She had been heading to work that morning. She had always thought that if something drastic would happen, there would be some sort of divine sign, something to signal the oncoming change. But there was none. The sky was clear and the sun shone, and it was like almost every morning before that one, and nothing to cause raised eyebrows amongst anyone.

Then everything had changed-in minutes that might have well just been a split second.

She isn't sure if it was this morning that everything had happened, or a week ago. Or a month, or a year. Time has slowed and sped up, leaving her mind disoriented and making her unsure of almost everything. The only thing she knows is that the sky is up, the ground is down-and she's not even sure of that anymore. The world she knew was broken and shattered, falling down around her, on top of her, and below her, leaving her stranded and grasping for something-anything to give her direction. It feels like the entire world is falling in on its self, burning, leaving nothing but chaos and fire and death.

This is hell, she decides to herself numbly. It has to be. This destroyed, smoking landscape complete with nightmarish beings, eyes red as blood and chaos and hate. She had prayed for a long time that this simply was a dream, some twisted nightmare caused by too many late night Terminator marathons and something that disagreed with her stomach. But this was real-all of it is too real for it to be a dream, not matter how much she wished for herself to wake up from where she'd probably fallen asleep on the couch.

She does not understand what has brought this on the world, she does not understand why there are bizarre, twisted, huge aircraft flying above the city of Chicago, or why there are giant armored, mechanical demons with blazing blood red eyes suddenly everywhere. Still, she knows enough to realize they are what is causing this reign of fire, and they are walking death-shooting everyone and everything that moves, creating more fire and causing the horrid stench -charred, burning flesh mixed with gas and smoke, and other smells she doesn't know and wishes she'd never smelt.

She is crouched behind the service desk on the first floor in an office building as a mechanical demon roams by-and she listens with bated breath as she hears the clicking of gears and the solid thudding of its footsteps as it passes by. She slumps against the desk, giving herself a moment of rest as she studies the blank white wall that her feet are just barely touching.

There are tears in her pants and dark wet spots she knows are probably blood. Her heels-formerly grass green and given to her by her sister for her birthday- are scuffed, stained and now a sickly swamp color, and she's almost positive the heel on the left shoe is about to break, because she can no longer stand steadily.

She wants to scream, and curse because this sort of thing only happened in movies, and it certainly didn't happen to twenty four year old preschool teachers with an absolutely normal life. Angry tears drip down her face as she clenches her teeth together and tries not to wail in despair.

She needs to find a shelter, someplace to hide out and wait for the help that she tells herself will be coming. Find a place to stay, to rest for awhile, she thinks to herself as she peers over the desk, out into the open reception lobby and out the now shattered glass windows to the city streets. She cannot see the mechanical monsters anywhere, only small burning fires, shards of glass and rubble and bodi-

she forces herself to look away and she the thought out as sorrow and terror begin to rise up, swiftly over taking her anger and fueling her despair. She cannot bear the thought that maybe she knows one of those bodies lying there, that maybe it might be one of her friends, or co-workers, or one of her student's parents that is lying there-lying somewhere broken in the city.

She opts to stay in this building and head for the third floor when she realized that the second floor was completely exposed to the outside. It felt safer somehow-she figured she was above the sight of most of the robots-most of them at least- low enough to not be spotted by the flying ships the manned, but close enough to the ground she felt she probably could make it out in relative safety if something did happen.

This building seemed like a good place to rest for awhile, but she was too awake, to skittish to try and rest now. She feels the urge to cry again-and wishes desperately that someone would find her. She wants to go home, to back to her family, her dog, her boyfriend, a hot shower. She can't believe anyone would ever long for something out of the ordinary like this-especially when it was so damn terrifying and-

suddenly, her world is surrounded by glass shards. She has been found, and she wishes she had not.

She cannot breathe-there is pain, so much pain as her chest is constricted by a vice-like grip, and her face and arms burn as hot red liquid spills from newly opened wounds. Her world is a blur, and she struggles to regain her sight as she dangles in the air. When her vision settles back to normal, panic overwhelms her.

She is suspended above the ground by a thick cable which is attached to the chest of a tall mechanical demon, and she finds herself staring bloody eyes that are cold and cruel, savage and utterly soulless. She finds the little air remaining in her lungs to utter a small, strangled shriek-and regrets it as the cable twists around her tighter. Black dots dance in her vision and she gasps desperately for any air she can take in. The monster before her gives a low, dark chuckle, eyeing her with utter distain.

