you. This is Divis, City of the Ordained. Go along the Road for about a league until you see a domed building to the north. Walk until you reach it. Then go up the steps until you see a broad circular desk. Tell the person you see that the Road has twisted, but the key has not. They’ll understand. Good luck.”

Black nodded as he sought to memorize all the shopkeeper had imparted to him. Following weeks of hardness and struggle, grit and filth, Black had grown slightly unused to ordinary social conduct. Black turned around without saying a word.

“I don’t suppose I could interest you in a prism?” Black heard as he was walking away.

Black turned around and smiled thinly. “No thank you.”

Black moved as a wraith towards the building, currents of power lapping at his heels, and swirling about the entire city. The city resonated with the force of the currents that flowed through it. It resonated within Black.


It's lame. Will continue to toil away though, because at least one person will be intrigued. And why scew them over with a loose-ended story? Besides, I like Black. he's my fishbelly-buddy.

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The following comments are for "Black's Switch - pt. III"
by Washer

I haven't read enough fiction to think of anything else quite like that; so I give you full credit for being original. Plus it was well writen, I'm just not sure if I liked it or not, in anycase, I'll keep reading to see where it leads.

( Posted by: Ragath [Member] On: September 11, 2003 )

Back to the Mines
I can never manage to stick to this. I always feel like it's a terrible story going nowhere, the usual complaints. Still, it helps knowing I've got at least one dedicated reader. Welcome back by the way. Anything in the works?

I'll see if I can't get back to work, and make it not be bad.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: September 13, 2003 )

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