A/N This was written from a dream that my friend Getuie had a few days ago (read her work, it's really good!). Please review, whether you like it or dislike it - we authors love reviews!

Disclaimer: any characters and events depicted herein are fictitious and similarity to actual persons living or dead is coincidental.

The thirty young men and women shuffled out of the wide lift, tense and unsure of themselves. Saskia exchanged a troubled look with her best friend Ryan, not noticing the doors behind them slide shut without a sound. He looked as anxious as she felt. The last thing she remembered was sitting with him in the community centre their youth group used each week, watching others play pool and idly discussing the events of the past few days. Then... nothing, until the lift doors opened and she was here... wherever this place was. About the only thing she knew for sure was that they were underground.

Saskia glanced round as the group began to explore their surroundings. She and her friends stood in an enormous chamber, its smooth sandy-brown walls broken on two sides by several doorways. These, they discovered, led into smaller, hexagonal rooms. Mattresses lined the walls, evidently meant for sleeping on. In the centre of the chamber was a walled garden, with many kinds of tropical ferns and palm trees that filled the air with their fragrance.

"Hey, Saskia," called Ryan, "come here a minute." Saskia joined her friend by the lift doors, curious as to what held his attention. "What do you make of this?" he asked, gesturing at the garden wall in front of them. She looked, her eyes narrowing in surprise. Blood-red letters in a script she didn't understand played ominously across the wall's sandy-brown surface, fading in and out seemingly at random.

"Weird," she said.

"Yeah, isn't it just," replied Ryan, stepping forward to examine the wall. It was completely smooth, with no indication of what caused the lettering to appear. "This whole place gives me the creeps."

"That's the understatement of the year! Where do you think we are?"

Ryan scratched his head. "No idea whatsoever. I can't remember a thing about how we got here."

"Me neither," said Saskia, turning to look at her friend. "Perhaps this is some kind of hush-hush government thing. You know, top secret research and all that."

"You reckon?" said Ryan, his eyebrows rising in disbelief.

His friend shrugged uneasily. "Why not?" she asked. "Makes more sense than anything else I can think of."

Ryan bit his lip. "I suppose so... but what does the government want with a random bunch of 15-25 year olds?"

"I guess we'll have to wait and see, won't we?" Saskia shivered as she moved her gaze back to the wall. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, when the xeno-archaeologist activates the billion-year-old alien device. Saskia blinked as the writing shifted again. What the hell?! Her forehead creased in puzzlement, a tendril of icy fear worming its way down her spine. Did she just imagine it? "Ryan?"

"Hmm?"

"Did you see that?"

"See what?"

"The letters... I could read them just then."

Ryan gave her a curious look. "What did they say?" he asked.

"'Your time has come'," she replied, not taking her eyes off the wall.

"You sure? I didn't see a thing, just the same meaningless symbols."

Saskia shook her head. "No, I'm not sure, that's why I asked you if you saw the same. The letters just rearranged themselves into meaningful words for a moment then changed again just as I registered what they were saying." She took a sudden breath, her pulse jolting as adrenaline surged through her body. "Look! There it is again, 'Your time has come.'"

Ryan frowned. Nothing. I see nothing. "Saskia, I don't see anything."

Saskia glanced sharply at her friend. "I'm not making this up," she stated, grimacing. "It's not exactly the most comforting message."

"Hey, I never said you were!" he protested, raising both hands in a placating gesture. "All I'm saying is that I didn't see it, okay?" He paused, his eyes going vacant as he concentrated in thought. His eyes snapped back into focus, and he looked round. "Hey! Amy!" he called to a pretty fifteen-year-old brunette, the youngest of the group. He pointed to the wall as she joined them. "Saskia can read some of these words."

"Really?" said Amy, her eyes wide as she turned to Saskia. "You can understand that stuff?"

"No," explained Saskia, "the letters changed into English very briefly. Twice now, in fact."

"What did they say?"

"'Your time has come.'"

"You're kidding! What do you think it means?"

"I don't know, but I don't like the implications of the message."

"That's why I called you over, Amy." said Ryan, drawing the girl's attention back to himself, "What I'd like you to do is watch with Saskia and see if you can read the words when she does."

"Erm, sure," replied the teenager, a little hesitantly. "You just want me to watch the wall?"

"Yeah, please. I've tried myself, without success. We want to see whether anyone else can see English words."

"Okay."

