Category Archives: Nightwings

Night Wings: Lolly and Sloan

Sunday Scribbling #211 Wonder

He’d been drinking all day.  Saturdays were the worst. Lolly closed her book and felt the familiar tightening of her stomach.  He had been banging and slamming around  the kitchen for a few minutes.  That was never a good sign.  He wasn’t like this when mama was alive.  Lolly sighed and stuck a pillow over her head.

Please Sloan, stay out his way today.

“Sloan!” He yelled.

Aw crap.  She held the pillow tighter.

Now what?.  Why can’t he just leave him alone.  Take his beer and go sit in front of the television and go to sleep.

Sloan didn’t answer.  It didn’t matter.  If he answered he would tell him to come to the kitchen.  If he didn’t answer he would just go after him.  Either way it would end up the same.  She threw the pillow on the floor and scooted up into the corner of the bed, arms clasped around her legs, chin resting on her knees.  She was too thin with a pointed chin and eyes too large for her face.  She hated her hair.  On good days it was just curly but drizzly days like today it frizzed out like a cloud around her head.  She scrunched her eyes closed tightly and willed her father away from Sloan.  No good.

She heard her brothers’ door slam open and her father roar “Don’t you hear me calling you, boy?”

“Yes sir.” Sloan answered in a small voice.

“Guess you think you’re smart hiding in here when I need you.  You come when I call you!  Take the trash out, you useless little jerk!”

“Yes sir.” Sloan said again.

Please, please, please, please.  She kept repeating to herself, a litany of hope. It never worked but she couldn’t help thinking that the one time she didn’t say it, would be the one time it would have worked.

She heard a thud and her brother cried out.  It had happened often enough that she could picture it. A tear squeezed out and she put her hands over her ears, scissoring her legs, crumpling up the bed clothes.  He never came for her and she felt so bad.  Sloan told her not to be stupid that she should be thankful.  He said he was glad and that made it seem worse.

She rocked back and forth still hearing the sounds of him hitting Sloan, her brother grunting in pain.  Suddenly she really could see it.  She was there with him!  How could that be?  Oh my God, he’s going to hit us again!


“Shhh Sloan, he’ll hear us!”  The hand came at him again and he landed on the floor at the end of the hall.

“Stay down, Sloan.  Just stay down.”

“Lolly, how?”

“I don’t know but I’m here.  Just keep listening, I’ll stay with you.”

It’s okay Lolly, but I’m glad you’re here.”

Their father lumbered off to the living room.  “Do you think he’ll stay gone now?”

“Yeah. He’ll fall asleep in his chair now.” Sloan sat up, moving limbs to make sure nothing was broken.

“Do you think you can get up?”

“I think so. Ouch!”

“I’m so sorry, Sloan. Come to my room.”

Lolly jumped off the bed and met him at the door.  She closed it quietly and threw her arms around her brother hugging him gently.  She stood back and they both looked at each other wide eyed.

“What just happened?”  They stared at each other in wonder.

“Sit here and I’ll get you some ice.” Sloan’s eye was already puffing up.  It was going to be a mess.

“Be careful, don’t wake him up.  It doesn’t hurt that bad.”

Lolly waved him off and slipped out the door to the kitchen.  She grabbed a towel from the rack by the sink and eased the freezer door open.  Dishes were piled in the sink and the trash can was overflowing with beer cans.  Not much food in the house but there was always plenty of beer.  She scooped some ice into the towel and silently shut the freezer door, tiptoed past the living room where he was slumped in his ratty arm chair that was threadbare and leaking stuffing. He was snoring now, tv flashing shadows around the dingy room,  volume on low.

She slipped back in her room and put the ice-filled towel on Sloan’s eye. “Hold that.”

“So want to try it again?”

Sloan nodded.  “How do we start?”

Lolly grabbed up a stuffed rabbit and hugged it to her.  She shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t know how we did it the first time.”

“Well, try closing your eyes and thinking about something.” Sloan moved the ice pack and winced.

Lolly closed her eyes.

“You know I hate math.”

Lolly opened her eyes and grinned.  “So you haven’t done your homework yet?”

“No and maybe this will be a great time to try this out.  You can help me through the quiz tomorrow.”

“Sloan, what are we going to do?  It gets worse every time.  He’s going to really hurt you one of these times.”

“I’ve been thinking about that.  I think I’m gonna have to leave.”

