Chapter 002: Day Fifteen

It was the most wonderful and sad place she had ever known. Part of her wanted to stay forever while the rest of her begged her to wake up. It was only when she heard the piercing scream of her mother in the real world did Sarah allow herself to escape.

In the next moment, Sarah was sitting up in the brown and faded world she had always known, listening intently to see if her mother had indeed screamed or if that had also been a part of her dream. What she heard was worse: the scrambling of panicked feet and the crashing of furniture. Something was terribly wrong in her parents' room.

Sarah jumped up off of her parents' couch, where she had slept the night before and was confronted by the first of The Shadow Men.

Four of them were slowly moving out of her parents' bedroom with their heads bowed, wearing dark clothes and tall black silk hats. Their faces were deathly white and they walked with their arms folded across their chests. Their bony fingertips touched their chests just below their shoulders, making a distinctive X across their torso. Their hands were long and took on the impression of claws, as they had one extra set of knuckles than normal fingers should.

Sarah saw for the first time that the victims who had been able to describe The Shadow Men had been correct when they asserted that you could see directly through them, as if they were made up of fifty percent man and fifty percent air. They moved with their long dark coats extending below their waists but their feet faded away, giving the impression that they did not walk but magically floated above the earth.

One of them looked at Sarah with his piercing white eyes sunk in deep red puffy skin, as if he had been bruised. The closest one hissed with is dark teeth that glistened black like an animal who had just taken part in a kill. The blackness that covered his teeth oozed down his white chin like motor oil..

Sarah stood frozen until she heard her mother crying from the bedroom and, without thinking, bounded over the couch directly at The Shadow Men who dissipated in front of her like the cold mist on a summer morning. Yet even as they left, Sarah heard their laughter; a grating sound like fingernails on a chalkboard but in low mocking tones.

Sarah stood frozen until she heard her mother crying from the bedroom and, without thinking, bounded over the couch directly at The Shadow Men who dissipated in front of her like the cold mist on a summer morning. Yet even as they left, Sarah heard their laughter; a grating sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard but in low mocking tones.g the same white upon white eyes that she saw when she had looked into her dying uncle's eyes. It had been the same with all the other victims of The Shadow Men.

Sarah knew that he was not dead... at least not yet. He was merely blind and mad just like all of the others.

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