Every day was the same thing. He'd roll out of bed and taste the thick morning air before casually making his way to the pool of water conveniently located a few steps away. A good quick jolt from freezing cold water: there was no better was to wake up, he thought. He would sit there for a minute or two, admiring himself in the reflection before moving on out into the reddish glow of morning. John would spend the rest of the morning hunting and eventually make his way into town: perfection in repetition.
Something was different this morning. He picked and chose his way through the forest like usual, the branches scraping at his arms as he passed as if begging him to take them with him. He stopped to watch as a small critter scurried away through the underbrush. All around the wood were alive. The brown leaves on the ground jumped and crackled with each step, the thick trunks of the trees creaked and moaned in the breeze. He could see the town. The thatched roofline began to poke its way through the tree line ahead and as he grew closer he could hear the bustle and movement of the everyday commotion of the quaint market place.
It was a small and rather crowded place, much smaller in comparison to the expanse of woods bordering it. Traders would come from all around the surrounding area to peddle their wares. Every so often a bard or city merchant would wander into town but not often.
He wandered into town taking his time to browse the day's catches and finds. He loved getting lost in the bustle and movement of the market. He wasn't here to get anything or trade anything, he just liked to watch.
A scream ripped through the market place. All eyes where glued on one poor woman. She fell to her knees gripping the base of her hair. Another scream jumped out of her throat as she writhed on the ground. Another one was going feral. Most everyone in the market had seen someone go feral before and those who hadn't, were lucky. She let out one more scream as she kicked and spit, lashing out at an invisible foe before suddenly falling silent, laying there in a heap on the dirt road. The crowd watched intensly, waiting for her to move again. It was some time before she would, rising again to her feet.
The feral stood, surrounded by a ring of bystanders. Tension so thick you could cut it with a knife encompassethe scene. Every eye watched wearily hoping and wishing for it all to be over. The feral turned, her now gnarled expression sweeping the croud like a savage beast scoping out a prey. It was one man who decided to move first. He burst from the crowd hailing a stick above his head and charged the feral. Before he could think to react his attack was halted.
She lunged towards the man, taking him by surprise. Panicked the man swiped at his attacker as she slammed her mouth down on his shoulder. His face wrenched in agony and fear as she pushed him to the ground. Bits and chunks flew as she ravaged the poor man. In a sudden uproar of commosion the small town exploded into panic. Merchants and townspeople alike scattered. As John watched through the chaos he could see the feral raise her head to the sky, letting out a terrifying growl. She had killed her first; hopefully her last.
Something in the sky had caught her attention. The feral stood there over her kill, paralyzed. Millions of tiny red stars where falling slowly from the sky. All around the crowd the stars fell, landing wherever they please and gracing every other upturned face with a second of red light before the light fading into a black flake. No one could move. Wide spread awe swept the town as they stared open mouthed at the sky as it fell slowly around them.
Justin walked down the street in a bit of a slumped stagger. It'd been days since he'd been able to see straight and at least a few hours since he slipped into yet another alchohol-induced coma. Slowly moving his way through the streets of New York city, picking his way through the rain and biting cold, he walked aimlessly through the night. Night, day, there really was no difference anymore. Since he'd lost his wife and two kids he'd stopped noticing.
His life was in a bottle of liqour now. He had no home anymore. The fire had taken everything.
"I'm sorry, we just couldn't get there in time" they'd said. Sure, the insurance money on all of them would have been more than enough to keep him alive and happy. He couldn't have cared though. The investigation had shown that it had been arson and after all things said and done the one responsible was put to justice. That would have helped too, but he couldn't have cared less. His friends, the church, work, they'd all tried to console him. They'd bring him cards and flowers and things, he'd smile and accept the gifts and say how he was feeling better already. Nothing helped. They where gone and nothing could change that.
Before Justin had been an executive for some big corporation. "The Soap King" they called him having brought the retail market for care products up since his hire. He'd married young to the startlingly beautifull Helen and had two wonderfull children; a boy and girl, the american dream. Amazing how a single deranged mind could trash a lifetime of acheivment.
He had met the one that broke his life into pieces. He was on a comecial shoot in Time Square when he met him. The man was tall and thin with thoughtfull eyes: harmless as a fly by the looks of it. He just happened to be walking by during the shoot and Justin just happened to greet him. The man smiled and smiled for the camera. He had looked Justin over before muttering his blessing and walking on like nothing happened.
"I'll set you free from all this" the man had said. I'll set you free.
Justin looked around abruptly. He'd been walking for at least an hour now without any direction. As he stopped to look around he couldn't remember getting there. He was standing on grass. All around was grass and trees. Where in New York where grass and trees. He traced the skyline, trying to find a building he noticed. No buildings. Where was he. All around where gravestones, each carved in a different shape from the last sticking from the ground like worn teeth in a ragged mouth. Around the edge marched a metal fence, its tips fiercly jutting into the dark. He suddenly felt uneasy. He could hear footsteps.
Ripped from his drunken haze he whipped around sharply. His eyes strained against his own distorted preception. He could hear the steps coming closer. He couldn't tell why he was scared but he was. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. A frigure broke into the clearing walking at a slow and haunting pace, swaying as it advanced. Sweat broke from his skin to match his fevered mindset as the shrouded shape advanced. Confused and now thoroughly affraid he stared as the figure approached.
"I'll set you free from all this."