Long shards of glass shattered upon the roof. Echoing. Resounding through the halls of his thoughts. Long thin streams of water splashed upon the windshield as the vehicle glided smoothly along the pathway, passing lighted dwellings seated on vacant streets. Inside a man, tall and thick, his skin rough and his back straight, maneuvered his way to the city park, unafraid.

It is the era of the fallen sky, and it has the people of Galendein locked scared behind their doors. He remained unafraid, always. Courage motivating his body, fear feeding his soul, and strength holding his mind together. But he hears the glass break, the rain splashes in his vision, and the vehicle slides along the track in the street. He has located the dark spot. The place is deep within the woods of the park, and he raced through the empty night with frantic urgency. They challenged his accession with faint illusion of sight and sound, it was insignificant to him now, and they were not close enough yet. But every moment brought him nearer until the city lights faded and the dwellings were few and far between. Beautiful green trees and bush lined the road, he was in the park now and shards of glass crashed into his vehicle with tremendous force. Concentrating through the facade the glass splashed and became water. Leaving the car in a lot, he trudged through the mud and the bush underneath the large sheltering trees. He stopped before it; darkness rested upon its entrance and filled its belly. Pushing through the bushes and into the unholy den, sinister colorless energy moved though his hair, licked at his skin. It filled him, took his soul and crushed it, emptying its essence into the void, stealing his warmth. Dead babies hung from the trees.

He left with eyes burning cold. Back within his vehicle, he steered it along the winding track built within the pavement. The rain does not hinder his driving; he is well connected to the road. The vehicle is short and bulbous with tiny fins built into the back and front. He parked it in front of his apartment complex and went inside. He lived alone, the apartment sparsely furnished. It smelled of stale wood and mildew. Standing before the glass door to the balcony he looked out upon the quiet city below, the sun rising behind the clouds, and bowed his head.

Jim Hanlen didn’t like his job, but he didn’t hate it either. It was just so boring sometimes, waiting for customers to come in with their desires to remodel and build. There were a few hundred different kinds of tile, hundreds of shapes and sizes, and hundreds of colors and designs to choose from. Not a big time tile outlet, just a small department of a department store. When the customers did come in, they usually didn’t want his help. Most had already paid an interior decorator to come up with the exact size, shape and color. Yeah, he was bored out of his stinking mind. It paid well though, and at his young age of twenty-seven it was easy to spend it and have lots of fun. At least that was the case before the rains came, bringing gloom and depression to the people of Galendein, city of the province Alentone. The rains came fierce and unexpected to this usually sunny land. The endless rains, and with them the stalkers who stole babies and young children.

On the night of the first day of the rains, someone was believed to have entered through an open window in the living room. The Steltons first newborn was missing from her crib the next morning, not a sign of her anywhere. Baby Stelton was only the first. Every night from that day to this one, over two months later, a young child has been stolen. Each one as mysteriously as the first, no trace or sign of any sort ever left behind. Panic and fear had seized the people’s minds of this city, life went on naturally during the day, but at night the city died.

“Damn police, what are they good for?” Jim had his head resting upon his hand and his eyes had been staring into middle distance when he heard the young woman’s voice. He straightened up and focused, and saw her standing to his right at the end of the counter. Brown hair flowed over and around a fragile face. Violet lipstick colored flowery soft lips and a fading tan brightened smooth ambrosia skin. Her frame was thin and small, but her body was strong with round hips, soft robust thighs and ample breasts that had a charm all their own. She was wearing a light, beige rain jacket and tight blue slacks. Under her right arm was a folded umbrella and in her hands was a net pad, her brown eyes fixed squarely upon the screen, her brow wrinkled.

“She’s attractive…sexy,” thought Jim, “but…”

“I mean,” she said looking up in his direction, “what do we pay them for?” She did not expect the question to be answered, nor was it. “These abductions happen every night, without occurrence. It’s like these people can just walk into those houses and do whatever.” Her face had reddened and she had been angrily gesturing with her right hand.

“Well,” said Jim coolly, he had been thinking on this subject for quite some time, “that’s exactly why the police can’t stop it. No witnesses, fingerprints, signs of any kind. These children go to sleep at night and the next morning their gone, vanished. In a couple cases the parents were sleeping in the same room, or bed, with the children. They neither heard nor saw a thing. You can’t blame the police, this case is something supernatural, and they are merely human. You, nor I, could do any better.”

Brushing her long hair back with her hand, she looked Jim directly in his blue eyes, “I bet we could.”

The wild statement took Jim quite by surprise. Still he retorted, “Don’t you understand? There’s nothing to go on, no trail, no clues, not even a ransom, just missing children and fear. If you concentrate real hard you can even smell the stink of death that those children surely met.”

He had gotten to her. She stared through him with wide open eyes and was sucking on her lower lip. Jim slicked his medium length black hair back and folded his hands behind his head, sighing. Why had he become so bothered by this woman’s suggestions? Was it the tension and fear of this whole phenomenon pressing down on him, or was his pride bruised by the helplessness of the situation this whole city was in?

“I’m sorry,” she said after a moment. “It’s just that there has to be something someone can do to end these horrible crimes.” Tears welled in her eyes, and Jim sighed and came from behind the counter and put his arms around her shoulders in an attempt to console her. She relaxed, easing into him, and put her arms around his waist and her face into his chest and shoulder. She started crying and he knew that this wasn’t just something she was reading on the net pad or watching on the news, it had happened to someone she knew, maybe even to her. Sniffling, she raised her head from his shoulder and pulled away, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright; this must be a trying time for you.” She opened her mouth to speak, but he pressed a finger to her lips. “Listen. I get a break in ten minutes. Why don’t I buy you lunch to make up for my insensitive remarks, and we can talk about it.”