"Little flesh bag." It cooed to her in a mocking tone, its voice raspy and harsh sounding, like rusted nails against metal, and makes it all the more terrifying. She tries to struggle to no avail-and she barely has the air to breathe, let alone express her terror vocally. "Did you really think you could run?" It snarled at her now-abandoning all pretences of being kind. "Your kind is pathetic. So frightened. So small. And so…so….fragile." The creature had a mocking smile on its metal face-crimson eyes colder than ice.

She struggled again, desperation overriding the part of her that was telling her in a disturbingly calm voice that struggling was not going to work in the slightest. She didn't want to die! She didn't, she didn't, she didn't! Her struggling only seemed to amuse the machine, as it began to move the cable that wrapped around her back and forth, whipping her up and down, a hairsbreadth away from the stone building across the street, then low enough she felt asphalt graze her shoes.

It was like some sort of demented rollercoaster ride, she thought dimly. Panic and terror struck her with the gentleness of a tropical storm. She was going to die. She really was going to die in this hellish parody of her hometown-she was going to die and fall to the ground like all the other lifeless bodies to be stepped on and forgotten and-

She was thrown backwards in a burst of fire, as the creature holding her lurched away from her-a hole in its shoulder that had not previously been there. The cables around her released and she found herself freefalling down to the earth below as the creature stumbled to regain it's footing-its attention no longer on her.

She hit a car with a force that she was sure broke something-and forced all the air out of her. Pain exploded across her entire body, and blackness obscured her vision as she gasped out weakly, trying to regain her breath as she lay there, waiting for the blackness to part and allow her to see again. There was the mechanical clanking of feet-she could feel the vibrations of when their feet impacted the ground. She could hear the whirring of joints and gears, and the shrieking of shots being exchanged, the roar of the impact as it hit the road, the buildings-something else.

The creature that held her roared in pain and began firing back at something. The blackness slowly gave way to a vision of buildings of glass and steel and stone reaching up to a sky that was the most brilliant blue-the kind of color that had no business existing over a burning city. White hot blasts of energy shot over her head, and she was all too aware of how close her former captor was. She forced herself to roll off of the hood of the car, dropping to the ground. The car was between her and the red eyed machine-a feeble cover but cover none the less. She glanced at what exactly the metal giant was firing at-and her heart caught in her throat.

Another of its kind stood farther down the street, firing at her former captor. Behind that one, there were dozens more- all engaged in battle with each other. They killed everything, she thought with dulled horror. They even kill their own kind-as the machine behind her crashed into the street, making the earth tremble. Suddenly though, she realized her initial thought was wrong.

Their eyes were as blue as ocean water-pure and strong. They were still behemoths of metal, bizarre and alien, but she could almost feel the difference between the two sets of machines. Angles, she thought. If the red eyed machines were devils, these had to be angels.

When her mother told her of angels, she always imagined them as beautiful beings-flawless skin, strong bodies, wings white as snow. Humanoid, but still worlds apart in their differences. Divine in their grace. These beings were a terrifying sort of beautiful-a beauty that did not show on their exterior, but resonated around them. It was not their shape, their form, their faces or their bodies that were beautiful-they were charred, worn, dirtied and far, far too alien to be beautiful to the human eye.

They were terrifying in their battle, the way they attacked each other with the fury of the gods themselves, grappling, shooting, struggling in a manner that had a deadly sort of grace that looked natural in a tiger, or a wolf, but looking horribly out of place on a twenty something foot tall-or taller- robot. These were angels, she thought to herself, even as she laughed at the absurd thought. Divine, terrible, avenging angels. The juxtaposition of her mother's angels, and these deadly machines was bizarrely fitting- they were both so far from human it just might work.

Fire and destruction grew rampant where they fought, her grotesque demons and her abnormal angels. There are people there too-soldiers dispersed out amongst the fighting machines-attacking the red eyed monsters with a stout sort of bravery that would inspire even the most cowardly to stand and fight along side them.

