Penumbra: Don’t Be a Baby (part 4 of 4)

Part 4 of 4Mark felt his brain begin to stiffen like his muscles. Every thought slowed. 

It was his fault.

W-

He killed her.

W-

It was all his fault. He was a killer just like his father. He was forced to stare into that blackness. Unable even to stop seeing or hearing his torment. His failure started straight back at him. He was going to die. A failure and a killer. 

He was just like him. 

Then in that blackness, Mark saw a flash of white.

When.

For a moment something had appeared reflected in those eyes. 

When I-

It didn’t matter he was still a failure. He was still a killer. He didn’t deserve to be Penumbra. 

When I raise-

The white thing perched somewhere behind him. 

It was pointless.

It was a dove.

He would die.

A dove perched on some fireplace and stared into the darkness and through the darkness it reached out to Mark. 

When I raise my shield.

Words came back to him. They pushed back on the darkness like a candle being lit. Words that he knew. Words he had spoken a thousand times. 

When I raise my shield,

I raise it to defend-

It’s pointless. 

You killed her.

When I raise my shield,

I raise it to defend His every subject.

It’s futile.

He couldn’t survive this.

Mark felt the darkness push back on him as those words came back. 

When I raise my shield,

I raise it to defend His every subject.

Loyal and disloyal.

The words grew to a boom within his head. His vision widened just slightly. 

When I raise my shield,

I raise it to defend His every subject.

Loyal and Disloyal.

When I raise my blade,

I raise it against his every enemy

Within and without.

It doesn’t matter. 

He couldn’t win. 
When I raise my shield,

I raise it to defend His every subject.

Loyal and Disloyal.

When I raise my blade,

I raise it against his every enemy

Within and without.

When I raise my light

I raise it to lead all His subjects to Him,

Skeptic and Fanatic.
He still killed her.

He was no better.

It was easier to give up.

Mark pushed back. He willed the oath to a shout within his mind. He shouted with the force of thunder. 

When I raise my shield,

I raise it to defend His every subject

Loyal and disloyal
When I raise my blade,

I raise it against his every enemy

Within and without


When I raise my light

I raise it to lead all His subjects to Him,

Skeptic and Fanatic
I do pledge myself to defend His people at all costs. 

To defend the weak

To strengthen the strong

To love Justice

To grant mercy

From this night until the last night of my watch,

Until my King calls me to Lay my blade down

Or my enemies pry it from my cold dead hands

I will be His sword

I will be His people’s shield

I will reflect His Light

From this night until the last night of my watch,

I am Penumbra!” With the last words Mark felt his lips move and the sensation rushed back to his arms. The blade sang straight down, and cut straight through the monster. It squealed as it dissipated into a black dust. Mark turned for the parrot but it flew full speed away. The sound of a window breaking followed. Mark looked out of the window to barely see a slight bit of red in the stormy sky. 

Without any warning lightning struck. Not a dozen yards from where he was there appeared a fantastic column of white light. The thunder tossed him backwards and blew in the window beside him. He blinked as his vision went white and his ears rang. 

Fear not.

When all his faculties were yet again with him, Mark was flat on his back in bed. His muscles ached, he still had all his clothes on, and the room was soaked. He looked at a note that seemed to have been scribbled hastily and dropped on his desk. 

You did alright.

-E

Mark felt the smile crawl up his face and then fell right off. 
By TKH Hamilton 

Penumbra: Don’t Be a Baby (part 3 of 4)

Penumbra: Nightmare Episode 7

Part 3 of 4

Agent Mark King shifted nervously. He had always gotten jitters right before a big test. He felt the rain run off his hat and coat, his gloved hands clenching and I clenching as he waited for the door to open. 

“I lead, you follow.” Grunted E. 

“Yes sir.” Mark replied trying to stand up straighter. The door slowly opened partway. 

“Can I help you?” The man of the house asked. Both agents pulled out their badges. Mark felt his heart pounding in excitement. 

“Inspectors from the department of health’s Psychological division. Our Psychostatistical algorithms predicted an event here. We were dispatched to investigate. Can we come in?”