“If you think I’m letting you leave by yourself Sloan, you’ve taken one too may hits to the head!” Lolly crossed her arms and glared at her brother.

“He doesn’t bother you.  I don’t know where I’m going.  I can’t take you with me.”

Lolly stuck her chin out.  “You don’t know what will happen if you leave me here alone with him. I’m scared of him.  I might never see you again!”  Her lip quivered a bit at the last.  Sloan knew if he was going to get away without her he would have to sneak out and carefully or she would catch him.

“That’s not going to happen!”  Sloan jerked his head up,  “No, you didn’t say it out loud, but that doesn’t matter anymore does it? I’d rather take my chances with you

Sloan groaned.  “Fine.  But if we are both going to go, we’re going to have to come up with a plan.  I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him. He probably won’t even know we’re gone until he sobers up.”

“How’s your eye?”

“Why are you asking? You already know.”

“I do, but we are going to have to keep in the habit of talking unless we want to be labeled freaks.”  Lolly grinned and nodded and pulled the chessboard out from under the bed.  They’d been playing since they were twelve but this was going to be a whole new game.

To read More Night Wings

Night Wings – Emelia

Sunday Scribblings #207 Prompt: Demands
“Did you see what she was wearing?  I can’t believe she thought that sack looked anything resembling good!

“I know.  That’s what happens when you get your fashion advice from your mother!” Emelia was bored with this whole conversation.  She was bored with her friends, bored with school, and bored with Nick. Tired of there never being enough money.

“Emelia!  Did you hear what I just said?  Where is your head, girl?”

Damn, Rayanne was talking to her again and she had drifted off.  If she wasn’t careful, she would be the next subject of conversation in the cafeteria and it would not be flattering.  “What?  I was thinking about something Nick said.” That should keep Rayanne off her back.  She had more of thing for Nick than a best friend should have for your boyfriend.

“I asked you if you are going to Shannon’s party?”

Emelia tossed her blond hair. “I guess.  It’s going to be the same old crap.  Nick will drink too much beer, the nerd Mekanek squad will come, Shannon’s house will get trashed and someone will break up with  someone. Melodrama will ensue.”

“Emelia what is up your butt lately?  You used to be fun.”

“Whatever.  Do you want to go to The Human Bean for lattes after class?”

“Yeah, if you promise to get over yourself before then.”

Emelia nodded. “I’ll be in a better mood after I get chem out of the way.  See you out front.”

Emelia walked in the classroom and went to her customary seat that no one would dream of sitting in because after all, Emelia sat there.  After a completely mind numbing hour of note taking on something she obviously would never use, the bell finally rang and she put her book and notebook in her designer backpack and sighed.

Rayanne was waiting out front with all their friends.  Emelia just wanted coffee.  Now she would have to deal with everyone.  They were milling around, making sure they were seen.  Hair perfect, jeans just tight enough.  What a bunch of losers.

“Can we go already?”

Rayanne pushed open the door at The Human Bean and stepped inside, smiling over her shoulder at Emelia.  At the counter, Emelia ordered a soy caramel latte with no whipped cream, her usual. “Don’t forget, I said no whipped cream.”  She paid with the little bit of allowance she had, and waited.  The girl behind the counter was new, but looked familiar.  She waited some more, tapping her foot.

Rayanne already had her macchiato and was sitting at the table giggling at something one of Nick’s friends said.  Emelia counted  – Rayanne had managed to touch the guy three times in five minutes.  Way to not be obvious, Rayanne. The foot tapping was getting faster and a little more emphatic.

“Excuse me!  Are you having to go all the way to the coffee farm?  It’s just a latte, what’s the problem?” Emelia stood with her hands on her hips now.

“I…I’m sorry, it’s my first day and we are kind of busy.  Here’s your latte.  You’re Emelia, aren’t you?”

“Finally.  Yes, and you are?”

“I’m Sandy. I sit behind you in History?”

“Um yes, whatever.  Thanks.” Emelia turned and started to the table.  She took a sip and whirled around, stomping back to the counter.  “Excuse me! What part of no whipped cream do you not understand?  You are slow, the least you could do is get it right!”

Sandy was cleaning a carafe and as she turned toward Emelia, she dropped it and tried to catch it as it fell.  It hit the edge of the sink and instead of grabbing the carafe, she grabbed a piece of glass that broke loose.  It  lodged deep in her palm and she turned pale.