She fights to stand, to crawl, to move away from this battlefield. She could crawl-but just barely. She drags herself against a car that is strewn onto the sidewalk. She presses herself against it, aching everywhere. She can only watch as the battle continues to roar before her, and pray that the burning red eyed monsters will be defeated. She watches as everything turns to a blur before her and she's not sure if it's minutes or hours she watches these titans battle but all she knows is that suddenly it's over-that there is a soldier hovering over her, face smeared with dirt and sweat and blood, asking her if she's alright.

She doesn't know-and tells him that softly. Concern flits across his face as his eyes soften and lips pull into a frown. He asks if she can walk, and she doesn't know that either, but she tries. Her legs ache like nothing she's ever felt before, and her feet are cut open and bleeding, but she forces herself to take one step, and then another, as she leans on the soldier for support. She follows his lead, and finds herself amongst metal titans with eyes bluer as the sky.

She tenses as she gazes up at the behemoths, eyes wide in wonder, and she's aware of the soldier's grip tightening as he says reassuring that they aren't the bad guys. She already knows. She knows, because they are like angels, their unearthly forms towering above her and the group of soldiers, their forms not radiating menace like their crimson eyed counterparts, but security. She allows her mind to wander until one of the giants took an interest in her-and nearly makes her heart stop.

Admiring them from an unnoticed position was fine with her, but when she came under their scrutiny it was hard not to feel a slow sort of fear creep on her. The being –their medic- soldier whispered in her ear, trying to give her some sort of comfort , knelt down on his hands and knees to look at her with blindingly blue eyes, and announces that she was in need of immediate care.

She woke up in a hospital, connected to an IV. One arm was in a cast, and it seemed like the entire rest of her body was swathed in bandages. Her family is there, and all are none worse for the wear-her mother and father got out of town before anything bad really happened. Her sister stayed on the outskirts of town, and was unharmed. Her sister told her that she hadn't seen any of her friends in the hospital, that she'd gotten calls from several of them asking if she was alright. Her boyfriend was a different matter.

Her sister pauses, hesitant when she asked about him, and her eyes are sad. They found him amongst the dead strewn in the streets. Tears drip down her face, and the numbness that wrapped around her since her world was thrown in to chaos-hours, days, weeks, ago only becomes thicker.

The rest of her time in the hospital is like watching a TV show. She sees what is happening, but is not truly participating. She is visited in the hospital briefly by the soldier who had helped her out of the ruins of the city- and he quietly introduces himself to her and asks if she's doing alright. She's touched by his concern to seek her out after all that has happened, and she assures him that she's doing better. They sit and talk for awhile and the sole visit evolves into several infrequent ones. She is released from the hospital, and urged by friends, family and doctors alike to seek therapy for the trauma she's gone through. She refuses, stoutly insisting she doesn't need one. She remains in contact with her soldier friend but their conversations are few and far between.

The city is evacuated for the most part, until it can be fixed of its damages, which she knows will take a long time. She lives with her sister, for awhile until she can find a job, and when she does, she throws herself into it, losing herself in her work with children, because it seems like they are now the only ones who don't keep telling her she needs help.

She meets her soldier friend one day at a coffee shop downtown, and they sit and drink and talk about things-he talks a lot about his job, the people he works with, and while he doesn't mention the Autobots specifically because of protocol, she's learned that the people he refers to with the odd names are the giant mechs, and finds great amusement in the stories he tells.

He is in the middle of a story about one of them and suddenly his gaze flickers outside to cars parked on the curb, and she imagines looking out into the street months ago, and sees phantom ruins and bodies. She shudders and looks away-looks to him, and realizes that he's not thinking the same thing. He's scrutinizing one of the cars parked on the street, and she follows his gaze to some sort sports car-and is startled when it flashes its lights and lets out a small honk even when no one is there.

One of the Autobots, he explains with his eyes full of mirth at her shock. He waves back at the car and after a moment, she does as well, albeit a small, tentative wave. She can hear the engine rev in response, and can't help but give a small smile.

They really were like angels, she mused, sitting back in her seat.

Protectors that were always there, but rarely seen.

...I really have no idea where this came from. I ended up writing this after I saw TF3, but kept debating about if I should post it or not. I know it's vague, and there's no good description of any of-well, pretty much any character or particular event in the movie, but somehow it seemed to work better that way...

Uh yeah. So...tell me what you think? :D