It was a dark evening, cold and wet. the rain had been beating down heavily since the dull, dark afternoon had collapsed and given way to the solid blackness of evening.

I sat hunched over my tablet, with only the glow of the twin monitors to light the room. Feverishly, I slaved over this page, regarding not sleep, nor health, nor hunger. It was madness of a sort, I suppose. An obsession, a fixation, a driving force that served to hold back the vestiges of even greater imbalance; The creative thoughts were better spilled out on paper and screen than locked up in the asylum of my mind, jostling among the crowds of ideas for dominance.

A vague sense of unease crept over me. I could not tell from whence it came, but the mere thought of this unknown threat was enough to bead my brow with sweat, tiny beads catching the white light of my work in progress. Worried, I worked on, but to no avail; Almost as if by fear, my cursor would not move, locked in position. Confused, I stabbed at the tablet’s screen, praying quietly to a God I knew would not answer to such a miserable wretch as myself. It was no use… The desktop sat perfectly still, not even a twinge of life in it.

Then, it happened. The white glow reflected in the trickling sweat dripping down my crumpled, consternated face changed in an instant, a terrible and vicious blue replacing it. The change jolted me from my proximity to the screen, and I let out a shocked yelp, flailing my arms to regain my balance. Gulping and steadying my hand, I attempted to avert my eyes from the twisted visage of the error code and reached for the power button.

Gently pressing the button, I felt a dim sense of relief as the machine whirred down and hummed back to life again. But this was pale comfort when the true horror reared its head;

I hadn’t. Saved. MY SHADING.

M.