I was lying there in my bed, looking up at the dotted patterns on the ceiling. The bumbs made strange shapes, and I studied them as my mind drifted away from whoever was calling me downstairs. I ignored it, the sound becoming like a faint thrumming in my ears as I slowly closed my eyes, hoping sleep would catch me soon.
I fell through the sea of dreams until I was pulled under.
I was standing in a strange place, one that looked so very scary, but somewhat familiar. The earth was volcanic rock, with fissures running through it that seemed to be carrying lava. The city that was laid out before me was burning, the flames licking along the sides of every building. The eerie moonlight hung in the sky as if it had been there for ages, and dark clouds passed over it.
Bodies were strewn across the roads in awkward positions like forgotten dolls, and I felt shivers run down my spine. My heart thumped in my throat as I walked past the gruesome bodies. Pools of scarlet blood rippled out from various points in their corpses, and their faces were of shock with their eyes still wide open.
I wondered what they'd seen before they'd died.
But then I realized something: their faces were more like pleasant surprises rather than fear. They had seen something wondrous, something miraculous before they had died. I walked along the volcanic rock, through the burning sicty that was falling piece by piece.
I looked around, finally my eyes resting on something that I'd seen before. My house. We were in the city that I lived in, in Manhattan! Manhattan was... burning?
I felt tears come to my eyes as I saw the bodies of my two newest foster parents on the ground, their bodies twisted into what looked like impossible positions, even if you were an extreme gymnast. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I looked at what was happening.
Suddenly, the Earth shook.
Ripples of the earth flew up, like a rollout of rocks that seemed to originate from under the Empire State Building. It shook, and it began to split, cracks spiderwebbing along the sides of the tall edifice. It trembled and tipped like the Leaning Tower of Pisa until it toppled over, causing a sound louder than a thunderclap to echo throughout Manhattan. I covered my ears and watched as the smoke cleared.
There, standing in the dust was a man. But this wasn't just any man. The air around him shimmered, but it seemed wrong. His pale face was beautiful, angelic, even. But somehow, I felt like he was the opposite of angelic.
He opened his eyes, which revealed all. His eyes were scarlet, the irises glinting brightly in the moonlight. His blond hair fell across his face, and I knew immediately that this was unnatural. His stare was unmoving, inhuman, even. He didn't seem to breathe as he strode towards me. Suddenly, white, feathery wings extended from his back, unfurling like they were paper fans. His papery white face twisted into a smile. He moved with such grace and quickness that he was in front of me in less than a second.
His wings, I realized, were becoming black by the second. They were soon completely black, obsidian like the starless night sky. They became tattered and broken as he reached out his pale hand, wrapping it around my throat. His hand was freezing, and as he closed his hand, I knew I was dying.
He killed me without even trying.
I woke with a start, hearing my foster mother calling my name again. "COMING!" I exclaimed, my voice suddenly hoarse. I felt along my neck, and it felt like there was still a hand around my throat, restricting my breathing. I stood from my spot, and for a minute, I could have sworn I saw a pair of bright scarlet eyes...