For Your Entertainment
Holy water cannot help you now
A thousand armies couldn't keep me out
I don't want your money
I don't want your crown
See I've come to burn
Your kingdom down
Holy water cannot help you now
See I've come to burn your kingdom down
And no rivers and no lakes, can put the fire out
I'm gonna raise the stakes; I'm gonna smoke you out
Seven devils all around you
Seven devils in my house
See they were there when I woke up this morning
I'll be dead before the day is done
Years from now, in her darkest moments, the girl cowering beside her mother on the street will remember those screams, those cries of anguish that sound as though every shred of hope is being ripped from their soul. The noise echoes in her sensitive ears; it's harmonious and dissonant all at once, throwing her thoughts in a tailspin.
Needless to say, it's not pretty.
She's not sure when it begins, exactly, but when it does it's mortifying. One minute she and her mother are hurrying home from the drugstore – it was never a good idea to be out in the Narrows after dark – the next they're hearing screams and explosions and her ears are ringing with the noise. White mist fills the air and her mother has the presence of mind to tell her to hold her shirt to her nose and mouth before doing so herself. Being only twelve, the girl doesn't know what the mist is or why it's there but what she does know it's that it's terrifying, fogging the air and dimming the already flickering streetlights.
That's when she starts seeing things.
Horrible, awful, terrible things.
Things that make her head spin and her stomach heave, and, before she knows it, she's retching on the street; the images of skin melting off the faces of passers-by and maggots corrupting their bodies fill her vision, even when she squeezes her eyes closed.
She imagines, just for a second, that this is what hell is like.
Her flight reaction kicks in and she runs without thinking, and the sound of her mother's voice calling her name, calling her to come back, is lost amid the chaos of the screams surrounding her and the pounding of her own racing heart.
She tries not to scream, because it's not real – it can't be real, these things she's seeing are impossible and it has to have something to do with the mist in the air. But with each passing second the panic mounts; with each moment, the fear threatens to send her over the edge.
The fog is distorting her vision and making her head spin; nothing is making sense. She stumbles suddenly, running smack against the corner of a building and she smells blood when her hand slides over the wickedly sharp edge of a broken drainpipe.
She does not scream.
Fear fills her stomach as a massive horse bounds out of the ever-thickening mist around her. Atop the horse sits a figure - a figure with a face crawling with worms and breathing black smoke, and his mouth and eyes are stitched closed. The horse rears, whinnying in nightmarish fashion, and flames dance out of it's nostrils.
She can't help it then.
She screams. Long and loud, shrieking for her mother who has disappeared, shrieking as she stumbles in the opposite direction. The sound tears along her throat, burning her vocal chords and making her choke.
She does not know it then, but she will lose her voice for days after this.
There is garbled laughter behind her, grating on her ultra-sensitive ears, and then the thunderous sound of hooves on pavement in pursuit.
She does not scream again, merely cries as fear takes over every rational part of her brain and her vision clouds even more, as her worn tennis shoes pound on the pavement beneath them. The nightmare behind her is toying with her now, moving the horse at an almost leisurely trot because he knows he will overtake her.
He's not wrong, because she trips, sending her stumbling and making her forehead crack against the pavement.
She cries out, head spinning, and rolls onto her back.
The horse and his rider are very close, so close she can see the bloody nails imbedded at grotesque angles in the hooves and smell the stench of rotting meat that the animal carries. The rider is shouting something, something about fear and it's power, but his voice is so distorted it is impossible to distinguish the sounds.
The horse rears suddenly, and she squeezes her eyes shut because she knows when it lands, it will be on her.
Except, it doesn't happen that way.
There is a buzzing sound and a strangled cry, followed by the sound of hooves galloping away. Cautiously, she opens her eyes to see a woman standing over her, something that looks like a taser in hand, looking just as hideous as the others. But the nightmare and his horse are gone, and she allows herself a moment to breathe.
The woman's voice is gentle on her delicate ears, and she tells her everything is going to be okay as she helps her up and presses her close. There is already a little boy with her, younger than she and just as terrified, but he's clinging to the woman as well so she must be someone safe.
The woman strokes her hair lightly and whispers soothing affirmations, but her eyes dart all around and the girl knows she is ready for another attack at any moment.
They didn't have to wait long.
Three men emerged from the shadows, with faces like demons and their bodies dressed in bright orange suits. One of them is holding a knife as he cautiously approaches, a wicked leer on his grotesque features. The woman, whom the girl presumes to be an angel of death - for a death angel is the only one who could look so decayed and yet protect someone else - presses them both close and tells them not to look as she snags a gun from the body of a rotting, maggot-ridden police officer lying nearby.
The girl, having already seen far more than her share of insanity that night, willingly complies.
There is a second of mortal terror as the woman above her shouts at the demons not to come any closer. Judging by the sound click of a gun being cocked, they didn't listen. Later, she would reflect on the stupidity of demons who did not listen to death angels.
She tells them not to look once more, and the girl covers her hypersensitive ears in preparation for the gunshot she knows will be coming.
Except, it doesn't happen that way.
There is a grunt, followed by another, and another, and the girl looks up to see a dark angel, dressed head to toe in black, wrapping his wings around them and lifting them off the ground to the safety of a nearby bridge.
The girl had never felt more safe than she had in that moment, wrapped in the angel's wings and breathing in the scent of danger and protection - the most volatile of contradictions.
And then they are on solid ground again, and the boy is telling the death angel, the woman, how he'd known the dark angel would come. The newcomer looks at him a moment, and the barest flicker of a smile flits over the unshadowed portion of his face.
But then he looks to her, and his gaze – brown, nearly black in the poor light – seems to stare straight into her soul. In the middle of all the chaos, in the midst of all the terror, he takes the time to stop what he is doing, and look. Not only does he look, but he cares. He puts so much interest into a single expression that it takes her breath away. No one, with the obvious exception of her mother, has ever looked at her with so much concern, especially not when they were busy.
There is dialogue between the two angels after this; the girl isn't quite listening so much as she is studying the outline of her savior. She commits him to memory, in case he never appears to her again, but she knows he will. From what little she knows about guardian angels, she understands they have a habit of sticking around. And she knows that what he is – a dark guardian.
And, as the mist rose steadily around them and the dark angel flew off into the night, she knows his image will be a part of her for the rest of her life.
She wasn't wrong.
A/N: Okay, just a warning for those of you following my Sherlock fics: I am not abandoning them! This is just an idea of mine that I've had swimming around in my head for the last few days. I'm excited about it, and I hope you are too. Also, this will only loosely follow the events of the story; unlike my Sherlock fic I will not be following the script.
I don't own this, and the song belongs to Florence and the Machine. :)