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|Collapse (standard:fantasy, 6807 words)|
|Author: mctoke||Added: Apr 11 2001||Views/Reads: 2263/1151||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Jillian Kelly is a normal with normal friends - until one of them is killed. There are strong elements of horror and weirdness in this tale of love and hate.|
He never knew the world was lying not until he was twenty, a year past when he considered himself a man. He never knew the world was cruel and harsh never knew the depths to which he would go to survive. Twenty had been a long time ago, and so far away he could not remember that life anymore. The Hand was living another life now. A life made up of shadows and hatred. The Hand knew the shadows well. He had been taught them by the tender mercies of the Emperor. Yes, the Hand knew the shadows, and he knew the Shadowland. He could open a Curtain when he desired, and step from world to world. It was a trick the Emperor had taught him, sometime after he became a trusted servant. A way of folding space, so that it intersected with itself in two different places. The non-space in between those two spaces was the Shadowland. The Hand knew no other name. He had been serving the emperor for more years than he could remember, for millennia. Hand was the only name he could remember, but sometimes he was certain there had been one before that; that brief glimpse of childhood memories that stirred in his dreams, perhaps; memories that were etched in the silvery frame of his mind's eye, two dimensional things that caused him to wake with cold sweat pouring down his slim, pale body. He opened a curtain and strode into the new world, his fate before him in silver steps. He stepped into a new world to do as he always did. He was the Hand of the Emperor. Jillian Kelly said, Have a good day, for the 643rd time at just three minutes after five. She took power payments at a hardware store. The first Friday of the month was almost always heavy traffic. My life is great, Jillian thought to herself as she waved goodbye to Stan. All the guys that worked there had flirted with her, but none had taken it to the next level. They were all nice guys. My life is great, Jillian thought as she started her car. But my car and my job and my love life sucks. It sounds worse than it is, she said, actually speaking the words this time. The sound of her voice startled her. The heavy North Carolina heat pounded at her temples. The windows came down at least they still worked and she felt the air coming from the vents as she pulled onto the road. The AC, of course, was now not working at all. She turned up the radio, and began singing along with John Mellencamp's 'little pink houses'. When she pulled up to Jonathon's house there was a jaguar, much larger than the car Jonathon drove, and probably more expensive than the little house Jillian was renting. She sat staring at the car for a moment, wondering whether to go in the house. Her friend was expecting her, but she had a feeling she knew who the car belonged to. Sure enough, the rotund figure of Jonathon's stepfather appeared at the front door. He was a nice man she had met him several times. He had been Jonathon's stepfather for so long that distinction did not seem to matter to either of them. As nice as he was, he exuded a sense of privacy that made people not want to barge in on a conversation with him, but he always had a joke, and a smile, and he waved and approached her car, shaking his head slightly. "Sooner or later, young lady," he said, "You're going to have to start driving a car from this century." Jillian grinned widely at the pudgy man standing next to her window. "Hi, Mr. Donovan," she said through her smile. "How are you today?" "I am wonderful!" Donovan smiled widely and chuckled, seemingly at the heat and the sunset. "It's just one of those nice days," he said as he opened the door for her, giving her a wink. "One where you know Click here to read the rest of this story (648 more lines)
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