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There was something warm and friendly about the 
darkness, something about the way it moved, 
seeming to have a life of it's own that had always 
appealed to her.  In daylight, when you looked about 
you, you knew you were alone.  .At night you never 
knew anything.
Shala took a deep breath.  What mortals knew of 
death and darkness could be wrapped in a feather 
and blown away by the last breath of a dying man.
She stared at the path under her feet.  Through five 
feet of darkness it was barely visible even to the 
practiced eye.  She took a step forward and for a 
moment hearing the cries from the graveyard a mile 
behind her and one thousand miles from her thoughts 
halted her.  She glanced back into the darkness that 
even her eyes couldn't penetrate.
"No!"  She told the voices firmly and continued 
She walked through the wilderness, following the 
path that only animals and creatures such as herself 
took.  Finally it reached it's end, stopping dead at the 
gravel shoulder of a highway she had walked often 
yet never once named.  Shala sighed, staring into the 
middle of the road she saw the wraith of a man who 
had been killed there six years ago.  He sat there, 
still wearing the form of the suited executive he'd 
died as.  She watched too long and looking up from 
his lazy attitude for a moment he caught sight of her.  
He smiled broadly for what must have been the first 
time in years.
"Is it time now?"  He called hopefully.
The look in Shala's eyes answered him before she 
sadly shook her head.  The wraith bowed its dark 
head and pried loose a stone from the bitumen.  He 
examined it for sometime and then threw it away in 
disgust.  Shala slowly began to turn away. Then, in a 
rare moment of pity, she turned back.
"Look for the seeker who does not come clothed in 
darkness.  A year hence he will come for you."
The man again looked up a brave, thoughtful smile 
on his face.  "A year," He breathed.  "Yes, I can wait 
another year."
Shala again turned, this time smiling herself.
"Good Samaritan are we?"  An evil voice crackled 
from the branch above her head.  Shala didn't bother 
to look up but she stopped, waiting.
He dropped down on his haunches, looking ready to 
spring with his fingers arched like cat's claws.  He 
jumped as she stood there unflinching, feeling the air 
move around her as his blow just missed.  He 
laughed at her and turned away, walking back to his 
tree and kicking a protruding root absently.
"So you have been to the yard again."  He began 
with controlled nonchalance.  "Anyone I know?"
Shala laughed.  The same questions, every time they 
met.  Did he think she would forget?
"No, no-one you killed, if that is what you are 
fishing for, most of those passed over before their 
bodies went cold."  She told him, being deliberately 
"Innocents?"  Domio queried, his entire body 
mirroring the injustices he perceived he had lived, 
and died through.  "Do you dare accuse me of 
murdering innocents?"
Shala didn't address the question directly. Time was 
passing and she could no longer afford to play word 
games with him. Instead, .she lead him back to his 
real question. "The man who put those bullets into 
you did the world a great service." Domio's eyes 
were suddenly bright "Michaelson? You have word 
of him?"

Copyright Jackie Bulner 1989    

Love Among the Damned

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Jackie Bulner
Melbourne, Victoria

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