“Sure.” The man replied. Instantly Mark felt as though a barrier around the house had dropped. He and E strode easily through the door. 

“You’ll be just like your father!” A voice screamed at Mark. He missed step and stumbled, looking for the source of the voice. E looked over in the same direction, coolly enough that Mark chastised himself for the distraction. The source of the voice was a black and red parrot that cackled from a ledge in the sitting room. 

“Sorry about that, begone Satan!” The father said flatly. The bird squealed and flapped off. 

“Do you have any kids?” E asked as Mark began to check any mundane causes off the list. The gas looked fine, and he couldn’t smell any mold.

“I do, three kids. Why?” 

“We need to speak to everyone in the house.” E answered back coldly. 

“Upstairs, but everyone’s asleep.” He responded, E nodded and Mark followed. He didn’t make it up the stairs before he felt a heavy impact. Something struck him in the chest and sent him back down the stairs. His back slammed into the floor and he looked down at what had struck him. It was the battered body of a fat boy. The eyes were beginning to swell and it looked as though blood was beginning to drip out the nose. A soft groan issued and Mark let out a breath of relief. He looked back just before another body came at him. Mark threw his body backwards along the ground and let the next body slam into him. He grunted as his body was struck by a girl not much younger than he was. He pushed her off and rose as swiftly as he could to his feet. His hand went to the inside of his cost and drew the long handle of his lightblade. In a swift motion he zipped his coat up and activated the blade. The bright yellow blade raced forward as Mark readied his stance.

Atop the stairs stood the monster. Four long arms extended from a muscled human torso. Each arm ended in claws that were a sickly green color. In fact the whole of it was a sickly blue green skin color. What should have been the waist and legs were like the body of a scorpion. Where the tail of a scorpion would have been, the tail was like a shark. The head, if it could be called that was one massive eye the size of a dinner plate. The iris was the same sickly green, but from the pupil a single pink tongue lashed at the air. It’s claws snapped, it’s scorpion legs clattered, the tail swished side to side, and the tongue lashed the air. In a single motion it charged down the stairs straight towards the father. Mark threw his body forward up the stairs, his mind was one track to interpose himself. The monster took a single swipe at the father, slamming him up against the wall. The other three hands crashed into Mark. 

The impact sent both of them crashing down the stairs, past the kids, and into a sitting room. Mark swung his sword arm and forced the creature off his chest. The claws snapped and Mark twirled his blade. The creature shot forward. Four punch like hits struck Mark as the creature raced by. Mark felt four dull thuds on his chest as the creature raced by. His blade sang through the air. The creature skirted just outside his reach on the second pass as Mark let the backswing of his strike buy him time. It came at him again, this time Mark hop-stepped back and swung to keep the racing beast at bay. The next time though, the tail blind sided him and Mark felt a claw clamp down on his sword arm. Two more blows crashed into his back and Mark grunted in pain. Here ached across and felt his other arm gripped down on. Mark grinned.

“Surprise.” A burst of yellow light exploded from Mark’s left cuff. The creature screeched and released Mark. Without wasting a second, Mark let his sword swing in a wide arc, it managed to graze the monster across the chest. Acrid smoke poured from the wound as Mark pressed the advantage, he rushed forward and took powerful lunging strikes with both hands. The creature stumbled backwards, apparently clumsy in reverse. His blade made a low strike and severed two of the legs, as he lifted the blade to strike the killing blow, he heard a scream. His head turned as the mother had entered the room. The parrot sat on her shoulder as she screamed at the sight. Mark’s eyes met the parrot’s and he felt his muscles lock. He tried to swing down and he couldn’t. He willed his arms to move, even to drop or relax, but they couldn’t. He felt the blow to his gut and couldn’t even react as the creature toppled him over. Mark could only listen as a female voice called out.

“There’s nothing to fear!”

Click. The sound of a scorpion leg moving. 

“There’s nothing to fear!”

Clack. Another step.

“There’s nothing tofear!”

Click.

“There’snothingtofear!” The words were running together.

Clack.

“There’snothingtofear! There’snothingtofear! There’snothingtofear!”

Clack.

“Nothingtofearnothingtofearnothingto-” 

Snap.

Quiet.

