THE ONES IN THE SHADOWS
"DARK MOON"

Chapter One
Red. Blood red. The red that burns your soul. It stained the ground, threatening to swallow me up. It was the blood of my sister. And it was still on the creature that left her body in shreds. The same creature that stood in front of me now, glaring at me.

"Ooohhhoooo!" howled the monstrous beast. I ran, terrified. I ran from that horrible beast that wasn't quite wolf and not quite man. That terrible werewolf that searched for blood, my blood.

Oh, how could I have been so blind?

We had gone out: my sister; my friend, Jimmy; and I. Jimmy was strange, mysterious, and that's why I liked him. I loved the strange and unusual. The people who have a secret to be found. A dark secret. A secret that could be dangerous.

After we had gotten some burgers we headed out, towards our lake home that was on the other side of the woods. Jimmy would just drop us off and then go home. How wrong we were.

The car had suddenly stopped, right in the middle of the forest. I looked over at Jimmy, wondering what was going on and saw him suddenly bawl over in pain. "Jimmy? What's going on? Are you O.K.?" I asked, suddenly concerned for him and having a bad feeling on what was going on.

"Get out. Get out! Aoohhh!" he screamed. My feeling just got worse.

"Jimmy!" my sister yelled. I grabbed her and pulled her out of the car. I had a real bad feeling about this. And with good cause. Jimmy was slowly changing in the car. He grew razor sharp claws, dagger-like teeth, and long, pointed ears. He was turning into a werewolf.

Just before the transformation was complete he looked up at us and said in a distorted voice that I hardly recognized as Jimmy's, "I'm sorry. I never wanted to hurt you." And then we were in trouble.

"Lily, run!" I said, trying to pull my sister along with me. She was stunned, still not believing what was happening, not really running. She was in shock. Jimmy was gaining.

I kept running, trying to keep her with me. Heading for our cabin. We would be safe there. But it was still three miles away and she was just slowing me down. Yet I couldn't leave her behind. She was my sister. But the fact remained that she was going to get us both killed.

And suddenly she slipped from my hand and fell.

"No!" I yelled as I saw the werewolf leap at her and start tearing at her limbs. There was nothing I could do. What could I do? I just looked in shock as she was slowly torn apart and eaten by my former friend. It wasn't until I knew that she was dead that I shook out of my shock. I had to get out of there. My instinct of self survival had just been activated and now tore me from my grief. "Run!" I yelled at myself and started to dash through the woods, careful not to trip on the uplifted roots and the branches.

I could hear him tear through the woods, hot on pursuit. Hot on my trail. Smelling me, hearing me, seeing me, tasting me.

I don't know how I came there so quickly but suddenly I found myself almost to my cabin. Almost to safety. There were my father's guns which I could use. There was also a phone I could use to call the police. Though I knew they wouldn't believe it.

Just a few more feet and I was home. Just a few more feet. I tripped. Suddenly, I felt hot breath on my neck. Heard the deep, foul breathing of the beast and I knew he was behind me. I turned and saw him crouched in a leap, ready to strike. I looked into those dark, yellow, animal eyes and knew that I was doomed. "Oh shit," was all I said before…

"Amy!" Tim called as he pulled the visors from my head. "What?!" I called, suddenly aware of the real world. "You really got to cut down on the fantasy stuff Amy. Werewolves, witches, ghosts… you have to stop. These horror stories will give you nightmares," he said in his big brother way. "I never get scared on that stuff, you know that," I said trying to get back the Holographic Visual Visors (H.V.V.).

I wouldn't deny it. I loved fantasy. Everything and anything supernatural I loved. I was hooked on it, absorbed by it, obsessed by it. Ever since I was little. Any story, any scripture, any game, any text, any hologram that had anything supernatural on it I had it and studied it. It was my life.

"Ooops. Sorry Aim, can't let you have these back," he said in a taunting way. "Why not?" I asked boringly. "Because you're late again," he said with a smile. I was suddenly gripped by panic. Not again! "Oh, crap," I said as I tore out of the chair and quickly got my stuff and headed to astro-metrics. I was late to school again! "Run, Aim, run!" he yelled annoyingly down the hall. I hate big brothers. Sometimes I wished it was still when I had no family, no siblings.

But I had bigger things to worry about other than being in a stupid foster home as I ran down the corridor as if I was running from that werewolf in the H.V.V. This was the fifth time this week that I had been late for my astronomy class. This was my last chance to get there on time or else I would be dropped from the class or worse. I might be deported.

I loved astronomy, and I was in the perfect place to learn it. The moon station on the far-side of the moon. The Dark Moon Port as I called it. Well, actually, it was an educational center that is a small port by itself. The Far-side Moon Education Center. Otherwise known as M.E.C. It took a lot of brains to be able to become a candidate to become a student at M.E.C., especially on astronomy.

I had been one in a million applicants that was picked to come. It had to be like that since it was so expensive to go to the moon, plus it's the best of its class. It was even isolated from a main port because of all the rich kids who went to it and liked their privacy. Only the rich or the lucky chosen from the less fortunate schools came here and for a middle class family like us, it was nearly impossible to even go on the new planes that took you partially into space. We had to go the old fashion way of airplane or boat or train. We could never go the best and coolest way. It so totally sucked.

