Anastasia has always known the day of her death. That day has arrived.
| I'm sure you've heard about me. I'm special. I'm the chosen one. I'm who your boyfriend thinks about when he's with you. I'm the friend you don't want to leave alone with your dad.
My name is Anastasia and today is the day I die.
The sun is shining high in the sky. Of course, it is blue and without clouds. There is a light breeze, the trees are green and the birds are chirping. I hate all of it. The bus is even on time. My MP3 player plays my favorite songs one after the other but nothing could cheer me up. The stupid prophecy told at my birth is haunting me. It's the third week after my 16th birthday. I'm supposed to die today. What a crock of shit.
"Ana! Happy birthday!!!!"
My best friend, Lorie, is waiting for me at my locker, as usual. She's so noisy. "You're late."
"I know, I'm just trying to be annoying."
I throw my bag into my locker and sigh. It's so hard to pretend that everything is alright. I wish I could tell Lorie about the dark thoughts plaguing me but she wouldn't understand. Just then, a spicy shiver runs up my spine and I turn to look at a boy standing at the end of the hallway. He's tall, dark and handsome of course. If he's my murderer I guess I don't mind too much. Annoyed with his typical antics, I close my locker and ignore my best friend to stalk towards him.
"It's polite to come up to someone and introduce yourself instead of staring from across the hallway like a creep."
He smiles. His teeth are sharp as fuck. I kinda wonder what they'd feel like embedded in my neck. Yikes. "Hello Anastasia."
Of course he knows my fucking name. "Sup, dickwad. Are you the specially chosen murderer?"
He's smiling really wide now, pleased that I've identified him. "Yes, that's me. Shall we get along then?"
I sigh deeply but nod. Might as well get this over with, right? I get to miss math. Lorie appears next to me in an instant like she wasn't just standing behind us and spying on every word.
"Ana, where are you going? Who's your friend?"
I look expectantly at my new friend. I'm not dealing with the explanations here; if he wants to take me away he's gonna have to find all the excuses.
"My name is Ryan." He places an arm around my waist. "I'm just taking... Ana here for a little surprise date. I missed her birthday."
I resist the urge to shrug his arm off and look at Lorie. "Cover for me, okay?"
She watches me go with this strange boy, mouth agape. Within a few minutes, we're walking into the little strip of forest that surrounds our school's football field. I just want to get this over with honestly. I want this stupid dark cloud that's been hovering over my head for the past decade to go away!
"This should be fine." Ryan's voice is in my ear and it takes everything in me not to exclaim 'thank God'. "Any last words?"
"...I got nothing."
I hear the sound of a knife being drawn from its sheath and I am so ready for the knife to pierce my flesh but before that can happen, I hear an 'oof' and the sounds of wrestling. This wasn't in the prophecy, what the fuck? Another equally tall, dark and handsome boy is fighting Ryan, keeping him from executing his devious plan. I almost tell him to let it happen but honestly I'm vaguely intrigued now. Usually, a normal girl would run away now, right? But nah, class is far from over and I could use some entertainment. Eventually, Ryan snarls and disappears into the foliage. My savior stands panting for a while looking after my assailant in case he returns I assume. Eventually, he turns back towards me and I'm struck and smitten in an instant which honestly is so stupid cause who is this man?! He smiles at me.
"Sorry I'm late."
"...right." What the actual heck. "Who... are you? Where do you come from?"
"They didn't tell you?" He seems alarmed. "I'm your guardian angel."
A guardian angel? Fucking great. "You're kidding me, right?"
"Shit." He mutters to himself for a little bit. "Alright. Okay. Listen... I'll talk to you later, alright? There's some... things I have to check out."
I shrug. "Sure, I guess."
He's gone in the next few minutes and I'm left wondering what the hell just happened.
My name is Anastasia. My 16th birthday was three weeks ago and today was the day I was supposed to die. So... what the hell just happened?
The bell rings, signaling the end of math class and my unfortunate return to normal. Lorie is waiting for me wide eyed at my locker. I can sense the questions fighting in her mind.
"He was a prick. Don't ask questions."
She flails her arms around. "What do you mean don't ask questions?! You disappeared for an entire class somewhere with some mysterious man!"
"Yeah. It was not at all what I expected it to be and honestly, I would not do it again."
We go to our next class, Lorie still sputtering for words next to me. The end of the day cannot come fast enough. My guardian angel is leaning against the fence as we walk out, smoking a cigarette. For a second, I can see the ghostly outline of wings on his back, they are huge and mottled gray, but they disappear as soon as he turns his gaze towards us. Again, I am struck by how my body reacts to him. It's a tingle between my legs and a laser focus, everything falling away but his face. This is super annoying.
"Holy shit, Ana, who's this hottie? Is today your real birthday or?" Lorie is outwardly as excited as I feel on the inside.
