Last night was unbelievable. Not in the mind-blowingly amazing sense (which Alice had initially planned for the evening) but in the shocking, horrific sense. The brunette still couldn't wrap her head around the bizarre string of events that had occurred hours before. Every memory of last night blurred together until it all became one big, unnatural mess Alice was too afraid to unravel. But she had to if she wanted to keep her sanity in check. The first clear recollection she had was the End of the Year party. Her gem. Her baby. Her crowning achievement as the new class president of North City High. Sure, Alice spent most of her time cleaning up after drunk seniors but it was worth it knowing that she would be going down in the school's history. And how could she not? She found a prime location in the woods just outside of town, not too far from civilization but far enough that neighbors wouldn't complain about the noise. She recruited the AV club to handle the music, got the Home Economics club to make hot foods and desserts, and convinced a local furniture store to donate their used and old couches, loveseats, and chairs so no one had to sit on those uncomfortable plastic ones. It took half a day to move everything to the party grounds but once it was all set, Alice was able to focus on the star of the celebration. With the help of the jocks and from the students who took Woodwork, she was able to build a great bonfire that lit up the entire grassy clearing once evening rolled around. It wasn't long before people were showing up. Mostly seniors of course since it was their going away party but there were a few underclassmen that had found their way there. It didn't deter from the festivities and in minutes, the party was at full swing. Alice wasn't sure of the exact time when she first noticed it but it was probably pretty late in the evening. She had been picking up empty beer bottles outside of a dance-off near the edge of the clearing when she saw the thin tendrils of black smoke across the grass. Initially, she thought that someone was smoking nearby but why would the smoke be so low to the ground? And it didn't look like cigarette smoke. It was too... dense. Too dark. There was a scream... Maybe. Alice couldn't remember it exactly. Too many things were happening at the same time. The music suddenly cut off and the headlights from the cars parked around the clearing went dark. Then... more screams. More shouts. There was a rush of wind and Alice saw the black smoky tendrils rise up behind her and surround the clearing until it became a towering wall of fog. Alice didn't know what pulled her attention away from the foreboding barricade but the next clear memory was the appearance of a black form floating atop the remaining source of light in the area; the bonfire. She, along with the rest of her classmates, looked up in horror as the strange, gaseous-like form morphed into something more… coherent. Alice wasn’t sure what it was at first but then the form became more solid, more defined, until she knew for sure what it was. Floating above the bonfire was a being cladded in dark armor. A hood covered her head, encasing her face in more darkness. But the most defining feature of the hooded being was her jet black angel wings. For a few agonizing seconds, the entire clearing froze as each teen stared up at the being. That is, until someone yelled at up at them. Then another, and another. Alice couldn't remember what her fellow classmates had said since all her attention was focused on the dark angel, especially her hands. Even from far away, she could tell that the metal gloves were intricately crafted as the being raised both hands in front of her chest, positioned as if she were holding an invisible ball. The shouting around Alice grew louder and angrier but all she could focus on was the being’s hands. The next memory happened so fast but it was the clearest one Alice could recall. She distinctly remembered a pinprick of light glowing between the winged being’s hands but in that next moment, everything was engulfed in white. And then… Pain. A searing, agonizing pain. It was as if her entire existence was on fire, burning straight to her core. It lasted only a second but it felt like lifetimes had passed before Alice felt something other than pain. She wasn’t sure how long she was out but it couldn’t have been for very long. When she did finally open her eyes, Alice found herself in a gigantic crater where the clearing had been. Everything was gone. There were no people, no cars, no debris, no anything. Even her clothes were gone. Alice barely had time to react to the nothingness when a hand suddenly grabbed her throat and pulled her up off the ground. Her eyes widened when she came face-to-hood with the winged being and she reflexively kicked out in retaliation. The attack collided with the being’s armor but didn’t even phase them as she continued her ascent into the starry sky. Alice continued to struggle against the armored glove around her neck, all the while flicking her terrified eyes back and forth between the bottomless abyss that was the being’s hooded face and the shrinking scenery below her. After what seemed like ages, the armored angel came to a sudden halt in her flight. For a moment, Alice wasn’t sure what was going on since the being made no move. But then an instant later, she was released and sent plummeting back to the ground. Alice remembered screaming as she fell because honestly, who wouldn’t? It was a long fall as the wind whipped wildly around her naked form. Then, an earth-shattering slam. Literally. The impact her body made when it hit the earth created another, albeit smaller crater. But the craziest thing was that she had survived. Alice couldn’t believe it as she laid in her small hole for a few minutes. But when she attempted to move her legs, she was shocked to find nothing hurt. Or even ached. A