Shadowed Pathways

The wind picked up, every wisp tearing through his leather jacket and chilling him to the bone. He could feel the tension in his arms, tremors through his fingers, and the metal that had been warmed by the sweat that gathered in his palms.

"Do it, Ben. She knows too much."
When Ben seeks revenge on those who caused his pain, he realises that sometimes you can become too entwined in your own web of lies.

Warning- Violent scenes in some chapters.


1. A Clean Slate

The musky mix of smoke and alcohol invaded his senses. The leather jacket constricted against his form; the black jeans being the only clothes he was familiar with. Ink traced the skin of the people within his sight, making him realise how insignificant the intricate ruffled feathers of a raven on his arm were. It was one small tattoo against the hundreds they all seemed to have. They watched his every move as if he was a clean slate they were ready to corrupt. The term fresh meat came to mind and Ben knew that was never an endearing term.

"You lost?" He came to an abrupt stop. His flight sense making him glance hurriedly around him to identify the threat; to identify which direction he needed to run to get away from it. Fighting against your instincts is like trying to swim in treacle even as you feel the liquid moulding to your skin.

Bravado is not something you can build over night. That was how long it took him to make the reckless decision; one night. You can fake it, but for that you need confidence and as he took in the foreboding appearance of the brunette woman in front of him, he couldn't find it in himself to do anything more than gape like a fish out of water.

He had never been so scared of someone before, apart from in high school as he stood in front of Marcy Phillips; with heat in his cheeks and a valentines card gripped in his hands. People liked that about him, his ability to avoid confrontation. They said it was because he was "safe" and in that moment he could see why it was a good thing. It was so out of character for him, he read about heroes but had never considered himself one. Could he call himself that now? An image infiltrated through the cracks at the edges of his thought, filling the blank space. His arms flailing uselessly as the people around him formed a tight circle. Lack of defence means idiot not hero, he couldn't keep the negative thoughts away.

"Do you talk?" The words were enunciated slowly as if she was questioning his intelligence. Of all the things to question, that was one of the things he had going for him.

"Yes, I'm looking for your leader." It was much different saying those words aloud to people, than it was to say it into a dust covered mirror.

She crossed her arms over her chest, muscles that he didn't possess bulging and intimidating him even more. The more time he spent in her presence, the more uncomfortable he felt. The people in that room had an advantage over him physically, and in confrontation that was what mattered. "You really are a long way from home, aren't you?" Amusement wriggled through the gaping holes in her stoic mask.

That had to be a line in a movie. How would a character reply? Probably by pulling out a weapon to prove some kind of dominance, he thought bitterly. Somehow he thought that would look pathetic on his part. He didn't have a threatening stance and he doubted the kitchen knife that was barely concealed in his pocket would do anything against the guns in their holsters. You could reflect a bullet. That must be in a sci-fi movie. Although his mind fully understood the consequences of pulling out the knife to perform that impossible manoeuvre, somehow he became more relaxed knowing that he had a back up plan should things head south. Even if it was ridiculous and would get him killed.

"You could say that."

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