Lance gazed wistfully out the window. The clouds moved past sluggishly, and the trees were green with the first buds of spring. He'd do anything to be out there, in the hills and valleys and forests right now, not trapped in his suburban high school.

At least there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Track practice was in an hour, and he'd be free. He could run until his legs ached and his mind was empty. He could carry himself away from this corrupted world. Then, it would be Saturday, and since there was no meet this weekend, he'd have the whole day to himself.

His government teacher stood at the front of the class, assigning yet another meaningless project. This time, it had to be done in partners, partners the teacher would choose. Great. There went his Saturday.

"Lance Shield, and Molly Lancaster. Your topic will be 'The Involvement of the Military in politics."

Lance nodded. Molly was smart enough not to hold him back. They'd taken karate lessons together as kids, so they had a passing friendship. And, if he remembered correctly, her dad was a military defense technician at the base just outside of town. If he had that edge, this project would be a breeze.

They met up after class. Molly was tying her brown hair into a ponytail, her glasses held between her teeth as she worked. "I heard you PR'd this weekend," she said as she finished. "Cool."

"Yeah," Lance shrugged. "Whatever. When do you want to get this done?"

Molly thought for a moment. "I'll talk to my dad after swim practice to get his take on this. You figure out how we're going to present, and then call me around eight thirty."


That night, Lance flipped open his cell phone. He dialed in Molly's number and waited as it rang twice. "Hello?" his partner asked.

"Hey," Lance replied. "Figure anything out? I'm thinking we could do a slide show or something."

"Sounds good. Yeah, I talked to Dad, and he thinks that he can get us a tour of the base tomorrow afternoon. A major from Washington is coming by to check on a project, and is friends with Dad. So we could ask him some questions."

"Oh, cool." Lance sighed. He was sort of hoping to go off into the woods tomorrow, but that could wait until Sunday, he supposed. It's not like his mom was really religious or anything.

"Dad can swing by your house to pick you up. Be ready at one thirty. See you tomorrow!" Molly clicked her phone off.

Lance flopped back onto his bed. Why did teachers both assigning things like this? What did it matter? He was just wasting his time. Oh well. He'd never been to the base before, so he supposed that might be fun. Why not make the best out of the given situation?


A few miles away, standing on the top of a tall building, a figure clothed entirely in white turned his face into the wind. "Ah…" the man said. "Things are falling into place, aren't they?"

He rolled his shoulders and smiled, revealing two wickedly sharp incisors. "I suppose I should go to her then. I'd hate to miss all the fun."

He stretched, and then sank into a crouch. Then, he jumped farther than any human could ever possibly jump, and landed on a rooftop some hundred meters away. Then, he did it again, and again and again! He finally landed on the large highway, and took off at a speed that could outpace a bullet train.

Time for this world to fall, the man thought smugly. Finally, after years of preparation, this world can fall, and like a phoenix, I can drag it up through the ashes, and make it the glowing paradise it was meant to be!

A/N: A thing I'm working on for my creative writing class. Please read and review, and tell me what you think. This is the prologue and there will likely be seven chapters to follow. Stay tuned.