She walked down the smooth path. Strange clothes rustled as she walked.

            "Anu!" cried a voice that carried trouble in its timbre. She began walking faster ignoring the rain that now dropped down her face. Arms grabbed her from behind, and she struggled violently.

            "Let go!" she cried in a tone she'd never heard herself use before.

            "Shh my love. We walk together in eternity."

            She turned to answer, but a sound called to her…

            She awakened in the constant twilight of the Land. She thought about the confusing dream for a moment before pushing it aside in favor of more useful pursuits. She stretched and pulled her sword belt back on. As the familiar weight settled a raven alighted on her shoulder, the strange light turning its wings into a myriad of colors.

            "Hello, Onyx," she said smiling happily as the bird began his morning ritual of searching her hair for food.

            "Greetings," he replied in a melodious voice. He continued searching her hair for food.

            "How are my people this awakening?" she asked already walking toward the gateway.

            "Hmm? Oh them? They are fine, as usual. Lazing in the fields like cattle."

            "Onyx, they are not cattle," she scolded. She was near the gateway now and could see that there were people waiting to be allowed in. They didn't come in on their own only because they believed they couldn't. In a place woven by so much spirit and imagination things like that had a tremendous impact.

            "Hello," she said smiling kindly to the people.

            "It's you!" a young voice cried, "I saw you in my dreams before I came here."

            "Yes, my little seer, it is I," she said reaching out to grasp the child's small hand.

            "Are you going to take me to heaven?" the girl asked happily. She shook her head at the names people made up for the exact same place.

            "You are in the Land of the Dead," she said raising her voice so that the others could hear as well, "Heaven and hell, they are only states of mind."

            Violent sobbing broke through the gentle moment, and Anu turned a startled head in the direction it was coming from.

            "This is Onyx," Anu said crouching down to put the bird on the child's level. The girl stared at the bird in fascination instead of the fear that many people tended to show. Anu was relieved since this would make her work much easier. "Onyx will lead you where you need to go. Listen carefully to his directions." The small girl nodded, her eyes sparkling in her pale face.

            Onyx flew to the girl's shoulder. Although he acted like a cold-hearted beast he definitely had a soft spot for young children. The rest of the people at the gateway filed through, following the girl with the crow.

            Anu went to see who was crying and was surprised to find a teenage girl who appeared to be around fifteen. The shocking thing, however, was the state she was in. She wore chains of silver and her hair was cut to her ears. She had a vicious wound through her throat that was spilling blood even as she sobbed. Anu stared, transfixed. She'd never seen blood in person. The Land of the Dead had no need of blood, and all of the people she'd met had been whole.

            "What happened?" she asked gently as was her duty. She desperately wanted to get away from the substance that was befouling her home.

            "I-I wasn't supposed to die," the girl sobbed turning bloodshot eyes on Anu. Anu was frightened by the pain and knowledge she saw in those eyes.

            "If that were so you wouldn't be here," she answered confusedly. Most of the people who came here knew that it was their time. Nothing happened outside of the predetermined pattern.

            "But it is so," the girl said sobbing again. Her blood was flowing faster and faster from her body dirtying the land and making Anu want to run. She couldn't run, though. It was her duty to stay with the girl and watch over her. She stepped toward the girl, immersing her bare feet in blood. When she finally reached the girl she sat down next to her and gently took her in her arms, offering what little comfort she could give.

            "Shh," she whispered not so much to quiet the girl's sobbing as to let her know she was there. She sat there for what seemed like an eternity doing all she could do to soothe the girl before she felt her suddenly go limp in her arms. She recognized it for what it was but was confused by its presence here. Death had never before come to a person in the Land.

            She gently laid the body down and went to the gateway not noticing the blood that covered her own body. She looked for the girl's spirit, but it wasn't there. Where had it gone if not to the Land? There was no other place that she knew of. She went back to where the girl's body lay but found nothing but a small sapling in the place. The only evidence that anything had ever happened was the blood that covered her body.

A/n: Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. Please review!