They Call Me "Shadow"

"They call me "Shadow". Why? Because I'll stick by you, follow you and, once it's gone dark, I'll be gone. Oh yes...and you'll be dead." Working as a bodyguard was just the beginning for "Shadow". His unique set of skills opened the way for other forms of work, and now he is one of the most notorious figures in Britain's criminal underworld. But his skills don't only draw the attention of potential customers. There are others out there who want "Shadow", and not all of them want him alive... ***--Loosely based on a dream I had--***

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3. Chapter 3: Mad Memories

Chapter 3
Mad Memories

‘Home sweet home.’

It had been almost a week since I’d been home. I had an apartment in the city whilst I was there, but home was a different place. Home was…

I turned the corner and was forced to put my foot on the brake pedal. Ahead of me, surrounding the three-floor, black-walled, Victorian-esque building I called home – inherited from a grandfather, if you must know – were three police cars, lights flashing, sirens silenced. I stared at them for a moment, wondering why they were there.

I could think of no answers.

Home was, if you must know, not home at his point in time. But it was too late to leave now without being chased down, as I had one of the police officers making his way towards my car now, and he had a completely “no nonsense” expression on his face.

My best option was to sit tight, roll down the window and talk to this guy…and hope he didn’t throw the handcuffs around my wrist – it would be hard to get out of breaking a police officer’s wrist, whilst getting out of the handcuffs would be the complete opposite.

‘Afternoon, constable,’ I said, having quickly checked for stripes (that were not there, so he was not a sergeant) beforehand. ‘What’s going on?’

‘Do you live here, sir?’ the constable asked. He came right up to my window, bent at the waist and looked into my car.

‘I do. What seems to be the problem?’ I did my best to ignore the officer’s nosiness, looking to his name badge instead; it was tempting to cause him some pain.

‘It seems there was a break in.’ When I did not react the constable – P.C. Harris – frowned and then continued. ‘The alarm went off, and the security company came to check it out. When they got here they found a dead body in the living room. Now how did that get there, may I ask?’

‘Well, P.C. Harris – can I call you P.C. Harris? – I’ve been out of the area for last week, so I have no idea what may have happened. If you don’t believe me, I’m sure I can find people to back up my claim,’ I replied. The constable was dumbfounded for a moment, and I used this this to my advantage. ‘As I live here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I come on in and identify the body. Still here, I assume.’ I did not allow him to reply. I let my car crawl forward, avoiding the police cars and parking nearby.

Logically, I left everything in the car – especially the coat, the mask and the knives – content that there was nothing in the house that could incriminate me. Not even the body that was inside.

I walked straight into the house; the police were powerless to stop me, as I simply walked on through, gently pushing between them until I reached the scene: the dead body in my living room.

When I saw the body I stood, blank, staring, analysing.

The blood had pooled away from the body, touching the rug under my coffee table, surrounding the feet of my sofa, reaching to the foot of the stairs…it was a bit of a mess. No amount of cleaning products was going to get rid of it completely.

I sighed.

‘Do you know this man?’ P.C. Harris asked. He was the only officer not trying to get me to leave.

I looked at the body, having been focusing on the damage to my house. Whoever he was, he had died rather slowly; there was a thin hole all the way through his chest, right through his spine based on its location. He had been stuck on the floor, blood spreading out of him, slowly dying…if I had been responsible for this, he would have died much quicker than he had.

I did my best to stop analysing and actually identify the man, if I could, which would allow me to answer Harris’s questions.

Though it had been years (though not decades) since I’d seen any of my schoolmates, I instantly recognised this man; it was hard to forget the people who had bullied me…hard to forget that one bully I had almost killed…

***

School. Physical Education.

Two of my least favourite things, yet they were what helped form me. You see, before I started going to school I was a very calm, sane, non-violent person. Hurting other people never once crossed my mind. But as I went through school, being a reserved person more into intellectual pursuits, I became a victim of bullying.

Both physical and mental.

For a long, long time I let it continue. But then, as Year 9 came to a close, it all came to a head. And yes, it did happen in physical education.

It was a friendly game of dodgeball (if you can call dodgeball friendly), and I was on a team with all the students who weren’t very good at sports.

“Schools don’t do that”? Yes they do.

And who was on the other team? Oh, just all of the people who liked to bully me. The game became pretty violent, but we were Year 9s, so the teachers trusted us to behave under the vigil of a teacher-chosen referee.

Oh, and this referee hated me too.

So here we are in this game of dodgeball; there are big, red, leather balls flying across the room, most of them hitting the wall of the sports hall. The people on my team were throwing rather gently, trying not to hit anyone so as to avoid further bullying later on.

I was doing likewise.

The other team, however, seemed intent on knocking us out. Every time they hit one of us, we would fall over and they would laugh their arses off (referee included). There were three nosebleeds and one concussion before I finally snapped.

That’s right…I snapped.

Ball after ball came our way; I ended up being the last one standing, and this angered me. The entirety of the opposing team was still on the court, and the entirety of the opposing team were propelling the balls towards me, trying to hit me in the head or groin.

So I did what any person would. I went feral.

I started to catch these balls, almost flawlessly (which, ironically, meant the thrower was out), whilst making my way over towards them. I did not throw any balls at them; I walked across the line, into the other team. The referee threw abuse my way as I weaved through the other team, punching the occasional bully in the face – there were more bloody noses amongst them than amongst my team – as I made my way to the ringleader of the bullies.

I had known him since my first day at school, and since that first day he had picked me as the victim.

No more.

I awarded him my hardest punch in the face, which broke his nose, followed by a punch to the groin, making him double over. As his “friends” hurried over to him, I grabbed him shirt, pulled it up to his neck, twisted it and twisted it, and then held on.

I cut off his breathing. Ten seconds and he was unconscious. Two seconds, and there were teachers pulling me off him. If I’d had eight more seconds…

Needless to say, I was sent to a different school after that, though not a traditional one.

“What are you talking about now, “Shadow”?” Wouldn’t you like to know?

***

“What's the importance of that story?” Well…this man in my house, whose blood had stained my flooring and likely bubbled down to the underfloor heating…

He had an interesting mark around his neck…

Oh yes…this man was my main bully, and here he was, perfectly deceased, spread out on the floor of my house. You know, the repressed, revenge-orientated part of my brain wished I had killed him. The rational, regimented, ruling side of my brain was focused on one thing, and one thing alone:

Who the hell had killed my high school bully? Who the hell knew who I was? Who the hell was trying to get me arrested? And most of all…who the hell had I wronged who was still alive?

‘Sir…do you know this man?’

‘Yes…yes I do…’

 

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