"What's happening?"

"Hell's freezing over."

"For real?"

"For fucking real."

"But if that happens, we'll all-"

"Die? Yes Edward, I know."

"It's Edwin."


"So, can we stop it?"


"And you want me to take care of the job."


"what shall I do?"

"Find me..... this girl."

The troll took the tiny portrait between his claws and looked at it. "What'll she do?" he asked, only to receive a jarring whack on the head.

"That's no concern of yours. Find her. Alive. Unscathed. Unscratched. All of hell just might depend on it."


"Stupid kid! Do you think money grows off trees?"

"No mother."

"Huh." The woman was fat. Bulging in all areas, with pale, dry skin, gaping, black, rotting teeth, and a tangle of died platinum blonde hair. It was no secret she sold herself. It was even less of a secret that the profession had gotten her a daughter and cost her a pimp.
The woman's daughter, Sedona was her name, was currently changing. She didn't have many clothes. She just pulled on black boots, black jeans, and a sweatshirt with a touque. She wore the black because black absorbed heat better than coulours, and helped her fade into the backround. She wore no make-up except for eyeliner and clear gloss. And she kept her hands in bandages constantly. Well, her wrists anyways.
School was the same. A blur of reading in the back of a classroom. A few leering glances. Some wary glares. A couple of jealous scans at her thin frame. For she was thin. Strong and tough. But thin. Her face. Solemn and narrow. Her nose. Narrow, and turned up. Her eyes were like soft, dark green velvet. And her hair, a rich, deep red, was cut as short as a boys.
She avoided the eyes of everyone she passed, and read almost constantly. Nobody noticed the girl in black. Except when they whispered behind their fingers. Like she couldn't hear.

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

"Do you think she's whoring too?"


"Do you see the way guys look at her? Do they even know what she is?"


"I'll bet you anything she's selling more than jewelry up in that trailer of hers."



"I'm never going to end up like that."

"Probably does stuff for teachers, too."

Stepping out of school made her feel like she'd just been released. All she could feel was sun and soft wind. All she could smell was rich, wet dirt, sweet, fresh-cut grass, and car exhaust. All she could hear was the patter of feet, the murmur of voices, and all she could see were colours. She was out for the summer. She laughed to herself, jogged down the street, and dug out her camera.
She loved to capture moments like these, when everything just made her feel like she's been filled up with light. She captured the tears of a weeping willow, the strength of a redwood, the quiet homeliness of a Cedar. She saw children and captured them captured the essence of their souls and froze it, and took it, for just a moment, just long enough to put it down, down into an empty place in her heart.
She went through the park, captured the jabbering of squirrels, a shy raccoon, the contentment and achingly simple lives of birds. The rest of a butterfly in a pollen heavy flower.
Then she saw him. Mid-jump, she captured him, rollerblades, shirtless- torso, arched, poised body, arms widespread. Free. He was so ridiculously free. And then he landed again. And he was normal. Normal again. But for just a moment, in the air, it had seemed like all the world would bow to him, as if he were the king of the sky, and there was no such thing as the words discrimination, or hate.
He skated off, and she walked, slowly, dreamily to her Uncle's house. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment above his store. Which sold art, It was pretty much a gallery. She blew him a kiss and headed straight for the darkroom.
As the pictures began to develop, she started to feel a warm glow inside. And soon it spread to her limbs. It was familiar, but it still made her feel just as wonderful every time. She paused at the one of the air- born boy. She saw that he wore no helmet, but had black hair, worn too long and too loose, down to his ears, with straight bangs falling into his eyes. A torso that looked as if it would melt on your tongue, but not so buff as to make you fear you'd choke on it. And though his eyes were closed, she knew that there was still a window to his soul.
Sighing, she continued on. Never stopping to rest until she had done every last one.
And by then she was simply drifting away.....


Rhys Emerson was part human part dark angel. He liked that aspect. Partially because it made killing people 45% more guilt-free than your average mortal's rate. And also because it gave him skills. Rhys followed no one. Rhys sometimes did work for the dark side. And sometimes for the light side. He worked for no one but himself.
But he was good. He graduated first out of his apprenticeship as an assassin. And he had been the youngest apprentice. He knew things that chilled mere mortals to the bone, and petrified demons in panty-soiling fear. He'd done things and seen things that no true human being could withstand or live to tell tales about. Or if they did live, not have the sanity to do so. Many called him a sociopath. Which he wasn't. the truth was, the only effect his experiences had had on him were to give him a knowledge and wisdom far beyond his true age. And rob him of half his sanity. People said he was a Shifter. That he had two shapes. The rumor was that he was a dragon of some sort. This is partially because of the black scar of a dragon on his back. Visible only to eyes that sought it. But other said he was much too refined to be a dragon.
All in all, he was a complete individual with multiple talents in the art of killing. And, when someone wanted something done. Something good, he was prepared to do it. Just not this.



"I'm not going to take some girl to hell."

