Look who came back from the crypt.

Realized people are still reviewing my stories in 2010, while I'm now in school busy trying to become a teacher of English and Biology, combining my love of writing and my fondness for living things. I've always written, reading my own stories to the class in primary school, then entering writing competitions all through high school. Maybe I'll have a thing or two to pass on by the time I'm ready to teach. But for now, I decided I needed to stop studying for a while and have a little me time...
It's good to be back. ^_^

Ghosts in my Machine

It started the same way it always did.

He was back on the ARK, his eyes focused on the mysterious blue sphere that the colony orbited around.

"Are you hungry, Shadow?" The gentle voice inquired, but his eyes never left the inviting planet beneath them, separated by stars, sunlight, miles...

"Shadow?"

It was then that he tried to turn around, and meet the warm gaze he was so familiar with. A blanket of contentment draped over him, the steady silence was peaceful, relaxing. He was sure they'd have themselves a fine evening; he didn't have any tests or skill challenges to perform today... Maria was also free. The Doctor was merciful with her medications, and spared her of them on Sundays. They made her so ill, so weak, sometimes Shadow had to pinch his eyes shut tight against her little hand, which squeezed his in pain...sometimes he felt she was more ultimate than he ever could be. Her strength, immeasurable...

She cherished Sundays, as did he, like the school kids of earth dreamt of Fridays... trial free.

"Shadow..." Her voice was more strained, and now Shadow was beginning to get worried. He just wanted to see her, spend the afternoon with her before it was gone, why couldn't he face her? Why was he glued to this window?

That's when he realized he couldn't turn around.

"Are you upset about something?" The sweet voice prodded, and Shadow desperately wanted to turn, to speak to her, why couldn't he move?

I'm not upset, not at all. Why? Why should I be? Look at that sky down there, shifting and changing like white silk fluttering around on blue wind… look at that world...so glamorous, so colorful in contrast to his own. Is it better down there on that mysterious planet? He always wondered that, and Maria shared that wonder. Some days they'd whittle away their Sundays together, contemplating about that fascinating planet, about the people there, the landscape... Maria always told him if she could pick one spot to go first, it would be a place she called 'New Zealand'. He never understood that, all he knew was, she was charmed by the exotic, unique birds that could be found there...

"Don't be upset, Shadow.They're good people, really..."

His mind was screaming. What do you mean? Why can't I look at you? Where are you, Maria? I don't understand, I don't know anything about this, about people, all I've ever known is you. I can feel you behind me, move me, do something- please help me to understand this...

He felt her hand, gentle on his shoulder, and for a moment it brought him calm.

Then it began to tighten, a vice like grip, he mentally willed himself to speak, again he couldn't. His mind was racing.

Maria... you're hurting me! Why?

"Shadow... Shadow? SHADOW!" Her voice went from a gentle caress to an ear splitting howl, like a burn, like a slap to his face. She was in agony, the most terrible agony he'd ever heard her express,yet he could do nothing, nothing...

"SHADOW! PLEASE!" She was shaking him from behind forcefully, and then abruptly it stopped. He heard a gun lock and load in place.

"Shadow..." Her voice was now a morose whisper, quivering, and he heard a chuckle, unfamiliar, a stranger- he could feel the fur on his back standing on end, his pulse racing at the arrival of this unknown character...suddenly, he could turn around again.

"They're good people, really..." She repeated, her voice weak and sob-littered, and as he slowly came to face her, it turned dark all around him... he saw that man, the malicious look in his eyes, like the devil himself was embracing his sweet Maria, but... there was an uncharacteristic foreignness about her, an instinct inside him sensed that there was something off about her now. She was hiding her face... slowly she lifted it, and as if the world around him was grinding in slow motion, he couldn't even scream at what he was faced with.

Oh come and take this pain away

Oh come and take this pain away

Oh come and set my spirit free...

Shadow awoke with a rattling gasp, his fur soaked in sweat.

Not again, NOT AGAIN!

You're alone, Shadow! His mind panicked, racing to push the horrible image from his head- his brain chanted it, needing that confirmation, his chest heaving with the weight of what he'd just experienced.

You're alone, you're alone, Shadow! Nobody is here, you're alone! You're alone!

He held his head in his hands, wishing to cleanse the images from his mind, to withdraw the sinful venom from his memory, willed it to stop biting back...he thought these dreams were over, but how wrong he'd been to assume. Now he just wanted it out of his head, there was such a darkness forever entombed within... could he ever escape it? Was he eternally consumed?

I've seen too much

I know too much

I hurt too much

I feel too much

I dread too much

I dream too much

I'm caught up by the ghosts in my machine...

When he finally lifted his head from his hands, pulling on his gloves- knowing full well he wouldn't be sleeping again tonight- he stopped, pausing in the moonlight on the edge of his bed. He began looking around the room that he now called home. It was more like a dwelling- a place he went to rest his head, or tried to. It occurred to him harshly, almost like a sharp pang of hunger, like a searing burn, like a needle... the same thing that had been comforting his mind mere seconds ago was taunting it, surrounding him in a sad reality.

Nobody is here, Shadow. You're all alone.