A/N: This is my entry for the December WCC. I tried to do something experimental with this piece, which is rare for me so I cannot guarantee that how it turned out is the best I could do, nor can I guarantee that it is any good at all. But I gave it my best shot.

This piece uses the song:

Sanctuary – Lyrics and Song ©Utada Hikaru

The Tourist

Mariah knew the wind would pick up and it would begin to rain any minute.

Dry autumn leaves, carried by an invigorating breeze, danced around her feet and tried to plaster themselves to the dark fabric of her jeans― red, orange, yellow ―begging, rubbing, pleading, for attention. They danced. They sang. Orchestras made of scratching and tearing.

The moon was out that night.

It peeked out from between dark clouds and peered over her shoulder, far above, a Light friend in a town ever so Dark.

The big glass windows of the San Sebastian shopping district caught the ginger glow from the street lamps and turned that glow into tempest mirrors. You could look in, past your reflection. But it was unlikely that your reflection could ever look out. Not that it mattered. It was long past closing time for every one of the little shops.

Mariah not only could feel the night's breeze. She could smell it as well. It was bittersweet. Salty too. It gave one the feeling of being lightheaded…It was undeniable: the Atlantic. For a moment, faintly, she swore she could hear its massive waves, meeting the rocky coastline with a deafening roar.

The waves, those faint waves, they were trying to speak to her, to tell her…

She had been standing there on that sidewalk for too long. There was no time to waste.

Mariah readjusted her hold on the shotgun. Sleek red-brown wood. Long black barrel. She had no idea what model it was. She didn't really care. It had been waiting for her out in the open, and now it was hers.

Taking in a deep breath, she wavered there, it was hard to tell for how long.

Then she ran.

In you and I

There's a new land…

Angels in flight…

She had to get out.

She didn't know how, and she had never really known why to begin with.

But she had to.

Breath came rarely, if ragged and fast… if at all. Mariah was going so fast it almost seemed to have been sucked right out of her. The streetlamps became an orange blur. Shops melded into apartments, apartments melded into the gothic walls, grand balconies and tranquil statues of the old town district. Her senses― they ran to catch up.

The gun remained ever-safe in her arms.

My sanctuary.

My sanctuary.

Her footfalls against the cobblestone streets and flat grey sidewalks echoed all around, loudly, yet the silent town seemed to be majorly abandoned. No-one stepped out from corner shadows to halt her in her tracks. No black-clad beast swung down from high balconies to greet her in her escapade.

Had she not been so horribly treated in the past few weeks, the woman would have found her situation terrifying at best…There was no-one there to save her.

Mariah would have been grateful for even the most devious night hopper at the moment…but no. She was alone in this.

She came to a stop when coming upon the Cathedral, and for once found it easy to ignore its beautiful architecture, the grinning demons, the patronly saints, the grand towers, noble pillars and solemn knights…she had more important things to worry about.

The sea was closer now.

Rumble.

Picking the right street to take from here was key. She had to get to the sea before them. She scanned each possible option, then, using obvious cues more than intuition, she took the street to the far left.

Where fears and lies…

Melt away…

Music will tie…

Sirens.

Of course, there came the sirens.

They wailed behind her, like the angry, staccato growl of an arcade game, and when she first came to Europe, as a tourist, Mariah had found the sound to be silly, hilarious even. Now, however, she had figured out that the sound of sirens was a grave thing. She knew that, before long, the angry wails would turn into much more incensed howls, howls that would signal 'game over' be she held the courage to turn around and face them.

Her heart fell into her stomach. It splashed. Hairs stood on end. Nausea coated her insides with a sticky-sweet tongue.

She kept running.

What's left of me.

What's left of me.

now…

One, two, then three drops of rain fell to her caramel-toned face. They were cold, and the sensation of them joining together and streaming down her cheek, like a teardrop, was excruciating.

First the sirens, now the rain…two fears confirmed within ten minutes.

What would become of the third?

She held the shotgun tighter to her chest, if that was possible, digging a nice little niche for it in her blue windbreaker and tangling her raven hair in the barrel.

Just a bit further, it had to be. If only she could keep going, for just a bit longer…

I watch you…

Fast asleep…

God. God in her eyes. God came.

The narrow street burst at the seams, and a marvelous new plateau unfolded to each side. Mariah felt the tingle of misty sea spray against her skin. She saw the road, the asphalt road she had long taken for granted back in America. Temporarily subdued, she walked across― towards the white fence separating land from ledge. Beyond and below, the ocean hummed piercingly, as if hellish mermaids swarmed underneath in vue of a marine war. Its great foam waves crashed into the ledge, spreading their wings, brutally beating against grey-black stone, only to recede back, and pull themselves further and further away.

Mariah sucked in a breath.

All I fear…

Means nothing…

Rain slicked her already slippery hair down to a flat co-existence with her skin and clothes.

Fear cooled her already broken heart down to a chilly co-existence with her long withheld hatred. She could still hear the sirens in the distance. Looming…She would kill them all right. Dead as doornails.

Her hands clenched so tightly around the shotgun that she winced in pain.

They would never bring her back to Paris.

She would go out fighting― even if that meant she died trying.

"My heart is the heart of a battlefield," she told herself, and the words were sucked away by the wind.

In you and I

There's a new land

Angels in flight

My sanctuary

My sanctuary

Where fears and lies

Melt away

Music will tie

What's left of me

What's left of me…now.