The night is cold and downright relentless; the wind howls like one of the possessed. The silver moon, shrouded in purple mist, hangs on its pendulum, illuminating most of the iced over street below. But only most of it. In the shadows, a figure can almost be made out of the always shifting, ever moving black. A girl. Angelica. Her eyes are large and hunted, her hair whips against her face as she runs. Runs without end, runs without stop. Runs from a boy. Dameon.
He's watching her.
A blinding flash and she screams, a high shriek piercing through the night. White feathered wings unfurl from her back, and she stumbles and then she falls.
Down, scuffing her knees against the merciless earth.
He laughs harsh and cold. It's a deep laugh, but without any sign of humour or any signal of stopping. What he sees isn't funny - far from it in fact. What he sees is the fingers of fate, tapping out yet another doomed story.
Far below, her breath catches and she gasps, frightened. He pauses.
And then he watches.
Angelica's thread bare dance slippers hold little protection on the gravelly road she walks. Her hand stretches down - slender cream fingers tipped with short oval nails - and grasps the shoes, tugging them off. Glass shards sting her feet - she winces at the scarlet flowers blossoming so soon - but still tosses the shoes aside, tired of them, discarding them.
Where she's going, she'll have no need for them, after all. Cuts will be the least of her problems.
In the distance a cat meows, just as the girl crosses hastily into the next cramped alleyway. Her senses are engulfed by a mixture of rot and decay; her fingers tingle uneasily as she presses her palms flat against a vermillion brick wall.
Angelica smiles, just slightly. Dameon has chased her all the way home.
It comes as no surprise when a door appears in the surface of the solid brick, stocky and wooden, its frame entwined in silky white petals. The handle is polished metal, shining with an eery sort of glow, but that doesn't stop her hand from leaping to it, like a dog to a bone.
He watches; he waits.
She is home, finally, at last she is back.
The door opens.
Its frame squeaks.
The handle turns.
Angelica is tired of waiting.
One step, then another, five heartbeats for every second. Her rosebud lips are drawn tight, scared. The expression doesn't suit her anymore than the peasant dress dangling limply from her body, yet onwards she treks down a corridor of white.
Bright white. Unearthly white. Her kind of white.
Or at least, it used to be.
With a jolt she's tossed to her knees like a paper doll, her head bowed in a forced sign of respect. She grits her teeth as the man before her steps nearer, ever nearer.
She left this place for a reason.
She tilts her head back to look into her father's eyes. His cold, calculating eyes.
"Why have you come here?"
Angelica shakes her head, pleading a silent cause. "I came home."
Her father laughs without mirth. "I know you would never do that without purpose." She is brought back to her feet by an invisible hand, pinned against the wall gasping for precious breath. "So tell me Angelica... Why?"
She won't tell him, not by her own free will at least.
She's released, and falls to the floor in a pathetic heap, panting desperately. Her father looks at her, suddenly distracted. "Your feet are tainted by the stain of blood. You aren't using your wings. Why?"
She sticks out her chin, defiant. "Why do you care?"
He sighs, defeated. "Who are you running from?" he booms, advancing towards her, his hands outstretched. Clamping them down on either side of her face, she shudders, her body convulsing. He smirks. He has his way.
He knows who chased the piggy home.
And then her world goes black.