Lord loss, p.19
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       Lord Loss, p.19

         Part #1 of The Demonata series by Darren Shan
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  The one I'm making tonight is particularly jumbled. I'm finding it hard to concentrate. Joining the pieces randomly, not making any real shape. It's a mess. I can't stop thinking about friends and not having any. Feeling wretched. Wishing I had at least one true friend, someone who'd care about me and play with me, so I wouldn't be completely alone in this big, scary world.

  As I'm thinking about that, and getting ready to move on from the lights, a few of the patches pulse. Just a handful, in different places. No big deal. Lights have pulsed before, from time to time. Usually I ignore them. But tonight, sad and desperate to divert my train of thought, I summon a couple, study them with a frown, then put them together and call for the rest of the flashing patches. As I add those pieces to the first two, more lights pulse, some slowly, some quickly.

  Sitting up, working with more speed. Interested in this new, flashing shape. I've never put pulsing patches together. Adding to the cluster, more lights pulsing as the piece takes shape. I put them in place almost without thought, on auto-pilot. It's like the way I roar when I'm fighting — I have no control over it. I keep watching for a pattern to emerge, but there isn't one. Just a mass of different, pulsing colors. Still, it's worked its magic. I'm focused on the cluster of lights now, dark thoughts and fears temporarily forgotten.

  The lights build and build. A massive structure, much larger than any I've created before. I'm sweating, and my arms are aching. I want to stop and rest, but I can't. I'm almost obsessed with the pulsing lights. This must be what addiction is like. We had a couple of police officers come in to speak to our class last term. They told us about the dangers of becoming an addict, all the things that …

  Without warning, the patches that I've stuck together stop pulsing and glow the same light blue color. I fall back from this new, uniform patch, gasping, as if I'd gotten an electric shock. I've never seen this happen. It scares me. A huge, blue, jagged patch of light at the foot of my bed. Large enough for a person to fit through.

  My first thought is to flee, call for Mom and Dad, get out as quick as I can. But part of me holds firm. An inner voice whispers in my ear, telling me to stay. This is your window to a life of wonders, it says. But be careful, it adds, as I move closer to the light. Windows open both ways.

  As it says that, a shape presses through, out of the panel of light. I'm too horrified to scream. It's a monster from my very worst nightmare. Pale red skin. A pair of dark red eyes. No nose. A small mouth. Sharp, grey teeth. As it leans farther forward, into my bedroom, its chest becomes visible, and the horror intensifies. It doesn't have a heart! There's a hole in the left side of its chest, and inside the hole — dozens of tiny, hissing snakes.

  The monster frowns and stretches out a hand towards me. I can see more than two arms — at least four or five. I want to pull away. Dive beneath my bed. Scream for help. But the voice that spoke to me a few seconds ago won't let me. It whispers quickly, words I can't follow. And I find myself standing firm, taking a step towards the panel of light and its emerging monster. I raise my right hand and watch the fingers curl into a fist. There's a strange tingling sensation in my fingers, like pins and needles.

  The monster stops. Its eyes narrow. It looks around my bedroom uncertainly. Then, slowly, smoothly, it withdraws, pulling back into the panel of light, vanishing from the chest upwards, until only its red eyes remain, staring out at me from within the surrounding blueness, twin circles of an unspoken evil. Then they're gone too, and I'm alone again, just me and the light.

  I should be wailing for help, running for my life, cowering on the floor. But all that happens is my fingers relax and my fist unclenches. I'm facing the panel of blue light, staring at it like a zombie fixed on the sight of a fresh human brain, distantly processing information. Normally I can see objects through the patches of light, but I can't see through this. If I look around it, there's my bedroom wall, a chest of drawers, toys and socks scattered around the floor. But when I look directly at the light, blue is all I see.

  The voice says something crazy to me. I know it's madness as soon as it speaks. I want to argue, roar at it, tell it to get stuffed. But, as scared and confused as I am, I can't hold myself back. I find my legs tensing. I know, with sick certainty, what's going to happen next. I open my mouth to scream, to try to stop it, but before I can, a force makes me step forward — after the monster, into the light.

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