He smiles, throws his cigarette to the ground and watches us approach. He's fucking sexy, what the hell. I wanna mash face with him real bad. "I see you're in one piece."
"Thanks to you." Jesus, am I flirting? "I never did get your name."
"I'm James." His smile makes me want to bite into his lower lip. "We should get you home."
"Yeah, um," I turn towards Lorie. "This is my best friend Lorie. I'll see you later?"
She's too busy staring at him to say goodbye but she still waves at me. James puts his arm around my waist and steers me away. The day is still beautiful. If I didn't know better, I'd think we were a normal boy and girl out on a date. Of course there's the nagging sensation that I'm supposed to die at any moment now that really takes away from the idyllic scenery but honestly James' presence makes me feel... safe. Which is actually.... terrifying. Suddenly I wonder if maybe he's the one sent to kill me. Hm, I wouldn't actually mind. Next thing I know, we've made it to the cemetery.
"Uh. Why are we here?"
He smiles again. I feel all kinds of melty. "I wanna show you something."
Yikes. "Actually, I should get home."
His grip around me tightens. "Come along, now, don't make this hard on yourself."
I fucking knew it, how frustrating. I sigh and roll my eyes. "You couldn't fucking do this in the woods?"
He seems surprised by my lack of fear but this doesn't stop him from pulling towards the cemetery. I feel like I'm about to cause a scene cause I'm done with today, I just wanna go home and take a long ass nap. "Nah, listen you lost your chance and I wanna go home now."
He pulls harder now and I nearly fall to the ground. "You're a real brat, aren't you?"
For fuck's sake. "You bet your ass I am!" Just as I'm taking a breath to yell for help, another dark shape shows up out of nowhere and barrels into James. Another savior I guess? But this time I don't stick around to make acquaintance, I just book it all the way home. It's a really good thing I live near the cemetery ‘cause my cardio is pretty terrible for my age. My mom is sitting on the couch with her head in her hands when I barge in.
"Ana!" She gasps and runs to me, looking me over. "Y-you're okay, you're alive!"
"Yeah! Weirdly enough. I mean, I have two murder attempts to my name but I'm... all in one piece?"
"Oh wow, this is.... oh wow." She seems at a loss for words. Honestly so am I; the day's nearing its end and I'm alive and well. "We should celebrate!"
"Let's wait til tomorrow at least." I calm her. "Day's not over yet."
"Right, right, of course." But I can tell that she's overjoyed by this. We've been waiting for this day for years and years, since I'm old enough to understand the concept of death. It made for a pretty rebellious and daredevil childhood. We settle down in front of the TV with drinks and a shotgun, y'know, just in case, but pretty soon its 11 PM and we're both nodding off.
"Now can I throw you a party?" My mom asks sleepily.
Before I can answer, there's the sound of breaking glass from somewhere upstairs. Immediately, we are both alert and ready, the shotgun is in my mom's hands before I know it.
"Alright, you fucking bastards. Come at me." Not gonna lie, she sounds like a fucking badass.
A few minutes later, a bad boy strolls casually down the stairs, still brushing glass from the sleeves and shoulders of his leather jacket. A pair of black wings are neatly folded at his back, they're almost as big as the ones I've seen on James. I'm startled by this boy's red eyes as they settle on me. He has fangs when he smiles. Mom cocks the gun.
"Get out of my house."
"It was really hard to find you, Anastasia. You should give your guardian angel a break."
Another one? "Thanks but I already have one and he tried to kill me."
The intruder stops in his lazy casual stroll. "James is here?" He looks towards a window, whispering to himself. "Fucking asshole."
"Yeah so you can go ahead and leave." My mom gestures with the gun towards the door. "Go on, get."
"Listen, there's been a misunderstanding." He resumes his lazy stroll down the stairs. "I'm your actual guardian angel. My name is Bast. Like the Egyptian Goddess. James is my annoying twin brother and he's a prick so."
My mom and I exchange a look. He's a persistent little fuck, isn't he? But before she can shoot off a warning shot, there's another sound of broken glass. This is gonna cost a fortune to fix, as my mom colorfully remarks. James is flying down the stairs in the next instant, looking mightily pissed off.
"Oh, Bast. How awful to see you again. Thanks for leading me to the girl."
Bast makes a face. Mom and I exchange another look. Things just got way weird, this was not part of the prophecy at all. "Wait, wait." Mom waves the shotgun between the both of them. "What is going on, who are you people?"
At the same time, both boys put their hands to their chest and lean forward exclaiming; "I'm her guardian angel!"
They glare sideways at each other. On the one hand it's really nice to be so desired by two cute boys but on the other hand one of them is clearly insane and wants to kill me and the jury is still out on the other. I wish there was a clear sign as to which one I should trust, if any. ...Granted, I'm less inclined to trust James after the whole cemetery thing.
