Her cotton dress kept ripping as she fled through the dark woods. The once-white cloth couldn't warm her; she felt chilled to her very core.
Filth- she embodied the word.
Death- she wished for its release.
No one could help her now. No one should help her now.
Her feet pounded the forest floor, crunching leaves and snapping twigs. The recent drought made everything she crashed through crack dryly, and the sounds echoed in her terrified ears. Through the noise she made she wouldn't hear if anyone had followed her, but it didn't matter to her delirious mind.
Her thick black hair, disheveled and matted with blood, caught on a broken tree branch. Without hesitation, she allowed the branch to rip a clump of the dirty hair out of her head as she sprinted on. She did not feel the pain. Where she was going, she knew not. If she would stop when she got there, she was even less sure.
Her friends surrounded her in a circle. No one else had made sense to her; no one else had accepted her as easily as they had. They had shown her kindness when she had already learned that the world held none. People could scorn their beliefs if they wished. Non-believers mattered nothing to her now, while reassuring faces encouraged her to join in the mystical chant. Unearthly symbols drawn on the dirt caged her as she knelt alone in a ring of people in black.
A branch whipped her in the face, cutting her across the cheek, nearly catching her eye. She squinted to protect her eyes; if she couldn't see, she wouldn't be able to keep running. Two arms that could only belong to her, though she didn't recognize them, flailed out to keep the trees and bushes back. Her blood dripped on the ground. She imagined her blood must look like mud and burn the earth like acid, but didn't stop to see.
Hours passed, but the rhythmic chanting blended time until it meant nothing. The ceremony had begun at sunrise, to represent the coming of a new era. It would be a glorious era when their beloved ruler would return and control the Earth. They told her he was powerful and incredible and beautiful, and a thousand other wonderful adjectives. Why else would she have agreed to become his bride? In time, the sun began to set, painting the sky red. But the red of the sunset changed- the entire sky turned a sick blood red. The speed of her friends' chanting increased in anticipation.
Her feet were bare save for the dirt she had picked up in this desperate binge to escape reality and the blood that escaped her foul body through any exit it could find. The blood poured down the insides of her thighs. Could running fast enough kill a person, she wondered. She could only pray it could- but that made her wonder if any good God would listen to such filth as her anymore.
The ground shook. Scared, she looked around at her friends, but they weren't as she knew them. As the ground cracked beneath her, separating the nine-foot-diameter circle she was in from the people outside it, their faces twisted and distorted into sick masks, sadistic and cruel, self-serving and malicious, narcissistic and pitiless. The air suddenly smelled of brimstone, and her eyes burned from it. A roar of triumph, deep and bone-chillingly evil, came from below her.
Tears streamed down her dirty face. They created clean tracks through the black and red muck that coated her once-beautiful, defiled visage. Sweat poured off her from the action of adrenaline fueled sprinting, but she still felt no warmth. He had stolen it from her with fire. She screamed.
Suddenly he was there. Enormous and fire-red and full of the power of Hell, he stood at his full height and laughed at the puny humans who worshiped him. The foolish creatures at his feet continued their chant, even louder now, as a cheer for their success. She had lost her voice as soon as the ground shook. Instead of rejoining the chant, she whimpered in fear of the huge figure, quivering on the ground, hoping he wouldn't notice her. But her hopes were in vain. Four cruel red eyes gazed down at her, his 'Bride.' He decided she seemed healthy enough to fulfill her purpose.
The forest seemed to brighten so she rushed to get out of it. Glancing over her shoulder back at the dark path she had come from, she saw nothing. Fearing the endless blackness behind her, she instead looked forward. Passing between two gnarled old trees whose trunks looked like contorted faces to her traumatized eyes, she burst out onto an old one-lane road. She attempted to turn on her weak, bloody feet and tired legs and follow the road wherever it led, but she skidded to the ground. The asphalt scraped half of her left calf of its skin. Sobs wracked her frame as she ran out of strength to move forward. His laughs haunted her mind and his touch poisoned her skin. Her hands became claws in her self-disgust, and she used them to try to scrape her skin off of her body.
She needed to die. He was in her mind- oh God, he was in her body. It was in her body.
Her sobs turned to screams in an attempt to drown out the memories. She unfeelingly scratched at the skin of her arms until they bled, then moved to do the same to her bruised neck. Black soot from his fire shook off her as she shivered and writhed in pain and horror.
Lights appeared before her. Her tear-filled eyes searched for the source, but her vision blurred. Throat raw, she wailed one last time, like a wounded animal. As her body collapsed, several figures appeared around her. Had she the strength, she would have panicked and run away from the unknown people. Had the cult followed her here? The idea terrified her. But consciousness was leaving her as an elderly nun touched her face more gently than anyone ever had before and promised they would get her help and murmured that everything would be alright, 'please God.'
Angela Roth's eyes closed as the sun rose, ending the worst twenty-four hours of her, possibly anybody's, life. The Sister's presence brought comfort in that she, just for a moment, forgot the horror that had befallen her, and the future of the world because of her, as she almost laughed at the irony.
Sixteen years later, a young girl with amethyst hair and eyes was in a dead sprint with a clear head and sneaker-clad feet, tearing easily through another forest. Her story has begun.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to DC comics. No copyright infringement intended.
A/N: All shall be explained as the story progresses. Review, please. Writers starve without feedback. Cheers.