Nightmist

It all started at a seaside resort, which was hosting a pan-Asian convention of some sort. The setting itself was gorgeous. Single story guest rooms right off the beach. Each of the rooms constructed wide-open to the elements, made from pillars of dark polished wood and all the walls were curtains of white silk. All the furnishings where beautiful, rich, and all of the bedding was white silk, it seemed as if that were the theme of the rooms. The sea breezes moved everything in the rooms, and the sliver of new moon was only bright enough to gild the billowing material, not actually light it.

The common rooms were normal hotel conference rooms, filled with people talking, laughing, joking, playing, and sharing common tasks. There were kids all over the place along with grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and just plain people. There were all the normal things that happen at a conference, announcements of the agendas of the days, announcements about who the speaker at the opening ceremonies would be, and schedules of special events that were to entertain everyone on the off hours. That night's entertain was supposed to be some atrocity movie, proudly to be shown on the new TVs built into every room, spoken of by those that contemplated seeing it with laughing nervousness. The storm was coming, and the winds were starting to move all the curtains and all the rooms, gentle forerunners for the winds that were to come. The staff of the resort was all busy tying down everything that needed it before the storm hit, so much of the service was haphazard or even nonexistent. I remember once walking in on a dining room where all the desserts for spread out in paper boxes for people to serve themselves. There was no silverware anywhere, so most people were serving themselves with their hands.

I remember seeing kids playing Yahtzey, Life, and some of them were just running around playing tag. It felt like one giant family camp, where everyone to come on an invitation that made the resort almost ridiculously cheap. What struck me was that everyone there was Asian. There were no whites.

Part of the structure of each room had one of the flowing curtain walls always used as a giant-screen TV. They seemed to be the pride and joy of the new resort. Through all the rooms I could see the News being shown. They were reporting on the storm, and then, as a sideline, they started reporting on our conference/camp as if it were some mysterious gathering, something that the general populace should be made aware of. Some mother commented in disbelief, "These are the people that I let the filter my News every night?"

I walked through, accepted by everyone though I knew no one. Everyone was friendly, kind, and willing to share. They didn't know what I was, though I dressed the part. Even the part I dressed, however, was somewhat different. Taller than nearly all, gawky in comport compared to their compact

"That's a proud flying unit, girl," said an elderly grandmother to me. It felt obvious that she thought I was wearing the coat of a boyfriend, but was trying to make a good conversation.

So I smiled back at her and said, "Yes, ma'am. I have fun flying in them, the Captain gave me the chance." She beamed delight and I sat down with tea and a desert in hand to talk with her about the unit that her son had once flown in as well. The mango cake was moist and honey-sweet, the firm flesh of the fruit melding well with the light sweet cake and the citrus tang of the tea. And all the while I made polite conversation my nerves were thrumming, my senses alert and open, eager for what I thought might be coming.

The wind blew harder and something was stirring an awareness in the back of my inhuman brain. Then the lights blew out. For no seeming reason, but the TVs stayed on, the only flickering light in the place. There were some cries, mild reaction, then soothing and laughter and talking as people either found alternate lights or used the light from the TVs to do what they were doing. But I was up, then, walking away with a polite farewell to my companion, and I walked back to my room.

I'd cancelled out the movie. I had no desire, whatsoever, to see it.

But it went on anyway. No matter what channel anyone tried, no matter what anyone said, the movie started in every room, on every floor, throughout the resort even as an awareness of a Force moving in hammered my human form away.

I blew into smoke and darkness, nothing more than horror and rage with blades as thin and sharp and bright as the new moon and deep in my hollow breast I could feel that I had to save these people, protect them from whatever it was that was causing this. And even as I flowed my tesseract way into all the corners of the building, the confrontation sure, this would be the way. With amusement and an odd regret I realized the real reason I had walked among the mortals, it would only be by loving them that I'd see through the fight.

Here I was, a walking nightmare with morals and real desires, and it would take loving them to win their fight, because some gut-feel knew this was going to be a horror of slicing blades, a spume of blood and pain and cutting. It was going to take something more than even my considerable will, pride and power to take it out, because it was gathering them all to kill them all for itself.

I was looking forward to the fight, not just eager but hungry for the violence.


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