I

"Never be seen by an Upperworlder, or all is lost for UnGarhd."

The Book of Wisdom

The end of the world as he knew it was swiftly approaching the oblivious fifteen-year old boy as he stood on the street corner and deftly glanced right and left before stepping off the curb. A car did not hit him, he was not involved in the immediate accident following his sure stride across the busy intersection, but he was witness to the all of the above and more. He was the first of the upperworlders to sight an underworlder. He glimpsed a whisk of her scarlet coat and the brief muttering of the strange woman as she touched the injured man on his broken femur and then hurried away. He would not have noticed her had the injured man not been his uncle, but something about her struck him as odd and he had never seen her before in his life. He skidded to a halt, kneeling beside his uncle. Panting, he questioned him.

"Uncle Tony are you all right?"

"Yes Haemon, I'm fine."

"Who was that?" Haemon asked referring to the woman.

"I don't know."

"What did she say to you?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? She spoke to you didn't she?"

"Yes, but I couldn't understand her. She wasn't speaking English."

"What was she speaking?"

"I have no idea, I've never heard anything like it before in my life."

"Okay, stay here and wait for the ambulances, I want you to let them take you to the hospital and examine you. Your leg looks like it's broken.

Haemon leaped up and attempted to pursue the strange woman who had spoken to his uncle. There was just something too strange about her, but in its oddity familiar some how. She wasn't like them; she seemed so out of place in the street and in the crowd, like she had never interacted with other humans before in her life. He ran, pushing past people and stumbling on the icy sidewalk. She was walking quickly, very quickly and Haemon felt that he couldn't ever catch up with her, until she turned down a dead end alley. Haemon followed the scarlet clad woman until she stopped dead and turned around.

Her eyes were scarlet, the same color as her long winter coat and as she glared at him, Haemon realized that the coat was not ordinary, but rather woven of some fabric Haemon had never seen before. It shimmered and seemed to be almost weightless as it floated around the woman's thin frame. Her hair was an oriental black, that curled and wisped in long locks against her face, which was almost white in its palor, and her sharp features only added to her immense beauty. Haemon stared at her height, she seemed to be about six feet tall and her wondrous beauty, but not for long as he felt the woman's scarlet eyes burning into his soul.

He looked her into her eyes and she held him immobile with her gaze. Then she muttered something beneath her breath and Haemon cried out as a freezing cold invaded his body, stiffening his limbs and making impossible to move.

Then she turned and disappeared behind the dumpster at the end of the alley.

"Wait, what did you do to me?" Screamed Haemon after her, struggling to free himself from the binding cold. "Come back!"