It was night time, and the moon was full.
The detective picked the lock of the house with a flick knife and a thin piece of metal he retrieved from the ground. He turned the handle and the door swung open. He steadied it from hitting the wall by supporting it with his hand, then he stepped inside on to a fur rug with Arthur and Robert close behind.
The hallway was dark. Very dark. In fact, Blake couldn't see anything at all. Luckily he came prepared.
There was a candle set against the wall on a metal candlestick. He disconnected it from the wall, then lit it using a match.
The candle created an orange ambience that lit up some of the darkness, but around the edge of the hallway he still could not see.
He nearly tripped over the corpse.
Blake looked down at the man that was laid peacefully on the floor. He had no injuries and no marks to suggest the reason for his death - alike to the murder of Tara Rhodes.
He drew his revolver, but held the candle out first.
"Hello detectiveeee," hissed a voice from behind him.
Blake spun around, cocking the hammer of his revolver and pointing it in the direction of the voice.
There were no movements but those of Arthur and Robert who followed him through the house.
"Did you hear that?" he asked Arthur.
Arthur shook his head, "Hear what?"
"Doesn't matter," Blake sighed. He must have imagined it. He thought for a moment, then said, "Right. We need to split up. I'll go check upstairs and you two can check down here."
Robert nodded in response, "I'll check the kitchen. Arthur, you go into the living room."
Blake sneaked up the wooden stair case that creaked slightly beneath his shoes. The stairs were made of oak and seemed to be rather old and rotten.
He reached the top of the steps. The candle flickered slightly due to a small draft originating from a hole in the wall, but it didn't go out. He was glad it didn't go out.
Blake tightened his grip on the revolver.
"I'm behind youuuuuuu," the same voice whispered again.
"Who is there?" he asked, "Show yourself or I'll shoot."
"Bullets can't harm meeeeee."
"We'll see about that. May I say, Mr Shadow, the way you have been killing these people is a method I am not familiar with. How, may I ask, is it possible?"
"You're not smaarrrttt for the smartessstt person of the human raceeeee," the voice said, "Magicccc. My dear detective; magiccccc."
"So you're some sort of magical being?" he asked.
"I am more than thattttt. I am the bringer of deathhhh. I am darknesssss. I am the devillll."
"Which one?" Blake asked, "Satan, Apocrypha, Iblis, Mara, Set?"
"Allll of themmmmm," The Dark Shadow hissed.
"May I see what you look like?" Blake asked, "It would be interesting to see what 'the devil' actually is."
A shadow flitted in front of him. He moved his candle towards it...
It was a shadow. A living shadow. A roughly humanoid figure made up of tendrils of shadow. It had two triangular eyes and a mouth full of razor sharp fangs.
The shadow screamed at him. Its lower jaw extended more than would be possible for a human whilst doing so.
"Well you're very pretty," the detective said with a smile, then shot it directly between the eyes. Tendrils of shadow scattered all over the room as Blake ran back down the stairs.
"Robert, Arthur. We're leaving! Now. Run."
Arthur and Robert appeared from some of the rooms downstairs and saw him sprinting out of the door. They followed and managed to escape as an explosion of shadows tore up the house, followed shortly after by a howl of rage.
Robert and Arthur managed to catch up to him.
"Your moustache is a lot more annoying when you're running!" the detective said to Mr Doyle.
"Thank you detective!" was the reply, "What was it back there?"
"A shadow! Just don't look back. Run!"
"I'm getting closer detectivveeee," The Dark Shadow hissed from behind him.
Blake piled on the speed and the sound of his shoes on the road grew louder as he started to leave Robert and Arthur behind. They caught up, however, a few seconds later.
They started crossing a bridge. There was fog covering it like a thick grey blanket that obscured them, and everything around them, from view.
The detective looked around him in shock as he realised Arthur and Robert had been seperated from him.
There was a sound of footsteps behind him. He spun.
He turned back around, just to look into the face of a man who had approached silently behind him. He wore a top hat and a dusty black suit and carried a black cane.
"Lovely night for a walk, isn't it?" the man asked, then smiled.
"Hello Jack," Blake said, "I'm afraid I don't have time for you tonight."
Jack The Ripper drew a sword from within his cane and swiped it at the detective's head. Blake ducked, wincing slightly as the sword whistled too close for comfort past his head, then punched Jack in the stomach.
Jack doubled over, whilst Blake elbowed him in the chest, punched him in the face, blocked an attempt at responding to his attacks and then finally threw him over the edge of the bridge, shooting him in the air before he hit the water.
Blake blew his smoking revolver, and smiled proudly.
"Just behind you Blakeeeeee. I can touch your shoulderrr..."
He felt tendrils clutching his shoulder blade. He spun and fired another bullet into the fog.
The detective ran into Arthur and Robert. He managed to avoid hitting his head on Mr Doyle's annoying moustache, and instead his forehead crunched against his chin. They both said "Ow" at the same time.
"Come on. Run! Oh, and by the way, Jack The Ripper is dead."
They started running again. They crossed the bridge and ran down an alleyway with The Dark Shadow just behind, keeping to the shadows, waiting for them to make a mistake.
And in the heat of the moment, a mistake is what the detective made.
He had accidentally led them into a dead end. Literally.
