Present Day

Darkness covered the land like a seamless, thick black robe as the night embraced everything in its invisible arms while the moon quietly looked on, its light softly reflecting on puddles that gathered on the rain kissed earth, while the slick folds of leaves from tall, looming trees glistened in the dark. And as the aged branches cracked and swayed, like dangling arms of a deformed figure, dancing with the graceful hush of the wind, a pair of eyes closely and very patiently watched from above as its unseen form hovered in the dark, waiting.

From afar, a sad and distant howl echoed and disturbed the eerie silence for a moment.

Still it waited.

Then more leaves fell…only to be scattered away by the impetuous wind.

And still, it waited.

It used to wander aimlessly, passing the streets whether in darkness or in light in search of a hint, or of a familiar face…or whatever that might help in its quest for the truth, of what was the purpose of its very existence. It roamed the globe, flew the vastness of the air, dove into the hidden depths of the ocean. It looked at all things great and small with curious eyes and a building confusion of what reason there could ever be in this earth that it was alive.

How it felt the torture of not knowing why, of not being able to rest its thoughts be it just for a moment, of not even feeling the temporary comfort of slumber to escape the confusion and maybe, just maybe…to remember anything.

If there was anything to recall at all.

And one day, it heard a deep rumbling of a voice beckoning, a sound coming from under the earth itself. That call was the very first sign that proved its existence was validated. And the voice later provided the answers that had long been elusive.

Then, with a servant's loyalty to its master, after the latter satisfied the longing, there were no more questions, no more doubts.

Just the will to obey, to be able to serve…just to have a sense of purpose.

A certain whiff in the air made its head snap to a particular direction and its interest grew stronger with each passing moment. A sinister grin appeared on its concealed lips, akin to a monster revealing its fangs, as it remembered the scent only too well.

It smelled of old magic.

And the blood coursed through its veins at the excitement, with its heart pounding in anticipation of its unsuspecting prey. Moving gently but with exactness upon sight of its quarry, knowing that its victim possessed an uncanny ability to escape at a moment's passing it descended, invisibly mingling with the wind and the night.

And the slow footsteps that echoed amidst the silence halted, as the woman turned to find nothing. But the woman could feel a presence, a dark one, lurking in the shadows beforehand.

"Whoever you are, show yourself," her voice offered, awaiting the appearance of the formidable stranger that could very well become an ally as her hands rose to lift the invisible cloak away.

And it was exactly what it had planned.

"You!" The sorceress' eyes widened in surprise and in a certain amount of fear that she had not felt before. "This can't be---"

And before she could utter a spell to ward off the unclean spirit, the woman was bound in a strong embrace that her movements were stilled and the hold tightened immediately, making her gasp for air, as her thoughts were invaded by a force she tried to fight helplessly.

Her legs thrashed as her body was lifted from the ground effortlessly while her mind stubbornly fought the intrusion, but she gasped in defeat when the unseen enemy finally succeeded in violating her, making her head spin in agony as vivid images forced themselves inside her mind.

And amidst the battle raging within, her eyes widened in horror as she tried to break free in a useless attempt when she felt the point of something cold and sharp slowly pierce deep into her flesh.

"No…" Weakly she protested, pleaded, her hands clinching at nothing. But the pain of the knife that was slowly being thrust into her was so severe that she could do no more.

She closed her eyes shut at the throbbing pain in her chest still mentally chanting, albeit in vain, for some hope of freeing herself from the torture as the metal continued to slice its way through her. Then the blade halted its journey into her flesh just enough to keep her alive a moment longer to agonize in pain as she tasted in her lips her own blood. And in a strange gesture, while the unseen form remained holding her close in a deathly embrace, she felt coldness kiss her cheek as a tear descended from her eye.

And in the darkness she was able to glimpse the moonlight reflected on a menacingly sharp, long blade. Strangely, she stared at the metal, mesmerized by the vision, before finally closing her eyes in acceptance of her fate…as the blade swiftly sliced through the air with precision. There was not much to feel in that instant, not even the sharp, cold steel on her neck.

Then, there was no more.

And as Tala's body lay still on the ground, the being watched with emotionless eyes for a moment.

It used to feel love.

It used to feel pain.

But now, there was nothing more to feel than just hunt and take souls.

Raising its head, the vacant eyes stared at the dark sky and beyond, knowing that someone up there was waiting…



Bleep, bleep, bleep…

J'onn lifted his eyes from his task and looked past the thick fiberglass window, to the machine that was beeping faster than it used to. Immediately, he phased through the next room where Superman had the same, mixed expression of surprise and worry on his face.

"You think…"

J'onn tried to concentrate, reaching his mind out, but there was really nothing much to hold on to. "I still can't feel anything more."

"But this has never happened before," Superman tried to argue. "At least, it's something…"

"I just hope it's…not for the worse." The reality was a double-edged sword and his orange eyes looked on sadly at the beautiful face that has been sleeping for a long time before them, that was unaware of the grief that lingered with her unknown fate.

"Superman…I just want to know…" he began very uncomfortably. "How long…until we---"

"Don't ask me that again, J'onn. Because I will never give up on her," Superman whispered before taking a deep breath, touching a hand to the cold one of his beloved friend as a gesture of his temporary farewell.

J'onn sighed as the steel doors closed. It was almost a year now and all she ever managed to give them were very few signs that she was still fighting.

What if she did not want to fight anymore?

Diana…he whispered softly in his mind. And with a will of its own, his mind drifted to a time of joy, seeing her clothed in white, bathing in the glow of love as her hand held that of the one man she adored as they made a secret pledge to each other…

If you can hear me, just tell me if you want to be set free. Please…