I honestly could not describe the thoughts that overtook me at that moment. So many flooded my mind at once. Aaron could see my wings? Was it the goggles that made him able to see them? What would he do with me now that he knew? Wait, Auburn had invented those goggles. Was that how he could tell I had wings? But why would Auburn have wanted to invent something like that? And how? These thoughts flew through my brain as I quickly reached up and snatched the goggles away. “You keep quiet about that!” I hissed, but Aaron seemed too horrified to even think clearly.
“Father’s right! You’re a curse! You’re a monster!” Aaron gasped, backing up, then he raised his voice and cried in the same alarmed tone, “Father! Auburn! Come quick!”
My heart practically jumped into my throat. What would Mr. Prewitt do to me now? Or do to Auburn? I wished with my whole being that I’d left Auburn’s goggles alone! I ducked under Aaron’s arms; the goggles clinched tightly in my hands as I dashed out. I rammed right into Auburn who was coming out of his room swiftly calling, “What is it, Aaron?!” He caught me then by my wrists. “Téras?! What’s going on?!”
“I didn’t mean it, Auburn! I just wanted to see what they could do!” I cried, looking up at him piteously. “Please don’t get rid of me!”
“See what what could do?” Auburn asked, then spotted his goggles hanging from my arm. “Téras, you didn’t!”
Aaron came dashing toward Auburn. “That kid’s a monster! He has wings! He has wings!”
Auburn quickly stepped in front of me. “Aaron, shut your mouth and stop screaming like a frightened baby!”
“But what?! He has wings, all right? So what?”
“So what?!” I heard Mr. Prewitt’s harsh, angry voice, and then I felt a cold hand grab me roughly by the ear and jerk me back. “That’s all you can say, so what?! I knew something was fishy about this kid! I knew it!”
I squealed in pain. “Let me go!”
“Take your hands off of him, Father!” Auburn exclaimed starting forward, but Aaron grabbed him by the shoulders.
“Auburn what are you saying?! He’s one of the Wings!” Aaron cried. “He’s one of those types that gave you your illness!”
“I don’t care!” Auburn cried, trying to jerk away from his grasp.
I tried to worm my way from Mr. Prewitt’s grasp, but I couldn’t do it. Tears filled my eyes from the pain, and then suddenly I thought of my wings. They knew I had them. Why not use them? I folded them back into attack position, then quickly twisted as hard as I could to break free from his grasp, and stuck out one of my wings at the same time, hitting him hard across the face with it. He stumbled back with a cry, and darted away. I had to get out of here! I dashed for the door, but Mr. Prewitt, who had recovered himself, was chasing after me. I turned the knob on the door and darted out onto the rickety stairs. I gave them one glance and knew that Mr. Prewitt would catch me if I went down them, but he would also catch me if I didn’t act quickly. I glanced down at the asphalt below, then back at my wings and back at Mr. Prewitt who was at that moment darting through the door. Without a second thought, I dashed to the edge of the ledge and jumped. I started screaming as I fell, but I spread out my wings, praying they would lift me up. I was still falling… but not as swiftly now. My wings were creating a parachute and I gently eased down to the ground, before I saw Mr. Prewitt’s head peek over the side of the balcony. I then saw his form starting down the stairs. He was still going after me! I dashed away down the dusky street. Where could I go?! Where was someplace I could get help? Where was someplace I could create a diversion?!
There was only one name that popped into my head. Eilad. He had wings too. Maybe his folks would help, even if they were White-Wings?
I dashed down the street as fast as my feet could carry me as I thought about where I could go. Eilad’s place seemed like the best option, but it was so far away. I wouldn’t be able to outrun Mr. Prewitt for that long, especially if he took the car after me. There had to be somewhere else I could go.
I glanced over at the far west side of town — the wasteland. It was all really a landfill with old warehouses and junk in it. I could go there and hide, then later when the chase was cooled down, I could make my way to Eilad’s place.
The wind brushing past me made me want to spread my wings, and I did so, trying my best to fly, but my wings were so heavy that the air wasn’t enough to lift them, or if it was, I just wasn’t doing something right.
I scrambled down an alleyway as I heard tires squealing behind me. I had to keep running. I squeezed through a narrow opening at the end of the alleyway to another one and kept running towards the dark wasteland. It was already starting to get dark, as it always did around this time of year.
Finally, it was so dark I could barely see, and I started slowing my pace, not wanting to trip over anything. I reached a very large mound of something then and started climbing up it. I realized, as some of it started to crumble beneath me, that it was a large landfill.
I scrambled up it again as I thought I might have heard a car. With all my might, I struggled to get on top of the pile of trash. I finally did… and then tumbled unceremoniously down the opposite way.
I was much shaken from the fall — rolling down a pile of broken bits and pieces of things and old torn worthless things piled as high as a house wasn’t any laughing matter. My whole body ached, but especially my feet and my wings. My feet ached for obvious reasons, and as I lay there on the ground stunned, I was beginning to feel the pain more keenly. My wings… well, though they were the most powerful part of me, they were also the weakest. They ached dreadfully from having random trash thrust through them, and I’d lost a few feathers, I knew.
I listened for any cars that might come this way — why they would unless they were following me, I wouldn’t know — but thankfully I heard nothing, and realized that the car I heard was either going somewhere else or a figment of my frightened imagination. For a while, I lay there in exhaustion and thought. For the first time, it occurred to me — what was Auburn going to do without me? No, what was I going to do without him? I had so many questions to ask him now too. How had he made those goggles? What did he use them for? Was the scientific research place trying to help Wings like me? And why was Aaron so frightened because I had wings? I mean it could be slightly disconcerting to say the least— I would even admit that, but he had seemed genuinely frightened! And Auburn — had he said that one of us Wings had given him his incurable illness? Then another thought hit me — would I ever see Auburn alive again?
That thought startled me, and I sat up. Perhaps when I went to Eilad’s place he would be kind enough to go and send for Auburn, and then the two of us could go away somewhere — somewhere where none of his family would ever find us, and then we could be happy again.
But then I heard some sound… some strange noise… it sounded like an animal was in one of the old, abandoned warehouses lining the garbage covered streets. There was one old orange street light casting an eery glow around the place, and I shivered as I heard the sound of tin cans crashing against each other again. I needed to get to that light. That would at least comfort me. I scrambled to my feet again, crunching a bottle under my feet as I did so. Then I heard a crack of glass behind me, and I whirled around. Two green eyes glowed from a form silhouetted behind me, and I screamed and dashed for the light. The creature followed me, clearly aiming to hit me with something. I dashed to the street-light and then clung to it, attempting to climb up it, but failing. I hid my face on it, expecting every moment to feel the creature attack me. Yet, as I glanced back, it remained in the shadows. It had lowered whatever it held, and then, much to my surprise, it gave a squeal. “Joram! Look!”
I clung tighter to the light as I saw another creature come up from the opposite way. “Jotham! I’ve told you before, we come here to get supplies, and not play around! Now—” Suddenly it turned its bright eyes on me, then gasped.
Great. Now I would be attacked by both of these creatures.
But then as they stepped into the light, I loosened my hold on the lamppost. In fact, I dropped it completely, and stared at them as they stared back. These were two boys in raggedy clothes, both with jet black hair and bright green eyes like me, but that wasn’t the thing that made me stare. What made me stare was something I had never thought I would ever see in my entire life.
They were Black-Wings!