Tendrils of shadow swirled in front of him as The Dark Shadow revealed itself, eyes and fangs and all. The detective straightened his bow tie.
"The only reason why you're still alive is... mutual respeccctttt," the Shadow hissed, "We are the two smartest creatures on Earth right nowwwww..."
"I have some questions," Blake said, "First: What are you? Answer me properly."
"I am a creature of darknesssss. I live in a place outside every dimensionnnn... I am a force of deathhhhh."
Blake fired his revolver. The bullet caught the shadow in the shoulder and it jerked backwards. He fired again, and again. But The Dark Shadow did not move any further back. In fact, it got closer. Robert and Arthur took out two revolvers each and began firing. Gunshots filled the alleyway.
But still they had no effect.
The creature reached out towards Robert's head. Held back only by the wall of flying lead.
The detective flicked out his telescopic cane and hit the creature in the forehead. Shadows flicked across the alley as Blake landed several more blows.
"You cannot hurt me, Blakeeeee."
The guns of Arthur and Robert stopped firing. They were empty.
The Dark Shadow waved his hand and shadows lifted them off their feet and held them against the wall. Meanwhile, he grabbed Blake and punched him hard in the head with a shadowy fist.
Blake saw stars and collapsed to the floor.
Darkness surrounded him.
He felt himself losing consciousness. There was a tingling feeling as the shadow placed a hand on his head. Shadows sank through his skin and bonded with his brain.
But the tingling feeling fought back.
Blake felt the shadows leave his body and The Dark Shadow screamed in rage and launched waves of darkness at him. But none connected. There was something holding them back.
He realised he was holding up his hands. They were glowing blue. It seemed to be some sort of energy.
"Surprised?" the detective grinned, "So am I, actually."
His mind was full of everything. Everything. Everything about things he hadn't even dreamed of. Magic, monsters, death. His brain sorted through them, as if they were files in Scotland Yard's cabinets. All the time, he was absorbing information. His hands were still glowing blue and holding the shadow away.
He didn't give any thought to how it had happened. He didn't care. Not right now, anyway. All that mattered was surviving.
Blake stopped the energy and swept his hands to the side. The shadow creature was taken off its feet and landed in a pile on the floor. The detective clicked his fingers and fired bolts of light at The Dark Shadow, all of which caused a scream when they connected.
The creature was fading.
And Blake got stronger.
He turned around and waved a hand at the wall at the end of the alleyway. It lifted off the ground, past the shocked faces of Arthur and Robert, then started knocking the crap out of the creature. Bricks were flying everywhere and the more he used his power, the more he could do. It was all there. In his mind. It appeared as if it was magic. Every time he hit the shadow, the more he learned. It was like his brain was a sponge for information.
A symbol came to his mind. He didn't know what he did, but his hands seemed to automatically paint it in the blue energy he had used before. It was a circular symbol with lines and an odd diamond in the centre.
He pushed it using... something. His hands didn't connect to the energy but it flew towards the air and hit the shadow in the chest. It screamed again and started falling to pieces. Tendrils of shadow were scattered everywhere. But there was still a definite humanoid shape somewhere in the middle.
Blake raised his hands and the remains of The Dark Shadow were lifted into the air.
"So, Mr Shadow, you are hereby arrested for the murder of one Miss Tara Rhodes, and also for the murder of Steve Hershall. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
The shadow made a hissing sound that could have been a sigh, "Fair play detectiveeeee. Fair play indeedddd."
"Now release Robert and Arthur or I'll fight you again. And you don't want that, do you?"
The shadows slithered back to the creature who he held in place. Robert and Arthur, meanwhile, retrieved their revolvers and approached Blake and the hovering remainders of The Dark Shadow.
"What the hell is that, Blake? What did you do?" Robert asked.
"You want the true answer?" Blake said with a smile, "I have no clue. It seems to be some sort of energy manipulation. I will have to do some research."
"Indeed you will," was the reply.
"Thank you Detective Blake," someone said from the end of the alley, "We will take it from here."
It was a man in a black suit and tinted glasses.
"Who might you be?" the detective asked.
"We're from the English Sanctuary. We deal with things like this. You will be debriefed and you'll have to sign a warrant. This will state, if you tell anything about this to anyone, you'll be killed. That goes for you too Arthur and Robert."
"So you just expect us to keep this a secret?" Robert asked, "Evil shadow-creatures, energy manipulation... a Sanctuary? How can we not tell anyone?"
"Actually," the man said, "We're looking for a new lead detective. D.I. Blake, your place within Scotland Yard is very appreciated, but since you are a mage we cannot let you continue your current job. So how about joining the English Sanctuary?"
Blake shrugged, "Why not? Will you tell me everything you know about it, and me, and everything?"
The man nodded, "You will be briefed. Welcome to the Sanctuary."
A horse and cart pulled up at the end of the alley. It was full of men, wearing the same type of suit and the same type of glasses. They clicked handcuffs on to The Dark Shadow. It no longer was surrounded by darkness. It must have been dulling its magic.
They pushed it into the back of the cart and in a flash, they were gone.
All that remained was a small piece of paper that fluttered in the breeze. It floated into the detective's hand.
"Come to Telford Avenue - the Sanctuary will await you."