Lilium’s shadow cast against the hot concrete. She turned from the charred rubble that had once held her in absolute confinement. She smiled. How quickly things could change.
Lilium wandered down the long street, her feet padding in silence. One person hurried past her, accidentally brushing shoulders. He turned to apologize, only to find a glowering look of disdain smothering Lilium's face. He hurried away in fright.
Once Lilium had neared the entry to an alley, she began to slow, merging into the darkness. She stood behind an enormous trash bin, concealing her pale body from the curious eyes of onlookers.
Her hair fluttered from the light wind that trailed from the beating wings of a small creature. With the head of a human, it levitated in the air with two small raven-like wings. Each stroke brought a glint of blue, purple, and green, which would shimmered in the little sunlight that managed to trickle through the eerie street. Transparent eyes were obscured by the heavy droop of its lids. Its skin was leathery and matched the whisks of pure white hair scattered on its head. In contrast, yellow and crooked teeth lay in its mangled mouth.
It stumbled in the air, thudding onto the trash bin with a loud thunk!
“Master…” It mumbled in a husky voice.
“What do you want?”
“The creatures within California have gone into mayhem. They fight within the realm of the humans, but it is amongst themselves. If this continues much longer they may all kill one another.”
Lilium smirked. “Let them fight. The strong ones will weed out the useless ones. Come back to me when they seek leadership. I am their only master.”
“But maste-” Clawed fingers whipped at the little creatures face, crushing its mangled lips.
“You will do as I say,” Lilium hissed, turning from the creature's wheezing breath.
It shook its little body in a grotesque nod and then wobbled into the air without another word.
“Why is everything in this world so incompetent?” Lilium muttered, sauntering back to the stream of warmth and concrete. She could not waste her time with such petty concerns. She had a much more important objective here.
For the rest of the day she walked down streets, observing the bustle of people and cars, making sure to mentally preserve a layout of the city.
Soon enough, the sun had run from the sky, replaced by the pursuit of the moon. She had walked past the skirts of the suburbs. The roads were cracked and lopsided. Potholes dove into the ground. Untrimmed grass reached towards Lilium’s feet. Lilium looked up to see the open arms of the forest trees that beckoned her forward.
She roamed through the thicket with ease. It was only when she saw an opening large enough for her to lie down that she stopped.
A light wind swept past the rustling leaves. Lilium bristled, slowly turning towards the unwelcome scent.
"Hello, sister." A sneer was laden across Lilium's porcelain face.
"Lilium." Leila appeared from the depths of the trees, like mist.
"Do you remember this place?"
Leila was silent as she whisked her head to the side, looking beyond the dark trees. She gave a little nod. The corners of her eyes softened, wiping away the scowl she had carried seconds ago. Longing melted into the downward curve of her lip, the unclenching of her hands.
The light laugh of Lilium tinkled in the air. "We've walked in a circle."
"I hope not," Leila whispered, breathing in the musky scent that had been held by the wind.
"He won't be any different from the rest of them."
Leila cast her eyes towards Lilium's. Leila's gaze was wrought with the conflict of her words.
"Well," Lilium lay lasciviously against a rotting tree trunk, "You should rest. We have a big day tomorrow." Mischief glinted in her ice-blue eyes.
Leila tensed. "What do you mean?"
"Exactly what I said."
"Lilium..." Leila took a step toward her.
Lilium's smirk lifted tauntingly. "What? Are you going to try to hurt me? Try." Lilium's voice was menacingly low. "I dare you."
A wind swept towards Lilium, but just as quickly as it had knifed into the air, it rebounded, cascading against an ancient tree that sat beside Leila. The tree trembled from the deep puncture.
"No matter how hard you try, you'll never be able to touch me," Lilium said.
Leila clenched her fists. Orange and red leaves swayed to the ground. One landed on Leila's ebony hair. She swiped it off with the flick of her hand and then lunged for Lilium.
They whirred in the air, switching roles between offensive and defensive. Their lithe bodies looked as though they were dancing as they bounded and sidestepped, flinging their arms in the air with a whimsical power. All that could be seen was the blond flash that merged and tore away from a mess of raven hair.
Within those seconds a tree began to quake, wilting towards gravity. It crashed to the ground; its branches clung to the surrounding wilderness. Lilium and Leila stood, glowering at one another through the tuft of dirt and leaves that had been flung into the air.
Each one breathed calmly, their hearts absent of irregular palpitations and their porcelain skin lustrous only due to the glimmer of the moon. The only evidence of exertion was the tousle of their hair.
There was a crackle of leaves and a crunch of sticks.
Leila's blue eyes were bulbous as they widened in shock.
Someone was coming.
Lilium turned, only to meet the eyes of a shivering blue flame.
"Are you alright?" said Rowan.