"I can't have two guardian angels that makes no sense."
"You're absolutely correct, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever."
I look between the three people in my living room for a while. "Do we.... do we have a written copy of this prophecy somewhere? Can we talk to the person who made it? Cause I mean.... I remember it by heart. At least the part that I heard but uh.... apparently it’s incorrect or incomplete."
Mom sighs, lowering the shotgun but brings it back up almost immediately, eyeing the boys suspiciously. "Mythril disappeared not very long after your birth so honestly, I'm not sure how we could even get in contact with her. You know how it is with those people."
"...Actually, I don't."
She ignores me by staring down the two boys hard. "If any of you causes any kind of shit I am going to put a slug in your face faster than you can cackle."
They both nod and mom goes to the kitchen to get herself a drink. I can hear the clink of glass and the splash of alcohol at its bottom. Man, I could go for some booze too. Bast is staring at me with his red eyes, completely impassive. He looks like a large feline sizing up its prey. James on the other hand is still looking gorgeous and nonchalant. Mom comes back with two glasses and hands me one. She is a blessing, I love her.
"Cheers." She doesn't wait for me to chug hers in maybe one or two gulps. I raise my glass to empty air and then to my lips when the door slams open by an unseen force. There's a dark silhouette in the doorway. Somewhere in the city, the church chimes midnight.
"Well, well..." A sultry, smoky voice drifts out from under the wide brim of the silhouette's black hat. "Have I come at the wrong time?"
Mom lowers the shotgun she's lifted to the door with a sigh. "Speak of the devil."
"That's vexing both to me and the devil." The woman walks in like she owns the place, elegantly removing her long gloves before she takes off her hat and shakes out long dark curls. "I thought you'd be happier than this to see me." She pauses when she sees me and the boys pretending to be my guardian angels. "Oh, what's this then?"
"We were kinda hoping you'd tell us." I take this opportunity to chug my drink. The burn seems to spark some life back into me.
"Who is this?"
The woman smiles, her beautiful lips are painted blood red. "It's nice to see you alive and well, Anastasia. My name is Mythril."
So this is the famous Mythril! She looks like a black widow waiting for her next prey. I'm certain she's had multiple marriages that all ended in terrible and tragic accidents, if you know what I mean.
"Yeah, so we have a lot of questions." I shoot back. "First of all, what's up with these guys?" I point at James and Bast. "I feel like you didn't tell us the whole prophecy, tee bee aetch."
"Young ones are so impatient these days!" She exclaims as she settles on the couch. Mom has put the shotgun down for now. I assume Mythril holds some kind of power and can intervene if anything goes south. "I couldn't reveal the whole prophecy when you were born because of... well, this. Had I told you then, this might not have happened and you would almost certainly be dead at this point."
"Not for lack of trying," I mutter under my breath. "You're talking like that wasn't the whole point of the prophecy."
Mythril sighs. "The prophecy, or at least the part that I told you, goes something like 'on the 21st day of your 16th year, your life will end'." Sounds about right. "What I failed to mention was that the arrival of your death day also heralds the arrival of your guardian angels, one of light and one of darkness. You must make a choice but choose wisely. Your chosen will determine your fate."
You have got to be kidding me. I don't have the best taste in men as Lorie can attest. My ex is kind of a mega douchebag. "Oh yikes. So um. How long do I have to choose?"
"Now." Mythril's eyes are glowing and she opens her arms towards the two boys. "The telling of the prophecy is the opening of the poll. You have to make a choice."
"That's not fucking fair!" I stomp my foot like a child. "Don't I get a free trial or something?! I barely know these guys and at least one of them already tried to kill me."
James scoffs. "Not likely."
"Your choice must be made."
"Oh yeah?" I cross my arms. "Then I choose neither and you can fight me about it."
Mythril's glowing eyes slowly lose their shine and she lets her arms fall. She gives my mom a look. "You raised a real brat, Gen."
My mom shrugs. "I raised a smart kid."
"Unbelievable." Bast is chuckling. "You won't choose me even though my sweet brother almost killed you? You are one strange girl."
"And you're one ginormous asshole, get out of my house." I look around at all the strange kids giving me strange looks. "Actually, all of you get out of my house." I catch my mom's eyes. "Right, sorry, our house. Get out. We can talk again once I've slept off the fuckery of anxiety that was today. Until then I won't listen to reason and you'll all get on my nerves so get out."
"You heard the girl, out miscreants." Mom picks the shotgun back up and uses it to usher the supernatural creatures out of the front door. "Business hours are between whenever we decide to wake up and never. Take care."
There is a tense moment of silence when we slam the door shut behind them then we both let out deep sighs. Man, what a day.
My name is Anastasia. I am 16 years old. It’s been 22 days since my birthday. I was supposed to die yesterday. Now I have to choose a guardian angel to ensure my survival?