The Night was frightening.
Lilia Prescott was making her way through a forest. The people here were in a panic, for something attacked their homes. They ran about frenzied; their frightened screams reverberated in the cool night. Sounds of violence filled the air, blades clanging together in battle, the moans of the wounded – and something else she can’t quite place, a strange sound in distance, but moving closer.
“Stop it. Please!” she said through gritted teeth, on the verge of tears. The sounds were deafening, and she wanted nothing more than to escape them. But where?
Lilia ran deeper and deeper into the woods. Beneath a pair of weeping willow that bowed down together forming an outline of a heart, she stopped to catch her breath. The waning sliver of moon offered little light, but there was another burst of light emitting just below that clearing. A lone figure suddenly materialized in front of her and stood on the path that seemed to be enshrouded in a strange silver glow. It opened its mouth and let a howl of feral noises. Was it a trick of the shadows? Is it the woods, darkness, and moonlight conspiring to drive her sanity away? Lilia closed her eyes and opened them again trying to focus on the man like shape.
“Hello?” She moved tentatively closer to the figure. “Who’s there?”
The shape came toward her. It wasn't exactly a human shape, but it was vaguely recognizable. Gorgeous, glowing rays of light. A creature so ravishing that Lilia knew instantly was an angelic power. This was what true beauty and goodness looked like—a spectral, luminescent gathering of beings so pure it hurt to look directly at, like the most glorious eclipse, or maybe Heaven itself.
Lilia quickly stepped back. “Who is it?” she asked, her voice trembling with fear. “Don’t come any closer!” she warned, making a conscious effort to bring the pitch down to sound more threatening.
The figure cloaked in a strange light stopped on its tracks even this much farther into the clearing. Lilia could not discern any features.
“Are . . . are you real?” Lilia stammered. “You are real . . . right?” Lilia studied the man, searching her memory for some glimmer of recognition, but came with nothing. She should have felt comforted, standing on the side that had to prevail in this situation. But she was starting to feel sick.
Lilia watched the light descend, her face upturned as if to seek the rays of the rising sun. And then all that she was, and all that she might have become, was consumed.