Thurday, 19 / 11 / 2133
She was running.
The houses blurred on either side of her as she sprinted on ahead. Her bare feet kicked up dirt with each step. Her ears rendered useless by the cacophony of screams. The ruckus was interrupted by the occasional explosion, jumbling her senses.
She saw them up ahead: the culprits responsible for the destruction of their village. The bandits who ran around attacking her friends and neighbors. While there were more than she could count, she could see one of them in the center of the road. They were shrouded in dark clothing, a hood pulled over their head and obscuring enough of their face that she could not identify them.
She could, however, see that their lips were contorted in a gruesome smile.
She slowed at the sight. Where have I seen that before?
The mysterious figure grew closer–she had nearly reached them.
They brought their attention to her, their eyes still hidden from her view. They did not move.
“Stop this, please!” she begged.
Her throat ached. She was gasping for air, almost hyperventilating.
An explosion disintegrated a home to her right, knocking her over. A ringing noise replaced all other sounds until her heartbeat took over. It pounded in her ears like a drum, acting as a barrier between her and the onslaught of carnage.
A hand appeared before her; she took it without hesitation, gripping their forearm as they did hers. A coughing fit overtook her, the sound of her own ailment easing her senses back. She used the inside of her shirt to wipe away her tears, clearing her vision just enough to allow her to study the one who came to her aid.
She let out another scream when she saw him. She tried to wrestle her arm from his grasp to no avail.
The hooded figure stood nearly a foot taller, and he grinned in a frightening manner as he held her in place with minimal effort.
“Finally found you,” he bragged. His breath was a mixture of tobacco and spearmint. His sage eyes held her in place.
She felt as if he could peer into her very soul.
She tore her eyes away from the stranger to take one last look at the young man who had called her name. Her fiance was running towards them, pistol trained on her captor.
A glance back to the cloaked figure proved unnerving; his grin was even wider as he raised a hand to her beloved.
“No–!” She cried out as the explosion threw her back and rendered her unconscious.
Friday, 22 / 4 / 2135
Darkness. She was engulfed in darkness.
Shadows swirled all around. Her head was spinning, reeling.
I had that dream again.
She could hear sounds, but couldn’t focus on anything in particular. Voices spoke too softly for her to make out words. Music was playing off in the distance, too low for her to appreciate.
She grunted and turned her head to the side. I hate that dream.
“It’s okay,” coaxed a soothing voice.
She stirred and raised her hand to rub her temples, a groan escaping her lips. That voice… I’ve heard it before.
She blinked a few times, allowing her sight to adjust to the overhead ceiling lights. She was laying on a bed in an unfamiliar room. The walls were white and bare, drawing her eyes to a set of French doors. While she could tell the doors would lead her to a large sitting area, the glass was blocked by two teenagers she had not previously met.
The first studied her closely, his wooden eyes alert while his hands appeared relaxed in the pockets of his cargo pants. He wore a navy t-shirt with an abstract logo splattered across his torso. Short sandy curls framed his thin face, bouncing ever so slightly as the shorter individual to his left grasped his arm. Her chestnut waves fell past her chest, her arms and upper body covered by an oversized sweater the shade of daffodils. Bangs fell just above her eyebrows; she peeked out from behind her comrade, her teal eyes staring at Scarlett’s chest through plastic-rimmed spectacles.
“It’s going to be alright,” the voice insisted once more, bringing Scarlett’s attention to her right. Its owner was seated at the edge of the bed, her cerulean eyes gazing in her general direction. She seemed unfocused, almost as if she were seeing through Scarlett.
Her dirty blonde hair was divided down the center in uneven spikes and pulled over each shoulder in two messy braids. She wore a white graphic tee with the logo of a long-forgotten band and skinny denim bottoms that were ripped in random spots. She held out a hand to caution her guest, her nails filed short and painted black.
“My name is Alice,” she began slowly. “Can you tell me your name?”
