|About the Author||The Story||Godfrey's Army||The Team||Chasing The Shadow||Bookstore||What's Next||Homepage|
Hudson City was one of the most dangerous, crime infested, yet beautiful cities in the country. That was the past. Now the city is at war with a single man.
The Shadow is one of the most devious and insane criminal masterminds in the world and all his efforts are directed towards one thing….stealing the nation’s most protected secrets. Failing at the Pentagon, an airbase in the desert, and at a museum in Chicago, the Shadow has chased these files to Hudson University.
Under constant FBI protection and surveillance, the files still are not safe. Abigail Hart and her high school friends, Sarah Underhill and Aaron Steel, are the only ones who understand the actual reality behind the situation. Unfortunately, they also know the only way to save the files is to steal them first. But they have no idea where to start, and there is only one person in Hudson City who can do what the Shadow can do. With his own team of former thieves, Matthew P. Godfrey is the only hope for saving the files before the Shadow can get his hands on them. Launched into an adventure across the city, Godfrey and his friends must stop the Shadow before he is in control of Hudson.
It was a cool, sunny, August day that covered the city. Cars rumbled along to their preplanned destinations, businessmen and shoppers walked along in front of towering skyscrapers and storefronts, and the everyday sounds of a busy city roared like a wind from every corner of Hudson. Here and there, you might have been able to hear a man yelling at passersby to come and buy a hotdog from his stand. On corners, you would see colorfully dressed people screaming at you about some restaurant during the day while at night the corners were replaced by women in the appropriate clothing their kind of work demanded.
But I suppose I am getting further and further away from my planned subject. Right now, we need to focus on Hudson University, located at the heart of the city. It was a beautiful campus with its own park for both students and citizens. Benches all around were filled with students, either relaxing or struggling to finish a report of some sort. Lectures could be heard echoing in every building. In the athletic center, you would hear the rumbling footsteps of dozens of runners on the track, the splashes of many a swimmer in the pools, and the constant thudding of basketballs being dribbled on the courts.
But this was hardly the case on the northern part of the campus, where many of the offices and business departments were. The President of the University watched over everything from a beautiful office atop the William Gerard Memorial Hall. Several floors below, there were the accountants and the vaults that housed large amounts of money should the University ever need it. And even further below that were the business offices. Most were cleared out today, save one conference room where three of the University’s most respected business and marketing professors now sat at the wish of the Board of Directors, coming up with a more effective way of dealing with something that I really do not know about. I highly doubt anyone really even cared, not even the three poor men assigned to the task.
They were completely unaware that at about one o’clock that afternoon—just as they were finishing the fine lunch a nearby pizzeria supplied—two floors below a coin was tossed, and a fairly large security guard was sent flying through a set of doors and into the next hallway, knocked out with a fairly deep cut across his chest.
Out of the room from which he was just thrown appeared a second man, dressed all in black, with a knife in hand that must have performed the attack. His dark hair was combed back, and his face was hidden behind a mask in the likeness of fiendish skull. He looked down at the security guard through the holes in the mask before continuing down the hallway, flipping a silver coin casually in one hand as he stowed his knife safely away in his coat pocket with the other.
This faceless stranger moved swiftly down the hallways until he came to an elevator. He pushed the button and, almost immediately, the doors slid open and he entered a deserted tight space. Upward he sped until a new passage was opened to him. He pressed on, listening closely at every door.
Three halls down, the professors attempted to finish their meeting. The empty pizza boxes were stacked on a table in the corner as they rubbed their stuffed bellies and did their best to finish the meeting between belches. The stranger was most intrigued once he came to this door and pressed his ear close against the crack to listen. When he heard a voice he recognized, a smile curled behind his mask, and he wrenched the door open.
The professors jumped at first, but once they got a good look at the stranger they all started to chuckle. They all thought this was a fine joke, something arranged to give them a bit of a fright in the middle of their meeting.
“Who sent you?” asked one of the professors, a tall man with black hair.
“Was it Darla?” asked a second professor, this one with red hair and a small goatee.
“No,” said the stranger. “I’m afraid a completely different person sent me. He’s not one to anger. So unless you want to risk his wrath, I suggest you tell me the combination to the vaults.”
“What vaults?” laughed the black-haired professor.
The stranger sighed and, after tossing his coin one more time, he pulled a long silver knife from his pocket and leapt forward, holding the blade up to the black-haired professor’s throat. “Now unless you are in a particularly brave mood, I suggest you tell me immediately.”
“I can’t,” said the professor, his eyes wide in fear. “The vaults have more than just a combination. They have biometric security scanners and all the works.”
“Fine,” said the stranger as he pulled the man up from his seat. “You’ll come with me. And you two,” he said to the other professors, gesturing at them with his knife, “you’ll stay here.”
“Who’s to stop us if we run?” asked the bearded professor, gulping.
“That would be my friend here,” said the stranger, and from the doorway appeared a very large, muscular man in a mask, glaring down at the professors with his arms crossed.
“Anymore questions?” said the stranger. “Good.” He left, dragging the black-haired professor after him.
