This is my 2006 NaNoWriMo project. It isn't that well proofread, but I'm trying. The story is finished and I'll be uploading it pieces by piece about every three days. Enjoy.
The starry midnight sky was hampered by fleets of clouds moving with haste, in silence. When a thin layer obscured the moon, the clouds shined shades of grey and silver, sometimes becoming black and white. The landscape below was still. Little moved, and little made noise. Most building lights were off, but few apartment windows here and there showed signs of life. Beads of cars, illuminated by street lights and red beacons along their rear, followed the invisible lines of the road. It was a muted darkness. But it didn't take long for it to break.
A thunderous wail ruptured the cloudbanks above. Lightning flashes sparked in a chain of silent bangs. A few seconds later, roars echoed in quick succession. The rumbling sounds loosened into the ground below, becoming quiet pops and muffled blasts. There was no rain.
A small figure fell from the black grey of the sky. She slowed her fall and lifted herself, rubbing her forehead with her hand. She had long vibrant yellow hair and teal eyes, the hue of crystals. The robe around her body was white and flowed loosely, but was tight around her waist and chest. She had silver plates over her wrists and forearms, banded to her skin with white straps. Her boots were thin like sandals, but a silver mesh wrapped all the way up to her knees. She had a black collar with a stunning white jewel at its front. The woman glanced at both her arms and realized her weapon had fallen.
A brilliant light blossomed in the clouds above her. She twisted her body and leaned, dashing sideways. The clouds parted and the lights flooded down toward the earth. They dispersed before they hit the ground.
"Astral!" a voice boomed. "You can't escape! You won't escape!"
The woman frowned and gritted her teeth. Before Ivan could get to her, she had to reach the clouds again. She quickly bolted upward, bringing one hand to her chest.
"Astral!" Ivan shouted again. He dropped out of the clouds and scanned for any sign of her. He wore a gold breastplate and a gold headband. His short black hair swayed in the opposite direction he moved. In one hand he had an ancient and worn book. In the other he held a gold longsword. Behind his back, four large wings flapped and hovered in place, unlike the woman who had no wings at all.
"Show yourself!" he shouted.
Pinpoints of light spread out across the clouds above him. The book in his hand moved on its own, flipping through its pages. It stopped and he chanted. The falling stars above him turned into beam of light. The meteor shower rained onto him, but struck a dome of gold light. The shower stopped and Astral slowly moved out of the clouds. She stopped across from him.
"God is merciful; he may forgive you," Ivan called.
Astral didn't answer.
"Stop it now," he continued. "Your cohorts of evil have been caught. They are being punished on the severity of the damage they have caused."
"Then I will pray for them," Astral answered.
Ivan made a face of pain and disgust. "You think this is funny?"
Astral shrugged. "I can pray just as anyone else, I have that right."
"You filthy traitor!" Ivan bellowed. "The same fate that Lucifer was given shall await you!"
"Then let God prove his power," Astral said. "It shouldn't be hard. He is God, and I am but a lowly seraph."
"You dare call yourself a seraph?" Ivan laughed. "Don't insult us. You lost that title when you destroyed the Gate."
"Then you should have kept better watch over it," Astral replied. She made a thin smile.
"Die you demon!" Ivan howled. His book flipped toward its last pages and he began chanting again. Two balls of lightning appeared at his sides. He raised his sword in a harsh battle cry and charged her with both summons.
Astral held up her arms and opened her palms. The incoming spheres zapped her with bolts of lightning, but the spectacular flashes disappeared into her hands. They continued forward until she snatched them. As they stopped in her hands, Ivan pulled his sword back with a grin.
As he swung down, Astral mimicked the grin. She flipped upward, bringing her knee toward the sword. It struck her armored kneepad, cracking and then breaking it. The sword continued on, striking her thigh. A rush of blood spilled in different directions. Astral kept her teeth tightly pressed, but continued upward. She extended her leg and kicked the sword out of his hand and into the air. As she crushed the balls of lightning, Ivan slowly turned and reached for his sword. He grabbed it and turned his body to slash. But as his eyes focused on Astral, a long shining pole appeared in her hands.
