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An empty moon hung itself in the night sky. It was dull red in color; a "blood moon," is what the townsfolk called it, but for the silent man in the dark cloak, it had no name, at least in this world. In others it had names, and powers as well, but in this world, science had reduced it to a dead, gray rock.
He laughed to himself because he knew no doctor or scientist could explain what he was, or what he could do. Even the best and brightest from his own world couldn't do that. The man pulled back his dark hood, looked up and grinned savagely at the red orb leering down at him. Not even the mindless stars of this world dared to shine on this night; even they were not foolish enough to show themselves.
He lowered his gaze and finished reading the worn parchment he held in his thin hands, then snapped his fingers, immediately igniting the scrap into flames. When only ashes remained, he opened his mouth and swallowed them with a dry smile. Everything was falling into place.
He looked around warily, but saw nothing. The streets of this sleepy Atlantic town were usually dead at this hour, with the exception of a few drunks and an occasional criminal, none of which would be missed if he needed to remove them.
The dark man held up his left hand, and the heavy robe fell back, exposing his index finger. He pointed at a solid stone wall and spoke ancient words. As he did, his fingertip glowed an unnatural green.
"Il rath tuan so. Sardins. Show me the Gate of Night," he hissed.
His finger dragged him forward, closer to the wall, then drew a perfect circle, which also glowed a dull green. On the outside of thecircle, an even duller green dot pulsed. He nodded, then waited for the rest of the picture to reveal itself. Slowly, in the middle of the circle, a faint skull appeared for a moment, then vanished.
He spoke again, this time more urgently. "Again. Il rath tuan so nian. Sardins, show me the Gateway home."
The wall shone violently, and on the inside of the circle, a street map of the area appeared. In the center, the skull shone again, this time with intelligent eyes in its sockets. The jaw fell open and spoke in a dead, hollow voice.
"This is the way home."
The circle disappeared, leaving only a strange, burning smell, like that of a lightning strike.
The man smiled, showing his sharp canines to the dead moonlight. He checked his watch and the smile faded. He was going to be cutting it closer than he thought, but at least he knew the location of the gate. The symbols were always the same; the gateway, however, always moved. A skull could mean only one thing--a cemetery.
He threw the hood over his head before walking toward the only graveyard in town. The man muttered to himself, and a heavy mist appeared before him. Without hesitating, he strode into it and disappeared. All that remained was a greasy black liquid, and soon that, too, vanished into the cracks of the cobble-stoned street.
Later that night, the groundskeeper of the Manchester Cemetery reported seeing a flash of green light coming out of one of the headstones. By the time he got there, though, he found nothing but a thick, black fluid oozing everywhere.
The police dismissed the incident, and it never made the papers. Things like that rarely did in Manchester.