- - - - 0 - - - -

Saskia took a deep breath to steady herself before speaking, but was unable to hide the edge of fear from her voice. "There. 'Your time has come.' That's the third time."

"Amy?" asked Ryan, turning to the teenager. She shook her head. "No, it's still all meaningless to me," she said, running a hand through her hair. "Sorry, guys."

"That's okay," Ryan reassured her. "It seems you might be the only one who can see the words when they become readable, Saskia."

"Great," said Saskia grimly. "So what do you think it means, 'Your time has come'? Is that good or bad? It sounds pretty ominous to me! And is the message for all of us, or just me? And who the hell is telling me/us this?" Her voice rose as she rattled off the questions.

"Easy, Saskia" said Ryan soothingly. Boy, she sure is agitated. I suppose I would be, too, in her place. Beats me what to do about it though.

"Easy?!" she retorted, her eyes flashing. "That's fine for you to say! You're not the one who's being told 'your time has come'!"

"We have no idea what that means, if it means anything at all!" Ryan shot back. "So just calm down, will you?" He locked eyes with her, then flicked them across pointedly. She got the message. You need to be strong for the sake of the younger ones, like Amy here. The fifteen-year-old was watching them both with anxious eyes. Saskia nodded hesitantly in understanding and straightened her shoulders. Be calm. Be strong. But inside she quaked, the fear a nagging, gnawing sensation in her stomach.

"So, what now?" she asked, managing to prevent her voice from trembling.

"Well," answered Ryan, "there's not a lot we can do just standing here. I'm going to get some of the guys together and make a more detailed examination of this place, as it looks like we might be spending some time here." He smiled wryly. "I hope whoever brought us here gives us some food and stuff. I was late for youth group and didn't manage to grab any breakfast."

"Me neither." Saskia sighed. "I haven't gone through the garden yet, so I'll have a wander. I've never been into botany, but it should take my mind off this wall. How about you, Amy?"

"I was with Caitlin when Ryan called me; I'll see what she's up to," replied the younger girl. "Can't imagine she'll be doing much, mind you," she added with a small smile.

Despite herself, Saskia chuckled. "No, I guess not. Our present surroundings are hardly bustling with activity, are they!"

- - - - 0 - - - -

Saskia spent half an hour in the garden before she got bored. It was pleasant enough, but plants just didn't interest her to a sufficient degree to keep her attention for long. And, despite her best efforts, she could not relax, even just enough to talk with those around her. Ryan and the others had completed their study of the chamber and its adjoining rooms without uncovering any clues to where they were, or why. The lift doors by which they had entered the chamber were impossible to open from their side, and the featureless sandy-brown walls that made up their surroundings revealed nothing in the way of escape. They were trapped, locked into a strange environment with absolutely no idea of the identity of their captors. No food or drink had been provided, neither had there been any contact with anyone or anything. It was all very unnerving.

For Saskia the fear was even more pointed. No-one else had, as yet, been able to read the blood-red letters. Their sinister message nagged at her, sapping the energy out of her body. Your time has come. That sounds to me like... a death sentence. Since speaking with Ryan and Amy she hadn't looked at the wall. Yet its aura of otherworldliness drew her to itself, calling to her, tugging at her soul. And so, almost without conscious thought, Saskia found herself in front of the shifting lettering, gazing up at the wall's smooth surface with morbid fascination. She immediately regretted it as the message played out again. Your time has come. Gritting her teeth, she began to turn away. Why am I putting myself through this a– The script shifted abruptly, making her gasp.

No one to scream to.

Saskia screamed. "Ryan! Come quickly!" The words changed again.

No one will help you.

Ryan bounded toward her, his face lined with concern. "What's wrong, Saskia?"

She pointed a shaky finger at the wall. "It's saying other stuff..." she whispered. He followed her arm with his eyes and sighed.

"What stuff? I still can't see anything other than the usual gobbledegook."

Saskia took a shuddery breath, striving for control. "N-N-No one to scream to. N-No one will help you," she stammered. Her friend smiled tightly and put an arm round her shoulder.

"I'm here, Saskia," he reassured her. "I'll help you, okay?" Her eyes drifted to the wall again and she screwed them shut with a whimper, burying her head into Ryan's shoulder.

You're all alone, read the wall. Your time has come.

"Come on," said Ryan, leading her gently away.

