Prologue

Stone Angel

The stone angels stared across the cemetery with emotionless eyes, the wings protruding almost grotesquely from the intricately carved backs of the inhuman statues. Protecting the dead seemed a pointless task yet the look of the angel's faces seemed to indicate otherwise. No one knew where the three angels came from, they'd been placed in a triangle around the cemetery literally overnight. No one claimed to know where the angels came from, some said they were a sign from God Himself, but not many followed the theory up. Most followed the more logical theory of some person finding the angels or perhaps carving them and leaving them in the cememtery in hopes of watching over the dead.

As Angel Aquarelle used the cemetery as a shortcut to the high school each morning, she always got a good look at the angels overlooking the yard of graves. It seemed a sick joke to her that she should be named after these disgusting, stone creatures, with a human body, holy soul, and bird-like wings. Their faces showed no sign of emotion, as did Angel's herself. In some ways she seemed alike to the creatures, never showing any emotion around anyone under any circumstances. Was there ever a point in letting people know what you were thinking? They didn't care so Angel didn't either. She hid her feelings inside herself and never let anyone know what she was thinking.

As Angel approached the tall, sturdy figure at the gate of the cemetery, she swept her thick, red chestnut hair into a ponytail at the top of her head. The figure cleared among the fog revealing Angel's best and only friend Rider Xaxone. Tall and strong, Rider was not feared, but respected at the high school. His beard was growing thick and he held it in two little braids that went just past his chin. His blond hair went down his back, held in a loose ponytail at the base of his neck.

Looking like a serial killer in a horror movie, Rider stood in an ankle-length black trench coat, open enough to reveal a black shirt with a bloody, laughing skull printed on it. His pants were long and baggy, torn at the bottoms from the many mornings of walking across the gravel roads to the school. He smiled despite his threatening posture. Angel smiled back, her sea green eyes sparkling as they always did when she saw Rider.

"Hey, Angel," Rider said in his gruff, gravelly voice. Angel nodded to him instead of saying hello. She didn't play the whole "Goth" look, she just wore what she wanted to wear, which was, today, tight blue jeans and a black hoodie that made her eyes brighter. Many said that Angel dressed as though she were still in fourth grade, and maybe she did, but she didn't care what they thought of her. She didn't care enough to buy pants that cost over fifty bucks and shirts that hardly fit. Rider spent a fortune on his clothes despite the fact he said he didn't care what others thought of his style. Angel felt he was following the crowd, but she rarely brought that up anymore.

"No homework due today, I hope," Angel said softly. Her voice was always soft, forever a whisper tingling at Rider's ear, always heard and never forgotten. "I didn't do anything last night." Except dream, she thought to herself. Yes, Angel dreamed all the time. Dreams of the dead coming to life before her eyes, their spirits dancing to silent music--music of the dead.

"No homework," Rider confirmed. Angel nodded, not commenting any further. She never spoke more than she had to. If questioned she answered, if spoken to, she might reply, depending on the person speaking. "We do have a project due tomorrow though. The English essay." Angel knew this already, English was her best subject. She wrote as often as she could, mostly poems. The teachers at her school said Angel was morbid, but she believed she just reached the part of life, or death depending on how you looked at it, that many didn't even know of.

The high school wasn't far from the small cemetery, Rider and Angel made it within twenty minutes. Only a few minutes early as usual. They went straight to their lockers instead of waiting for the bell and said good-bye as they departed to their seperate classes. The two hadn't been lucky enough to get identical schedules. In fact, they had only three classes together--Arithmetic, English, and Latin. Angel loved learning about dead languages, Latin being her favorite.

By lunch, Angel was ready to fall asleep. She hadn't gotten much sleep last night, falling into her bed at quarter past two in the morning, and had woken up much too early. To her dismay, they weren't selling a very appetizing lunch and she hadn't brought her own.

"I'll share with you," Rider offered handing Angel his apple. Angel shook her head and lay her head on the table. She glimpsed her watch, one minute to one o' clock. Only a few more hours left and she could go home and sleep all she wanted. Angel closed her eyes to take a nap for the remaining half hour of lunch.

The moment her eyes closed she heard the loud beep of her watch announcing the change of hours, it was one o' clock. The very moment her watch beeped, a loud chorus of screams filled her ears. Angel's head snapped up and she spun around to see what was happening. The screams continued on, loud and clear--fear, horror, terror so clearly illustrated in each indvidual voice.