“Could you be any more clumsy?” Emelia sounded irritated and reached for the injured hand. When she touched it, the glass fell to the floor and the hole it left, closed up. Sandy stared at her for a moment and then snatched her hand back, not saying anything.

“Lucky you didn’t cut yourself.”  Emelia stared back at her, eyes wide.

“Yeah, lucky.  You want another latte?” Sandy wasn’t making eye contact.

“No.  No thanks.  This will be fine.”  Emelia turned and nearly bumped into Rayanne.  She jumped and nearly dropped her coffee.

“Rayanne!  Could you not sneak up on me, please?”

“Chill, Em.  I just wanted some biscotti.  Get a grip, why don’t you?”

Emelia shivered and walked back toward the table.  Instead of sitting down, she bypassed her friends and kept going out the door.

Rayanne turned around with her biscotti just in time to see the door close and Emelia walk away from the coffee shop.  “What the heck is wrong with that girl, anyway?”  She went back to the table just in time to laugh at a joke Nick’s friend was telling.  Jordan wasn’t Nick but he wasn’t totally gross and he was the son of a Mekanek.  She glanced at the window, thinking about Emelia again.  It  looked like that idiot behind the counter had cut herself.  Maybe it was just her eyes playing tricks.  She looked back at the counter and saw the girl staring at the door with the weirdest look in her eyes.  She looked afraid.

Emelia glanced down at the coffee cup in her hand.  She dropped it in a trash can on the sidewalk, no longer thirsty.  What was happening to her?  Did Sandy cut herself?  Was she just imagining things?  She felt heat when she touched the girls hand, and then icy cold.  Was she going to end up being one of them?  One of the changed “gifted” ones?  This kind of thing couldn’t happen to her.  She had worked too hard to get to where she was.  She was the queen at school.  She didn’t kid herself.  The only reason Rayanne was friends with her was to look cool.  Same with Nick.

She walked along thinking.  She could not have faced all of them at the coffee shop.  She had too much on her mind to giggle and smile and flash her eyes at every stupid word out of Nick’s mouth. She heard footsteps behind her.  She glanced in a window to see who was behind her and she caught a glimpse of a tall guy with brown hair, wearing jeans and a denim jacket.  Hadn’t she seen him across the street from the coffee shop?

She decided to cross the street and turn around.  It was late and she had walked further than she intended.  He crossed the street too.  Was he following her?  Maybe not.  Maybe she was losing her mind.  This day had been too weird.  She sped up and he walked faster too.  Enough!  She whipped around, more angry than afraid.

“What do you want?”  She stuck out her chin and held her backpack to her side in case she needed to throw it at him and run, if she could run in these stupid shoes.

“Don’t be afraid. You’re Emelia.”

“I know who I am but I have no idea who you are and I’m not afraid. What do you want?”

“Something happened back there in the coffee shop.”

“Yeah, I had an idiot for a waitress who couldn’t get an order right if you wrote it on her hand!”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

I don’t know a thing, including you.  This conversation is over!”  Emelia turned and stalked away.  She heard him call after her.

“I will be around if you need me…and you will.”

She ignored him and kept walking.  She didn’t need him.  He was crazy. She saw Rayanne step out of the coffee shop.  She started to wave when Sandy walked out behind her.  They were deep in conversation and Sandy looked up and pointed at Emelia.  Rayanne’s mouth hung open.  Emelia turned around and walked quickly back in the direction she had just come from.  She saw the brown haired guy standing in the shadow of a doorway with his arms crossed.  It made her mad to think he  waited there for her.

She walked past him like she didn’t see him and turned the next corner.  In a few minutes he caught up with her.  “What do you know?” She asked him angrily, without slowing down.

“I know that you are changing and that you are going to need to get out of here pretty quick.”

Emelia didn’t want to believe it but there was no arguing with the facts.  She had touched that girl and her hand healed.  She might not like it but she was going to have to do something. Rayanne would love to see her knocked down.  She would go with him for now.  She needed time to figure things out.

“I want to go home and get some stuff.”

“There really isn’t time for that. How long do you think it will take your friends to spread the word?”

“Who are they going to tell?  I am going home and get my stuff.  I’m not leaving without some necessities.  I don’t even know you.  How do I know you’re not some crazy?”