Her eyes filled with a luminescent glare, all the anger and hatred she possessed. The pole in her hands materialized into a bright silver-green. It was curved and crooked, but beautiful and elegant. At the top end, the light spilled and warped into a long gruesome blade. It's luminescense was the same as her eyes. The blade curled out into a scythe. The winged blades in its backbone resembled scales. The weapon looked too horrible and demonic for something an angel of Heaven to weild. Ivan shouted as he swung his sword. Astral gripped her pole tightly and brandished the scythe into his body. His sword missed its mark as his body was severed in half.
Kyu moved around his bed, struggling to pull off his covers. It was close to noon already, but his room gave him a sense of false hope. It was still dark and devoid of sound. For all he knew it was still dawn. His alarm clock woke him up again, reminding him it really was close to noon. He dug around for a few more minutes, pretending to wake up. His pillow was slowly engulfing the side of his face, as he pressed his head harder into the bed.
"I can skip political science," he muttered out loud. The only person who could hear it was his conscious. But he couldn't tell if it was listening or not. He stopped moving and lied still for a few seconds. Then he got up and leaned halfway out of bed. After a wide yawn, he stumbled away and coordinated his legs to the bathroom. He could always count on his bladder to start the day properly.
When he came back from the bathroom, he fell into his computer chair and watched the star screensaver blast him through a simulated hyperspace. He tapped the mouse and the screen flickered to life with a bright word document as the first thing to appear. It was his creative writing poem that was going to be due in a few hours. After working on it for two hours last night, he had decided that it was about as creative as it was going to get. He tapped the printer icon and slowly rotated his chair. The window behind him had its curtains drawn. He pulled them open and turned the lower handle of the window. He then pulled the window open, letting the cool breeze hit his face.
The apartment was a quaint little spot in the complex near campus grounds. It was furnished with the essentials and was roomy for a single person to be living in. He did have his own bathroom and a kitchen between it and the living room. As long as he went shopping two or three times a month, he wouldn't starve. But often times, drowning in his laziness and procrastination, it took the thought of starving to get him to the grocery store. Though, it wasn't more than a five minute walk.
His parents had paid for a majority of his college funds, which he was grateful for. College was a fun experience which he was glad to be a part of. But aside from the parties and late-nighters doing absolutely nothing, he really hadn't given much thought to what he wanted to do when he got out. Getting out of school and landing that dream job was not the same as deciding what to do when he got out. One was a dream, the other was the reality.
Kyu let go of the window and straightened his body. He stretched a little and then felt his leg tighten. He quickly panicked and began rubbing it, but the pain mounted into full force. He let out a shrill cry as he leaned on the window for support and rubbed furiously. He felt the muscle bulge and then disappear. After grinding his teeth together for a few more seconds, he relaxed and cried quietly in relief. He glanced outside and felt something strange roll down the back of his neck.
He quickly looked toward a grove of trees beside a house two floors below and across the street. But there was nothing there. "Ah, Kyu, you're going crazy again," he moaned in fear. He remembered his homework and turned away. As he grabbed it from the printer and stapled it together, his eyes wandered back to the trees. He stared suspiciously and then finally gave up. His curiosity would have to come second to his school assignments. He fiddled with the computer a little while longer as he mentally checked off which assignments were done, which assignments were due tomorrow, and which assignments he could potentially not due until the last possible second. He loved putting things off.
"Poli-sci for today, creative writing, and anthropology," he muttered. He got up off his chair and went to his dressers. He picked up a pair of pants and boxers, and then went to his closet for a shirt. After he dressed he passed by the drawer, pulled out a pair of socks, and then closed it. Then he went back to his computer and stared at the screen for a few minutes. He didn't intentionally waste time; it was just force of habit. But more often then not, he was sifting through the various collections of free shows and movies he got off the internet. The sad thing was that he had so much free time he actually watched a lot of them. But not having a girlfriend or a rampant social life had its advantages.
"Thank God for my free time," he joked. As he laughed out loud, half of it being from humor and the other half from depression, he felt his neck prickle again. He went straight to the window. His eye searched the trees as he frowned in anxiety. He was curious enough to walk over there and see if something really was giving him the willies. He looked down at his watch and panicked.
