Shards of Darkness (Rated M for horror PLEASE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER I'M A HORRIBLE PERSON)

Why was this so hard? All he wanted was to be fed, and he could barely even sustain himself on rats! Those creatures barely knew fear! He was starving! 

If he went on like this any longer... well, he didn't want to know the outcome. His powers were already waning. 

He had no choice. He had to come out of hiding to search for food. He did not have enough power to cause chaos fit for a meal, but if he was lucky, he might catch a whiff of negativity he could feed upon. 

And if he was exposed to positivity instead... 

It was worth the risk. He couldn't live like this anymore. 


In a dark alley, a shadow rose from the depths, almost noticeable despite the lack of light. A long, spidery shape stretched himself and gave an audible sigh. 

Now... to find some misery to sink his fangs into... 

 

    • Quiverwing Duck
      Quiverwing Duck

      When brooding sullenly in the night and darkness, Quiverwing Duck preferred doing so while perched on the corner ledge of a rooftop, on a building that was a minimum of seven stories tall. Gargoyles were an optional extra, but generally kind of precarious to crouch on in any case.


      He did not wear a costume that loaned itself to that kind of brooding, what with its cheerful spring colors and jaunty plumed hat, but he was doing a good job of it anyway. The single dramatic benefit of his current costume over the one he previously wore was that it had a cape, and it always billowed out behind him whenever it caught a breeze. It was currently doing so.


      Attempting inter-dimensional travel had been a mistake. Not only did he not go where he wanted to go, he had no way to return from whence he came. Now, added onto the issues he was coping with previously, he had to live around the edges of another drake's life.


      He pulled his head down further as his shoulders hunched up higher, allowing the sulking to intensify.

      • Quackerjack
        Quackerjack

        Wait, what's this? 

        Never in Paddywhack's life had he felt and tasted such dark emotions. That bleak mood. That dreadful brooding. That overpowering depression. Delicious. He instantly felt stronger. 

        He knew where to hunt his prey now. 

        He slunk into the shadows and travelled to the rooftop where Quiverwing currently perched. 

        Ooh, this looked so interesting. What was he doing out there, all alone? He looked so much like that meddlesome Darkwing Duck, and yet... he wasn't. 

        He could take form now. He had the strength to possess a puppet now. A little longer, and he could take possession of a human! 

        Leeeet's give his powers a little test run... 

        Pop! Quiverwing was now in Darkwing's outfit. But not this world's Darkwing. It was his own, old costume he used to wear before becoming Quiverwing. 

        And he wouldn't be able to take them off. 

        • Quiverwing Duck
          Quiverwing Duck

          The sensation of having one's garments suddenly shift into something else was strange and invasive. It was certainly enough to force Quiverwing to stop sulking. The drake looked down at himself and froze, staring with growing horror for a drawn-out moment. He then stumbled backwards onto the rooftop as he stood up, body tensed as if he had just realized he was covered with particularly venomous spiders.

          "Oh, no..." Quiverwing pulled at his trench coat, trying to shrug it off, and when that did not work he hooked his fingers into his shirt collar, trying to loosen and undo his necktie. "No, no, no." He backed up several steps, clawing at his garments, unable to pull open the suit jacket or the vest beneath it. All of that dark purple, clinging to him like a shroud.

          He froze in place again, hands lifted with his fingers curled into claws, his eyes staring out blankly from a now purple mask. The mental block he tried to maintain around his emotions was starting to crack, as he was unable to understand why he was wearing clothing that no longer existed. It shouldn't exist, because he had burned it all the night his daughter had died.

          Quiverwing, or possibly Darkwing now, stood there and trembled, a sound like a quiet and strangled whimper struggling in his throat as waves of self-loathing, horror, anger, all flowed through him like poison.

          • Quackerjack
            Quackerjack

            Oh, this was so much more tantalising than he'd expected! Such sweet, sweet misery. It gave him such a surge of power, and he allowed himself a soft, menacing chuckle, echoing around the building as if there was an invisible barrier. He almost felt like himself again, and that was just from milking one person! 

            Of course, the more he was terrorised by him, the more he got to learn about his prey. 

            How much more negativity can he continue to spew to feed his unending appetite? Only one way to find out. 

