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Monsters under the Bed


Jack of Tales

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The basement lounge area of the Rita Kord Dormitory was fairly empty. It was a weekend and many of the students had gone home for it. The room itself was quite large although not as big as the other dormitory's lounge area. Two couches were pushed up against one wall facing a television airing some re-run of House. The music system was sitting in one corner and was currently off. The rest of the area was made up of a Dance-Dance Revolution machine, a ping pong table, a pinball machine, two vending machines and an old, no longer working version of Pac-Man.

A pair of freshman girls were playing ping pong at one table while a third girl stands in front of a pinball machine glaring at it intensely.

How come these things never work? I mean, where is all my tuition going? Keira ignores the nagging voice in her head telling her that, well, she really doesn't pay tuition.

She looks around to make sure no one is looking and attempts to fiddle with the machine using her powers. No one's really sure how or why they work yet, so maybe she can turn it on using shadow-power? Keira laughs at herself as she viciously pokes the machine with a small tendril of shadow.

Unseen by both her and the two girls on the other side of the room, a small shadow flits out from under the machine and darts under the couch.

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Realizing that nothing is happening and the short girl with brown hair was now staring at her, Kizzy quietly walked away from the machine. She walked over to the television and flicked it off before plugging her iPod into the nearby stereo system. She flicked it on and sent a barrage of odd, club music through the room before retreating again to the couch. When the two girls stared at she she glared back and stuck her tongue out--daring them to do or say something. After a few minutes they went back to their ping pong game.

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Beneath the couch four small shapes swayed to the music. One of them split into several smaller forms one of which darted over to the stereo and crawled inside.

Within several minutes the music ended with a loud crack and a wisp of steam floated up from the stereo. Kizzy cursed and went over to kick it, vaguely hoping to do something useful. After a moment of staring at it she turned to the two girls who were staring at her.

Has anyone else noticed how everything in this place has been breaking down the past week? It's gross, like.

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One of the girls whispers something to the other, who giggles and glaces at Kiera. They both walk out of the room, leaving the shadow weaver to herself.

Kizzy glares after them and makes rude faces at the door. After being at the Academy for two months she still had yet to make any friends among the other students. It wasn't from lack of trying, either. She supposed she chatted far too much. A sad sigh escaped the girl and she resorted to her favorite hobby over the last few months.

She held out one hand and gathered shadow stuff from wherever it came from, weaving it into a spiraling tentacle. The room descended into pitch blackness, with Kizzy standing in the middle. She pointed towards the busted stereo and smiled as long tentacles spiraled out of the ground, wrapping around it. She'd tried this with plants but it seemed to kill them and that was just cruel.

The stereo was tangled by the writhing shadow stuff before with a swift gesture by it's maker, it disappears. Kizzy strode up to the stereo and grinned at it.

So, villain. You are caught red-handed! Destroying music for young girls? Dreadful, really. Now, like, you face the wrath of... Kizzy had been considering various super-hero names for herself and had yet to settle on one. Mistress of the Dark? Naw sounds like a prostitute...The Dark Lady? I don't really fit that and Dark Girl just sounds uber-lame. She mumbled for a bit before scowling at the stereo and deciding she was bored.

She extended one arm and concentrated, forcing the normally insubstantial shadows to coelesce around her hand and lower arm. The black substance melded to her touch and thoughts as it formed a very animal-like arm at the end of her elbow. Kizzy grinned and clenched the "Shadow Gauntlet" as she liked to call it. She wiggled the fingers in a very un-heroic like manner before slashing out and shredding the stereo.

She glared at the broken machine and let the shadows disappear and the room instantly lit up again. Once again, unnoticed was that not all the shadows dissipated and several more prancing figures joined those under the couch.

Kizzy stood in the room for a moment looking at the insides of the stereo before remembering that there were camera's in place. She swiftly stepped into the corner of the room and melded into the shadow, appearing again in her room the floor above.

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Kiera's room was a typical freshman/sophomore dorm. Two small beds, two small desks, two sets of drawers and a tiny closet for each. Lucky for Kiera, she had yet to be assigned a roommate after the last one requested a transfer. She had claimed that the moving shadows when Kiera wasn't there freaked her out. No one else had seen anything and assumed it was a made up excuse.

Kiera had left one side clear for whoever got moved in while decorating her half. The walls had several old posters on them of various circus events all in the language of her homeland. They were posters from old events her parents and herself had performed at. The bed had dark blue sheets with silver stars and was accompanied by two raven stuffed animals. One was from the Tower of London and the other was from Disney Land. Her closet was filled with an assortment of odd clothing and fabrics. Everything from velvet to PVC.

Kiera stepped out of the closet where there were always shadows and walked over to her desk which was scattered with a laptop and various homework assignments. She sighed and sat down to attend to Physics homework due next week.

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The shadow manipulator's ability to focus on her work was simply not up to the task today. She drew an image of a spiky hand over a question asking the velocity of a three-legged turtle within an area of high gravity after being kicked by a ten-foot super hero with super-strength ranked in the Omega levels.

I need to get out of here. Kiera concentrates and forms an image of the meditation garden on school in her head. The small shed in the garden should be providing enough of a shadow on the east side by now...

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Before she can teleport a small figure that resembles a paper doll made out of shadow leaps from under the bed and starts bashing into her computer.

At first she pauses, completely surprised and shocked. What? Stop that! That's mine! Kizzy lets out a shadow tendril and lashes out at the shadow. As she hits it it falls apart and disappears. The reaction is instantaneous.

A swarm of the little creatures flow out from the bed, the closet, the corners, under the desk and anywhere else shadows fell. Kizzy only stares in amazement and quietly curses.

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How do you kill a shadow, she muses to herself as the little things dance prance in place, staring at her. What were they waiting for? And what the heck where they?

It was a bit too much of a coincidence that all these little shadows were alive and moving in her room. She reached out with the same sense that let her draw forth shadow to teleport and cast a room into complete darkness. She could vaguely feel the essence of what the animated forms where. It was silky like a smooth strip of fabric rubbing along one's spine. It was like the feeling of her tendrils, but different at the same time.

Kiera couldn't quite point out what that difference was, it just was there. Curious as to what would happen if she tried her powers on them she reached out and tried to force them together into one form. Several of the creatures flitted about the room and melted together, forming an amorphous blob on her bed.

That's when she understood the difference. Her tendrils were naturally drawn to her, but these were from natural shadows. Her power, however it worked, was the only thing keeping them around. With a flick of her wrist they melted back into the corners of the room.

Somehow she had been manipulating the shadows herself and hadn't even realized it. Curious if she could do it again, Kiera looked under the bed and beckoned with one hand. A smooth, snake-like creature slithered out from underneath and formed the same, humanoid shaped figure from before. With a thought it began to prance and dance in place like the others had been doing.

Now this, she thought, was something to spend the weekend doing.

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