• It was a beginning for them and an ending for her, the unfortunate woman who lived as angel and transformed into demon. The birth of the new suffering, of the new gift of light started with the single woman. Misfortune plagued her as the dark storm did the night of the changing. The rain fell against her beaten body and in her mind a terrible storm echoed; threatening to tear to pieces what she had always held dear. The water that fell from the ever building storm washed away the blood from her wounds and into her wounds. It was the key, the poison that caused the metamorphosis. What flowed through her veins would unlock the start of the new always and forever.

    It was at the Stones of Reigna, a place in which the Goddess was said to have fought and won once upon a time, where the young woman would spend her last few moments before she died. Death, however, is a complicated thing; such a small word for something so intricate. But, it fit perfectly. Death: the ending of someone, something. In Ethel Ray, death ended breathing, a heartbeat, and a lifetime.

    The single five letter word has not been thought of often as a beginning. Yes, there were those with their religions; those who believed that there were lifetimes after the difficult one they endured on the planet called Earth. In that way, it was a beginning for them. But, the beginning never stays here, never lingers. What if Death - the ending of entities, individuals, objects, and things - for some meant a lifetime again here on the planet Earth? What if it meant a lifetime of forever, of always, of eternity?

    Eternity began for the woman, Ethel, that night.


    She awakened, and she screamed. Her chest moved frantically up and down as her ragged and useless breaths pushed at her lungs. It felt odd to breathe. If she were to try, maybe she could hold her breathe for minutes, hours, days, months, years. Not liking the prospect of that, she inhaled and exhaled.

    Ethel's eyes felt different; felt changed. Although it was still raining, light pushed through the clouds from firmament above her and calmed her after the terror she experienced the night before. The rays that hit her face served to send waves of relief cascading across her body. Being afraid of the dark, as she had been since she was a child, Ethel shivered despite the humidity and heat on the air. Never in her nineteen years had she experienced such hot terror than the night before.

    The relief from the sun, however, was not enough to soothe the pure and complete terror; the panic that surged throughout her body. She knew who she was and what she was doing last she could remember, so amnesia or another craziness was out of the question; thank the gods. Ethel had come to the stones to pick flowers for her sister's upcoming wedding. The brightest, most colorful blooms grew in the gorgeous place, after all. But the storm stood out in her memories at the particular moment, and it gave her chills. The storm and the darkness that came with it.

    What had happened though? Why was she so afraid? Yes, it was dark. Unbelievably so. She remembered this well, because she recalled being unable to tell when her eyes were opened and closed by simply looking. She remembered the cold of the rain and the chills it had brought her as she laid helpless on the grass before the Stones.

    Her soft pale hands grasped the blades of grass she laid upon, and with an upward push she sat up to see she was still at the circle. No one had discovered her as she slept. Her attacker had not returned to finish the job, for she could open and close her eyes and see. Setting a hand over her chest, her heartbeat gently gave her a comfort. There was an oddity, though, about the heartbeat. It was so weak. Ethel sat behind Reigna's Stone of Light; one of the four that stood in a perfect circle. The Stone of Dark was across from her. To her right was of Rain and left was the Sun.

    As she saw these in the twilight of the morning rain, memories began flooding, or rather trickling, back into her mind. Closing her eyes, she recalled the events of the night before...

    "Gods," she whispered to herself in amazement and exasperation as she stared ahead at the figure before her. "What is it? It's... magnificent."
    In the twilight, the time between day and night, she stared at the beautiful winged creature with wide excited eyes. Never had she seen such a thing so beautiful. It's wings were fascinating. The were colored in the deepest shades of black, tipped white, but just a few feathers here and there. The creature wore a long, white and silken gown, and walked slowly in the woods around Reigna's circle. Ethel followed behind at a distance, unable to take her eyes off the magnificent pair of feathered appendages on it's back. It's body was human, a beautiful woman to rival even that of Reigna herself. But there was something about the eyes, something mysterious. There was a glow about them, not a literal one, but something that radiated from them that had Ethel all but lost in a trance.

    And then it happened. It was as if lightning had struck. The angelic being locked eyes with her own and hissed. The winged woman hissed like a snake would that was threatened by something that had tread on it's territory! In it's mouth were fangs longer and sharper than even the vampires that were known to roam the area.

    Ethel's eyes widened, and before her mind could process the thoughts that were all but flying through her head, the angel had her on a chase. She ran as fast as her slender legs would carry her, and reached the circle, the stones, in hopes that the creature would know better than to step on holy ground. It worked for vampires, and this woman was so much like one; excluding the wings.

    She hid behind the Stone of Light, weeping now and breathing heavily after such a scare. Frantic and loudening footsteps she could hear behind her, and knew that the angel woman was nearing. She only prayed it was of her imagination. Maybe, just maybe, it was all in her head. It was but a nightmare! After all, her sister's wedding was to be the next morning. Would fate really have it that something so terrifying and horrible happen at such a time.

    It would. The angel took a slow, steady step past the circle, and Ethel knew she'd have no where to run. All she had to defend herself with was the small blade she had brought to cut the stems of the flowers from the ground. It would have to be enough. She was too stubborn to die.

    The angel looked down at her with mad, hungry eyes. They were almost yellow in color, and still, despite all, enchanting. Ethel reached down slowly, retrieving the small knife she'd set fitfully in the laces of her sandals. At sight of the weapon, the angel was angered and swooped down toward her.

    Yes! The blade hit flesh! She felt blood dripping from a wound on the angel's chest land on her own skin. When the flame of hope was kindled, it died suddenly as she felt a hot-burning sensation on her good arm. She'd been bitten!

    Ethel heard of the burning sensation from vampire bites. Never did she know such a thing could hurt so badly.

    Screaming out in agony and pain, Ethel dropped the blade to the ground and heard a roar from the creature now standing above her, hurt as well.

    And then the darkness closed in and she had chosen sleep over facing the monster that had followed her out of the forest and into the holy place of Reigna that was supposed to be for protection of the innocent. Had it been a scream she heard as the night fell like a blanket over her? It was not her own scream. At that point, she had been to afraid to make a sound. Too exhausted. Too hurt.

    As Ethel searched her thoughts for the truth of the night, a very real, very hot pain began to burn from the wounds all over her body. She had been so consumed by her cloudy thoughts that she hadn't felt it until she focused on it.

    She began to weep silently. Her neck, that hurt the worst. Raising one hand from the grass below her, she set it tenderly on the wounds that marked her on her neck. There were two ragged holes, as if she'd been bitten. She herself had healed many bite wounds in the village from dogs, animals from the forest. There were always more than two holes, because the animals would go for flesh. What had bitten her, the angel-demon, had not been going for flesh, but blood.

    Ethel's hands traveled down her body finding more bite wounds similar to the one on her neck. On both of Ethel's wrists were puncture marks of the eyeteeth that were normally found in the mouths of the vampires that were so feared by her townspeople. But, the shape of the puncture wounds, the deepness of them were very different from vampire bites. Ethel had dealt with those as well.

    To stop from the poison, the control that came with a vampire bite, it had to be drenched in holy water. Oh, and the burn that came with it was terrible. Terrible.

    That was what she would do. She would go home... and get holy water. Then everything would be okay. But, she would have to hurry.

    Standing with a new hope and a new strength, Ethel ran from the holy Stones of Reigna that had denied her protection when she needed it the most, and bolted. She could have sworn that with every step, the wounds on her body became more painful, heavier as if they were weights. Never, though, did the woman slow.