Angel knew immedietly she wasn't in the cafeteria. She was staring straight into the stony eyes of the first Stone Angel, the one on the far left of the cemetery, overlooking the oldest graves. Angel screamed in terror. She wasn't sure why, the Stone Angel didn't do anything--just forever staring...staring with its eyes, unseeing eyes. Could it see when it was made of stone? It seemed to see Angel in front of it. She couldn't stand it any longer, Angel spun around only to meet the middle Stone Angel. The second Angel. Staring just as its sister had. Angel screamed again, her head pounding with confusion. Why was the sky suddenly a rusty brown? Why was the grass under her feet dead and yellow? What was she doing in the cemetery.

As she turned a third time she could have predicted what would be there--but instead of seeing the third Stone Angel, she saw Rider. Rider walking through the cemetery alone, his hands in the pockets of his black trench coat. He seemed to have no reason of being there, he was just strolling around. Angel ran to Rider without looking anywhere else for fear he would disappear. She put her hand on his shoulder and the other on his chest to turn him around.

Her hand touched something warm and sticky. Angel gasped and immedietly wrenched her hand away. She stared into Rider's eyes and found herself staring into stony eyes. Rider's eyes--the Stone Angels' eyes. She could no longer tell the difference. Rider's chest was covered in the warm, sticky substance. Something crimson...something that smelled of...blood. A knife protruding from the middle of her best friend's chest. Angel screamed covered her eyes.

"Rider!" Angel screamed louder than she'd ever screamed before. She sat up as quickly as she could and found herself in the cafeteria. Rider turned toward her and looked at her strangely. "Rider?" Angel whispered. His chest was clear, no knife, no blood. His eyes, still the same piercing blue they had always been. "Was I talking in my sleep?" she decided to ask.

"You were muttering something, but nothing I could understand," Rider said shrugging, "You weren't very loud anyway." Angel nodded and lay her head back down. She looked at her watch. One o' clock. She hadn't even been asleep a minute, but that dream had felt like an eternity.

That night Angel couldn't sleep. She sat on her bed writing poetry. Unable to think of anything else to do, Angel got up to get something to drink. For some reason writing made her very thirsty. She glanced at the clock before leaving her room. It was only twelve forty-five, quarter to one in the morning, she would start worrying about sleep when it turned two or three. When it got to that hour, Angel decided it would be best to stay up the rest of the night or she'd fall asleep and sleep in then be late.

She grabbed a glass of water from the kitchen and looked out the kitchen window at the cemetery. She quickly gulped the water down and snuck out the back door to the cemetery. What possessed Angel to do this she did not know, it was actually a normal thing for her to do. The cemetery in the middle of the night inspired Angel when it came to her poems. She would sit next to the gravestone of her best friend...her best friend before Rider had come along. Her name had been Lillian Evalyne.

When Lillian turned fifteen, she was brutally murdered in the cemetery. The next morning she'd been found dead, leaning against the first Stone Angel. Her wrists had been bound to the Angel's wrists, her neck tied to the Angel's, the back of her head held painfully close to the Angel's intricately carved face. A spear wound in her side, the nails that held her ankles and wrists to the Angels', and the crown of thorns on her head told investigators someone had tried to mimic Jesus' crucification. Lillian's death had been hard on everyone, especially when no one had found out who'd killed her.

To this day, Lillian's killer was still supposedly free. The thought that the man or woman who'd ruined her best friend was still alive and free made Angel physically sick. That and the memory of being the first to find Lillian nailed to the Stone Angel. She remembered that morning very clearly, the screams and tears, the police and ambulance. She even remembered meeting Rider that day. He'd come as the police chief's son for Bring Your Son To Work Day. What a day to bring your son to work, Rider had said when told to comfort Angel.

When this only made Angel cry harder, Rider forgot about his nerves and held Angel until she stopped momentarily, then cried more. Angel thought she'd never see Rider again after that, she'd forced him to hold a hysterical stranger and then never even asked his name. Yet daily he would ask her if she was alright, if things were going well, if she ever needed anything he was there for her. Angel began to think of Rider as her rock, and he loved being her rock. They stayed best friends from the time they met and knew they'd be best friends as long as they lived.

Angel sat next to Lillian's grave and let her tears of sadness for Lillian's cruel departure from this world, and tears of gratitude for helping introduce her to Rider. Angel leaned her head against the headstone and closed her eyes for a moment. But the moment she closed her eyes, she felt a familiar sensation come over her...

Please review to this story! It's a short one, only four more chapters including the epilogue!