A/N: This came about while I was rereading my Unfeathered story and I want to try to keep adding to this tale. I am not entirely sure where it is going, if anywhere, but I do want to see what I can do with it.
“If you walk out that door you will never see me again,” she stood arms crossed, eyes trained on his right hand. His fingers held the door knob gently; all he had to do was twist and take two steps forward. He would be out the door and forever out of her life. If he moved an inch, she would not shed a single tear. She would not beg him to turn around and look her in the eye and say goodbye. If he left, she was done.
“Good,” he said as he twisted the knob and left her apartment. She felt the prickle at the corner of her eyes. She felt the tightening in her chest and the shaking in the tips of her fingers down to her knees. All the signs were there for a major breakdown. If she relaxed even a little bit she would crumple onto the ground and he would have won.
She took two deep breaths and released them slowly. She closed her eyes and released all the tension and agony creeping around inside of her. She had known he was going to leave. He wasn’t worth her tears or time. He was weak and she was strong. She just had to keep repeating that to herself over and over.
Once the tension in her chest eased and she felt her eyes dry up she went to her bathroom and finished getting ready for the day. As she finished curling her hair she looked over her outfit. She wore a bright white T-shirt and blue jeans, the safe outfit. An outfit he had insisted she wear day in and day out. He had never listened to her protest or theories. But now he was gone.
She finished her hair and went to her closet. She moved to the back of the space. Here was the spot where she kept everything he thought wasn’t appropriate. Back here was her normal clothes; T-shirts and dresses. So many colors and styles just like it used to be before this all started. Back before the Winged One curse made everyone paranoid automatons. She pulled out a little black number that hit her mid thigh. The neck was low giving a hint of what was beneath but only a hint. Two sheer slits ran along the sides, again hinting at something but not truly giving anything away.
She quickly undressed but just as she was about to pull the dress down over her head she caught a glimpse of her back in her floor length mirror. Right at her shoulder blades was two slits, and coming through them was a few stray feathers. She stared at them for a long time, watching the tiny strands flutter in the wind.
She should find her discarded white shirt, put it on and stop this whole process before it was too late. So many wore the shirts everyday, barely taking them off even to shower. She on the other hand had learned early on the shirts were only for the danger moments. Sure, constantly wearing them kept the danger moments basically nonexistent, but it wasn’t alway a necessity.
She should walk away from this new outfit and go back to blending in with the rest of the Unfeathered. Becoming a Winged One wasn’t reversible. Once you let go, you were taken for life. You were the elite, soaring around the sky and staring down at the little people below you. You lost all strong emotions and ties to anyone you once knew. Once you soared into the sky the rest of the world began to mean less and less.
The winged ones were revered and feared. They didn’t care about anyone else. Didn’t think about the well-being of the world at all. No one and nothing mattered to them anymore. To many that seemed like a curse but to her it sounded like a blessing. What did she have in this world? Nothing, that was the answer. Her parents had flown away years ago, in the first movement. They had been curious and she had never seen them again.
She had never been a social butterfly. In school she had had a handful of friends but life had pulled them apart. She might talk to one or two of them once or twice a year if she found the time. They never had meaningful conversations, mostly the basics, “What are you doing?”, and “How is life?” Nothing more.
Her only boyfriend had walked out the door moments ago leaving her completely alone. So what did she have left? She didn’t care about anyone or anything right now anyway, so what would change other than the way she traveled?
She pulled the black fabric down over hear heard. She straightened it and admired herself in the mirror. She looked hot. She spun and felt her face grow into a smile Today was going to be a great day.
The day turned out to be quiet dull. She got a few side glances at her outfit but nothing exciting. No one hit on her and she had no reason to assert her new sense of self worth onto the world. She returned home less excited and enthusiastic then she had been when she had left earlier.
She undressed for a shower and once again admired her growing feathers. They were more than wisps now. She could actually see full sized feathers poking out. With a little difficulty she reached back and stroked the new additions. They were soft and light below her fingers. The dark grey stood out well under there bright lights of her bathroom. She imagined her full set, open wide and filling the room. Giant slate grey wings with dark black veins criss-crossing over the surface. She imagined them opening wide and the wind lifting her high into the air. The world below her was nothing more than pinpricks of color, below was nothing to her. Above was what mattered. Above where there was no boundaries, no obstacles or roadblocks. Above was where she was completely free.
It took one week for her wings to fully form. Slowly they expanded out over the days getting wider and stronger. As they grew larger it became nearly impossible for her to leave the house. She didn’t care.
On Sunday she knew they were completely formed. She no longer felt any pricks of pain as new feathers pushed themselves out into the world. She was finally a Winged One.
She didn’t know quite what to do now though. Did she just open the window and jump out? Did she wait for some type of welcoming committee? Were there any rules to this new life?