"We need her, Rhys, we desperately do." He whispered. `
"It's not my problem."

"Is two billion good?"

"No. And that's not why I won't."

"Then why?" asked the troll, exasperated.

"Because it's wrong." He said calmly.

"Okay at least get her to Hell's On-Land base. The white house."

"Fuck it Edwin," said Rhys, still completely emotionless.

"I've wasted five good years of my life doing jobs for you, more important jobs than taking some kid to hell. I'm not planning on being an assassin forever. I'm doing school, going to college. Getting a job." Rhys said quietly.

"Do you want money? How about three billion?" asked the troll anxiously.

"What's so important about her anyways?" he asked.

"She's the only one who can save hell. And that's not hell. Think of what the heavens will do."

"Well, shit." Said Rhys. He sighed. All he wanted was to sit down and write and drink coffee and write and drink coffee.

"Please, Rhys."

"Go home Edwin." He snapped, "Find someone else."

"Alright." Whispered the troll, but he was shaking. Surely Master would kill him for this. Surely he would kill him.
Rhys walked him out and closed the door behind him. He took a beer from the table, pressed it to his forehead, and proceeded to guzzle, smacking his lips in pure ecstasy, he looked to the file on the table.
He flipped it open, read through it quickly. She was his age. Even worse. Hmm, trailer park, not so rich, are we? Still in school, lucky bitch. Photography. Interesting. Very interesting indeed.
He gazed for a moment at the silver cross hanging over his bed. Think of what the Heavens will do. He didn't need to think hard. They'd probably kill the poor little bitch. For the good of the world. She was in for quite a ride. And besides, chances are she wouldn't be able to save hell, for moral reasons.
He pulled on a long black leather jacket, some black boots, a pair of loose, comfortable black jeans, and an old sleeveless black t-shirt. Even under a black touque, his hair spilled out from underneath. Possibly the brightest thing on him were his eyes. A bright, burning amber.

"Who's this guy?" asked my Uncle curiously. He was a tall, dark haired man with a salt and pepper beard and bright blue eyes.
"I don't know, but he doesn't look human. Just....Free." she said. She ran her index finger over the glossy photo. "I knew I needed to capture him. His face is so haunted, and deep."
"I could sell this for good money." Said her Uncle.
"Could you?" she asked. While excitement filled her, she felt reluctant and sad at the same time. She did not want the picture to go to people who couldn't appreciate it for what it truly was.
As her Uncle drifted away, she went to sit by the window. There wasn't anything for her. Not one thing. She watched people run their errands. They did this every day. All year long. The sky was gray. The streets were gray. Their clothes were gray. They were trying to be human beings, individual, when they were all clones. They weren't trying near hard enough to be different. Not near hard enough.
The day wasn't so nice on the way home. She watched them go by. She went on. How she ached. Then she had to go home and clean and cook. And then she had to babysit. And buy more film for her camera. And she had to check the ads for another job. And she had to put her name on the volunteer list. And she had to do her English Report and study for her French oral exam and then do her math, and study for a history test. Oh dear god.
She turned around. Behind her was a man. He was tall, muscled, blonde, and his skin had a sort of eerie gray quality to it. He glared at her. And her heart jumped. He had yellow cat-eyes.
"Hey girly." He whispered.
Too petrified to shriek, all she could do was stare and whimper. As he reached for her, she darted out of his grasp and took off down the road.
"Come back, girly!" He cried, "You can run but you can't hide!"
Her heart beat deep in her chest as she ran. Who was he? What did he want? Where was he from? Why did he want her? She kept on running, only to run into a broad chest and fall down on her rear. Hard. This monster was the same as the other, except it had short curly red hair.
"Where're ya going girly?" he whispered. "Huh? Huh?"
She shrieked and went on, spotted another one, and turned into an alley. She had to be careful now. She tiptoed through the dark place, trying to look inconspicuous. One mistake, that's all it would take, just one-
"Eek!" one arm had muted her, the other was around her waist. It pulled her into the shadows, and though she wriggled to get free, it held fast. She noticed, though, that this person was smaller, but still large to her, tanned, from what she could see. Clean. Musled, firm and lean and tough were the adjectives she matched to the body hers was pressed into. She felt his breath tickle her ear as he whispered. The voice was a cold tenor, and completely calm as well as emotionless.
"I'm not going to hurt you. I just have to ask you a few questions is what. You nod once for yes, twice for no, affirmative?"
She nodded once.
"Those people chasing you, were there more than two?" he asked.
She nodded again.
"Were they human?"
She nodded twice.
"Shit." Came the oath. His iron grip around her waist loosened a bit.
"Alright, sweetheart, I'm going to let you go, but if you don't want to turn this into anything more hazardous than it already is, you'll do exactly as I say, you got that?"
She nodded once. And he let her go. As soon as she was free, she whirled around to look her captor in the face. And was greeted with a flash of shock, then slight apprehension.
The boy from the skatepark.