Up and up the levels of the building they went until, kicking the doors in with a bang, they entered the accounting department. Men and women leapt to their feet from behind their desks once they saw the masked stranger dragging a professor behind him and a knife in his hand.
“Everyone in the next room,” demanded the stranger, and without hesitation everyone sped off into what he guessed was the top accountant’s office. “Right, now you,” he addressed the professor. “Lead me to the vaults.”
The professor had no choice. He took the stranger by all the desks to the back of the room, where he pulled back a part of the wooden wall to reveal a massive iron door. An enormous padlock was in the middle, beside which was what looked like a thumb pad.
“Open it,” said the stranger, holding the tip of his knife inches away from the professor’s back.
Again, he had no choice. So the professor scanned his thumbprint and entered the code, pulling open the vault to reveal tables covered with bags filled with money. So that he would not have a chance to do anything, the stranger ripped a phone cord from the wall and tied the professor’s arms and legs. He then entered the vault and began to drag the bags out, piling them up outside the iron doorway.
“Now that you have your money, what do you plan to do next?” asked the professor as the stranger piled up the bags. “You going to hold us all as hostages and demand the police give you safe passage out of here?”
“I have better ways,” said the stranger as the last bag was piled. “Now that I’m done with that, I have to finish one last thing,” and he turned to the professor, pulling his knife from his coat pocket once again.
“You’re not going to kill me, are you?” asked the professor, after he was pushed back into a chair and the stranger came forward with the knife held ready. “You can’t. I have a wife and two boys at home.”
“How sad,” said the stranger as he jumped back. “So you think your family will be the only one to lose someone special? You’re not very smart, are you? I take it you don’t pay attention to the news anymore, with all the reports of suicide bombings and such. I was over there, recently… in the war. It showed me that the world is long overdue for a dramatic moment to pull it back together, if only for a brief time.”
While the stranger was distracted, the professor freed his hands, reached under the nearest desk, and, sure enough, found an emergency pistol taped under it. The University’s president was very adamant about gun rights had several of these weapons hidden in the accounting department should an episode like this ever occur. The stranger dove out of the way, hiding behind a set of cabinets. But the professor was a terrible shot. Even if the stranger had not moved, the bullet would not have hit him. It struck one of the lights overhead and, in a shower of sparks, the light went out and left a fair share of the place in shadow.
“Nice shot,” called the stranger, grinning on the other side of the cabinets. He was more than just amused. He rather proud of himself for knowing the professor would try something if he tied the wire loose enough. “How did your plan to shoot the light out work? Oh…wait. That wasn’t your plan, was it?”
“I’ve got the gun!” called the professor. “You’re over there hiding. Try to get the money or show yourself, and I shoot.”
“Right,” called the stranger. “Then I’m going to have to go with my next plan and do this.”
The professor was hit hard from behind and thrown forward to the ground. When he looked back up, he saw the stranger standing up with the gun in his hand. He pulled his mask off and threw it aside, but his face was still hidden, cloaked in shadow as he looked back down at the professor.
“How did you…?” the professor began.
“I’m really good at what I do,” said the stranger as he tossed the gun away and pulled out his knife. “Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to finish this up so I can continue with my life.”
“Fine,” said the professor as he watched the stranger rifle through his coat pocket. “Kill me then.”
“I can’t yet,” said the stranger. “It’s not up to me,” and he lifted up a silver coin to the light so the professor could see it. “Heads you live and tails you die?”
“You’re going to base your decision of killing a man or not by the flip of a coin?” asked the professor in disgust.
“Yes,” said the stranger as he leapt forward and fell on one knee so he was eye level with the professor, his face still hidden save two stars that shimmered out from his pupils. “And I’ll tell you why. Everyone seems to think that they’re lucky. They always seem to think that when they’re faced with a fifty-fifty chance, their side will be favored. Human instinct is to think up the worst possible thing and then believe something good will come to them instead of the absolute worst. Well, let me give you a little life lesson. Only a selected few are born with luck, and I highly doubt you’re one of them. But do you know what I say to those who claim they are born with that luck?”
The professor dared not to answer, and when he did not the stranger leaned forward into the light and smiled. It was a face the professor had seen in the newspapers about a month ago. It was taken from a security camera in Chicago, the face of the man who robbed the Field Museum of a priceless Egyptian statue.
The real interesting thing was that it was not so much the face of a man but more the face of a boy … one that should have still been in his third of fourth year of high school. He was thin with pale, almost entirely white, skin. There were black rings around his brown eyes, giving him a very menacing look, and a fine strip of silver lingered in his long, untidy black hair.
“Well?” the stranger continued.
“I know you,” said the professor in shock. “You’re…you’re the Shadow. You’ve robbed and killed so many people. And now you’ve…”
“…Come to Hudson City,” finished the Shadow with a laugh. “But back to my question. Do you care to venture a guess as to what I say to those who think they are lucky?”
The professor did not answer, and the Shadow’s smile vanished.
“Pόg mo thόin,” he hissed and, with a metallic ring, he tossed the coin into the air.