Daryl awoke on his stomach, his head facing the power plant. It looked better in the darkness. Encapsulated by the night made it look more peaceful, quiet; it looked more like a comforting place, away from people, away from the world.
Consciousness overcame him with pain and misery from his arms and stomach. The punch to the back of the head left him a little addled inside, but his fingers and wrist wailed the most. Moving them was difficult, and he could not lift himself up off the ground. Maybe it was best to just lie there for a minute… or eternity. What difference did it make? Soon he would be healed just in time to be broken again…
Then, like a power switch flicking on, a bright light beamed down on Daryl that filled him with dread. The hairs on his arms and legs stood on end and he felt a tiny surge through his body like every nerve ending jolting at once, pulsing electricity in bursts, pumping throughout until he finally turned over on his back.
His eyes gaped; if he hadn’t felt so wired he would probably have fainted from the shock and terror thumping in his mind. Hovering above him was something like a ghost, white, almost translucent, red glowing eyes, and a chattering set of insect mandibles.
Daryl’s body began to shake, but suddenly stopped as he heard a voice in his head.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ said the creature telepathically, ‘I will not hurt you. I only want o give you what you want.’
“I, I don’t want anything!” shouted Daryl, “Pu, please, leave me alone!”
‘Of course you want something,’ it said, ‘Everyone wants something. I could give you power. Power to destroy your enemies.’
“I, I’m alright,” said Daryl, “Please don’t hurt me.”
‘I will not harm you,’ it said, ‘I will remake you. Make you stronger. Don’t you want your revenge? We, together, could stop Kevin Holler from ever hurting you again. You could live without fear; with me, you would have no peer, able to live in peace. Isn’t that what you want?’
Daryl was tired. He was sick of running away from Kevin, sick of Kevin never getting expelled from school because his father was superintendent, sick of being weak and being picked on… Power… Peerless… Peace… Could he have these things, for real?
‘Perhaps you need some convincing. Let me show you what I can do for you.’
The monster shivered and shook, its molecules moving faster, appearing and disappearing, like static on a television set. Moving closer, it entered Daryl’s body through every pore, consuming his body and mind. Screaming, Daryl blacked out for a second time that night.
Not blacked out… more like released. Daryl looked down from his new vantage point far above his body. He must of been 20 feet high, hovering over his lifeless body, laying on the side of the road.
He looked at his hands to see they had no shape, except for a pitch-black, blobby-like, gaseous fluid. He felt solid, but as he reached for his body, his arms stretching to unimaginable lengths, his new hands passed right through it, feeling the warmth inside and the familiarity, the knowing that it was his body and that only he fit properly inside.
‘This is our astral form,’ said the voice, ‘We can remain in this state for a limited time. We will have to return to our body to rejuvenate before long, for now, let’s fly.’
Leaving his body behind, Daryl felt like he was wearing a jet engine on his back. They flew into town and towards the suburbs in almost an instant, whizzing and zipping by the tall buildings below. Nobody noticed, even on a night like that, everyone looking in the sky for the Mothman, nobody could see them flying shadow sailing over the town. It was invigorating; he felt invincible in this form–free–able to do what he wanted… and even…
In what felt like a heartbeat, Daryl found himself standing before Kevin’s house. He looked up to the second floor to see a light; someone was home, away from the festivities that beckoned from the city’s lights. Daryl rose to the height of the window and moved forward toward it, peeking in to see who was inside.
It was Kevin, sitting in what looked like a normal teenage room. Posters of comic book characters and rock bands wallpapered the walls, and a desktop computer sat at the opposite wall of the room, and just underneath the window was Kevin, lying on his bed with headphones on, reading a magazine.
Daryl smirked at his inane assailant, unaware of the dark shadow shifting through his wall and climbing onto his ceiling. He was about to feel the cold hands of death rapping at his heart, scritch scratch scratching on his feeble back, bleeding, pulsing ferociously, just the way he, Daryl, had felt time and time before. Kevin would soon know the fear and the pain that piled up over the years. And that nobody did anything to stop him?
His father kept him out of trouble; he got away with so much. Should not he share in this punishment? And what about the police, the teachers, who only gave him scolding or a slap on the wrist? Should they not feel his wrath of equal measure?
He pondered these things for a while, all from atop Kevin’s ceiling. He had never thought of the large scale, the people behind the scenes, who remained unseen, like an audience ever watching and not participating in the torture… yet by not participating, they had let it happen. Why should he punish Kevin only? All should suffer for these affronts.
Daryl slithered his arm across the ceiling and towards the room’s door. His fingers grew long and sharp, producing an audible scratch on the door before slamming it shut.
Kevin looked up from his magazine, a bit startled, to see a shadowy hand reach for the light switch next to the wooded frame and flip it off.
He looked at his watch. It was getting late; he must have imagined the hand. He rose from his bed and walked towards the door. He felt the hairs on his skin rise and his neck felt what seemed like the breath of the dead on it. He shook these thoughts from his mind as he flipped the switch back on but as quickly they left, they immediately returned as he saw the deep grooves set into his door.
Adrenaline pumping, Kevin heard what sounded like breathing behind him. He turned around to see a black, shadowy person, with big white eyes and a wide, toothy smile standing behind him.