She had not expected her to be there. “S-Scarlett Moon,” she blurted out.
Alice’s eyes widened. “Holy shit. That’s, like, the coolest name ever. Is that your real name?”
Scarlett tittered, her nerves fading away. She hasn’t changed. “Yes, that’s my real name.”
“Where are you from, Scarlett?”
“I’m sorry–is there another adult I can talk to?” Scarlett asked. Color flooded Alice’s cheeks and she opened her mouth to speak, but Scarlett continued, halting her response. “ ‘Cause you guys do not seem old enough to be running things. What are you, fifteen?”
Alice narrowed her eyes. “I’m seventeen, alright? And judging by your soul, you’re only eighteen so if I were you–”
Scarlett opened her mouth to probe when, upon sitting up, she noticed her own wardrobe. Her upper body was clad in a silk, long-sleeve button-up sleepshirt that was shaded a pastel pink; she pulled the blanket over to the side, revealing that she was also wearing matching pants. “Where the hell are my clothes?”
“We found you passed out in our fucking barn!” Alice snapped. She had stood from the bed, gesturing wildly as she spoke. “It was either burn your clothes or burn these sheets after you woke up. Besides, those pajamas look good on you.”
She then shut her eyes and pursed her lips, both hands raised in a halting motion as she regained composure. Then she reopened her eyes and said, “Forget about all of that, okay? Scarlett, I need you to focus for a moment: do you know why you’re here?”
Her question had sobered the newcomer. Scarlett knew the answer, and she knew that she could potentially deliver it in two different manners. The first was what she had been told, nay, ordered to relay–the second would require her to take a step back.
No matter what I say here, someone will be upset, she reasoned internally as she nodded in response. No matter what I do from here on out, I can’t change what’s been done.
“The mission, right?” Scarlett confirmed. Her cinnamon eyes dropped to study the ethereal orb in Alice’s chest–her soul. Its surface was a dandelion yellow; bubblegum pink wings hung from either side of the orb, and a tiara of the same shade sat atop the moss-green sphere that made up its core. The astrological symbol for the planet Venus was stamped across her soul in pear green. “We’re angels of the Zeroua Court, and you’re our princess.”
Alice grimaced and shook her head. “No no no–well, yeah, but I’m only the acting princess–I’m not the real deal. I’ll gladly hand this title off to her when she’s recognized, but until then…” She crossed her arms with a huff. “My cross to bear.”
Scarlett’s eyes scanned the souls of the other angels in the room. “And you are?”
“Wellington Sanchez,” the boy piped up. His stony expression now bore a hint of amusement after witnessing Alice and Scarlett’s confrontation. “I’m our porter. This is Gin–”
He pulled his right hand out of its hidey-hole to gesture to his attachment without so much as a glance in her direction. She squeaked and hid behind him completely. “Ginnifer Valentine, our psychic. She’ll warm up to you.”
“Yeah, my cousin has a way of making our new recruits feel welcome,” Alice sassed. “Gin, ask Aria to pull together all the spare clothes we have available.”
“I-I don’t think we have much l-left,” Ginnifer reported from behind Wellington. “Sh-Should I send out a-a squad?”
“Duh. And have Noah come here, too, while you’re at it.”
“Okay!” The psychic spun around, twisted the door handle, and was stepping out just as the princess called out to her subordinate.
“Gin, you’re a telepath! Just reach out to them and delegate–you don’t have to leave.”
“Oh!” Flustered, Ginnifer returned and shut the door behind her. She exerted a tad more force than necessary in the act, startling herself as the glass pane rattled in its doorframe. “Ah! I’m so sorry…”
Scarlett glimpsed at her leader, expecting the younger teen to shrug off her cousin’s nerves. Instead, she found the princess hugging herself with her left arm while her face was buried in her right hand. What was visible of her face had a rosy tint; the result of familial embarrassment.
What the hell did I get myself into?
To Be Continued
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