Ryall stepped into a deep doorway and turned his back to her.  He raised his arms and there were wings on his back.  Emelia shook her head and closed her eyes and opened them again.  She wasn’t hallucinating.  He put his arms down and turned back around. The wings were gone. Emelia stood there with her mouth hanging open for a moment.

“Okay, fine.  You could still be crazy.”  She sounded more serious than angry now.  “Do you have a decent place for me to stay?  I’m still going home first.” She glared at him.

He sighed.  “Fine. But let’s hurry.”

She led him down the side street they were on.  He might think he had come to save her but she knew more than one way to get around.  She made some turns and came up behind her house.

“I’ll wait behind the storage building.  If you aren’t out here in ten minutes, I’m going to leave without you.”

“Fine. Suit yourself.”  She started for the back door. Without turning around she asked him how he knew about the storage building.

“This isn’t my first time to come here.”  She walked into the house.  No one was home, big surprise.  Her parents were always working.  She was used to coming into an empty house.  She ran to her room and started throwing stuff into a leather bag.  Clothes, toiletries, her feather boa.  A girl had to have a few things.  She dumped her jewelry box in and grabbed her diary out from behind the loose baseboard.  She started to grab a picture of her and Nick and instead threw it on the floor.  She was so over him.  She thought about leaving a note.  What would be the point.  Now they could spend creds on themselves and they wouldn’t have to worry about feeding her anymore. She grabbed the bag and headed back to the kitchen and threw as many cans of food in as she could and returned to the back yard.  He was still waiting.

“Are you ready now?”

“Might as well be.  Do you have a name?”

“Ryall.  Let’s go.”

They walked back the way they had come except they turned toward downtown when they got near the coffee shop.  “No sense risking going past there again. Turn down here.”

“So you can fly?”

Ryall just turned and looked at her.

“Duh. You said you had been to my house before.  Why?”

“We knew you were going to change soon.”

“We?  What do you mean we?”

“You’ll see when we get there.”

Night Wings Main Page

Night Wings Part 11

Sunday Scribbling 206 the book that changed everything

A Book!  They said Ralph found a book!  Why didn’t I think of it before?  Well, maybe because things were a little crazy, what with flying and Ryall getting healed, and all of us joining together to do it.  Maybe there are answers in that book.

I had been lying here for hours, my mind going in circles.  Now that I had an idea, a direction to go, my eyes got heavy and I thought I could sleep, finally.

Daylight had been around for awhile, I judged by the way the sun was beaming in the upper windows.  It was still shady cool down here but I was stiff from the floor.  I rolled over and looked up at where Ryall was starting to wake up.

“Hey.”  I smiled up at him.

“Hey back.” He said with a small grin.  He still looked a little pale but the smile encouraged me.


“I think maybe I am. A little shaky still, but maybe eating would help.”

We had been speaking quietly so as not to disturb the others.  “Let me go find some clean clothes and take care of some personal stuff and I’ll fix something.  Are you okay here for now?”  I was a little afraid to leave him but nature was calling and I needed a toothbrush.

“Yeah. I might need a little help later but I’ll, uh…”

“Get one of the guys to help?”  I smiled again.  If he felt well enough to be embarrassed then he was feeling better. “I’ll be right back.”

I hurried up the stairs and grabbed a clean pair of jeans and a shirt.  Emelia liked the skirts and boots and feathers but feathers and skirts weren’t exactly practical for flying.  I would stick with jeans.  I hit the bathroom and cleaned up and was back downstairs in less than ten minutes.  Ryall was still curled up on his side, wrapped in the quilt.

“I promised Ralph pancakes last night.  Does that sound good to you?  I’ll get you some water before I get started.” Ryall just nodded.

I felt like singing.  I was so happy that Ryall was going to be alright, I felt like I could fly without wings! I got him a glass of water and helped him sit up.  He sipped it at first and it seemed to help.  “If you can sit here by yourself, I’ll start breakfast.  The others will be waking up soon.”

“I’m fine, and Kystel?  Thank you.”

“It was Emelia, not me. I’m just glad you are going to be okay.”

“I know Emelia is a healer but last night was weird.  It was like I wasn’t here but wherever I was, everyone was with me, but you, well, it was different. It was like I felt everyone else through you.”

He was watching my face.  “What?  What really happened?”

“That’s just it, Ryall.  I’m not sure.  Let me get breakfast going and we’ll talk about it later. I think everyone will want to be in on that conversation.”

Ralph sat up, wide awake.  “Pancakes?  Hey Kystel, I’ll help you!  What do you want me to do?”