- - - - 0 - - - -

Evening found Saskia sat against the wall in one of the hexagonal rooms, hugging her legs to her chest. I'm going to die. Images played through her mind, her imagination running wild with possibilities. Maybe she would be shot. Or drowned. Or stabbed to death. Fear formed a hard, cold knot in her stomach, made worse by her hunger, and she moaned, clenching her jaw hard in an effort to push the thoughts away. Be strong, Saskia. The memory of Ryan's calm voice and strong arms around her broke through her turmoil, and she clung to it like a child to her teddy bear. We must be strong, for the younger ones. He had gazed into her eyes with tenderness and compassion, but his kind face had held more than a hint of underlying fear. He's scared too, she had realised, but he hides it so he can help the others. Which is what I should be doing.

Don't be a wimp, girl. Saskia shook herself, blinking tears away, as Amy entered the room. Noting the girl's grim expression, Saskia felt her heart sink anew. She gulped air, fighting valiantly to project a calm she didn't feel as Amy knelt beside her. Something's wrong. She's too quiet. "What's happened?" she asked the youngster.

"Ryan told me to tell you that he can read the writing, and he's sorry he couldn't tell you himself. Ryan said you'd understand."

Saskia stared at Amy in disbelief. "Where is he now?" she whispered, her face white. If he can read the writing, then...

"He's with Vincent, trying to calm him down after he flipped out. Suddenly went crazy, was screaming and beating the lift doors and stuff. This place is creeping us all out – he was just the first to snap." The girl hesitated, her grey eyes troubled, and put a hand on Saskia's arm. "Sorry if this is a private thing between you two, but why did Ryan say you'd understand? Understand what? Is it about the wall, why some can read it and others can't?" she questioned.

Saskia closed her eyes, her emotional defenses beginning to crumble. That's typical of Ryan. He's the main one who's been holding us together so far, and is still doing so even when he's the one in danger. The silence stretched out in the wake of Amy's questions, and the older girl opened her eyes, smiling tightly in apology.

"Sorry, Amy," she murmured, fighting to maintain a pretense of calm. "It's just..." She turned to her, her eyes filling anew with tears. "You heard what I read the first time, right?"

"Yeah, something about 'your time has come'." The teenager's eyes widened as understanding dawned. "You mean... you mean you... and Ryan... are going to die?"

Saskia shrugged fiercely, tears beginning to slide down her cheeks. "We don't know for sure," she said softly, her voice taut with fear, "but we think so, yes. It makes a perverted kind of sense – we've been taken here without our consent, we're not being given anything to eat or drink, and now with Ryan being given the same message as me..." Her lower lip quivered. "Maybe it's some twisted social experiment and we'll all be released soon. That'd be nice, but we don't think it'll happen. Call it paranoia if you like, but..." Her voice trailed off and she shrugged again defeatedly, her shoulders slumping.

Amy put an arm around Saskia and pulled her friend close as she began to shake with silent weeping. "Shhh," she murmured, stroking the older girl's hair. I should be the one comforting you, Amy, not you looking after me! thought Saskia, her head on Amy's shoulder. But I'm grateful, anyway.

Presently Saskia's eyes grew heavy and her breathing steadied, settling into an even rhythm. Poor girl, she must be exhausted after this day of unrelenting fear and tension, thought Amy as she shifted into a more comfortable position, and eased Saskia's head onto her knee. The brunette glanced at her watch. Nine-thirty p.m. Sleep, friend.

- - - - 0 - - - -

Your time has come.

The voice, more felt than heard, crashed into Saskia's consciousness, waking her up with a jerk and startling Amy from her quiet conversation with a couple of other girls who had earlier entered the room.

"What is it?" asked the teenager, alarmed at her friend's sudden panic.

Saskia's head swiveled to and fro, her eyes wide with fright. "Did you hear it? Please tell me you heard it!" she pleaded in a hoarse whisper.

"Heard what, Saskia?" replied Amy gently.

"The voice! Tell me you heard the voice!"

"No, I didn't hear anything." She turned to the other girls with her. "You?" They shook their heads in reply.

"I heard... I heard some... thing say the same thing the wall's been saying; you know, 'Your time has come.'" Saskia shuddered, and closed her eyes against the memory. "It was horrible", she mumbled.Amy moved to put a comforting arm around the older girl's shoulder.