loud sound jolted Alice from her daze but she couldn’t recall exactly what it was. It didn’t matter to her at the time because she scrambled up to her feet and made a mad dash out of the area. She didn’t look back. Didn’t want to look back. Alice just kept running until her lungs ached. Fortunately, she slowed down just as she reached the main roads. From there, it was easy to find her way back home, all the while hiding from passing cars and pedestrians. Once Alice saw the familiar, two-story house she called home, she made one more quick sprint to the back. She fumbled around in the dark for a moment until she found the spare key for the back door. Once unlocked, Alice scrambled inside and straight up to her room. From there, the memories were hazy again before she finally passed out on her bedroom floor. It was where Alice found herself now, wrapped up in her comforter as she figured out what she should do now that she had combed through last night’s events. It was real. Everything was real. That’s why she was naked under her blanket and why her phone hadn’t rung at all. She had it on her person during the explosion and everything except herself had been disintegrated. Was it because she was a living thing? If so, why did the trees disappear? And the rest of her… Alice shot up to a sitting position while the horrible realization washed over her. Her classmates. Her friends. The graduating senior class was gone. Once the thought completely registered in her mind, Alice scrambled over to her adjoining bathroom where she retched all the contents from her last meal into her toilet bowl. It took a few more vomits for her stomach to finally clear up before she leaned back against the bathroom wall. She sat there for a lot longer than she had anticipated. Luckily, she was alone in the house today since her parents had gone to visit her ailing grandmother for the weekend. Reception was bad up in the country so Alice didn’t expect them to call any time soon. They trusted her after all. Ugh, she felt like throwing up again but there was nothing left in her stomach to barf out. She needed to get up. After a few more minutes sitting there, Alice finally scrounged up enough will to push herself off her tile floor and onto her feet. She went through the motions of showering and getting dressed before making her way downstairs, each action becoming increasingly easier despite her heavy heart. As the day went on, Alice felt more at ease despite the traumatizing events of last night. It helped that she refused to leave her home or look at any social media sites, opting to just watch mindless television for the remainder of the day. She knew it was a selfish move on her part to not check up on her fellow classmates but she wanted to hold on to this fleeting illusion that everything was fine just a little while longer. Reality came crashing back down that evening when the house phone rang. When she finally mustered up the courage to pick it up after the third ring, Alice was greeted with the frantic voice of her principal. He bombarded her with questions for the first five minutes, asking where certain people were and what had happened last night. She usually had all the answers but tonight, she was speechless. Alice responded to his questions with “I don’t knows” and “I’m not sures” until he finally gave up asking and informed her to meet at the school tomorrow morning. She acknowledged the instructions half heartedly and quickly hung up before he could ask anything else. Alice cried herself to sleep that night. The next morning came too soon for her liking but she quickly got up to get ready. She washed up and dressed in a simple blouse and skinny jeans before hurrying out the door. Her car was the only one in the driveway and Alice’s thoughts briefly went back to that night. She had gotten a ride from her friend since her tiny 2-door sedan wouldn’t have handled the rough terrain. Now that friend was probably dead. Alice swallowed back tears as she unlocked her car door, slamming it shut a little more loudly than usual before peeling out of her driveway. She made it to North City High School in record time and found the parking lot half-full of police cars. It didn’t come as a surprise to her as she parked near more of the normal cars and made her way inside the school. The moment she stepped onto the school courtyard, Alice was directed to the cafeteria. There, she saw an array of students ranging from freshmen to seniors lined up inside the large space. The cafeteria tables were pushed up against the walls, giving the teens enough room to line up according to their grade. Alice looked over to the designated senior line and felt a sense of dread when she noticed it was the shortest one. For a moment, she wasn’t sure which line she should be in. She was junior last year and an upcoming senior so where exactly should she go…? “Miss Beckett?” Alice spun around to see a large, stocky red-haired man with a handlebar mustache. He wore a dark blue nylon jacket over an off-white button-up shirt and khaki slacks. “Y-yes?” She asked, mentally cursing herself for sounding so nervous. What did she have to be nervous about anyway? “I’d like you to come with me please.” He stated calmly. Before Alice could say anything in response, the man spun around and walked ahead, giving her plenty of time to read the letters on the back of his jacket. FBI. Alice quickly followed after him as he turned into the English hallway. After passing a few doors, he finally stopped in front of the teacher’s lounge. He opened the door for Alice and after a tentative second, she stepped inside. She’s been in this room a dozen times before but it was always filled with a couple of teachers. Today, it was empty save for one person sitting in the middle of the room. The first thing Alice noticed about the person was her sharp, piercing eyes. It felt as if the dark-haired