Ralph had a way about him that always made me laugh.   “Good morning, Ralph.  Why don’t you get plates and syrup out?”

“Sure thing, Kystel.”  Ralph’s red hair was sticking up more than usual. He made me think of some kind of funny bird.  There was something about him that made me want to hug him.  He reminded me of Mattie not his looks but some quality that made me want to look after him.

The others were beginning to move around, all except Emelia.  Sloan reached around to grab a pancake and got a swat on his hand with the pancake turner.  “Ouch!”

“Wait for the others.” I grinned at him.

“Do you want me to wake Emelia?”

Emelia was still out. I hoped last night wouldn’t have any lasting ill effects on her. “Let her sleep for a bit longer.  I’ll keep some warm for her.  I think last night was hardest on her.”

Plates of pancakes and syrup were passed around and for awhile there wasn’t much to say.  Everyone was hungry.  Lolly and Arkin helped clean up.  Emelia finally woke up.

“What is all the racket?”  Emelia sat up frowning, and grabbed her head. She was pale and her eyes were shadowed.  “And who kicked me in the head?”

“Hey Em, rough night, huh?” Sloan went and sat next to her, peeling her hands from her head.  “Let me look at you.  Kystel will you bring you some water.  Lolly, you know where she keeps that headache medicine?”

“On it.” Lolly ran upstairs. I handed a glass to Sloan.

“Ryall!” The sudden movement and sound of her own voice had Emelia reaching for her head again but Sloan beat her too it, gently massaging her temples and talking softly to her.  “He’s fine.  He’s on the couch and just finished a plateful of pancakes.”

“Oh figures.  You let me sleep and while you eat up all the goodies.  Next one of you gets a paper cut – you are on your own.”  Emelia spoke quietly but at least her usual sarcasm was back.  “Welcome back Emelia, you’re starting to sound like yourself.” We exchanged a look across the room. Lolly showed up with the headache powder and Emelia made a face but swallowed it down with the rest of the water.

“I saved you some pancakes.  Here’s a cool cloth to put on your head.  As soon as you feel like it, I’ll bring you your plate.”  Kystel held the compress out to Sloan who laid on Emelia’s head.

“Oh man, that is heaven.  Give me a minute and then I would love those pancakes.  Despite this screaming headache I am starving!”

I took Ralph’s plate and he smiled up at me. “Thanks Kystel, you ate the best!” I thought this would be as good a time as any. “When you finished the eschatometer a book was mentioned.  A book that you found?”  Is it a big secret or something?”

Ryall turned to look at them.

“Nope.  It’s just big and old and hard to read.”  Ralph was smiling at her so she guessed it must be okay to ask about it.

“Do you think I could see it sometime?”

“Sure Kystel.  I’ll go get it now.”

Ralph darted out and up his ladder, coat flying out behind him.  By the time he came back, I was handing a plate of pancakes and a cup of tea to Sloan for Emelia. The rest looked on with interest as Ralph carried what appeared to be a huge and very old book to where he had been sitting On the couch.  He patted a place by him.  I sat down next to him and he held it open on his lap.

The cover was leather and cracked with some of the edges torn.  The spine was creased with wear, and I could see that the edges of the pages were rough as though they had been hand made.  Ralph blew on it and we both began to sneeze and cough as the dust flew up.

“So what’s in it?” I asked him.

Ralph looked at me with shining eyes. “Everything!”

Night Wings Main Page

Night Wings Part 10

One Word : wanted

To read the entire series click Night Wings link at the top of the page.


I am exhausted and should be asleep but every time I close my eyes, scenes from this night play over and over.  The freedom of flying through the night.  The shock and terror when they were attacked. Pictures of Ryall lying there hurt, wings changing from the beautiful midnight blue to gray to almost transparent and back again.  Emelia with her eyes shut, white blond hair streaming.  The eschatometer glowing – and just what IS that thing supposed to do?  The moment we joined and power flowed in and through us to heal Ryall.  It was not just healing, somehow – it was about us becoming more.

Until tonight there was danger, but it was a vague thing hiding in the corner.  Now it has a face and a weapon and it perches over the door waiting to hurt us.

Us.  I am becoming a part of this group – we are an us, as opposed to them.  My family is part of them.  Mattie is part of them.  How do they feel about what the paper said?  Do they think I could be their daughter one day and a stranger that would tear up their water supply the next? This is bad.  This is chest hurting, run away, don’t want to be a grown-up bad.

