by Cody Stewart
Genre: Ya Paranormal
Clendon Kiernan has always preferred the shadows. A place where he was free from the hate and fear, from the stares and ridicule of others. One night Clen discovers the shocking truth of why. He is a Shade. A thing of darkness. A creature with the ability to shred souls. When a vile whisper tells him to destroy everything around him Clen does the only thing he can.
But he cannot run from himself. The darkness growing inside Clen will soon consume him if he does not learn to control it. In his quest to do so, Clen learns that there is an entire world that exists in the shadows of Ellis, a world that has been hidden from him – secret clans with extraordinary abilities, the ghosts of a hidden past, and a war that’s been brewing for millennia. Clen must uncover the true history of Ellis, see through the generations of lies and deceit, and suffer betrayal and heartbreak if he is to save all those who hate and fear him. But when he learns the truth, will he want to?
The darkness in him could save Ellis. Or it could be what destroys it.
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Cody was born in Upstate New York. Eventually setting off to seek his fortune, he worked in a paper mill, a whipped cream factory, cleaned apartments, and administratively assisted several organizations before returning to the Adirondacks with a wife and child that he picked up along the way.
He approaches life as though it were a page – frequently rearranging paragraphs to make it more interesting if not wholly true, fudging with the margins to fit more in, and, sometimes, erasing entire sections altogether.
When not altering reality, he is scouring comic book shops, lying on the ground, or floor (whichever he happens to be standing on when he feels the need to go horizontal), trying to convince his wife to make french toast (she makes amazing french toast), and searching for the darkest cup of coffee in existence.
The chemical stink of artificial lavender burns my sinuses. It’s meant to foster calm and encourage me to share openly, but I can’t get the taste of it off my tongue.
“What makes you say that, Clen?” Dr. Hague’s voice has padded walls. “What makes you think people fear you?”
The quiver in their lip as they ask me stupid questions. “I don’t know. Just a feeling, I guess.”
“Is that why you run away?”
“I don’t run away. I just need to take breaks sometimes.”
“Breaks from what?”
I stare out the window at the passing school buses and laughing kids with books tucked under their arms. Packs of them, like roving bands of scavenging coyotes.
Dr. Hague, the school psychologist, observes me like an anthropologist studying apes in the jungle. He wants to ask me about the fight with Jefferson Hewlett, but he doesn’t bother. I’ve been seeing him long enough that he knows I won’t talk about it so soon.
“How are things at home?” Dr. Hague attempts a change in direction. He’s trying to throw me off guard.
“Fine.” But I have an impeccable defense.
“How did your parents react this time?”
“How does that make you feel? That you can run into the woods, disappear for days, and your parents welcome you back as if nothing happened?” His stare is forceful and constant. I sink under the weight of it.
“I need to get to class.”
I wash my face as soon as the session is over, trying to scrub away the smell of therapy before school.