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Out of one man, he'd stepped into another.

He'd gone from the streets to a room, a stubbed-out cigarette trailing smoke and a glass half-drunk.

There was a problem before him, on a desk with a lamp on.

Art's editor took the apparent declaration of his pen name for writing the stories of that " nowhere character " anthology show host, the Shadow, in stride.

He asked " Art " what the Shadow was like - the Shadow described himself.

The editor hung up, leaving the Shadow alone in Art.

(Art's a fictionalization of Walter B. Gibson.)

The Shadow, talking to himself, realized that he was on the third step of a journey.

" Something or someone.. some force is trying to teach me.. teach us.. something. Or send a message. "

The Shadow focused - and found himself caught, pulled into another world.

On Art's typewriter page, dressed for flying, a blind gold woman, scales in her left hand and a sword in her right, slashed his hand.

" Don't you recognize me?

" You invoke my name so often, darling. "

" Justice. "

" Yes! "

She raised her sword.

His shadow leapt at her.

" Calling on your hidden reserves? "

" Now you can tell me. Why did you run away, Kent Allard? "

He told her that he hadn't run away - that, after World War I, he'd left the world to seek the Xinca and their ways, to use in the war on crime he'd enlisted himself in.

" What did they teach you? "

" Many things. Mastery of myself and my surroundings.

" And the power to see into men's hearts. "

" And your own heart? Can you see into that? "

" My heart seeks justice at all costs. "

" I'm flattered. But justice has found you, instead. "

" On a sheet of paper stuck in a typewriter. "

" Justice can find you anywhere, Kent Allard. "

She pointed up, up at a descending key that fell.

The Shadow dodged - it struck and rose, leaving a J.

" Justice cannot be reckless.

" Justice requires mercy.

" Look in your own heart, Shadow. Is there mercy? "

The Shadow dodged U, and was caught under S.

He tried to pull himself out from under the falling T and I - and was yanked away.

He looked up at his savior.

The letter-tendrils pulled at the Shadow.

Asleep at his typewriter, Art was awoken.

" Musta drifted off trying to crack this thing. "

" Any luck? "

(Harry's Harry Vincent.)

(Pagecount's 6 and a little more than 1/3rd of 20 from The Twilight Zone: The Shadow #3 back in 2016.

Writing's David Avellone, art's Dave Acosta, coloring's Omi Remalante, and letters're Taylor Esposito.)
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