            He slowly settled into Quiverwing's mind, not taking control just yet. He wanted to play a little game first... 

            "Dad...?" 

            There was a voice all too familiar right behind Quiverwing. When he turned, there was his daughter. Quiverwing Quack. Alive and well. 

             

            • Quiverwing Duck
              Quiverwing Duck

              'Darkwing's' sanity was rattling around in his skull like a pea getting shaken in a can. If it bounced around too vigorously, it might pop right out.


              Turning, the drake stared at the small figure, and his trembling ceased. The surge of love that filled him was tainted by fear and confusion, the memories he tried to seal away starting to knock harder and harder on their locked doors.


              "Honey..." 'Darkwing' crouched down, reaching for his daughter, his smile broad and nervous. "I think I had a nightmare... I must have had a nightmare..." His voice pitched up a bit higher, making his shaky laugh sound on the edge of panic.

              • Quackerjack
                Quackerjack

                Quiverwing didn't go towards him. She just stood there, an odd expression on her face. A cross between fear, anger, pain and sadness. 

                "Dad... why did you let me die?" she asked, this time her voice barely a whisper. An injury that wasn't there suddenly appeared. The one that caused her death. 

                Then, right before his eyes, her body started to deteriorate and contort, becoming skeletal. Her hair turned dull and dry, and her eyes started to fall out from the rot, one of them dangling by a nerve. 

                "Why, dad, why?" the apparition wailed. 

                • Quiverwing Duck
                  Quiverwing Duck

                  'Darkwing' stared with growing shame and guilt, dropping to his knees when his legs became too weak to keep him in a crouch. His arms remained stretched forward, however, still reaching for the small figure even as it seemed to decay before him.


                  His voice sounded flat with defeat as he murmured, "I know, honey. I'm sorry. I know, I failed you. It was my fault, I should have been better and I was too weak."


                  The masked mallard brought his hands up to clutch at his head, able to shift the fedora he was wearing, yet not able to remove it. Even as a yawning pit of black despair opened before him, he gazed at the horrific sight. He knew he deserved it, resigned to endure it rather than look away.

                  • Quackerjack
                    Quackerjack

                    The cadaver started to sob. "I thought you loved me... but you never did, did you?!" she shrieked at him. "You used me. You used me to boost your ego and hero status! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!!" 

                    She turned away and continued wailing, a horrible, heart-rending sound. Her poor, frail body shook with each sob. 

                    What Paddywhack thought needed months to obtain... it was all flowing into him now. All that power... he'll never go hungry again! 

                    He'll make sure of it too. The duck who once called himself Quiverwing will be his main food source. He'd trap him in a personal hell he'll never wake up from. 

                    • Quiverwing Duck
                      Quiverwing Duck

                      "I did love you. I do love you." 'Darkwing' said, in a small, miserable voice. He did not, however, even try to refute her other accusations.  He just held his head in his hands, the purple of his mask getting darker around his eyes as the fabric soaked up his silent tears.


                      "If I could fix it, make it up to you," he mumbled, almost drunk on his own self-loathing.


                      A quiet laugh choked from his throat, a sound that had nothing to do with joy and was steeped in abject misery. "If I could fix it all, toots..."

                      • Quackerjack
                        Quackerjack

                        "Liar," she spat. "Liar, liar, liar..." 

                        Her body was still slowly wasting away. But not gone just yet. 

                        Liar, liar, liar...

                        Her voice seemed to echo continuously around the building, but it was all actually happening in his head. 

                        "I had a life ahead of me, and you took that away." 

                        Liar, liar, liar... 

                        Her voice seemed to be everywhere now, although her body still remained in front of him, hunched and curled up with her back towards him. 

                        "I could have grown up... I could have been a superhero, and you took that away." 

                        Liar, liar, liar... 

                        "What else are you going to take away? My name? My identity? You don't love me. You won't fix anything." 

                        Liar, liar, liar. 

                        • Quiverwing Duck
                          Quiverwing Duck

                          'Darkwing' noded dully, slowly rising to his feet. "You're right, toots. I shouldn't have taken your identity. That was wrong. I was too much of a coward to keep my own."


                          He straightened his tie a little and dusted himself off, tweaking the cuffs of his shirt and suit jacket into better alignment. "I'll be the hero you needed me to be, Gosalyn."


