((Disclaimer: I do not own Eternal Darkness, Silicon Knights, Nintendo, or the 101st Airborne. Why do I mention a military division? I took their nickname for one of the teams I mentioned. ; Shows you how lazy I am.))
Chapter 1: A Hidden Past
It was the most intense part of the softball game. Last inning, two outs, bases loaded, and the opposing team was ahead by one point. For eighteen-year-old Danielle Sterling, this was her chance to shine. Two strikes, no balls, and the pitcher was about to throw. Danielle smirked, waiting for the pitch. No way was she going to mess up.
"Come to us, Danielle…" a cold voice whispered. Suddenly, the warm breeze became a frigid stillness that chilled her to the bone. She felt her heart stop at the sight of the dark figures surrounding her. What was the most terrifying by far was the massive four-armed shadow towering over a man. The man was clothed in flowing black and silver robes, and most of his face was shrouded by the hood over his head. His skin looked like it had been ravaged by fire or something, and it was stretched so tight over him that it made him appear skeletal. He stared at her with a cold smile, reaching out a hand to her and beckoning for her to approach. He stepped forward towards her, and as he approached, the insistent whispers from the shadows around her grew stronger…
"Kid, snap out of it!" Danielle's coach shouted. In the nick of time, she snapped out of her trance-like state, and the shadows vanished. She swung the bat as hard as she could, and the ball soared deep into left field. With the sounds of cheering all around her, she dropped the bat and took off around the bases. She made it to third before being tagged out, but that didn't matter. The Screaming Eagles had won again.
The two teams shook hands, and when she was about to leave, her coach called her over to the dugout. "Nice job, 'Longshot'," he said gently, smiling. "You pulled through for us again. I don't know how we're going to manage without you for two weeks. What do you have to go to again?"
Danielle wiped a trickle of sweat from her forehead, allowing a small grin at the sound of her nickname. Longshot was the name she earned for helping the team through their tightest spots in the season. It was even on the back of her jersey in place of her last name. "It's a mission trip to Mexico for church. Have to help out a lot of people there, that's all. It's not something I really want to miss."
"No rest for the best, eh?" he joked. His smile fell away, and his expression grew serious. "I saw what happened out there. You just blanked out for a minute. You almost missed the swing. It's just like last time, and I know exactly what's wrong. You really need to go talk to Dr. Roivas about this."
Danielle let out a frustrated sigh. They had gone over this at the last game, and she had managed to convince Coach Stockstill not to send her to the psychiatrist the first time. She wouldn't be so lucky now. "Coach, I don't need to go talk to him! I just haven't been getting much sleep, that's all."
"And that's what your excuse last time was. Not this time, Danielle. You're going to him. Tonight.Before you leave."
Danielle opened her mouth to reply, but quickly shut it. It was no use in arguing. She really couldn't slip out of this one. "Fine. I'll talk to this guy. I don't see how some doctor could possibly help me out with just a few dreams." Before he could reply, Danielle strode off, quickly heading for home. Yeah, she would consider seeing Dr. Roivas, but she highly doubted it. She needed to try and get some sleep for once this week.
All around her was darkness. Shadows flickered around her, and the outlines of those strange figures were closing in on her. The man from before walked forward, hand outstretched. Behind him once more was the massive shadow that followed in his wake. "Come join us, Danielle. Join us, and all of this will finally end…"
Danielle tentatively reached out a hand towards his, part of her screaming that she shouldn't trust this guy, while another part of her coaxed her into accepting his offer. "You will have power beyond all your dreams... Just join us." Suddenly, the man began to fade, and she heard a distant ringing in her head…
The phone on her nightstand rang shrilly, waking Danielle up almost immediately. She groped around in the darkness until she found the cordless phone and hit the Talk button. "Hello?"
"Miss Danielle Sterling?" an aging voice asked.
Danielle glanced at her digital clock, slightly surprised that anyone would be calling at two in the morning. "Yeah, this is her. May I ask who's speaking?"
"I am Dr. Edward Roivas. I'm sorry to bother you so late at night, but I received a call from a trusted friend who was quite concerned about you. Since you did not come in earlier, he suggested that I call to talk to you if you don't wish to come."
Danielle slowly stood up, glancing at the clothes she had left out on her dresser for the trip. She couldn't exactly be rude and say no… "I'll be over shortly. I just sort of dozed off right when I got home."
"It's all right. I suppose you'll be here soon?"
"Yeah, I will." Danielle hung up the phone, letting out a frustrated sigh. Why did coach have to ask this doctor to call? He was just worrying over nothing more than a few dreams. She changed into the clothes, grabbed her house keys, and walked out the door after locking it.
