Emily Everson Period 4/5 Due: 2/21/03

A Dark Cloud Falls An Epic by, Emily Everson Chapter One A wintry gale separated the dismal and ghoulish fog as if it were parting the seas for a momentous figure to cross. His name was Iago. A large gray rain cloud seemed to linger with him wherever he went, casting its rays of misery along his pathway of evil. Although he was not incredibly tall, his threatening demeanor allowed him to tower over whomever he met. His piercing, emerald green eyes could look right through you and search your soul for any hint of vulnerability. An eerily straight line of track marks run down his left arm and at his side is a long sword disguised as a silver edged black cane with a serpent sculpted out of emeralds. His customers who lurk in the abandoned doorways of Downer Drive will tell you that his garnet ring has magical powers. His shoulder length raven hair is so greasy and oily that every so often the light will reflect off the ring, across his long, jet-black, leather trench coat and onto his hair. As he struts through the doors of 332 Crack Drive he greets me by violently brandishing his so called cane into the back of my head. Frightened I run into the hall closet where I step on a long, rusty needle and a burst of icy liquid made its way through my 6-year-old veins. That was ten years ago on my last visit to Iago's house. My mother, Ophelia, is somewhere just outside of Chicago locked up in a high security psychiatric unit, seizing and coughing up who knows what. It would be a simple white lie to say that I forgot to mention her allergy to Lithium. "But what about this ominously negative narrator, who is he?" you might ask. Well, my name is Harry Owen, deadbeat from nowhere, to tell the truth it wasn't nowhere, it was Chicago. Ophelia and I lived there until I was 6 when on a crisp November evening, the shutters flew open, the glass broke and Iago sped away with me under the cover of darkness. Then for a year Ophelia was alone, Ophelia and large bottles of Vodka sleeping pills and Aspirins. Ophelia lost it after that. "How could it have happened?" she wondered. "Where would He have taken Harry?" she questioned. On that same night one-year later, just as Ophelia was about to commit suicide, the shutters flew open and the glass broke as Iago hurtled me threw Ophelia's bedroom window. Then it was Ophelia and I again, for nine more years. I'm standing in front of Iago's place; Iago who is supposed to act as my "legal guardian" until Ophelia gets her act together. "Never dwell on the past" I tell myself, it hurts too much. Ophelia's gone and she's never coming back. I knock on the door and the whirlwind of my life begins again.

Chapter Two "Who's there?" a deep, raspy voice called from within what was a poor excuse for a house under the "L" train in the depths of Brooklyn, NY. The door slammed open and a chunk of rusty metal fell from the roof. "Look at you," Iago snarled, "Green mohawk, torn jeans. Whatcha got, like a million earrings in each ear? You look like ya' just got out of juvie hall. I want nothin' to do with you. Your mother was a good- for- nothin' tramp. I picked her up off the street. She was rollin' around in her own vomit. I felt sorry for her. I been in that position. Look what 'sorry' brought me. She called herself a free spirit. I call her trash! Get out." Without warning Iago threw a hammer right at my leg and it hit me square on the knee. I began to remember that day so long a go when I was was I even here? I knew that I had to get a way from that place, far away. I stopped at a phone booth and ripped out the page that contained the information I needed to start a new life.

I had to find this shelter and fast. I knew from experience He would come after me. Chapter Three That night I dreamed of a home. There were children, fresh fruit and wild flowers on the table, paint on the walls that wasn't peeling, there were no empty beer bottles on the splintered floor and the atmosphere overflowed with compassion and comfort. A blaring car radio woke me from my nest of newspaper on a city bench. I continued my expedition to safety. I wondered what kind of person this Shelly Tere would be. Would she be graceful? Forgiving? Encouraging? All the things I hoped she would be? She had to be someone whose only calling was to help kids like me. She had to be ready to face the unknown evils of 332 Crack Drive. She must be a pillar of mental strength, standing tall at the doorway of happiness. I desperately needed someone like her in my life. For as long as I can remember I had always felt a completely insecure. I just want to revive those few embers of happiness that burned inside my destitute soul. I have or have ever had, but I can't do it without the help of someone like Shelly Tere. There I was at 1414 Reesque Avenue. I walked into the lobby and was greeted by a bubbly and gregarious woman whose name was Nancy. I asked to see Shelly and before I knew it I was sitting in a powder blue office with a mural of painted handprints. There she was, sitting at a mahogany desk. She was tall with blonde, neatly kept hair pulled back in a bun. She was wearing a light blue dress suit, which matched her baby blue eyes almost perfectly. Her appearance was impeccable. "Harry? Harry Owen? That is your name right? My name is Shelly and I'm the counselor here at the shelter. Why don't you tell me something about yourself, even if its just one word, you can tell me whatever you want, everything's confidential." As soon as she spoke I knew she would be everything I hoped for. She was honest, understanding, gracious, and strong. And then it happened. I poured my soul out to her as if my words were a waterfall of unspoken emotions. I told her everything that I could remember about my life, even about the dirty needles I had found in Iago's closet when I was six, and that I had been hooked ever since. I told her how hard it was to describe the cool rush of icy liquid entering your veins. The remarkable thing was that she understood. She understood every word. And then she told me she wanted to talk to Iago, and it ruined everything. It seemed as though the powder blue walls had turned a shade of depressing black. I told her Iago would kill her that she wouldn't last a moment once she entered his clutches. I told her I couldn't lose her that easily. But she said that if she didn't he would just keep destroying people one by one until all the good people in this world vanished. So I let her, I let her go.

Chapter 4 We walked together to the end of Crack Drive, a police car trailing us in the dusky shadows, completely out of sight. Shelly knocked on Iago's door. Up above black clouds began to gather in the dark, unlit sky. Rain began to fall as we rushed under a doorway in the alley, this god-forsaken road way to hell. What good could possibly come out of this journey? I wonder if Shelly knew that at this point in our adventure that she was crossing over the threshold of an undiscovered territory of evil. The deep, raspy voice unwelcomingly beckoned us in and we sat down on a moth eaten couch. "So what do ya want this time Henry?" he said in a fierce and powerful yet surprisingly laid-back way. "Harry" Shelly shot back at him, obviously not afraid of him. As for me, I was trembling with fear. "I am head of the Social Services department of New York State and I have come to tell you that I have reason to believe that your son is a victim of domestic abuse. "What? Ya think I been hittin' Harry? Why Id never hurt a fly! Tell 'er Harry, I'm harmless right" I sat there in silence afraid of what dangers speaking might bring to me. "How long have you been dealing Iago?" replied Shelly, "Are you aware that drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth and heroine can lead to violent behavior and insanity? How about it Iggie, let's see what you've got stashed away in your own private crack house here." Hesitantly I did something that would probably have caused me a brief but painful death later, but only if I had stayed within Iago's clutches. So I did the only thing I could to help Shelly get me out. I pointed to the closet. The same closet that I had been in and out of around 20 times since I was six. Shelly immediately acknowledged my shaking, outstretched finger and ran to the closet while Iago stood in shock. Frightened that Iago would strike, I called in the police. "I'm afraid your under arrest Mr. Owen." Two policemen restrained Iago while Shelly cuffed him. I couldn't believe it, I was free. We had won. Shelly and I walked out of the building watching the police car drive off into the sunset. I felt as if a great boulder had been lifted from my shoulders. The sun suddenly emerged from behind clouds and lit up the sky. I walked down the alleyway and back to the shelter, my safe haven where I could begin a new life, clean and protected from the previous perils that had guarded my door, into a land of happiness. Now I could feel free to live a life of peace.