“Look what you’ve done.” The voice of the parrot said. Except now it wasn’t a screechy voice, it was a deep and familiar baritone. The voice seemed to echo as though the speaker was speaking into a metal bucket or helmet that seemed to magnify the voice. “It’s your fault she died. You couldn’t save her. Look at her!” Mark felt a claw grab him and face him straight into the woman’s cold dead eyes. The pupils expanded and he was forced to stare into the empty blackness. “You killed her. You’re just like your father.” 

Penumbra: Don’t Be a Baby (Part 2 of 4)

Penumbra Nightmare: Episode 7

Part 2 of 4

Colin was the only one to have not noticed the bird. He came home from school one day and there it was. He had been certain it wasn’t there before. It was a red and black parrot in a shiny brass cage. The parrot looked back and tilted it’s head before screeching. 
“What a baby!” It screeched at Colin as he came inside. He found his mother at her desk and tugged on the sleeve. 

“Mommy is busy.”

“When did we get a parrot?”

“We’ve always had a parrot.” She said and picked up the phone to call someone. Colin sighed and went to go watch some tv. When his older siblings came by the bird screeched at them as well. 

“No one likes you Alice!” And “You’re fat and slow Frank!” The others seemed to just shrug at the words. When his mom came by the bird screeched at her. It gripped the bars and howled at her. “You’re ugly! You’re husband doesn’t love you!” Then it just cackled as she walked away. It glared down on Colin and screeched with a horrible noise like rusted metal being dragged along one another. Colin turned and ran up into his room. His door slammed and for a moment he was in the dark. A stifling and thick darkness that seemed to wrap slowly around his throat. He gasped and found just a tiny bit of air come in. His hand reached back and began to desperately paw for a light switch. Colin felt his breath come short and quick as he gasped desperately. His eyes went wide and reached up for his throat. 

“Colin?” A deep voice came from the other side of the door. The 

door cracked open and Colin felt the darkness release his throat. He fell to his knees and found a breath of clean air enter his lungs. Colin’s father flipped the light switch revealing a seemingly empty room. “You alright buddy?” His father asked, picking Colin up and slinging him over his shoulder, he turned and Colin faced towards his still dark closet.

“Don’t tell.” 

Colin wasn’t sure how the thing in the closet had spoken. But he could feel the words “don’t be a baby,” bouncing around his head. He gulped and bit back the tears that had begun to well up. 

The rest of the evening passed like molasses as Colin sat in dread of his room. All night he felt the bird sneering down at him, and cackling at him from it’s lofty cage. As he sat at dinner he looked out his window and saw a creature had begun roosting by the window. It was a dove, nesting gently and looking with intensity at Colin. It was pure white and seemed to have a kindness in it’s eyes. When Colin’s mother saw the bird she smashed on the window to drive it away. With a single flap of its wings the dove flew away into the dark night. Colin sighed into his soup as the other bird landed in the middle of the table. The cruel eyes sneered level with him as it urinated into his food. Before it could speak though, Colin’s father swept his hand over the table to drive it away. 

“Begone Satan, the Lord Rebukes you.” He said as he drove the bird away. It squawked angrily as it flapped away into a dark room of the house. When dinner had ended, Colin’s father tucked him in to bed. He gently closed the door, and Colin heard his father lean up against the wall. “Lord help me, I can’t do this alone.” Just then Colin heard the rain begin to fall on his roof. In a flash of lightning he saw the shadow of a bird blazed in his window. Colin’s breath caught in his chest as he turned ever so slowly. With a crash the thunder followed and he saw the dove on his window, gently knocking. It was already drenched as it tapped on the window pane. It struck Colin as a creature which did not need his help, but wanted to be let in. In the quiet Colin felt as though the monster in the closet was waiting for him. Colin very slowly moved to the window. His eyes never looked away from the closet as he slid his way across the room to the window. He stepped up onto the closed toy chest and undid the window’s latch. The bird slipped under the open window as the storm blew in. Colin shut the window and the dove climbed up onto his shoulder. They both looked towards the closet as Colin shuffled on over to his bed. The door stood slightly ajar and Colin swore he could see the thing shifting in the darkness. 

