Kiyoshi didn't consider himself a superstitious man, but when a third crow landed on his mailbox, he felt led to reevaluate his thoughts on the matter. Worse was the single green feather on each wing of the last carrion bird: the mark of the Shade.
He tore into his house, throwing open door after door to his late father's private chapel. A circle of stones lay prepared for rites, unbroken despite years of disuse. He hefted a pot of ash from the corner and covered the fine mahogany floor boards contained in the circle. With two fingers, he drew the divine symbol for protection, so far as he could remember it. His heart rate slowed. He took a deep breath.
The sound of splintering wood erupted from the other end of the house. Kiyoshi's hands darted to the holster at his hip. He pulled out the revolver, clutched it close to his newly thumping chest. The temperature dropped, at first just a few degrees, but in moments the air turned frigid. Kiyoshi shook.
A low, grating voice whispered, "Come to me. Feed the darkness."
"I," Kiyoshi choked, "follow the light." He held his firearm out, aimed at the door.
"All light must fade in the darkness."
The door rocked. Both hinges bent, then cracked. Kiyoshi opened fire as it tumbled to the floor. A black figure stretched phantom arms toward him. The bullets did nothing to slow its approach.
The Shade bent over him, perched to join him with the darkness. Its fingers stopped centimeters from his body. The whole silhouette shone white, flickered, stilled. A voice came from it, saying, "I will save you this time, Kiyoshi, but know this: 'Without light there can be only darkness'."
Kiyoshi fell to his knees. "My Lord! My savior! How long have I lived outside the light? My years of sin have surely cursed my soul."
"Rise," said the voice. "You are forgiven. Go out and preach my ministry as your father did before you. There is time left yet."