Abruptly Saskia screamed, the sound an eerie wail of utter terror that shattered the uneasy calm that had settled upon the room's occupants. She scrambled to her feet, her right arm rising unsteadily to point at the doorway. Her mouth worked frantically, but no sound came out. Amy and the other girls spun to look at the source of their friend's fear but it was invisible to them, whatever it was. They turned back round to see Saskia backing away from the doorway, her face twisted in terrible despair. Her body was coiled and tense, and her eyes flicked from side to side like those of a cornered animal. What on earth has scared her so?! thought Amy, her pulse racing.

Saskia beheld the figure advancing towards her with a mixture of outright horror, panic, and the sudden realisation that this was the end. That thing's going to kill me. It was huge, at least eight feet tall, and radiated a green glow. A corner of her mind noted that the figure had human features; two legs, two arms with human-looking hands, thick lips, a flattish nose, two ears, and piercing eyes that locked with Saskia's own. My executioner. Step by measured step the powerful figure approached Saskia, who continued to back away. She felt the soft, gentle hands of the girls holding her, heard their voices trying to calm her down, but her attention was entirely focused on her enemy. There would be no resistance, she knew; she was helpless against an enemy of that size. Just like the wall had said, no-one would help her, because no-one could even see her adversary. She was entirely alone. Neither could she run away; to leave the room she would have to avoid the green thing, and even if she managed such a feat she and all the others of her group were trapped in the complex.

Abruptly Saskia stopped as she met with the wall of the room. Nowhere else to go. The other girls surrounded her, still calling to her as the figure drew near. Ignoring them, Saskia pressed herself against the wall and closed her eyes. This is it. At that moment it was as if everything went into slow motion. In her mind's eye the last flurry of images and memories displayed themselves one-by-one in exquisite detail, her heart aching for her never-to-be-fulfilled dreams of love and marriage. She felt her chest rise with her final intake of breath, heard the sigh of air entering her lungs for the last time. She sensed the smoothness of the wall at her back through her clothes...

And then an icy presence pressed itself against her, making her shudder as it wrapped itself around her body. The frigid blanket tightened, thick with malice, and began to seep through her skin. It oozed into her, causing Saskia to gag as the presence sapped the energy from her muscles. The cold filled her limbs and crept into her chest, moving inexorably inward to finally touch her heart.

Everything went black and Saskia's body went limp, collapsing to the floor.

- - - - 0 - - - -

Death hung in the air.

Saskia opened her eyes to a sense of bottomless sorrow. Her soul was a vast emptiness, a hollow, tomblike void in space. I'm dead. She knew it without question, understood instinctively that the green figure had truly killed her. Yet for a reason she could not fathom, she was not only laying on the floor in the same room in which she had died, she could also feel the floor's smooth surface. This is weird. Dead people shouldn't be able to feel anything! She sat up and looked round. She was alone.

"Saskia!" squealed Amy, entering the room at a run and dashing to her side to fling her arms around the older girl. "We thought you were dead! You totally freaked out on us, pointing at the doorway like a crazy woman and backing yourself against the wall. Then you collapsed. You had no puls–"

"I am dead," said Saskia.

"– Jenny tried to give you CPR," continued Amy, unhearing, "but you di–" She stopped abruptly, her brow puckering in a frown. "What did you say?"

"I'm dead."

"But," Amy protested in confusion, "I can see you, I can hear you, I can touch you... how can you be dead?"

"Saskia's right, I'm afraid," said a familiar voice. Both girls looked up.

"Ryan!" exclaimed Saskia. She scrambled to her feet and launched herself at him, embracing the young man tightly. His lips twitched in a ghost of a smile as she finally released him, but his eyes remained solemn.

"Saskia and I are dead," he declared. "So is Faith." Faith was the eldest of their youth group, just a year and a half older than Ryan. Seeing Amy about to object, he continued somewhat roughly, "I don't know how we're still here, okay? But I do know that we were killed. That's a fact, so please accept it like everyone else. Why do you think it's so quiet around here? You're the only one not in mourning for us! " He gestured with an arm at his apparel. "Just look at me! Do you think I'd be wearing this if I had a choice?"