“What a baby, getting help.” It whined at Colin. He felt a dove wing brush his face and he looked over at the creature. In the gloom it seemed to glow in its own light. The creature’s presence alone seemed to drive the thing in the closet back. 

Suddenly the squeal of wet tires on the pavement. There was but a second as a blur of motion shot at Colin. He gasped as the thing screeched and swerved past him. The black swirl twisted towards the door and ripped it open.

Ding

Dong

Penumbra: Don’t Be A Baby (Part 1 of 4)

Penumbra Nightmare: Episode 7Part 1 of 4
Five people lived in the third house on seventh street. When all five went to bed, only two went to sleep. Mom would tuck them all in, kiss them all goodnight, and turn off all the lights. The eldest daughter, Alice, would wait until she heard the footsteps fade away down the hall before she would spend hours texting and scrolling until she dropped off to sleep. The middle brother, Franklin, would play games online, saying mean and awful things to the other players. Of all five people in the third house on seventh street, only Colin couldn’t fall asleep. 
Every night he would stare at the closet. He was waiting for it. It always tried to wait until Colin was asleep before coming out. Perhaps it thought that it was playing some cruel game. Some nights he would see it emerge and it would look at him and smile. 

“Shh don’t tell. Don’t be a baby. Babies are scarred.” Most nights Colin did see it. Other nights, the only evidence of it being there was the long, moist, cold trail along his cheek when he woke up. 

The first few nights he had tried to tell. 

“Shut up stupid.”

“It’s just a weird dream.”

“There’s no such thing as monsters.” His siblings replied. His brother and sister would brush him off and his mother would always repeat the phrase “There’s nothing to fear.” And almost every night it told him. “Shh don’t tell. Don’t be a baby. Babies are scarred.” So after a while Colin stopped trying to tell anyone. He wasn’t a baby. But he was scared.

Penumbra: Baron (Part 3 of 3)

Penumbra: Nightmare Episode 6

Part 3 of 3

“Soldiers. Fire!” Screeched the Baron before the four assault rifles leveled on the three agents. 

“LET THERE BE LIGHT!” Clark’s voice boomed. The room shook and a fantastic flash filled the room. The soldiers and the Baron raised their arms to defend themselves. Mark charged forward his blade swinging down on the Baron. Julia turned a table over and aimed a shot on an unsuspecting soldier. Three bolts of green light slammed into the man’s torso and he crumbled. Julia dropped behind the table as a salvo of bullets raced towards her. A flash of white light raced forward from Clark’s eyes and flung another soldier back into a wall. The sound of sickening cracks filled the air on impact. 

The Baron slid back and dropped into a fencing position as Mark’s blade swung inches from his face. Mark’s next blow was a slash at the torso, but the Baron simply knocked it away with a tap of his saber. The Baron took a quick swipe at Mark, who blocked with his blade. The Baron let his swipe open him up and Mark lunged at the seemingly exposed Baron. The Baron stepped from his feint and grabbed one of Mark’s wrists. He gave a pull and Mark tumbled, as he passed the Baron slammed the pommel straight down on Mark’s skull. 

“DummKopf!” The Baron said as he twirled his blade. “Did you really believe you could match me?” His blade came up and seemed to gleam cruelly in the blackness. 

“It gave them an opening.” Mark ‘s voice bellowed calmly out of his coat, seemingly amplified by the collar. The Baron paused before white and green light struck him. in the black in a splendid flash. Mark took the opportunity to rise before the Baron’s hand cackled with electricity that blasted towards Julia and The Night Light. 

“That voice.” Mumbled Baron Von Todersfurcht. He lunged again and the two fell to blows. The Baron seemed to fight on the defensive, allowing Mark’s powerful two handed swings push him back. Whenever he caught Julia or The Night Light lining him up, he would toss a bolt of lightening to hold them at bay. 

“Stop dancing and fight!” Bellowed Mark as his blows seemed to slow. His ragged breath seemed amplified through the coat. 