                          There was anger simmering in him, now, although it was directed at himself, thumping in the echo chamber of his mind. Reaching under his trench coat, behind his back, he drew his twin gas-guns.


                          "No one will stand in my way, this time. I'll figure it out." the drake's head still hung heavily. "I'll figure it out, and then, we'll be able to finally switch places."

                          • Quackerjack
                            Quackerjack

                            Hmm. What an interesting development. Well, as long as he kept the negativity going... 

                            Although Paddywhack wasn't sure what he meant by 'switch places'. No doubt it'll be fun to watch. 

                            "I don't believe you..." 'Gosalyn' sniffled. "You won't do anything for me. I'm not even your daughter, after all..." 

                            An invisible force seemed to strike her and she screamed. Something was slowly ripping her apart. Killing her all over again. 

                            • Quiverwing Duck
                              Quiverwing Duck

                              Panic and fury intermingled as 'Darkwing' lunged forward, throwing a protective arm around the screaming phantom. His other arm was extended, seeking a target he could aim that gas gun towards, his heart thudding as his mind clamored with despair when he found nothing he could fight against.

                              "Anything, Gos..." the drake was almost pleading through his gritted teeth. "I would do anything for you. Anything. Anything. Please..." The guns clattered as he dropped them, preferring instead to try to clutch at the screaming figure. "Let me."

                              • Quackerjack
                                Quackerjack

                                The moment he touched 'Gosalyn', she vanished in a burst of dust and gore with a wet 'pop'. 

                                "You can do nothing." Her voice spoke in a soft whisper again after a long bit of silence. "But you don't care, anyway." 

                                Something rolled to a thunk by his feet. Her severed head. With black, empty eyes. 

                                "I trusted you..." 

                                They started to bleed. 

                                Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Quiverwing, his body was starting to glow an unearthly colour with Paddywhack's power as he continued to feed on his misery. 

                                • Quiverwing Duck
                                  Quiverwing Duck

                                  'Darkwing' went quiet. Externally, at least, he was making no sound. He crouched again, staring blankly downward, mind rebelling against what his eyes insisted must be real. His hands clasped behind his neck as he rocked a little bit, his mind popping and sparking, emotions fitfully and randomly spiking and flat-lining.

                                  Reaching out, he picked up the gas guns he'd dropped and stood up, stalking to the corner of the rooftop where he had been hunkered down earlier. This time he just stood there, idly tapping the guns against his thighs as if he were distracted and thinking about something unimportant. It was like the slow tick of an unexpected bomb.

                                  • Quackerjack
                                    Quackerjack

                                    ...too much? 

                                    Well, he was still feeding on negativity so this guy wasn't catatonic yet. Although, if he tried to commit suicide that could be a problem. He can't feed off of dead bodies. It'll be like that story about the goose who laid golden eggs. It would be useless when it's dead. 

                                    So he briefly possessed Quiverwing to make him back off the edge, then let his mind take control again. 

                                    • Quiverwing Duck
                                      Quiverwing Duck

                                      Once 'Darkwing' was standing in a safer spot on the rooftop, he blinked rapidly and gave his head a little shake. He brought up one gas gun and bumped the muzzle against the brim of his hat, making it tilt at a more dashing angle.

                                      "You're right, Quiverwing, I have been lax in my duties as of late," said the masked drake, now apparently talking to someone who really was not there, not even as a construct of Paddywhack's. "That's why you're so valuable to me as a sidekick. You remind me of what's important."

                                      His eyebrows flattened as a rather sinister smile curved his beak, his hands coming up so he could trigger-twirl both guns around his index fingers. "It's time to really crack down on those malodorous miscreants, malcontents and malefactors."

                                      'Darkwing' tilted his head slightly, so that the brim of his fedora cast a deeper shadow across his face, eyes only visible as gleaming, narrow slits. His voice dropped into a soft growl. "Let's get terrifying."

                                      • Quackerjack
                                        Quackerjack

                                        Did... did he just enter Heroic Safe Mode. 

                                        Paddywhack watched from Quiverwing's mind thoughtfully, wondering if he should snap him out of it with another illusion. But... this seemed to go deeper than just simple mind tricks. 