Stung by his tone, Amy's eyes had grown wide as Ryan spoke, and now began to fill with tears as she saw him properly for the first time. Instead of the baggy jeans and black sweater he had been wearing earlier, he was clothed in a loose-fitting beige robe made of a light, almost translucent material she couldn't identify. She turned to Saskia, who she saw now was clothed in similar fashion. It's true, then, she thought bleakly, and a tear rolled down her cheek

Ryan moved to give Amy a hug as her shoulders began to shake. "Shhh," he soothed. "I'm sorry for upsetting you like that, Amy, but it's important you accept the truth about what has happened." He squeezed her arm affectionately. "We're still here, for now. And we're going to do everything we can to help you and the others find a way out of this, okay?"

"Okay," whispered Amy.

"Come on, let's find the others," said Saskia with a tentative smile, putting an arm around the teenager. "This room brings back bad memories."

- - - - 0 - - - -

Saskia and Ryan sat alone in one of the hexagonal sleeping rooms. They had spent the rest of the day speaking to the others, comforting them where possible and keeping the group as calm as could be hoped for in the circumstances. No-one else had been 'marked', the term they used for when someone was able to read the wall. Now that evening had fallen, and the others had fallen asleep, they had come together to try to make some sense of their situation and to think of what, if anything, they could do to prevent anyone else from being killed.

"We have two days."

Saskia looked up at the speaker, the dark-haired, dark-eyed Faith, as the girl joined her and Ryan. The last twelve or so hours had been something of a revelation to Saskia regarding Faith. She had never taken much notice of the older girl, who to Saskia had always seemed withdrawn from the rest of the youth group, content to sort out refreshments, or wash up, or put things away rather than involve herself personally in relating to and doing things with the younger members. Saskia had been wrong, however, for it was obvious by the way Faith went around the group bringing a comforting word or simply holding a tearful teenager that she had forged strong relationships with everyone. I don't know how she does it, thought Saskia, as Faith locked eyes with her, her gaze somehow conveying a love that wrapped itself around the younger girl, supporting and strengthening her.

"Two days?" repeated Ryan. "What do you mean?"

"Two days before we" - she indicated the three of them with a sweep of her arm - "go."

"Go where?" asked Saskia in confusion.

Faith shrugged. "I don't know where, but we won't be here."

"You're sure of this?" inquired Ryan cautiously.

"Yeah," replied Faith, nodding firmly. "Don't ask me how I know; I just do."

"Okay, we believe you," Ryan assured her. "The question is, what do we do with the time we have left?" He turned to Saskia. "Any ideas?"

Saskia played with the hem of her silky-smooth garment as she thought for a moment. "Well," she began, "all three of us were killed by a green thing, right?" The other two nodded in agreement. "So if we assume the green things will come after anyone who's marked, perhaps we can fight them."

Ryan raised an eyebrow. "They're eight feet tall and built like a bulldozer," he stated.

Saskia gave him a sharp glance. "I hadn't forgotten," she retorted.

"We don't know if we can even see them when they're after someone else. No-one else saw the ones that killed us. How can we fight something we can't see?"

"Hey!" said Saskia, glaring hotly at Ryan. "You asked me for ideas, so I gave you one!"

Ryan looked as if he was about to snap back a reply, but was stopped by Faith as she inserted herself smoothly into their conversation, defusing it before tempers could rise any further.

"Okay, that's enough." Faith's voice, calm and gentle, held an undeniable edge of authority that Ryan and Saskia obeyed without thinking. "Arguing with each other will do us no good," she continued. "We'll find out whether we can fight them soon enough, if and when they show up. If we can see them, we'll fight them." She smiled grimly. "It's not as if they can do anything worse to us!"

Ryan and Saskia chuckled despite themselves. True enough, seeing as we're already dead, thought Saskia.

"Anything else you can think of?" asked Ryan.

"No, not at the moment," replied Faith. "Has anyone else been marked?"

"Not that we know of," answered Saskia.

"Not yet, anyway," added Ryan.

"Okay," said Faith, "then we wait. Perhaps the morning will give us more ideas."

- - - - 0 - - - -

A shrill scream shattered the morning calm.

Faith, Saskia, and Ryan jumped to their feet from where they had sat talking all night – their new state of being didn't require sleep – and ran into the central chamber. Amy's friend Caitlin stared, blank-eyed, at the lettered wall, her pale face drawn into a death-mask of sheer terror and her chest heaving in panic. Saskia stopped her headlong charge involuntarily as she realised what had happened, making Ryan almost collide with her. She's been marked.

