The sun beat down, blinding her already weak eyes. Mid-day was usually a time of rest, relaxation, and hiding inside from the brilliance of the day. But today she had been restless, agitated by something in the air. A feeling of imminence. So she’d ventured to her patio to try to regain some of the relaxed air of yesterday.
The lounger she found herself perched upon was blisteringly hot. Almost unbearable to her soft, wrinkled skin. But she sat, waiting, for something to happen.
When it happened, she was glad. Happy to have not waited longer. A fleeting regret floated across her mind, but all in all, joy was what she felt.
The stranger who invaded her yard, silent and nearly invisible to her sun-scarred eyes, trembled with anticipation. He had watched her for many months prior to his advance and bided his time, waiting for the time to be perfect.
He was tall, gaunt, and pale as new-fallen snow, a stark contrast to her small, plump, coffee-brown self. A strange, mismatched pair they were, if anyone had been near enough to note their differences. But the stranger had calculated his approach precisely, making sure his presence went unnoticed.
She smiled softly when he came near. Her eyes may have been blind, but her hearing was acute. Even his light footfalls sounded crisp and clear to her ears.
“I knew something was coming,” she said to her visitor. “I just didn’t know it was you.”
His long perfectly manicured fingers wrapped around hers, burning her ancient flesh in an icy fire. The smile that spread across his face was predatory instead of friendly. His chilly grey-blue eyes flashed when he answered her, “I would have given you more time, old friend, but… the choice is not mine.”
“I know. I wondered who would come. And when. The feeling is not as I was told. It’s a restless pain. An aching that nothing filled. It began, oh, almost a year gone, now.”
The smile fell from his face. His ice-carved face hardened. “We must inform the others. I will call a convocation once I’ve returned you.”
She sighed, peace flooding through her wrinkled old body. “Take me home, Gabriel. My adventure is done. It is time to refresh and rejuvenate once more.”
The pale man lifted the small, brown woman in his arms, unfurled his wings and looked skyward. The ascent was difficult at first, but as his companion’s earthy husk wafted away, their rising became faster until they were yet another brilliant streak in the blazing sky.