But we had made it up here, which was a miracle, a pure miracle. I was chosen from a million applicants because I had a great potential and now I might lose it because my other love, my other obsession got in the way. The obsession that left me late to class everyday.

My teacher, Mr. Duke, was a pretty nice guy. He has been letting me off so far but his patients with me was growing pretty thin. I hadn't even been here a semester yet and I had already had to have detention because I was tardy almost everyday. There might be the odd time out where I would show up on time once a month. But, today I couldn't be late. Otherwise I would be severely punished by the Head. Grounded to Earth, never again to go into space.

I was seriously whacked.

I was so scrunched up in my own thoughts that I didn't notice the guy in front of me that I was about to ram into.

"Hey, watch it," he said as I plummeted into him like an asteroid. "Oh, I'm sorry," I apologized as I turned to look who I had cratered. "Terry!" I gasped as I realized who it was. He was the new guy up here, got up here only because he helps with the computer hackers. In return he gets to stay at the Dark Moon and sometimes attends classes. He's a real genius, though he doesn't really apply himself. Everyone thought he's weirdo, and with good reason. He acted weird.

I looked into his eyes. Such cold eyes, like ice, that burned into your soul. Chilling you. Turning you away. Threatening you to stay back yet luring, coaxing you to stay. To stay and warm them, to break the ice. A challenge. I was never one to back down from a challenge. Or a mystery for that matter. And Terry was certainly both.

He told no one about himself. He kept to himself. He had no friends. He sat alone at lunch, when he attended lunch. Had no family. Only saying a few words to anyone, and only to get them to leave him alone. Never telling anyone of his past.

He was a loner.

So was I only not in the same way. I let everyone in, let everyone know what I thought and so kept them back, away from me. I let them think they knew me, let them think I was a jabber mouth, that I was afraid of people not liking me, that they knew everything about me. But they didn't. They didn't know the real me, the big part of me. They only knew half of me.

There was another part, a part that lived in the shadows that no one knew. Not even me. So, because they thought that they knew me, I kept it hidden in broad daylight. I was just unnoticed, unwanted, unknown. Just lurking in the shadows, in the darkness.

I knew that Terry had a secret and I wanted to find it out. I wanted to break the code, to find the real Terry that hid in his eyes. I wanted to know who he was. I wanted to be his friend. I wanted to know if he was kind and good, the way I thought he was, the way my gut told me he was. I wanted to know the real him. They guy under the ice and snow, the guy behind the cold eyes. I wanted to know his soul.

"Amy. Your late again," he said coolly, without any emotion. Like he didn't care. Like he couldn't care. "Yah, so are you it seems," I said, trying to talk like him. Why was he going the opposite direction from astro-metrics, which was also his next class? Why did he always make people think that he didn't care or couldn't care? "I'm not late. I'm gone," he said, trying to walk off, to cast me aside. I wasn't going to let that happen.

"You're skipping?" I asked, matching his stride, going the complete and utter wrong direction. Definitely going to be late and for a moment I didn't care. "Yah, so?" he said trying to use his long legs to loose me. But I was a fast walker. I could match anyone's stride, even Terry's. I was as tall as he was with the same length of legs.

"So, you could be deported. Why would you jeopardize that?" I asked, puzzled. "Why do you? You're doing the same thing, jeopardizing your position here, why?" he said, throwing me off guard. Exactly what he wanted. And for most people it would have made them give up, make them remember what was more important and leave. But not me. I didn't care that he never talked to anyone. I would make him talk to me.

"I asked you first," I said coyly. Making sure I didn't loose him. "I don't care," he fluttered in my face. I couldn't tell if he didn't care that he was going to be deported or that I had asked him the question first.

"You should." I said trying to keep him going. Trying to figure out what he meant. "I don't and I don't like people telling me what I should and shouldn't care about," he said almost angrily, only with no anger in his voice. Never having anything in his voice. I kept wondering how he could do that all the time. Talking without any emotion. Talking as if he where a machine, a robot. It fascinated me.

"O.K., fine. You don't have to care about it. Neither do I. I don't have to care about your question and I don't have to answer it. You however, I do want to answer. I love astronomy. It's a good career move and it'll get me out of middle bracket. I'll be able to study space, to go into space, to actually get off that small rock which we call Earth and to stay off. It'll be an adventure. But there is something that I care about more then that," I said trailing it out, waiting for a response.

"And what would that be," he said unimpressed, uninterested. "A good mystery. A puzzle. An enigma. And you, my friend, are certainly that," I said. "I'm not your friend," he said, stopping and looking me in the eye. Such cold eyes. They froze me in my place. Judging me, studying me. They scared me and fascinated me at the same time. They were beautiful. The color of the sea. Blue and green and gray, all mixed in those eyes. Tossing as if in a storm. Beautiful.

I didn't know what to say. I was stuck, stiff, frozen. I felt as if I couldn't move, couldn't think. All I knew was that his stare pierced my soul, threatening to kill it, to make it wither. I was playing with fire and I was beginning to get careless. I realized that I was about to get burned.

