On nights when the bite of darkness and the howl of wind are too great for sleep,

There is a story which the old woman would tell to make the children wary of the night.

 

It started as a fairy tale from the days of her youth,

But it grew far beyond the scope of any princely knights or valorous deeds.

For this was not a fairy tale,

This was true.

 

“Come close child, and I shall tell you again of the story of the shadow who hunted man.

Born of fear and lust, he began as a child shunned.

Living as a memory of the darkness in her past, his mother cried out in shame as he grew.

The mother, soon, was taken over by her fear and her pain.

 

So, one night, his mother came up close to kiss him and wish him sweet dreams.

Yet, the lips that met his cheek were of cotton and sheet.

The boy breathed his last, and his mother joined him shortly.

The two bodies lay side-by-side, both lifeless and both broken, but with pain heavy in the air.

 

This was the night the shadow began.

Loveless in life, lacking even a mother’s kiss,

Fueled in death by the pain and hate which surrounded him in his days above.

The shadow child seeks only to stop the pain, which is all he has known.

 

So now, my dear, understand that this was a boy with no parents or siblings or friends.

Understand that the price of one man’s sins were paid a thousand fold over by those he left.

Remember this lesson as you go forward, as the price is great to be paid against.

For when his clawed and mangled hands come to you, nothing but your innocence can save you.

 

The shadow crossed over rivers and plains, mountains and canyons.

Each soul he met he judged by the pain they had caused unto others.

Each soul he found wanting soon wanted only for their wounds to heal before their dark set in.

And, ceaselessly, voraciously, the shadow child continued.

 

Searching for the man who brought him into the world,

In hopes that his father’s end might bring freedom from this prisoned existence,

The child of pain trudged on.

Till one day he finally found the man.

 

In murderous vigor, the shadow’s father was torn limb from limb.

But, as the broken body bled, the child felt no relief from his pain.

He did not fade, but only left.

Rejected once more from attaining his greatest want, the child ran into the storm.

 

And now, his horror spreads to all. Enraged by his lack of freedom he sees red in all.

His blades cut widely and frequently, his mouth twisted permanently in darkness.

Men hunted the shadow, but returned bathed in the blood of their wanting brothers.

Though, soon, the blood was too much and the boy disappeared into the mountains.

 

He lingers now above, searching amidst rocks and earth.

Ripping away the joy and pain of those he finds in the dark,

And seeking joy in everything that can bring him naught.

So close your doors, lock them tight, and pray, children, that he does not come for us tonight.
For the only thing that can free my son of his affliction is the kiss which I could never give him.

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