“DummKopf.” The Baron lunged forward and sliced across Mark’s chest. The blow carried him to the side of the stunned agent and the blade made a swift swipe from shoulder to hip. Baron Von Todersfurcht raised his hand and let loose another blast of lightning. Mark collapsed on the ground and Todersfurcht leaned in to whisper in his ear. Then he rose and sheathed his blade. “Auf Wiedersehen Shepherd, your colleague has provided me with more pressing business.” With that, Todersfurcht raised his hand and sent a blinding spray of lightning at the agents. Julia ducked behind cover as the hairs on her back stood up. When she aimed her weapon to fire again on the Baron. He was gone. 

By TKH Hamilton 

Penumbra: Baron (Part 2 of 3)

Penumbra Nightmare: Episode 6

Part 2 of 3

“Clark? Agent Shepherd?” Mark’s voice echoed around the mess hall. She turned and her breath released slowly. “I wasn’ interruptin’ anythin’ right?” 

“Negative.” Clark replied with a gentle smile. Mark stepped up to the table and slowly sat down. He was still wearing his long coat and hat as he lowered himself to the bench. His face contorted in visible struggle as he did so. “You appear to be in near agony Mark.”

“I bit off more ‘an I coul’ chew wit’ the trainin'” Mark muttered. He shrugged his shoulders before smiling at Julia. “So uh I guess Cindy tol’ y’all ’bout Friday.” 

Before Julia could answer the lights flickered and went out. Julia’s blaster was in her hand in a flash. With a gentle hum the yellow blade of light appeared in the corner of her eye. Mark flipped the collar of his coat up and had his hands gripped tight around his lightsword. The sound of heavy boots came down the hallway. They echoed in the room and bounced off every surface. 

“Agent Shepherd. What an honor to finally meet you.” A deep baritone voice came down one hall. The black cap and red mantle came around the corner. One eye slowly scanned the room until it found the three agents. In the lightsword’s glow, the eyepatch and golden skulls glistened cruelly as the invader sauntered into the mess hall. Four men in black armor with assault rifles marched in behind him. One hand reached just beneath the mantle and slowly drew a saber of cold black metal from it. “I am Baron Von Todersfurcht and I am here to kill you.” 

Penumbra: Baron (Part 1 of 3)

Penumbra: Nightmare Episode 6
Part 1 of 3

Julia felt her cycle’s engine stop as she parked it in the base’s garage. She sat in the quiet for a few moments not daring to look over at the long empty parking spot. She took a deep breath, and dismounted walking straight past it. Julia felt her limbs begin to ache from the exertion as the adrenaline faded away. Her coat and hat found hooks as she entered the long quiet halls of the base. The thought of food and rest led her first to the mess hall, with long empty tables. Perhaps the fact that the mess hall was made for a hundred people made it feel all the more empty. Julia gripped the cup of instant noodles and found a spot among the empty benches.

The mess hall wasn’t quiet, it was silent. The sort of silence that made plain that something was missing. Except right now, it was clear that some one was missing. It didn’t feel like home anymore. 

“Mind if I join you Julia?” Clark’s voice shattered the loneliness. Julia smiled and gestured across the table. Clark sat down and placed his own cup across from hers. “Was your evening particularly treacherous?” 

“No, but Mark’s new bikes are uncomfortable to say the least.” Julia grinned at Clark. “I’d trade nearly anything to have Paradisio back.”

“As would I, not in small part for the driver.” Clark remarked stirring his soup. Julia shifted uncomfortably, the memory of the fight between Clark and Σ played out in her mind. Julia shivered as she remembered the sound of Clark’s bones snapping from the blows of Σ’s battle armor. “Σ did not mean to cause harm to me.”

“Could have fooled me.” Julia mumbled. The two sat in silence for a moment. “You know him better than I do.”

“Affirmative, and I have been careful not to allow that information to reach Agent King.” They both smiled. “Have you seen the manner in which Cindy interacts with him?” 

“Yeah she gave him her signature hair flip and everything.” Julia rolled her eyes. Clark leaned in. They both knew enough of Cindy’s antics to know what that meant. “She wants you and I to come with her to hang out with him.” 

“I would greatly enjoy that.” Clark said. For a second Julia felt her heart race. Before she could say anything though, the sound of someone running down the hall broke her focus.