By Olivia Nester
It was raining hard that day, foggy too. I could barely see three feet out in front of me as I walked, and the sky was relentlessly dark. No one was out walking the streets but me, and the only thing to be heard was the pitter-patter of the rain against the sidewalk and roofs of nearby houses.

I pulled my collar up as high as it would reach and walked faster, the rain like tiny hammers against my scalp. It was getting louder, that pounding rain, and all I could hear were the tiny rivers, fast and roaring, going on a downward slope towards the drain pipe on the side of the road. These tiny rivers, this rain, were the only reason I did not hear the man approach me from behind. It seemed like the man had planned this for months, taking into account the pouring rain to cover the sound of his approach, and the way he moved so seamlessly, never letting me land one of my flailing blows.

This attack was not a kidnapping, nor was I being mugged. The only thing that came out of this assault was a small imprint on the back of my hand, possibly from the mans ring. As he slipped away, back into the driving rain, I caught a glimpse of him. He was a large man, one of a strong frame, and he had a huge scar running the length of his arm. That was not the last I saw of this man. There was still much more to come.

I hurried straight home to my apartment and jammed the key into the lock. I threw open the door and called for my husband.

“Jeremy! Jeremy! Come over here, now!” He emerged from the kitchen, drying a plate that he had just washed.

“What is it, Mauve? Is something wrong?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows. Suddenly, I realized that if I told him, he would report the man to the police. If this man was dangerous, he would put people at risk when they tried to capture him.

“Oh, um, no, nothing’s wrong, I just wanted to know where you were is all,” I stuttered. I’m not very convincing, I thought. He still seems suspicious. I smiled and patted his arm.

“Really, I’m okay. Just wet,” I comforted. He finally seemed to relax. I headed up the stairs and went into my room. I had to inspect that imprint on my hand. I looked down at it and I turned a shade paler. It was a huge snake flicking it’s tongue, intertwined around a dead tree. It was the symbol of the Shadow Society, a group my father had joined back in ’77. He had been very secretive about it, but my mother found out, and begged him not to go to any more meetings. This was right before he disappeared without a trace. My mother always thought it was the Shadow Society that killed him before she died of cancer five years ago. If they were here, and they happened to find me, this must have something to do with my father. I had to settle this once and for all. I quickly changed back into dry clothes an raced downstairs.

“I’m going out! I’ll be back soon! Lock all the doors!” I yelled to my husband. I ran out of my apartment and flew down the stairs. The rain had since stopped, so I was at the library in no time. I slowed myself down and speed walked to the back of the library. There was one computer left and I scrambled to type in the library password. I immediately typed the Shadow Society into the search bar. Nothing turned up. Come on, I need you, I thought frantically. I have to find Dad. Suddenly, a message popped up on the screen. Shadow Society, it read. Password Required. Shoot, I don’t know the password. It’s gotta be something obvious… I thought, chewing the inside of my cheek. Maybe it’s just Shadow Society? I typed it in. Password Denied. 2 attempts left. I’m never gonna find these people, I thought, starting to lose hope. Maybe it’s Shadow Society 123?

I typed as fast as I could. The screen beeped once again. Password Denied. 1 attempt left. Aright, I have one more chance. It’s gotta be something they would use. Wait, the stamp. It has a snake that kinda looks like a viper. It’s golden, so… Golden Viper? I typed in the final password. The screen was silent for a moment. Then, it beeped. Password Denied. Maximum Password attempts. I buried my head in my hands and sighed. As I got up to leave, I heard a strange noise. Buzzp! It came from the computer. I dove back into the chair and checked the monitor. Password Accepted. Welcome to The Shadow Society Webpage.

“YES!” I yelled joyously. “I’m in!” Soon following my outburst came a chorus of voices.

“SHHHHHHH!” I slumped in my chair, embarrassed. I looked back on the screen. Current Location Of Plan X: Johnsonville Warehouse. I knew where that was! I leaped from the computer and scrambled towards the door, disapproving stares following my every move. I slammed the door and started to run.

When I got to the warehouse, what scene greeted me was baffling. A small doorway about the height of a desk was carved into the side of the wall. I crouched down and crawled through it, scraping my knees on the rough cement. I stood up. Before me stood at least 70 men and women. Every single eye was trained on me. I screeched and flew back towards the door, but the man from the rain blocked me. He looked strangely familiar now that I could see him close up. As he looked down at me, I realized something. He had blue eyes, the same piercing blue eyes my father had. Could it be? I started to notice more similarities that this man had to my father. He was about the same height, and he had the same posture. Then, he started to speak.

“Hey, Mauve, honey. Welcome home.” I couldn’t believe it. It was my father, after so many long and desperate years. I was happy for only a moment. Then, I started to get angry.

“How could you do this to me?! How could you disappear for all these years and only come back after I had carved out a life for myself?!” I screamed, slapping him across the face. “How COULD YOU?!”

He turned back to me and grabbed my coat collar. He slowly lifted me with one hand.

“I had to…,” he whispered, gritting his teeth. “They were going to kill you and your mother if I didn’t. I had to protect you.”

“But… why? Why would they-,” He cut me off.

“Because of me. Because I was stupid and joined them. That was the only reason.”

He dropped me and walked away.

“Go
home. Go home and never come back. I thought you would be better
than this. I guess I was wrong,” he said softly, turning away. “But Dad, I-.”

“GO HOME AND DO NOT COME BACK!” he boomed. He walked back into the crowd. I screamed at him once more, “I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD! But this is even worse…” And I walked slowly back to the door. “Wait, Mauve…” cried my father feebly. I crawled underneath, and ran back outside. As I raced down the street, it started to rain once again.