No one knocked at her door and she didn’t actually feel much different. She felt exactly the same, except that now she was anxious. She wanted to go into the air, see a new view of the world. But how did these things work? Did she have to consciously think to move them? Did they just instinctively work on their own? What was the secret?
“Can’t know until you try,” a little voice whispered in the back of her mind. And it was right. No one was going to come to help her. This was all about her, as everything from now on would be about her.
She opened the double doors to her balcony and stepped out. The sun was on the verge of setting. The world was awash in a warm golden glow. Now was the best moment to try out her new wings.
She opened her wings wide, climbed up onto the railing and without a second thought or moment of preparation she jumped. She fell fast, the ground racing up to slam into her face. She screwed up her eyes, ready to meet the concrete but she never did.
She flapped her wings once, twice and slowly rose back into the sky. Within minutes she was high in the air and the world was quickly getting smaller and smaller. The buildings were no longer large and imposing. The cars looked so much like little toys she itched to reach down and move them around the city. Up here she felt like a god, able to change and manipulate anything and everyone. Up here she ruled the world.
She soared above the city past the city’s imposing wall. A wall designed to keep them inside and separate from the rest of the world. There would be Less chaos that way they said. She flew over the city besides theirs and it was as much asleep as her own behind the wall. She flew over countrysides full of nothing but blackness. The sun was down now, nothing but the moon and stars to guide her through the world. A world that was featureless but not intimidating. She soared left and right, dived to the ground and rose to the clouds.
She went higher and higher until she felt the atmosphere get cold and restrictive. At the highest point, at this time of night, the world became nothing but shadows. Shadows she began to feel apart of. This indistinct, dark world was her home.
It was almost two in the morning before she arrived back at her apartment. It took her a bit to find her way but she enjoyed every minute of the hunt. As she flew she glanced into windows curious to see what the sleeping world looked like at this hour. There were no restrictions and no rules. Those awake from nightmares or insomnia shied away from her when she passed by their windows but she didn’t care.
She slept more peacefully then she had in ages the rest of the night. No negative thoughts plagued her. She worried about nothing and no one. All she could think of or wanted was to be back in the sky, exploring.
Three weeks later and she was getting antsy. She still enjoyed soaring but it was the same view most of the time. She flew at all hours of the day but night was still her favorite. It was mysterious, anything could be hiding in the blackness. Though even that mystery was starting to get monotonous.
The Unfeathered avoided her while other Winged Ones were kind but aloof. She had no new friends and no old acquaintances came looking for her. She was still alone and that was becoming less and less exciting.
She had thought becoming a Winged One would have meant no more questioning, no more boredom. She had thought she would feel light and free every hour of everyday, not a worry or concern making itself known to her. It only took her a few days to learn that was all complete B.S. She was bored and didn’t have any idea what to do with herself.
Night would be upon her in a matter of minutes. Maybe tonight instead of just flying through the clouds and over hills and valleys she would stay closer to the ground. Look for something new and exciting to do. Maybe there would be a mystery to solve or a life to watch. There had to be something interesting going on the streets at this hour.
Once she saw the first specs of light sparkling down from the black sky she opened her wings and took off. Instead of soaring straight up into the clouds and getting lost in the darkness, she went straight down. She flew mere feet above the streets, which were almost completely empty.
A few brave souls scurried over the sidewalks on their way home. Everyone knew being out after dark, unless you were a Winged One, was dangerous. Officers prowled the streets eager to add more souls to their quotas. If you were Unfeathered you risked abduction or attack once the sun went down.
She flew through the dim streets not a sight or sound popping out at her. Nothing broken for her to fix. No one looking to be in need of help. Nothing lost for her to find. There was almost nothing going on. The streets were as blank and dull as the sky above her.
She was just about to return to her clouds when she heard a scream. She quickly backtracked and headed down a side street into a small suburban neighborhood. She hovered a house down from where the scream had originated.
Crouched between two burly Winged Ones was a small pathetic looking woman. She was just a limp body between them, crying but doing nothing more. Standing before the group was a simply handsome man in a bright white T-shirt. He was gesturing at the woman. Finally they let her go and passed her on to the man.
The man let the woman fall to the ground. He didn’t kneel down to comfort the woman or to make sure she was alright. He just turned away and head beck into his house. The woman quickly followed behind him. She walked tall no slumped shoulders or look of distress about her person. She walked as if proud, almost triumphant. The door closed and the house went dark.
She hovered, waiting. No lights came on and she heard nothing more from the pair but she couldn’t shake the incident. Something was off about these two. He tried to rescue her but didn’t act like he was glad that he had won. She seemed to be barely scratched by her encounter. Yes,people rescued those caught, but they were almost alway family members, never were they complete strangers who had no attachment to each other. Usually there was a show full of crying and pleading followed by joyous hugs and kisses when they “won.” Not this pair though. The man seemed angry and the woman was excited.
She turned to head home, making a mental note of the location. She would return the following night and watch the house. She was going to find out what was different about this place. Mystery found.