Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1268386-Hope-of-Darkness-Chapter-4
by werden
Rated: 13+ · Other · Horror/Scary · #1268386
This is the 4th chapter of my novel, any comments will be greatly appreciated
The streets lay shrouded in darkness, the moon hidden behind the clouds. The most flexible clubs had long since closed sending their occupants home leaving the streets completely empty except for the stranger who ran blindly, not knowing where he was running from or where he was going. All he knew was that he had to run as fast as he could. He had to escape. From what? He didn't know. He couldn't remember. But the need for escape was absolute. ~0~

Light appeared on the furthest point of the horizon, a small spark of pinkish yellow signifying the coming dawn. The man stopped and stared at the sky. ~1~

“Light, please don't touch me.” He whispered trembling~2~

He had to get inside! Why? He peered inside his head looking for something, anything, some glimmer of a reason for this trepidation but could find nothing. ~3~

He slammed his fist in the nearby wall repeatedly and then ran on. Flakes of stone fell from the hole that was left behind.~4~

The pink-yellow light grew, stretching its way bit by bit over the horizon. Whimpering in despair, the man scanned the nearby shops looking for somewhere to hide. He passed by building after building, all shuttered and closed. ~5~

“No,” he cried as he gazed on the growing light, “Please.” ~6~

Just when all hope was gone, he saw it. The Salvation army sign shone as a beacon several blocks away. Salvation! They would take him in. Hope flickering, the stranger ran down the street the buildings blurring as he past by.~7~

His elation faded as he approached. The door shone with a silver light. A large cross hung in the center of the door shedding a silver light sending shots of pain racing through him.~8~

“Whats going on?” he asked shielding his eyes from the painful light.~9~

Peering up he saw the pink-yellow light filling more of the horizon,~10~
coming closer. His heart shuttered.. His breath came out in short gasps. Tears poured from his eyes. ~11~

He had to get inside, away from that awful light in the sky. He turned to the door, squinting his eyes against the silver glow. For a moment he hesitated, torn between the pain from the cross and from the growing threat in the sky. Then, he made his decision. Not having much choice, he lurched forward and grasped the handle. The glow increased sending burning sheets of pain through him as the light penetrated his very skull. Fighting the agony, he yanked the door open and shoved his way inside.~12~

Heart pounding, he turned around and saw nothing more sinister then the back side of the door. The light was gone. Had he imagined it? Was he insane? ~13~

A hand touched his shoulder. He spun around, heart shuddering, to regard a young woman looking at him with concern in her gentle, blue eyes.~14~

“Sir, are you okay?” She asked~15~

“No, I'm not okay” he whispered barely conscious of what he was saying~16~

“How can I help?”~17~

I have no idea how you can help, he thought, how can you help a lunatic?~18~
"I need a place to stay," he whispered averting his eyes afraid she would ask questions, questions he couldn't answer.~19~

"Follow me please," she said leading him to the back of the room. It was filled with little pallets with men, women and children sleeping on them. Two corridors branched off to the right and to the left. She led him to a pallet under the window.
“Here, get some rest. You look exhausted. I was just on my way out the door but I will be back later. We will see the director then. My name is Susan. What is yours?”~20~

Susan waited smiling. He stared at her blankly. What was his name? He couldn't remember. Trembling he turned and stared at the window. ~21~

The sky was still dark but the pink-yellow light hovered at the corner heralding the coming dawn. He stared at that light, as it inched its way across the horizon, his fists clenched, sweat dripping from his forehead.~22~

“Sir” Susan whispered careful not to rouse the sleeping forms around them “Please lie down and get some rest.”~23~

The stranger forced his fists to relax. He was being foolish. There was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. The sky couldn't hurt him. ~24~

He attempted a smile but was capable of only a tight grimace.~25~

She looked at him her eyes moist with compassion “I will be back later on this morning. Get some rest.”~26~

She turned and walked off, her footsteps gently fading away in the distance. The stranger lay on the bed staring at the ceiling as the darkness slowly withdrew replaced by the growing light. ~27~


Sarah ran through the streets, heart pounding, pulse racing. She left Alex lying on the floor, cold and lifeless, but in her mind he was up and racing after her, fangs slavering, claws grasping. So she ran for her life down the streets. It was a harrowing journey filled with fear that he would catch her and drag her into the darkness. By one alley expecting him to leap out at her, through a dark spot where the street lamps didn't penetrate expecting him to be there. Reason disappeared that night, replaced by sheer panic.~30~

After what appeared to be hours of frantic running, the sanctuary of her school, the steeple ahead shadowing the street rose in the distance. Sarah stopped, holding herself, gasping for breath. After she caught her breath she looked frantically behind her expecting to see Alex looming in the distance. Nobody was there. The streets lay silent and empty except for the wind whistling it's way through the neighborhood.~31~

Sarah's fears didn't ease, however. He could be on his way or in the shadows waiting to pounce. She had to get inside the school where she would be safe. Nikki had bragged to her once about a back exit she used to sneak out several times to meet Bobby and his friends. Sarah had dismissed that story as pointless bravado. Now, she went through the gate searching desperately for Nikkis exit. There, she saw it, a door hidden behind a tree, an old door which appeared to be used for janitorial purposes. ~32~

