Prologue: Three days ago
The young photographer snapped another shot of another boring lake view. He had seen too many already during his short span of working for the company he had always dreamed of working for; so far, this job was just another flop. It was only his first week. He couldn’t believe his boss sent him out and had him shooting the scenery. The young man was a people watcher, not a painter. He didn’t like things that didn’t move.
The young man slowly turned his camera to the right, his eye still as close to the view finder as it could be, over the crystal clear, blue lake—it was gorgeous, but he rolled his eyes at its plainness—past the clump of trees behind the small beach… He looked up suddenly. Something had just soared out of the water, up the beach—the sand shot into the spring air after it—and into the bunch of trees. But it hadn’t flown, per se. It had been running. At least, he thought it had been running; it had been incredibly fast.
Lowering his camera, the young man took a step forward. Not a second after his foot had touched the long, sun-lit, shimmering grass did he catch his breath and stop in his tracks. The thing that had run into the trees had darted out of the back of them, across the road…but then it vanished. Completely. He raised his camera again, this time pointing it at the road. Maybe he could get it from a different angle?
He crouched, resting his elbow on his bent knee, camera raised, ready to catch anything. This type of photography was more like it. With people watching, his eyes always seem to light up and his heart had never failed to beat insanely fast, as if expecting something to explode nearby or someone to come out of a grocery store shooting. You know, stuff to make life more interesting. But that never happened. With this, though, the young man knew something was different. He knew something was going to happen.
A streak of white flashed down the road quicker than he would have thought possible, and he just barely had time to recover from almost falling over in shock and snap a picture. He looked at the picture on the screen and just about dropped his five thousand dollar Nikon professional-grade, favorite camera. There, just barely visible in the bottom left corner, was a very blurry, but completely obvious, human foot. He looked up once more and found the white thing—that couldn’t possibly be a human because running that fast just wasn’t…couldn’t be—running, no, streaking at a blinding speed, straight towards him.
The terrified young man just had enough time to swing the camera up to chest level and bring his index finger down onto the small button on top of it. The flash went off, but he barely noticed. He barely noticed the pain in his chest where his strikingly white ribcage was now exposed and the ribbon-like, gushing-blood-skin that was supposed to be protecting them flapped in the quiet breeze. He only opened his eyes after one horrified blink, and when he had, he found himself face to face with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his entire life.
The picture flashed across the screen, showing the snarling, bloodied smile of a white angel, inches from the camera.