Glass

It elevated the crystal shards from the ground with a thought, turned them to face their mark and set them loose. They sliced past with beautiful grace leaving behind a scarlet trail in the air as the condemned being gasped for breath, doubled over and let go. The angel turned and walked out into the blinding white light."Have you ever flown through the skies? Experienced that feeling of absolute freedom, of divine absolution and release from the world below?

"You know that feeling when you die, that you are finally erased from consciousness, from morality, from anger and hatred, that the weight of reality no longer lies upon your shoulders and that you are free to do as you please?

"You've earned the blissful liberation of death."

The angel called out from behind the wall of light, its voice slowly fading…

Curled up, the dying Beast lay on its side in a foetal position, coughing up blood whilst its insides spilled out from the gash in its stomach, the crystal pieces still clinging to its loose flesh. Using whatever strength remained, it forced a smile as its body gave one last shudder and collapsed from the weight of reality. Slowly its back ripped open at the scapula. At the base of its previous wings, the bone grew outward in the shape of a slim, curled finger, creating thin branches as it moved. A feather blossomed on the tip of each new bone and then began to spout feathers all over until the structures became wings. The beast cried out and it broke its position as it stretched its body out in agony from the rebirth of its wings. Save yourself a voice whispered inside. The newly created wings moved back and forth until the beast began to raise itself off the ground. Save yourself. The world it knew disappeared, the skies swirled into black and purple and collapsed into themselves. Save yourself. The planet below shook and cracked open. A black fog crept out and set the entire planet alight, but nothing could be heard or seen anymore, nothing mattered to the lifeless being. Pure emotion had replaced its insides and it no longer had any control of its body. It just looked up and let the wings carry it toward the eye of the apocalypse, towards freedom…

One

A bestial, humanoid image hung several metres high from the moss-covered wall by its digits. Its bloody arms outstretched, writhing in torment from the metal devices hammered through each of its condemned fingers. On its backs were two bloody scars replacing what once had been wings, its skull had been split open from repeated bashings and flames pinched and tickled at its feet. The skinless being's veins pulsated all over its body, growing thicker with each heartbeat as it moaned and pulled on its bound hands desperately. Somewhere in that dank pit a rumbling could be heard. Vein-like Tentacles slowly appeared from somewhere beneath the floor, slithered up to the roof and began slowly coursing along the wall towards the Beast, like greedy fingers. The bloody Tentacles covered the suspended body, engulfing it in an organic shield, and for a moment, rested upon the retch which seemed to provide the Beast with a placebo effect; some respite from the torture of reality upon its beaten body. Beating in time with the Beast's heart the Tentacles made it feel at ease and almost blissfully oblivious of its current predicament. The Beast lay motionless, listening to the pulse of the unknown organism covering its body as blood was pumped through the Tentacles into the Beast's own body. The two repulsive species lay silently together, at peace with each other.

Days had passed when the Tentacles began to move away slowly. They moved back out to the edges of the dungeon from where they had come from, vanishing and deserting the Beast hanging from the wall. Leaving it on its own once again, wondering what had gone wrong. Wondering why, after decades of suffering, it should have felt such bliss for only a second in the eyes of time?

Suddenly the Beast's chest was ripped open from behind as Tentacles squeezed through the wall behind it. Blood gushed freely out of the newly created cavities and the Beast released a piercing screech for mercy as it tugged violently at its shackles. The Beast tugged until it finally broke loose from its cuffs and fell to the ground, metres below, spewing blood from its mouth as it smashed into the floor. Now hardly alive, it attempted crawling towards what appeared to be a door - white light seeping in through the edges. The Beast slinked its way towards the incomprehensible light source, drawing ever closer to the alluring scent of freedom. But whatever the Tentacles were, they seemed intent on erasing the creature from existence. The Tentacles began smashing up through the floor, Tentacle by Tentacle, ripping into the crawling humanoid's wasted body as it inched towards the door. Still, the Beast had not died, but the damage was done and the Tentacles relented. Missing a limb, lacking dignity and losing whatever hope was left, the Beast was left to bleed to death.

The door ahead smashed open, sending splintered wooden boards everywhere. The light from the opening blinded the being yet it didn't shield its eyes. It sat up on its knees and let salty tears flow down its face in overwhelmed emotion at the beauty of salvation, at the agony of its wounds and its own disgusting shame.

Through the light, stepped a beautiful angelic image. Behind it, its outstretched wings shone a magnificent white. Its face lay obscured by the shadow of its hood, its robes and armour adorned with gold, runes and crystals. Its hands were masked under glorious ethereal gauntlets constructed with metals that mortal eyes had never seen, and in their center, a sculpture made from crystals lay buried. The angel turned to the pained Beast sitting on the floor and stopped for a moment, to consider the plight of such a being. A golden shimmer peeped out from under its hood and the kneeling Beast looked up to glimpse the tear slipping out from the angel's eye. The two crystals suddenly dropped from their seat in the gauntlets adornment and smashed on the stone floor below. The angel raised its arms toward the creature, as if reaching for something it couldn't grasp. Its hands shaking, it elevated the crystal shards from the ground with a thought, turned them to face their mark and set them loose…