A/N: This takes place in no particular year, decade, or century, although I had the 1700s and 1800s in my head while writing this.

Lady Night enclosed Venice, Italy in her embrace. Still, the town was alive with laughter. In the streets young couples, elaborate masks in every shade and with most every trimming on them, dance by the light of the twinkling lanterns that hung above their heads. Pranksters went about, playing tricks on both friend and foe, although neither showed much anger over the little joke. The whole city was alive and jovial.

The whole city, that is except one girl, who sat in quiet solitude at her dressing table, brushing out her long auburn tresses in preparation to retire to bed. She didn't care about the boisterous festival going on below her window in the streets. No, she couldn't care for it all when she knew that she would get a far better reward when she closed her eyes and slept. Bianca Fontana was visited by an angel. Well, she wasn't entirely sure whether it was an angel, demon, or some other sort of supernatural being. All she knew was that when she dreamed, he would come to her in all his glory. In her dreams, they would walk together through a place that was fit to be the Garden of Eden. (That was what led Bianca to believe him to be some sort of angel or holy being.) He would whisper beautiful sentiments into her ear about nature, music, or even love.

The very thought of journeying to this sort of fairy land was what prompted Bianca to retire to be early in the evening and not bother with any festivities that might happen during the night. Now, Bianca rose from her dressing table, eager to return to the land of her dreams. She climbed into her bed, closed her eyes, and descended deep into her personal world.

The garden looked strange and different today, for it was no longer in its lush full bloom. All the plants still retained their colors, but they were wilting and their color was fading. The flowing river was reduced to a mere trickle that could hardly be called a stream. At the foot of the trees there was a small wreath of shriveled brown leaves. It reminded Bianca of when a pale, sick person gets dressed up in their finery and goes to a party, pretending that all is well and that they are not ill. Sometimes, one would believe that that is truly the saddest sight.

"Bianca!" her angel called, running up to her. "I've missed you so! It has been so long since you last dreamed. The garden was beginning to go to waste."

"What do you mean?" Bianca asked. "It has only been about twelve hours since I left."

"What do you mean? You haven't dreamt in so long." The melancholy mood that he was displaying suddenly made a full turn around and was replaced by sheer joy. "That doesn't matter now, though. You're here, and you can bring the garden back to life." Bianca looked out over the never-ending landscape.

"Could you help me tend it? The garden is vast, and to restore it all by myself would be a huge undertaking. In fact, it might even be impossible."

"I would if I could, but I can't. The garden will only come to life your hands. I've tried, and I simply couldn't succeed."

"How am I to go about restoring the garden if you can't?"

"Like this." He took Bianca's hand in his and brought her over to a bed of wilting flowers. Gently, he brought her hand over to one of the flowers and brushed her fingers against the petals. She gasped as the flower sprang right up, beautiful in its full bloom.

"Everything in this garden needs your touch to survive."


"Absolutely everything. Without you, the garden goes to waste."

"Even you?" He looked down at Bianca, his whole facial expression very serious.

"Yes, even me. You see, this whole place was created for you." He took Bianca's face in his hands, ever so tenderly, and guided her lips to meet his.

Bianca leaped to her feet and started to run away. "I can't stay," she cried. "They need me back home." He quickly ran after her and captured her in his arms.

He spoke softly, "They don't really need you at home. Without you, life will go on back on Earth, but this garden will disappear without you. Please, please stay. I need you. The garden needs you." He turned Bianca loose, and a whole doorway of flame appeared. He walked over to the doorway and extended his hand to her. Bianca hesitated for only a moment before taking it and walking away with him into the flame.

The mourners wailed as the teenager's coffin was lowered into the ground and the gravediggers began hurl shovel-fulls of dirt onto it. Bianca's "angel" stood, unseen, among the small crowd. He alone smiled. He had gotten quite lonely, but Lucifer had recently found a talent in luring young, good Christian girls into the depths of Hell.


A/N: Please review and tell me what you think!