Ryall went to sleep still holding my hand and I know there is a bond there between us.  Is it just that we share flying?  I don’t think so.  I’ve had friends, even a boyfriend for awhile.  It’s different with Ryall.  He knows me. I’m never nervous talking to him.  It’s everything else that confuses and scares me now.  What happened when we all joined with Emelia to heal Ryall?  I thought we just had our individual gifts.  There had been stories about what the papers were calling “reborns”, but nothing about sharing gifts.

So how am I supposed to figure all this out when the only real things are the warmth of Ryall’s hand, Emelia whimpering in her sleep, Ralph over there snoring, and a feeling of my life being out of control.  My eyes are burning and tears are right there, but I am not going sit here and cry in the dark. I will learn to be strong for Ryall, and for the rest of my new friends.

The only thing I am certain about tonight, is that I can’t survive without my friends.   I lost my family.  I wonder if my mom cried when Mattie told her why I was gone.  Does my dad miss me, or does he just go on to work like he always did?  Come home to the paper and dinner and his pipe?  Who watches over Mattie now?

Ryall says it is too dangerous to go back and check on them.  Mekaneks will watch the house for awhile.  Others have been caught that way, and so I will wait and learn to take care of my new family.  Ryall is kind of their unofficial leader.  Where do I fit in with that? He doesn’t give orders or try to take over.  There is just something about him that makes you respect and trust him.  I don’t think he likes it.  He just wanted to help people like him.  Like us. Sometimes when the others look to him for a decision or advice, there is a frightened look in his eyes just for a second.  I don’t think anyone else even notices. If we were all normal, he would be the quiet guy that sits in the back of the class and never participates but gets decent grades and just kind of flies under the radar.  Ha ha, flies under the radar.  I guess I am beyond tired if that seems funny to me.

Ryall squeezes my hand in his sleep, as though he knows what I am thinking somehow.  That thought makes me shiver.  After tonight, I believe anything is possible, except sleep.

Night Wings Main Page

Night Wings Part 9

Kystel took two and three steps at a time, and throwing the door to the roof open, ran to Ryall.  He was where she had left him, pale and shivering.  His dark wings were in constant change, colors and transparency.  She watched in horror as his wings faded and then  became solid again. There was no physical feeling when her wings appeared or disappeared. They were just there and then they were gone.  There was no way to know what he felt or what it meant.  He looked like he was hurting but was it the constant state of change or the injury? Kystel’s brown eyes filled with tears.  She felt helpless.  Ryall  found her, brought her here.  She had a home because of him.

“Look, this is pretty new to me.  None of us have ever been injured where our gifts are involved. I’ve healed human injuries. I don’t know what it will do to his wings.”  Emelia was frowning.

Kystel shook her head.  “Don’t start thinking you’re gonna fail before you even try.  You have to try – do something!  Tell me what to do.  Come on, Emelia!”

Emelia laid her hands on Ryall’s wings and closed her eyes. Kystel looked from her face to Ryall, hoping to see a change.  Emelia made a small noise.  “I can see it, it hurts.” she said quietly.

“This isn’t working.  Kystel we need to try something.  Take my hand in one of yours and leave the other on Ryall.  Sloan, you got Lolly?”

Sloan moved up closer.  “Yeah. She didn’t  like waking up with me inside her head, but she’s with me now. Arkin and Ralph are on their way.”

Emelia looked at Kystel.  “I don’t think I’m strong enough on my own.”

“I’m with you.  We’re all with you!”

Arkin and Ralph ran to them.  “Ryall!  What happened?”

Kystel, not moving, said,  “No time – come here and put a hand on him.”

Lolly silently eased into the circle around Ryall.  “Being in Sloan’s head wasn’t enough.” She grasped Sloan’s hand and placed her other hand on Ryall who was writhing with the changes.  Emelia looked at each one and nodded.  She closed her eyes and Kystel glanced at her, then holding tight to each other’s hands, and to Ryall they closed their eyes.  This time something happened.

The air smelled of summer, fireflies, grass, and honeysuckle.  Heavy and electric summer thunderstorm, when the heart beats a little faster because you know something is going to happen.  A soft breeze lifting hair, rustling clothes, between them, through them, surrounding them until they were connected but separate.  Silence thick, ear popping, Kystel wanted to scream but there was no sound in this place.