woman’s gaze was staring straight into her soul. Like there was nothing Alice could hide from her. The short teen swallowed down her uneasiness and took a seat across from the woman. She heard the door close behind her before seeing the red-haired man walk over and stand behind what Alice assumed was his partner. Alice turned her attention back to the woman sitting in front of her, taking the short lapse in silence to study her features. The woman had light brown skin, and jet black hair tied back into a tight braid. She also wore the same FBI jacket that the red-haired man had on but hers was zipped up to the bottom of her sternum, giving view of the black dress shirt she wore underneath. “Good morning Miss Beckett.” Alice jumped when her name was spoken and she glanced up to meet the woman’s gaze. “I am Agent Longshadow,” the woman continued, not even fazed by Alice’s uneasiness. “And this is my partner, Agent Gallagher. We are from the FBI and were sent here to help the local police department investigate the explosion that occurred during North City High School’s End of the Year party. You were in charge of that, correct?” Alice simply nodded, unable to trust her voice at the moment. Why was she so nervous? She didn’t do anything wrong. These people were here to help her out after all. “Can you please recount the events of last night to me?” Agent Longshadow requested as she pulled out a small leather notebook and a pen. “The party started at sundown,” Alice began, shifting her gaze to the table to avoid the woman’s penetrating stare. “But I arrived earlier with a couple of other people to set up the clearing. Mostly everyone was there by the around 8 pm I think.” “And by everyone, that means…?” “The entire graduating class, I think. It felt like everyone was there since it was really crowded. I also saw some juniors and even a few sophomores make it.” Alice watched as Agent Longshadow scribbled something in her notebook before glancing back up at her. “Then what happened?” “I… was cleaning up some trash off the ground when this weird black fog appeared, followed by this angel.” Alice paused to check the reaction of the agents. Agent Gallagher had raised an eyebrow in her direction but Agent Longshadow didn’t even twitch. Seeing as neither of them didn’t say anything, Alice continued. “She had giant black wings and dark armor on. Her face was covered with a hood. She… didn’t talk and just floated there. Then this explosion of white light covered the clearing.” “Did you see where the explosion came from?” Agent Longshadow interjected, turning back to her notebook to jot something down. “It looked like it was coming from her hands. But I’m not really sure if it came from something or not.” Alice responded hesitantly. “Right, continue.” “I don’t know how long the explosion lasted but the next thing I knew, I was in this crater that looked to span the entire clearing. Or what was left of it.” “Did you see anyone else?” “Other than the angel?” Alice glanced up to see Agent Longshadow’s response. The woman simply nodded which Alice replied with a shake of her head. “No. I didn’t get a chance to since I got attacked.” “By the angel?” “Yes. She lifted me into the air and…” Alice trailed off as the memories replayed inside her head. They were clear, too clear for her own sanity. But she distinctly remembered being up incredibly high before she was dropped. She shouldn’t have survived the fall. But she did. How? “Miss Beckett?” Alice flinched and looked back up to see Agent Longshadow and Agent Gallagher staring at her intentively. “Um, the angel. She lifted me in the air and then dropped me back down before flying away.” Alice quickly recanted, stumbling over her words at the last moment. “I took that chance to run back home.” “And you didn’t call the police? Why is that?” Alice was taken aback by the comment and it didn’t help that Agent Longshadow was now looking at her with what she assumed was an accusatory glare. “I was scared!” She responded a little too loudly. “And I didn’t want to believe what had happened! I thought everything that had happened was just a bad dream.” “Well it wasn’t a dream, it was real life.” Agent Longshadow began, “and we will be inspecting the crime scene thoroughly so if there is anything else you’d like to tell us, now is the time.” Upon hearing this, Alice immediately thought back to the moment she survived the fall and mentally weighed the pros and cons of revealing… whatever that was. She wasn’t even sure if she had imagined the whole thing up. Either way, Alice did not like how Agent Longshadow was staring her down. And if something strange did happen to her after the explosion, what was stopping these FBI agents from taking her in and experimenting on her? “Did… anyone else survive?” She ended up asking as sincerely as she could. Not that it was hard; Alice was genuinely worried about the lives of her fellow classmates. “That’s confidential. But in a small town like this, I’m sure you can figure out who did.” Agent Longshadow curtly replied as she closed her leather bound notebook. “That’s all the questions I have for you today Miss Beckett but I will be contacting you if I have any more.” “So I can go?” Alice asked incredulously, surprised that the intimidating woman was so quick to letting her go. “Yes, but do not leave town.” Agent Longshadow warned, her frigid stare sending chills up and down the short teen’s spine. Alice simply nodded and stood up, giving one last nod to Agent Gallagher before rushing out of the room. Her feet didn’t stop moving until she made it back to her tiny car. She collapsed against the driver’s side, panting heavily while trying to make sense of what had just occurred. There were too many questions and not enough answers. However, there was one thing Alice knew for sure. She was going to get to the bottom of things. Starting with what the hell happened to her body.