                                        And the worst part was, he didn't seem to be feeling that negativity anymore! Well, he was grateful not to be feeling any happiness either, but he still felt the need to complain. 

                                        Okay, calm down, Paddywhack. Perhaps there is something you can do... 

                                        Can you, that is, when she is dead? he responded to 'Darkwing's' catchphrase, his sinister voice echoing around his mind. 

                                        • Quiverwing Duck
                                          Quiverwing Duck

                                          "Oh yes," 'Darkwing' answered aloud, as if it were not the least bit strange to have a random, disembodied voice speaking to him inside his own head. "Because she won't always be dead."

                                          He started to pace around the rooftop, gesturing broadly with the guns in his hands. "You see, she died because I wasn't good enough or strong enough. So I just have to work harder." The shredded remains of his over-inflated ego are not able to stem the desperation rising within him. For now, he stubbornly ignored the alarm bell clanging in the sane and horrified corner of his mind.

                                          "When I'm good enough, that will solve the problem, see?" The masked vigilante stopped walking and crossed his gas guns over his heart, staring out into the middle distance. "None of what happened woulda happened, and she'll be alive. Everything will be okay."

                                          • Quackerjack
                                            Quackerjack

                                            This was intriguing. Paddywhack had been known to drive people to insanity back before he was imprisoned in that toy box, but this looked fun. 

                                            He never had tried to torment a hero before, although he came close with Darkwing. Let's see what this one did. Worse case scenario, he could just escape his body and go have some more fun. 

                                            Hmm. I'll see how that goes for you, he responded. Then we can go back to playing. 

                                            • Quiverwing Duck
                                              Quiverwing Duck

                                              'Darkwing' just smirked, pulling the brim of his hat down in front to further shade his eyes. He holstered one gas gun behind his back and reloaded the other before turning to run to the edge of the roof. He leaped off, firing the grappling hook from his gun as he did so, catching the unspooling line and swinging from it into the darkness.

                                              What followed was a very bad night for a lot of active criminals, who ended up not merely thwarted, but beaten with an unnecessarily violent amount of force. No warnings, no chances, and absolutely no mercy.

                                              Depending on one's point of view, the worst aspect of that was that they were told precisely who took them down: Darkwing Duck. On the other hand, the worst aspect of that from the point of view of the crooks who were nursing broken bones and missing teeth was, in fact, the broken bones and missing teeth.

                                              • Quackerjack
                                                Quackerjack

                                                So he couldn't leech out more negativity from that duck. Who cares? All that fear and terror Quiverwing was inducing... he got to taste all of them! What a meal! He could swear he almost felt stuffed! 

                                                You're such a good host, he chuckled in the broken hero's mind. I'm considering sparing you when I take this world for mine. 

                                                • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                                  (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                                  There was a soft humming as a young girl skipped merrily down the street, a grocery bag in her hand. 

                                                  "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there," she apologised and started to go on her way when she stopped. 

                                                  "Darkwing? Oh, I love your new costume! It looks so pretty!" she grinned as she looked at him. It was too dark to notice the bangs poking out of his fedora. "I'm sorry to be outside so late, but I was helping Mrs. Tesla move into her new home!" 

                                                  Technically she had spent the whole day helping old ladies and chatting with them and exchanging recipes she lost track of time. "Don't worry, I'm going back now!"

                                                  • Quiverwing Duck
                                                    Quiverwing Duck

                                                    When 'Darkwing' turned his head to look at the girl, his expression was shadowed, his eyes looking like narrow, pale crescents. The moment he actually saw her, however, he pushed his fedora back a bit and he looked far more normal. He even smiled at her with true fondness.

                                                    "Hello, Gosalyn," he said quietly, reaching out to give her a light touch on the top of her head. "You really shouldn't be out, it isn't safe once its dark. There are a lot of bad people around who need to be dealt with. How are you going to get home, from here?"

                                                    • Quackerjack
                                                      Quackerjack

                                                      That blast of positivity. It completely threw Paddywhack off guard, and he could already feel his powers fading. 

                                                      No, no, this was not good. He had to get rid of the girl. Or put her in harm's way... 

                                                      "I'm just walking home," Gosalyn chirped happily.