A Shadowlander's Tale: The Lingering Shadows Within
Written by Kathryn K Williams
That night felt like the longest ever. I am not sure how long Beth was out like that, but the minutes felt like hours as I watched over that child. I knew in the back of my mind I should probably call the police, but I did not want to get Beth in trouble. She still lived with her parents and explaining why she passed out at a gay bar would be a lot more then she needed in her life at this moment in time. Sure she was only four years my younger, but at that time she felt much more fragile and young then ever before. I occasionally whispered into the girl's ear to assure her that I was still there and to remind her that she was safe, more then anything else I told her that she was still needed in this world and to not give up. The very thought of Beth dying in my arms shook me up something else. I felt so lost at that moment and wished that I knew what to do to help the girl.
Liz came down the stairs at that moment with a plate of food in one hand and our coats in the other. She lay the coats upon the back of a sofa chair in front of me and set the food down on the coffee table, "Thanks Liz, but I'm not sure if I'm very hungry right now." I remarked dismally.
Liz gave me a stern look, "You had better eat or you will have me to answer too." She commanded sternly.
"Alright, Alright." I held my hands up in defence, then glanced down at the sleeping girl, "But I'm sort of trapped at the moment." I gestured to Beth.
Liz rolled her eyes and rounded the table, "You will use any excuse to get out of things." She remarked disappointedly.
"That is far from the truth." I protested, "I am very serious when it comes to my work."
Liz carefully lifted Beth's head off my lap, "I know, but I also remember finding someone dead asleep in her office one day due to spending so much time working and less time eating." She reminded me in a quiet annoyed tone, "If I had not happened by then you probably would have starved."
I slipped out from under Beth and gave Liz a foolish smile which rubbing the back of my neck, "It is not my fault. People need me and I want to help them." I defended, which was true. I was swamped with unsolved cases since my sister's little girl had gone missing. I was determined to find any clue as to where my niece could have disappeared too. I kept having this feeling that I was getting closer, but she kept slipping through my fingers. It felt as if I was not seeing something that was right in front of my eyes and it was upsetting. Missing children cases always effected me the most out of all my case load. I tended to steer clear of them as best I could, but when my little sister showed up at my doorstep I could hardly refuse.
There was something really strange about this case that was disturbing me. One moment little Brittany was in her bedroom, fast asleep and the next she was gone. The police found no sign of anyone entering or leaving the room and deemed the case as yet another runaway. The fact is she could not have gotten out of the room. My sister had been locking the door since it was discovered that the girl sleepwalked, just like myself. There was no way to open that door from the inside and the drop from her window was above the rose garden. If she had jumped there would have been signs of the fact, it was as if she just vanished into the night. Since then I've been rather obsessed with anything related to sleepwalking, missing children and even child suicide. I was sure there was some connection and had been concentrating all my mental strength on figuring out what was happening in this bloody pit of a town.
"I'm sorry to snap at you." Liz sincerely apologized, I could hear the strain on her voice. I could tell that all of this was really effecting Liz and I was starting to wonder if I should have just taken Beth back to my apartment instead of bringing her in here. Then again what would I have done at my place? At least here I have my family to help us cope with all of this.
"It's alright." I moaned as I sat up and stared down at the food. My stomach seemed to be asleep and even the sight of the burger did not seem to awaken it. Actually it was making me feel a tad bit sick, but I would force myself to eat a bit if it made Liz feel better. She really was like my sister more then my own flesh and blood. Ever since we met all those years ago we hit it off pretty well. At first I flirted with her and thought that maybe we had a chance together and then she got a girlfriend and I started to back off, but we stayed close all the same. We would do the usual friend things, go to movies, have lunch together and the like. Over time our bond had grown stronger and she seemed to understand me better then anyone else. I picked up the burger and took a bite.
Liz stroked the back of my head and patted my back, "That is a good boi. Now eat up." She ordered with a giggle and started back to the bar when she suddenly stopped and pulled something out of the pocket of her shirt, "Oh, I almost forgot to give you this. It fell out of Beth's coat pocket and I thought you might know what it is." She explained as she handed me a tiny blue bottle with a white cap and label wrapped around it.
I took the bottle and looked it over, "Medication?" I asked no one in particular.
"Yeah," Liz leaned in closer to me, I could feel her breath upon my cheek as she pointed at the label, "I noticed that she got them a week ago. I've never heard to the brand before so I thought you would know."
I searched the label til I found the contains and blinked at the word before me, "Somnambulom?" I read aloud, "I've never heard of anything like this before."
"So you don't know what they are?" Liz inquired worriedly, "Why would she be taking meds? Is there something wrong with her?"
I shook my head, "I don't know." I thought for a moment as I turned the drug's name over in my mind, "It makes me think of Somnambulism, which is another word for Sleep Walking" I explained, slightly mesmerized by my own strange knowledge of unusual facts.
"I never heard of that before." Liz stated perplexedly, "How did you know something like that?"
I shrugged, "I studied a lot of crazy stuff while in school." I remarked distantly, my mind a flutter with thoughts, "I was a troubled sleeper and was known to have extreme night terrors. I read everything I could on dreams and a lot of it fascinated me. There are things about the human mind that you would not believe." And things that I would never repeat out loud for fear of what everyone would think. I discovered writing somewhere about a world that existed beyond the edge of the human mind. A place that only a few know about and even fewer could enter. I glanced over at Beth and the image I'd seen before appeared in my mind again. I turned back to the pills and shook my head. My mind was just playing tricks on me from working too many late nights. There was no way that world existed. The doctors told me it was all in my head and that I'd dreamed everything up, including the book. I had shoved all those thoughts from my mind many years ago so why were they appearing in my mind now.
Liz lightly place her hand upon mine. I did not notice until then that I had been shaking and Liz's touch snapped my mind out of it reminiscences, "Brenda? are you alright?" Liz inquired gently, I glanced up to see a great amount of worry in those dark brown eyes and I smiled up at her.
"I'll be fine." I stated, then placed the pills down upon the table, "Just lost in my thoughts was all. I've been rather busy at work lately." I explained, hoping that would satisfy the woman's worries.
Liz gave me a sceptical look, but stood up straight, "Alright then." She said, I could tell she did not believe me entirely, but she was willing to let it go, for now. I suspect I will receive a couple of surprise visits from her at my office over the next week or so. It was her way to keep an eye on me and to some extent I was grateful that someone out there worried about me. I watched as she reluctantly went back to the bar, but kept one eye on me the entire way.
I turned back to my food and my eyes dropped to the pill bottle again. What could Beth been taking and was it the cause for her current condition? I really needed to know.
I leaned back in the chair and ran a hand through my curly bangs as I stared up at the ceiling. My mind drifted back to the image I saw before Beth panicked. What was that all about? There had to be a reason for my vision to be so strong. I turned around in the chair and found my coat pocket. I pulled out a small black note book and pen from the pocket and opened it. I tended to keep a note book with myself since I was in the hospital to help me sort my thought. I quickly jotted down what I'd see along with the name of the medication in hopes that someday it will become of use to me, then I set the pad back down and returned to eating my burger.
To be continued
Note: The world of the shadowlands, Its stories, Characters and ideas are a copyright of Kathryn K Williams.
This story is based upon my manga of the same name. If you wish visit my site and see some of the art based on this series at http://www.KatAndNekoManga.ca
Also if you spot any typos or other errors please contact me at Kathryn@KatAndNekoManga.ca