evillurks: (cranston thoughtful)
At the end of a long, picturesque drive and surrounded by trees, the Cranston Mansion sits. Only the woods keep the Hudson river out of view, and somewhere across it, Manhattan. The Mansion sits dark now, untenanted and infrequently visited by a caretaker who lives some miles away. There are people who wonder why Lamont Cranston, having long ago retired to the Carribean, and now in failing health, does not sell the old place. The grounds are beginning to look overgrown and wild, and the furniture sits mouldering beneath dust covers.
He maintains ownership from afar for one reason only, as a favor to a sometimes tenant no one ever sees come and go. The Shadow does not stay here often anymore, and he knows that when Lamont Cranston dies he will lose this refuge. He has other places, in the city, but still comes to sleep in the familiar master bedroom when he desperately needs peace, quiet, and isolation. The PINpoint makes it easier to come and go without risk of being spotted.
For two days, The Shadow haunts the Cranston mansion, leaving off the lights and sleeping on the study couch. He sleeps often, dosing himself heavily with aspirin, meditating to ward off the pain. He has never felt anything like this. Every bone in his body down to the smallest fragments of wrist and fingertips aches, burns, and drags like lead. He feels heavy, ancient, weighed down by years and pain and exhaustion. It was perhaps unwise to let Metody reinforce his bones, and he wonders if there is some complication from his age, from the build up of damage the young man so clearly saw. In a haze of aches he manages the walk to and from the kitchen and the bathroom, living on old stale coffee and, once in those two days, some old canned soup.

After two days he wakes in the evening, just before sunset, and gazes blearily at a decaying bear's head mounted over the double doors of the study. The couch barely fits his length, and he shifts and stretches. There is a lingering ache, a mild heaviness, but the only pain that catches at him is the injured right arm and his battered legs. The flesh wounds there are deep, but healing. After a few more aspirin he stands tentatively, reaching up, stretching and turning and twisting. He feels... solid. Reassuringly well, apart from the gashes on his arm. Within an hour even the lingering ache is gone and he moves through a stretching routine, paces, and practices a few faster moves. There is not a trace of stiffness. Not only are his ribs healed, but any trace of arthritis has vanished. His joints feel almost new. By the time his arm heals, he reflects, he will be in better shape than he has been for a decade.

The Shadow is not a new man, but he is an improved one.

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evillurks

January 2016

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