A branch brushed against her back shoved by the wind. Sarah gasped and ran to the door praying it would be open. She tugged on the door to no avail. It refused to budge. Trees creaked behind her as the wind grew stronger. Sobbing, praying, she pulled on the door . Finally it swung open revealing a small basement.~33~

“Thank you, Jesus” she whispered as she ran through the basement
without shutting the door and up the stairs. She entered her room and collapsed on her bed an ocean of tears pouring from her eyes.~35~


Susan stood outside the Salvation army running a hand through her long, red hair. Her blue eyes were now drooped and bloodshot due to fatigue. It had been a rough night. She stayed at the Salvation Army all that night caring for the men and women who had a temporary residence there and the ones who came in seeking shelter for the night. Each man, woman and child had a life's story. Each one had a tragedy. Some were still mired in the depths. Others were on their way out. Susan's heart went out to each one. This was her life's calling to help the misfortunate, a calling she embraced wholeheartedly. Still, some nights were better than others.~37~

Her last encounter shook her up the most. She could remember the fright in the stranger's eyes, eyes that were gray as winters sky. What was he afraid of? She didn't know. While she had seen despair, sorrow and anger she didn't remember ever seeing such fright before. ~38~

His intense eyes haunted her on the drive home. Those eyes coupled with her exhaustion made the trip difficult. Several times her car swerved as she struggled with her grip on the steering wheel. She was glad that she only lived a couple of blocks away. Those eyes haunted her as she stumbled through her apartment heading towards the bedroom. They still remained in her memory as she collapsed on the bed. His haunted expression swam in her mind as sleep overtook her.~39~

A shrill ringing cut through the air. Susan stirred, fog swirling through her brain. She shook her head trying to clear those cobwebs that clung to her. What was that sound? After several minutes of groping through the sleep that clung to her, she realized the source of the ringing~40~

“My phone.” She groaned.. How long was she asleep? She didn't know but it didn't seem for more than a couple of minutes.~41~

It took her several more minutes to find the phone that kept on ringing.~42~

Nobody's home, Susan thought irritably, hang up. ~43~

The phone kept on ringing. ~44~

Susan sat up realizing that this must be an important call. The light from the sun poured through her window lighting the corner sending sparkles of dust into the air. ~45~

Susan stretched, yawned, leaned over and picked up the phone.~46~

“Susan!” A shrill voice rang in her ear~47~

“Helen” Susan groaned. This was the last voice she wanted to hear.~48~

“Did I wake you?” The eager voice panted on the other line~49~

Of course you woke me, Susan wanted to say. But she knew that was what Helga wanted to hear. ~50~

I am not in the mood for this, she thought, her brain already slipping back into slumber.~51~

Helga's next comment snapped her awake “You won't believe what is happening here with the guy you last let in”~52~

“What is going on?”~53~

“You gotta come see! It is so amazing!”~54~

Click. The phone went dead. Susan stared at it for a moment seriously considering going back to sleep. The stranger's deep gray eyes swam in her mind beckoning her into their depths. She had just met the man and already she was concerned about him. Whatever was going on with him, he definitely didn't need Helga's “tender care”. ~56~

Helga was a notorious gossip who loved to get under people's skin. What she was doing volunteering at the Army, Susan had no idea. All she did was pick on the transients and treat them like inconveniences. Susan had complained to the director time and time again but he always smiled and told her that Helga needed to learn compassion. ~57~

“Compassion” Susan snorted stumbling her way to the shower “Helga will never learn compassion”~58~

Susan learned hers from her family. Her father was once a successful businessman, a genius at making money. Unfortunately, he was not very wise with his money. He made some bad investments. He was also generous to a fault helping people even when they were obviously taking advantage of him..~59~

Three years ago, his business fell on some hard times, he ran up some serious debt and he faced several costly lawsuits. Susan suspected that someone was attempting to bury him. That attempt succeeded. With no assets and a large amount of debt, her father was forced to declare bankruptcy. He was too busy giving his money away to put some aside for hard times. As a result, the family had to sell their house and live on the streets. ~61~

They only survived due to a friend and business associate of their father, Mr Henry Jackson, who let them stay at the Salvation Army shelter he opened up until her father could get back on his feet. It took him one year to find a job strong enough to care for his wife and 4 daughters. The job forced him to relocate from Rome taking Susan's mother and her three younger sisters with him. Susan chose to stay in Rome.~62~

Even though Susan missed her family terribly, her experience with her father's earlier generosity and in the Salvation army nurtured a compassion for the poor. Realizing she found her life's calling, she elected to attend school at the nearby university and donate the rest of her time in helping Henry Jackson run his shelter. ~63~

Now, Susan was so involved in her work at the shelter, she had no life outside of work and class. She didn't care for one. The transients and poor of this area in Rome were her life and she wouldn't change it for the world.~64~

I only wish others felt that way, she thought as she made her way to her car. Many of the volunteers were only there for external purposes, many to add perks to their resume. Some in order to have the volunteering “experience”. Some may have been there to work a few hours helping the less fortunate in order to feel good about themselves.~65~