It didn't take long to reach the massive Roivas estate on the outskirts of Providence. Danielle ran most of the way for exercise and an attempt to wake herself up more. She had only been to this part of town three or four times, and the sight of the ancient mansion still awed her. Most of the land around it was covered in a sea of hills, which she and her friends used to play on when they were younger. But while this area was a beautiful sight, rumors abounded about the Roivas family line. Most of them had contracted something that slowly drove them insane. To tell the truth, some of the younger kids that were about to move up into high school had been talking about Danielle behind her back. They thought that with these dreams she kept talking about, she was probably a Roivas herself.
"Mainly those idiots who will be freshmen next year," she muttered darkly as she ran the doorbell. Not many people believed those guys, anyways. Seconds ticked by in silence before an elderly man answered the door. "Sorry about forgetting to come earlier. I was really tired from everything I had to do today, I guess," Danielle said quickly, but Dr. Roivas merely smiled softly.
"No need for apologies, Miss Sterling. Or would you rather me call you Danielle?"
She shrugged. "Danielle would be fine. I'm not much of a formal person." Danielle examined the foyer as Dr. Roivas let her inside. It was huge, a lot bigger than any foyer she had seen before in a house.
Dr. Roivas let out a small chuckle and gestured towards a door to their right. "Let's sit in the library." Danielle followed after him and sat down in the armchair he pointed to. "Mr. Walker didn't tell me much. He did mention that you've been having some strange dreams. He believes they may be the cause of you being unfocused all of the time. Could you explain one of these dreams to me?"
Danielle felt a bit nervous. He would probably just think she was going crazy like everyone else did. Taking a deep breath, she hesitantly began. "It's just the same one over and over again. It's dark, and there's a man standing in front of me. He has these black robes on, and his skin was really messed up. He sorta looked like a walking skeleton. Right behind him is this really big shadow with four arms. Then this female voice starts whispering in my head, telling me to join her. The man holds out his hand, and around that time I wake up."
Dr. Roivas poured two glasses of water from a pitcher and offered one to Danielle, who refused it. He sat down in the chair beside her, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "This is something I have dealt with before, but not with someone your age." He took a sip from his glass, then glanced at a picture hanging over the unlit fireplace. For a second he was silent, but then he pulled out a small photograph from his pocket. "Before I go any further, I have one small question. Does the person in this photograph seem familiar?"
Danielle took the picture, eyes widening in surprise. The woman really did look familiar, like Danielle had met her before. Actually, there was a slight similarity between them, except for the hair color. Devin was her twin brother, yet they looked nothing alike. The thought that she was really adopted crossed her mind again. Was she really related to her current family at all? "Who is this?" she asked, handing the picture back to Dr. Roivas.
"That is my granddaughter, Alexandra. And…" He seemed to search for the right words to say. "She is your sister," he said finally. "You were separated at a very early age. After my son and his wife were killed, I took in Alex and let James's closest friend, Darby, adopt you. We never knew when it would be time to tell you the truth."
Confused thoughts swirled around inside her head. Why had this been kept a secret from her? What exactly happened to her birth parents? "Why are you telling me this now?"
Dr. Roivas shook his head. "Because something important is happening that concerns you. That man in your dreams isn't just a figment of your imagination. I'm afraid I have no time to explain this to you in detail. I still have work to do. Perhaps… Can you return here in two weeks?"
Danielle nodded, getting to her feet. "Yeah, I can. It's right after the mission trip." Dr. Roivas led her to the front door, holding it open. "Thanks for telling me the truth. Maybe when Mom and Dad get back, I'll ask them about this." As she said those words, she wondered when they would be back. "Well, good-bye…" Danielle silently walked off, returning home.
Edward watched as his youngest granddaughter was swallowed up by the shadows, and he solemnly returned to his library. When Chase Stockstill had made the call, he knew the time had come. Why else would these visions start coming to Danielle all of a sudden? And how would she take it when her parents never came back?
He sat at his desk in the back of the library, pulling out his pent and writing a note to Alexandra with a quivering hand. Inside, he explained everything about Danielle being her little sister and how to contact her. The two of them would need each other to face what lay ahead.
Edward signed the note and slipped it into an envelope, addressing it to Alexandra and leaving it on the desk. He pulled out a dusty novel from his bookshelf, sitting down in his favorite chair in front of the fireplace. The old grandfather clock chimed three, despite the hands being currently on twelve. The time had come. For him, he could do nothing more.