Prologue: Flight

Scattered weeds rustled slightly beneath small pattering feet, and slender beams of brown and green stabbed the sky above, like thin fingers from Earth's own hand grasping desperately at the sun. Yet there was no golden light dappling the forest floor, only a monotonous doppelganger of a sky filled with blinding white-grayness, as if God had wrapped the world in a phantasmal bed-sheet. Rivulets of frigid rain hurtled down at sharp angles, and the sky darkened slightly, covering the trees in an increasingly somber obscurity.
A young boy trudged on through the twisted foliage. He emanated an aura of awkward unease which sharply contrasted with his peaceful surroundings. Even the statuesque firs seemed to stop down and gaze at the humble intruder.
His clothes were torn from his initial flight into the woods, garments of scarlet so dim that the massive bloodstain streaking across his chest was barely visible.
The boy brushed off a leaf that had fallen onto his narrow shoulder. Memories forced their way into his mind: a dark room, and his own shallow breathing into his mother's warm arms, occasionally interrupted by deep grunts and ear-splitting cries that were all to near to bear. And lastly, a soft whisper begging him to flee.
Eventually he arrived at a small pond sheeted over like a mirror, protecting the microcosm of life thriving beneath the surface. Occasional ripples betrayed the locations of tiny insects skating on the water or yellow-crested tortoises lazily rising for air.
Thirst brought the boy to his knees, and he lowered his cupped palms into the pond. The water was dirty, but not enough so to deter the boy from eagerly gulping it down his desiccated throat. He reached down for another swallow, which caused a small turquoise fish to dart away into the depths. As he looked up to the edge of the lake, he noticed an iridescent flare rising from the pond's murky deeps. It floated towards the surface ever so slowly, growing brighter every second. He clambered backwards up the slope of the bank and looked upwards. The light was, in fact, not coming from underwater at all.
It was a reflection, of a blindingly radiant object streaking through the sky. For a second he paused in awe. Then the sound reached him, a deep rumbling cacophony that rattled his bones. The object seemed to slow ever so slightly and collapsed into the forest miles away.
There was a moment of silence before the wall of air charged across the pond and slammed the boy into a tree.





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