"Dammit, not again!" he shouted anxiously. He shut the window and closed the curtains. He then grabbed his wallet, keys, and backpack. After he put on his shoes, he ran out of the apartment and down the stairs. He walked briskly across campus, making it to his poli-sci lecture. Like last time, he had to bother people to squeeze into a seat near the front. All the others were filled.
"Why can't these people ditch once in a while," he moaned. The guy beside him laughed and agreed. Kyu grinned.
The lecture had nothing terrible useful. He had read the material two nights ago, a crowning achievement in anti-procrastination for him. But really he was just bored. He copied down the notes projected up on the large blank boards. When the bell rang he went into his usual routine of attending classes and finding quiet places to spend his free time.
When the day ended, it was close to dinner time. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. A note fell to the ground. As he picked it up he paused and tried to remember what it could be.
"Dude, go shopping," he read. He remembered that he wrote it yesterday. He crumpled up the piece of paper and laughed hollowly. "Who says dude?"
He went to the grocery store and wandered around the isles, picking and choosing his menu for however long he could make it last. He brought his cart to the checkout line and handed the lady a wad of cash. It came out to five white plastic bags. He carried them home, staring up at the sky. Every now and then he glanced forward to see where he was going, or to make sure a car wasn't going to turn him into a stain on the road. But the sky held a certain fascination. Consciously he was searching for something. But unconsciously he knew he wouldn't find it. He made it back to the apartment and stuck his key in the door. It was unlocked.
"Oh, Goddammit," he shouted. He looked around realizing he said those words louder than he wanted. He quickly apologized and then pushed open the door with his shoulders. Forgetting to lock his door was turning into a once a month practice for him. He walked to the kitchen and set the groceries down on the counter.
After brushing his forehead, he walked to his computer and sat down comfortably. He felt a cool breeze behind his head and looked toward the window. It was open and the curtains were drawn. As he leaned toward it with a sigh of relaxation, he stared at its frame. There were blotches of a deep red color.
"I closed it," he moaned. He put his hands on red spots and touched them, slowly pushing the window shut. "I…I know I closed it."
He stood up from his chair and put a hand on his desk. As he carefully moved toward the kitchen, he stared at the red marks between his fingers. He had enough scrapes and cuts to know the color and texture was closer to blood than anything else. There were a few drops on the floor which he had missed coming in. He followed them with his eyes to the hall were the bathroom was.
He felt the prickly fear in his neck returning as his eyes searched the apartment for a weapon. But he already knew he didn't have anything like that. He went to the kitchen drawer to take out his handy multi-purpose pocket knife. But for a pocket knife that saw more action in the kitchen then in his pocket, he didn't know if he had the willpower to threaten someone with it. He unfolded the blade regardless of what he was actually going to do with it. He then sidestepped toward the hall, but kept the weapon at his side.
"I-I know your in there!" he shouted nervously. "C-Come out or I'll…c-cut you!" The thought of a bad rap video played into his mind and he made a quick laugh. A shadow fell across the floor in front of him, coming from the bathroom. Kyu jumped back and bumped into his couch. The door creaked open as a huge sword came out. He felt his heart race as thought of being cut open and spread out across his apartment began trickling through his mind. The blade flexed and then turned dull grey. It reached around the doorframe and gripped the side. He then realized it was a hand and not a sword. A woman slowly leaned out of the bathroom and took a few steps forward. She stopped just short of the kitchen light. It was too dark to see her and the curtains of the apartment were still closed.
"Wh-Who are you?" he squealed. Kyu shivered and cleared his throat. "I don't know what you want, but leave now and I won't call the cops."
The woman took another step forward, into the light. Astral's face was calm and collective. Her eyes still shined with a brilliant hue of teal while her long gold hair fell around her back. Kyu stared at her, lost in her beauty. Aside from her angelic appearance, the striking black collar around her neck drew his attention. It was like finding a black stone in a field of snow. The collar was out of place. Kyu then noticed the lower half of her robe. It was stained deep red, almost black. Her right leg was also covered in strings of blood, dry and newly bled.
"What happened to your leg?" Kyu asked quietly. "Do you need help?"
Astral slowly raised her right arm, while her left hovered near her waist. Her eyes flashed in a faint glow of cream green. A pole appeared between her hands. As the light of the scythe's blade hardened, she drew the weapon backward.