Darkened: A Storm’s a Brewin’

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“A sudden change in wind patterns has brought a severe thunderstorm warning for this area…”

Douglass looks up from his fifth glass of whiskey. He could feel the storm coming in his bones. Surrounded by other patrons, he keeps his smile as he orders one more. The bartender nods, then Douglass continues his lighthearted conversation with a man to his left.

“They say it’ll be a bad one this time. Boss is cutting down by…”

“You ever hear of that crazy red-haired hero that was on TV the other day…?”

Conversations came and went but still he felt the presence coming. He stopped paying attention as the storm’s first roll of thunder could be felt in the air. He wondered why this particular one caught his attention. Storms come and go, he knows. He lays down the glass in his hand, running the other through his long black hair. Deep, peering green eyes fall on the empty glass on the bar, considering if he should have another or pay out for the night.

The stool to his right emptied, and another body slumped into it. After the new arrival ordered a drink, she turned to face Douglas and smiled. “Good to see you again, stranger.”

Douglass smiled, but it shortly faded as he felt the storm broil even stronger. The lady to his right caught the quick change in expression, her own changing to worry. “What’s wrong, that not even my being here isn’t lifting you up?”

Douglass was caught off guard for a second, then gave his usual mischievous grin. “Honestly, been wondering what Nordic god is coming my way. I pissed a lot of them off.”

This caused the woman to laugh, thinking the man was merely joking with her. After a few short seconds, her laughter subsided before she replied. “I thought the heathen gods were dead?”

Douglass smiled. She wasn’t far off, for most of them were, and an even larger number of older legends that history never told about. But he nodded his head, then smiled.

“I must be off, before the night grows too long. Same time tomorrow?”

The woman nodded, and Douglass left after paying his tab.

* * *

Just outside the door, lightning flashed. The sudden light showed something deeper than his slightly tanned white skin. The more the lightning flashed, the more the cracks behind his mask showed. He removed his heavy cloak as he slipped down a dark alley, despite the rain pelting down on him. With the coat removed, the spell on him broke, and large, black leathery wings shone in the intermittent flashing of lightning.

His wings lifted him straight into the air, his hair growing longer until it reached the middle of his back. The mask began to crumble away as a pale, cracked and scarred face began to show. The only thing that even resembled the man before was his deep, bright green eyes, though the whites were pale yellow.

He landed heavily on the top of a skyscraper in the center of downtown,
His eyes scanning the swirling black clouds that blocked all light from above. He could feel the presence from within the storm, one that felt akin to a lightning god he once faced. The swirling clouds intensified, forming a large funnel cloud that sped in his direction.

He takes flight, barely escaping the whirlwind that came for him. Where the funnel touched the stone a body formed, the clouds around it disapating as if they were never there. Douglass knew instantly who it was, a form that he had seen far too often throughout his life.

There stood his most hated enemy, a sorcerer whose power he had never been able to match. The sorcerer’s face was shrouded in black, his head hooded and body clothed in a heavy black and red robe. Deep from within the hood a voice called out, calling him by his true, demon name.

“It’s good to see you once more, Dark.”

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