Faith reached the young teenager with quick steps. "Caitlin!" There was no reply from the girl. Faith grasped Caitlin's shoulders, forcing her to look away from the wall and into Faith's dark brown eyes. "Caitlin, look at me," she commanded, her voice soft and reassuring. "Caitlin, honey, you need to calm down. You're breathing too quickly." She moved a strand of the youngster's hair out of her eyes with gentle fingers, the simple, loving action bringing Caitlin's gaze back into focus with a jolt. She stared at Faith for a moment, then her face crumpled as Faith drew her into her arms. "Shh," she whispered, Caitlin's body shaking with frightened sobs.

"I-I-I can read the writing, Faith!" she croaked.

"I know, honey," replied Faith, soothingly.

"But I don't want to die!" the teenager wailed. Faith remained silent and just held the girl as the tears flowed.

Saskia and Ryan approached them. "Anything we can do?" asked Saskia, quietly. It broke her heart to see Caitlin so scared.

"Go find Amy," Faith replied. Caitlin shuddered within her grasp, and she bent to kiss the youngster's hair. "Shhh." She looked up to see Saskia nod in acknowledgement and move away with Ryan. And so it begins again, thought Faith.

- - - - 0 - - - -

"Two more have been marked," said Ryan.

"Who?" asked Faith.

"Mike and Sophie. They seem okay." Seventeen and nineteen respectively, the two teenagers had accepted their imminent death sentence with remarkable calm, far better than Caitlin, who still clung to the older girl. She had refused to leave her ever since Faith had wrested her away from the wall that morning, and hadn't spoken a word all day. Not even her best friend Amy could bring her out of the shell she'd withdrawn into.

"How is she?" inquired Saskia, indicating Caitlin's still form curled up beside Faith.

"Asleep, for the moment, but she's plagued with bad dreams. The poor girl's been coiled like a spring all day. She won't – can't – relax, and the tension's taking its toll."

Saskia sighed. She knew what was waiting for Caitlin, and longed to be able to spare her from the terror.

After a moment's pause Ryan spoke up. "I've been thinking. We should bring Mike and Sophie into this room, then we can work together when they come for them."

Faith nodded. "Good idea."

- - - - 0 - - - -

Here they come.

Ryan, Saskia, and Faith sensed the green figures' approach moments before the three marked teenagers, and positioned themselves in front of the doorway.

"Noooooo!" Caitlin screamed in horror as she understood the reason for their movement. The piercing wail tore at Saskia's heart and she blinked hard, her soul aching to relieve the youngster's fear. Mike lifted the terrified Caitlin bodily and carried her to the back of the room where Sophie, bravely maintaining some semblance of calm, had already moved.

"Caitlin, shhh, please!" begged Sophie. "They're doing all they can!"

"Ready?" said Ryan.

Saskia and Faith both nodded, bracing themselves. They had no idea how their adversaries would react to resistance, or even if they would be able to see them. But all three knew they had to try.

Three muscular figures, each sheathed in a green glow, approached the room entrance. We can see them! thought Saskia. So could Mike and Sophie, who crouched, faces aghast and minds numb with fear, shielding Caitlin from the sight. The younger girl lay huddled against the wall, gripped by a terror beyond her imagining that made her body writhe in torment. She moaned feebly, her voice hoarse from screaming, as the three beings walked into the room.

It's like we're not even here, thought Saskia as she desperately tried to hinder a green figure. It was like trying to stop a glacier with a water pistol. The beings barely noticed the resistance, and simply pushed Ryan, Saskia, and Faith aside with their bodies as they continued toward the three marked teenagers. She shot an agonised glance at Ryan as he attempted to tackle one of the giants to the ground, merely bouncing off like he'd run into a wall. It's no use. We can't stop them. Mike and Sophie slumped to the ground, Saskia watching helplessly, and then it was Caitlin's turn.

Saskia's world shimmered.

No! She stepped forward again, trying to interpose herself between Caitlin and her enemy. To her surprise her body moved sluggishly, as if she was suddenly lacking in energy. Saskia's mind spun, struggling to grasp the change even as she continued to attempt resistance, and then understanding stabbed into her like a hot knife. We had two days. This is the end. She felt her consciousness begin to fade and tried desperately to hold on, crying out not in fear for herself but for her friends. Ryan! Faith! Caitlin! Her heart wrenched as she saw Caitlin enveloped by a green glow, the young girl's frail body twitching in a final spasm. Saskia's vision began to blur, her grasp of reality melting away as the darkness overtook her soul.

And then there was nothing.