Helga was probably there because she enjoyed the suffering of others. ~66~

That bitter thought rankled in her mind as she headed for the shelter. The sun was out bright and clear, shining it's light on the street, bouncing into her eyes further detoriating her mood. She took several deep breaths forcing herself to relax. The stranger's face, the deep gray eyes filled with pain and sorrow swam in her mind. He needed help and she could help him. Steady again, Susan drove down the street trying to ignore the flush that crept in her face when she thought of those eyes.~67~

She arrived at a bizarre scene. Volunteers and transients all stood in a circle their mouths and eyes agape. Sunlight shone through the windows on all sides of the building flooding the entire room with light.~68~

Helga, a mountainous black woman,ran to Susan brushing past onlookers as if they weren't there.~69~

“There you are, honey. Oh you have got to see this.”~70~

“What is going on here?” Susan asked as Helga dragged her through the crowd.~71~
People grudgingly gave way as they passed, many of the homeless greeting Susan with a wary smile. Susan smiled back distracted. When they reached the center, Susan stopped, her mouth agape at the sight before her. The stranger who came in last night sat huddled, trembling in the center of the room. His head was between his knees his arms over his head as if he was trying to ward the very air off.~72~

“What in the world?” Susan whispered.~73~

“He was laying on his mattress when you left staring at the cieling. Then about thirty minutes after, he suddenly screamed, jumped up and backed away from the window.” Helga explained, her eyes sparkling with delight.”He stopped a few feet from his bed for a few minutes. Then for no reason, he screamed and backed away some more. Finally he got to the center and has been here ever since.”~74~

Susan stared at her in disgust “Has anyone tried to talk to him?”~75~

Helga gave her a look dripping with false concern “Oh, honey, we tried. He won't listen. He just sits there.”~76~

Susan pushed by her and knelt down beside the stranger. Gently she touched his arm. He pulled it back, hissing. She stared in shock. His arm was covered with burns. ~77~

She turned around and glared at Helga. Did she do this? ~78~

A whimper sounded through the silence. Susan turned to the stranger. The questions about his injuries could wait. Why was he in the middle of the room cowering? What was he afraid of? She knelt beside him watching him in silence for several seconds, her mouth furrowed in concentration. Then she saw it. The entire room was bathed in sunlight, rays reaching out through every window all except for the one spot in the middle, where the man cowered.~79~

Questions once again rose in her mind. Unimportant. To be examined later. Now was the time for action.~80~

Susan turned to Helga. “Shut those blinds” she said indicating the window blinds.~81~
Helga stared at her as if she lost her mind. ~82~

“Do it” Susan glared~83~

Helga stood a smile creeping over her face.~84~

Susan stormed to one of the windows and began pulling up the blinds. Her friend, Dave, a gentle, dark-skinned father of three mentioned to his family and they moved over to close the rest of the blinds. Bit by bit the room faded into shadow. Susan smiled her thanks at Dave and his family and went over to the stranger. He still knelt huddled even though the sun was gone. ~85~

Susan knelt before him~86~

“The sun is gone” she whispered touching him lightly on the shoulder. ~87~

Several minutes passed until he turned his head to look at her. She stared into his eyes, shocked. They were no longer gray, but dark black, the color of night.~88~

“Help me” he whispered~89~

Susan didn't understand but that didn't matter. All that mattered was he needed her help.~90~

“Of course I will help you,” She answered gently urging him to his feet. The stranger rose staring at her his dark eyes boring into her soul. ~91~

“We...we... have some... private... rooms.” She stammered fighting for the words. “I...will... take... you.”~92~

They walked down the room towards the hall. Around them the people of the shelter and the volunteers continued their daily routines now that the show was over. ~93~

“Uh, Susan” Helga said running over to her.~94~

“What” Susan said shortly. ~95~

“I don't think Henry would approve of you using one of the rooms.” Helga said smiling.~96~

The stranger turned and gazed at Helga. She stared into his eyes for a second, the smile draining from her face.~97~

“Henry won't mind.” Susan said disregarding Helga as she walked the stranger to the first door. Inside was a private room, one of the 4 in that hall. It was spartan, only containing a bed, a desk and a closet. The blinds to the window were shut blocking out the sun leaving the room in darkness. ~98~

“Here you go” Susan said bringing him to the bed and gently laying him down. “You can rest here. I will bring the director in as soon as he comes here. Get some sleep, we will talk then.”~99~

“Thank you” The stranger whispered.~100~

“You are welcome, get some rest” Susan got up and walked out turning for a second to watch the stranger turn to his side to stare at the wall.~101~

What a poor man. I wish I knew how to help him, She thought as she shut the door behind her. ~102~

 Hope of Darkness Chapter 3  (13+)
Chapter 3 of my novel. any comments will be appreciated.
#1237600 by werden

 Hope of Darkness Chapter 2  (13+)
the second chapter of my book...any comments would be appreciated
#1158964 by werden

 Hope of Darkness Chapter 1  (18+)
This is the first chapter of a book I am writing, any comments will be most appreciated
#1153615 by werden
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