G of S – Prelude –

The scream reached high into the air as the mass of burning rubble fell to the crackling floor. The young child looked in horror as she was cut off from the rest of her family. The heat scorched at her hair and the smoke burned her lungs after every breath. She gave out a gagging cough after her scream and backed away as the framing of a nearby wall burst into flames. She watched with terror as the flames rose up and blocked out the desperate gaze of her mother who suffered on the side of the flaming rubble. The blaze hissed at her, and she covered her long sensitive ears; the heat destroyed her tears before they ran down to her chin.

With the hideous smell of burning all around her, she turned and ran through the hall with tired and flesh-burnt feet. Making it to her room, where she had originally awoken to this nightmare, she slammed the door as if it'd keep the flames out. She moved away from the door cautiously and grabbed one of her stuffed animals. She held it closely as the heat of the room increased and flames began to enter her domain of childhood pleasure. It all was soon after she had entered, that the flames began spreading from under her door, and a terrifying red glow began to engulf things again. She moved over to her window and forced the frame open, it was there that she hoped to be seen or saved, but only more horror came to her watering gaze. Panic and chaos roamed the streets as if it were its own kingdom. Flames, explosions, and disaster sprang up at every corner and the sky was filthy gray till the horizon, though it was hard to see past the skyscrapers that were collapsing like rotted wood. The dirty world made of metal and concrete was upon its final hour.

An explosion came from behind the child and she was struck against the framing before her tired body plummeted towards the crumbling concrete. As she fell, the grey and ash turned to a soft white and petals that floated gently in the air. Her body slowly felt weightless and she landed softly on her hands and knees. The white mist slowly dissipated and she was amongst tall grass and flowers, a sight she had only seen in her mother's old story books. The sound of the wind and far off waves had replaced the screams and hissing of flame, she raised her head up and peered around with a stunned look as something new came to her senses. Two figures walked towards her, they were but black silhouettes, yet as they came closer and the mist parted more they became a man and a woman who walked along side each other. Both were finely clothed and the woman held a smaller silk robe over her arm. She wore a handsome smile and the man though not smiling seemed content still. The child had stood but when the pair stopped in front her and the woman stepped forward, she took a step back in fear and fell backward. The woman knelt down and held the child's charred black face. She wiped at the child's cheek with her thumb and wiped away the blackness there, leaving a trail of smooth skin. There was something very soft and gentle about the woman's touch that made the fear in the child slowly die away and more awe took its place. The woman cleaned the child's face wit her long sleeve and then helped her into the untarnished robe. She whispered softly to the child and picked her up, then passed her to the man. The young child gave a small cough, but the man held her close and as they walked away, he said to her, "You shall be Life."

Sirens filled the eternal nights, sounding out emergency to the polluted city. Noise penetrated the thin walls of cardboard and cloth that served as a home deep in the alley for a young child. Shouts and desperate cries echoed everywhere as she crawled out of the mass of scavenged material. It all surrounded her, making her heart beat harder and faster. It had always been loud, but now it seemed that all hell was breaking loose. A group of youths ran by and shouted for her to follow, but when she tried to scramble to her feet she tripped on the uneven surface and fell forward upon the hard pavement that was painted with filth and grime. She got herself up quickly and hid her scrapped hands in the large pocket of her tattered sweater. The group was gone, but she desperately tried to follow the way they had gone.

Gunshots and shouts echoed into the alleyway again, but she kept going on. She didn't want to be alone as the world crumbled around her. She began into a full out run towards the end of the alley, a burning barrel visible on the other side, one of the few sources of light other than random flashes here and there. She was almost there when the shadow fell upon her, striking her into a deeper fear. All she wanted to do was scream out, but as she stopped and staggered back, nothing came out of her open mouth. It felt as if she had been muter, her throat so tight she could barely even breathe. A man in a grey suit turned his masked face towards her and a group of twenty or so men jogged past him, with their guns securely in the nook on their elbow and side. Another one stopped with the first and they both advanced slowly into the alley. One's hand rose up and pointed at the bewildered child. They spoke briefly to one another, but she couldn't understand any of their muffled speech. She took a few more steps back, her heart pounding painfully fast in her chest as the one soldier raised his gun up and aimed at her. She had no time to turn or run; the sound echoed in her ears and she felt pain radiate in her but just as fast she went numb. The next thing she knew was that she was falling backwards and jerked as her shoulders hit the ground under a shallow puddle.

She closed her eyes and let everything go dark, but as she opened her eyes again she could see air bubbles rising up in the darkness, and her body felt almost weightless as she sank in the clear water. She turned her body in the water and her tired eyes found an approaching light in the deep blue. As the light surrounded her, she felt the sudden touch of wet sand on her fingers. The light dissipated like a low mist that invaded even the water, but as it left so did the water. She found herself on a white sand beach, the waves still brushing up on her legs as the water dripped off the rest of her. She raised her head a bit more and looked around; it was a sight she had only seen once in a movie. She looked in awe, the sound of sirens had been replaced by the sound of waves and the marching feet had been replaced by the wind in the distant grasses. Even the smell was different, filth and dirt replaced by fresh air. She found in the distance two figures walking along the sand towards her. The mist departed more and it was visible that it was a man and a woman, both finely clothed, who walked side by side. As they came closer the child curled up on the sand and hid her head in her arms.

The next thing she knew was the man's gentle touch on her shoulder. She looked up slowly to a warm smile and a glimmer in his eyes. With such ease he sat her up and touched her stomach, wiping away the blood and abrasion there. As the man continued smiling, the terror gradually faded away and was replaced with wonderment. He cleaned her hands as well with his long sleeve and then wrapped her in a warm silk robe. He hummed gently for her and lifted her up into his arms then passed her to the woman. The young child gave a shiver, but the woman held her close and as they walked away she looked down comfortingly to the child and said to her, "You shall be Death."