Story Summary: For seven years, Virgil has known nothing but the Doctor and his lab and his horrible tests. For seven years, Virgil has known nothng but the shadows, ever-creeping, and the darkness, all-consuming. But then one day a man carrying fire in his hands and in the brave tilt of his smile breaks down his door and offers him freedom, and everything changes forever.
Virgil was nine when the shadows first came for him.
He remembered the moment as clearly as if it had been yesterday, even though many years had passed since that day. He remembered the strange, musty smell of the attic as he sat in the corner, hidden behind a tall pile of boxes and illuminated by the dusk-light spilling in through the high window. The moment had seemed almost ethereal, then; dust floating like fairy-dust between the dying sunbeams, scattering with every shaky breath he let out, and the silence that made him feel as though time had left him, if only for a little while.
It wasn’t the first time he’d hidden up in the attic, from his parents or from bullies or even from his own thoughts. It was a quiet place, where no one could find him, where he could find himself. He loved it.
This story begins with a little boy, barely even nine, his hair in his face and his cheeks shining with tears. It begins with a child, his chest full to bursting with wracking sobs, sobbing into his shirt sleeves, his knees drawn tightly to his chest. It begins with a wish, to escape the world and its cruel pain, and shadows, deep and dark and curling like smoke.
He hadn’t noticed it then, too involved in cursing Timmy Williams and his band of bullies to the wind between each shaking sob — but there was a strange tugging in his stomach, and a sharp tingling in his fingers, almost as though they’d fallen asleep. Right then, Virgil Sanders wished for a friend; for someone’s shoulder to cry into and someone’s arms to hide in.