It had been the last day at her primary school, when she was eleven years old. Her friends were sad, but she wasn't. She had been bullied at that school - it held few happy memories to make her sad to leave it. After the final bell had rung, she had run all the way to a local park.
It wasn't really a big park. It was a small patch of grass that was hidden away from the road, and could only be reached by a narrow path. Not many people went there, because not many people knew about it. It was a great place to have private conversations: there was little or no chance of being overheard.
Anna had spread her grey cardigan on the floor so that her skirt didn't get wet, and she had sat down, staring at the sunlit sky. She sat there for several hours, just thinking and praying. When sunset came, she pulled out her phone and took a photo of the way that the rays of light burst out of the clouds, and knew that nature was too precious to be destroyed by humans. I'll save it, she had thought.
Night fell. Her mum had rung her several times, so Anna turned off her phone. She didn't want to worry them, but this was just something she had to do. She watched as the stars gradually became visible. Several streetlights in the area weren't working - the sky was much clearer than it normally was, and she could see more stars than ever she had in a London sky. It was a beautiful sight, and she pulled out a notepad.
A sky full of stars, she had written, but she never got any further. She looked at her watch accidentally and saw that it was ten o'clock. Her mother would be in hysterics looking for her; her father, Greg, would be trying to calm her, when what he should be doing was fixing the car. Anna had jumped to her feet, running all the way home.
"Don't ever do that to us again!" her mother had told her. "We were scared out of our wits." Anna had promised, but it was not a promise she had kept.
The car drew to a halt, pulling Anna out of her memories with a jerk. She looked up, and saw that they had reached the church. Swallowing back a new lump in her throat, one that had grown from terror, Anna climbed carefully out of the car.
Two assistants held the door of the church open as she went inside, followed by her two bridesmaids in dresses of fire. She heard a gasp from the audience but ignored them. Maybe she would have looked to see what they were seeing if she had realised, but she didn't know that the sun had chosen that moment to break through the clouds and send a ray of light to envelop them at the doorway. They appeared only as silhouettes against a light so pure and bright that all of the townsfolk covered their eyes to shield themselves from its piercing gaze.
"I should have known," Matt muttered to himself, and moved forward slightly, ready to receive his bride.