Before I knew what had happened, he walked away, leaving me in my thoughts. I only woke up from that dreamy stare in enough time to yell, "You might not be my friend but that doesn't mean I'm not yours," before he turned the corner and left me alone in the corridor.
***

"Amy, this is the fifth time this week that you've been late!" my mother practically yelled in her anger and disgust. Her disgust for me. "I know," I said, feeling pretty bad, hanging my head shamefully. "Why do you keep on doing this?" she asked knowing that I truly didn't know. "I'm sorry," I said. Why did I keep on doing this? It was totally what I didn't want to do. Then why did I do it? Why did I keep slacking off, running late, never getting to M.E.C. on time?

I looked over to Tim. He was smiling smugly, getting a kick out of it. Oh, how I hated him! He wasn't my real brother (I was adopted) but he was just as annoying. Oh, how I wanted him to die! That little brat.

He might be my big brother but I was definitely taller than him. I was taller than most boys in fact. I don't know why but I was very tall, 6' 5", far surpassing my mother and brother with their small, oriental genes. I loved my height, I could see above most crowds and I was perfect for basketball, at least on Earth. And I could see Terry eye to eye.

But right now, I tried to make myself as small as I could. My foster mother hated the fact that I was taller than she, forcing her to look up to me. And when she was mad she really hated it and so got even madder. I tried to appease her now, knowing that she had a lot of stress without me adding to it.

She was a nurse at the port, not being paid much but having to do more work than the doctors who made three times as much as she did. And with her husband gone, dying three years ago from a car accident, she had to work too many jobs and too many hours just to pay bills. Plus there was this weird thing happening at her work. I guess some kids thought it might be funny if they took some canisters of blood from the freezer. My mother wasn't at all happy about it since she was in trouble because of it.

We were lucky; I was on a program where we didn't have to pay for my schooling or for the food, just for the regular bills to help run the port and for clothing. If it weren't for that we would still be on Earth, living in pollution and filth. What we humans had done to our precious world.

I thanked God that I was off that rock.

I remember when we first got here, living in the First Moon Port, that sometimes, late at night (Earth time), I found myself looking threw my window of our quarters, seeing the Earthrise from the horizon. Like the first astronauts did, like the famous old stamp, Earth wise. I had to admit that it was beautiful, all blue and white, like a marble. How could something like that be so horrible to live on? I would always ask myself.

Easy, we made it horrible.

Now that we were on the far side of the moon, I never saw Earth. Hidden forever. This side never saw Earth since its revolution and rotation was the same. Twenty-seven Earth days equaled one day and one year up here.

I would never see Earth again and I thanked the Universe! I was afraid that if I saw it from up here, I would forget how awful it was and want to go back. This way I never saw it, never doubted, and saw the most brilliant stars like none I've ever seen before. The stars shone like none could on Earth. They kept me going, they kept me here, they kept me alive.

But now my life up here was in jeopardy. I was in trouble at home and in school and I wasn't sure what would become of me. Would I stay or would I be sent home to Earth? That was the question that had been pondering me for the last month. When they finally got mad at me would the let me stay or would they band me to the hell of that dirty rock?

"I've managed to talk to the Head. She has been reasonable, but this has been going on for far too long and far too frequently. You have gotten off very easily so far but not any longer. Most Heads would have banned you from the port, even sent you back to Earth, all of us back to Earth, already but I have managed to keep her from doing that. Instead, you will have special classes where no one but yourself and the teacher will be. You will stay in the classroom all of the 10 cycles of the school day and you will trade teachers. The only break you will have is to have lunch. Here at home you will have no games, no trips to the arcade, and no H.V.V. You are grounded," my mother said, glaring at me, arms crossed.

"All right," I said and went to my room. What else could I do? I had gotten off easy, I knew that, even though it was totally unfair. I would have no time with my friends and even worse, no H.V.V. to pass the time with. All I would have to pass the time is old fashion books to read. With my collection it wouldn't be too bad. But still, no social time!?

I jumped onto my bed and picked up a book. It was Interview with a Vampire by Rice, a real classic, made in the 20th century but still one of my favorites. She was such a good writer, talking about one of my favorite things: Vampires.

It wasn't long until my thoughts drifted from the book and went to Terry and to our meeting in the corridor. He seemed so cold, as always, but more so today. What was he doing skipping class like that? And why did his look at me give me this feeling of…this feeling of…I don't know. It was as if he had stared at me in puzzlement or… admiration?

And for a second I thought I saw a flick of light, of life in his eyes that pierced the coldness, but only for a moment. Did I imagine that or did he actually open up to me? Had I broken the distance that kept him apart from everyone else?

Those eyes, so mysterious, so fascinating. They held the whole universe in them. They held a secret, a secret that was the eyes themselves. Why did he keep everyone away? Was it to protect himself or was it to protect others? And why would he need to do that? What did he want to keep a secret, a mystery? What was he hiding?

Those eyes, so cold, so distant. They had the power to freeze me, to stop my talking. How did he do that? Why did those eyes seem almost familiar? So very familiar and yet so distant and mysterious. Those eyes.


That night I dreamt about nothing but Terry.