The globe Emelia wore around her neck, at first cool and pink, then glowing purple to deepest blue. The tiny copper rings around it were spinning faster and faster.  Blue and green sparkling light, flowing out and holding them in place.  Thoughts piercing through Kystel.  Lolly and Sloan’s voices together, Emelia taking on Ryalls’ pain and sending herself out to all of them, Arkin, a piece of self, cloaked and dark, Ralph all laughter and wires and machines.  She wanted to run away from the intensity, ebbing and flowing with the solidity of Ryall’s wings..

Ryall arched his back, as though something pulled  him and then Emelia slumped against Kystel.  The glow faded until nothing was left but sparks floating up into the dark.

Ryall opened his eyes. “What just happened?”  He said weakly.

Kystel squeezed the hand she was still holding tightly. “Oh Ryall, you’re okay!”  Everyone was grinning and starting to talk at once.  Everyone but Emelia.  Kystel still had one arm around her.  Sloan and Arkin moved to help her.  Emelia whispered. “Did we do it?”

Sloan picked her up. “Yes we did.  You did!  Let’s get you something to drink and to bed!”

“Sounds good.”  She was pale and let her head fall on Sloan’s shoulder.

“Go ahead, Sloan.  Take her down.  The rest of us will take care of Ryall.”  Kystel was shivering and looking around, realized that they all were going to need rest.  Power was work and power had changed them.  This was going to need thinking about later.  For now she was just grateful that Ryall was safe and uninjured.  They helped him up and stumbled down the stairs to the great room where Ralph’s workshop was. They were exhausted but not ready to let go of each other.  Emelia was already asleep on a pile of blankets, Sloan curled up nearby.

“Kystel I hope you are up to cooking in the morning.  I think I could eat a gazillion of your pancakes.” Ralph grinned and climbed up on his workbench, wrapping his coat around him and pulling his goggles over his eyes.  This wasn’t the first time he had slept on his bench.

“Sure Ralph. In the morning.”  Kystel yawned and pulled a quilt over Ryall on the couch.  He was asleep almost immediately.  She laid down on the floor in front of the couch, not wanting to get too far from him tonight.  The rest found places to crash and they slept as a family, realizing maybe for the first time, how much they needed each other.

Arkin snuffed out the lamp and in the dark no one could see Lolly as she stared at the spot where Ryall slept holding Kystel’s hand.  In the dark, she let the hurt and anger grow a little.  She had been fighting it since Kystel arrived.  Who was she kidding?  Ryall barely noticed her now.  Nothing was ever going to be the same.

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Night Wings Part 8

Three Word Wednesday : Amaze, Frail, and Sacred

To read previous Night Wings stories click the nightwings tag at the top of the page.

Joshua stood looking out at the sunset.  There had been meetings with men pounding fists and expounding on opinions about right thinking and he was tired of it all.

He wasn’t really.  He was just very tired this night.  It would be better in the morning.   He just needed sleep.  He should go home.  His wife was there.  The house would be silent.  Claire would be silent.   The house had become a sort of sacred shrine to Ryall. Claire blamed him, of course.

There was no choice.  What could he do?   He would have lost everything he had worked for and in the end it wouldn’t have helped Ryall.  As a member of the Guild, the only thing he could do was send the boy away.  It was the right thing to do.  Still.  Ryall had been their only child. He missed his boy so much.  He couldn’t think about that now.  He had responsibilities and obligations.

After the last war, rebuilding was a long and difficult ordeal.  Much of our infrastructure was destroyed and many of the greatest minds were gone taking vision and knowledge with them.

Small pockets of community became little strongholds at first.  As they repaired and rebuilt, they began to barter with others and smaller groups joined together.

In past times, society had revolved around people – the individual.  What’s good for me, what makes me happy.  The frailty of the old system caused it to fall apart.  That kind of selfish thinking led to war.  No one wanted more of that.

They needed machinery to rebuild.  They needed dirt movers, machines to help with construction, protection from the weather, ways to travel, ways to feed ourselves.  Men with talent and ability taught others with aptitude and the Mekaneks Guild was born.

The Guild was necessary.  Joshua was given power and responsibility.  Sending Ryall away was the only way to protect him.

The Guild meetings today were about The Solution.   That was actually what they were calling it.  The Guild was discussing the ReBorns problem.  They wanted to formulate a policy, a plan.  They wanted order and mechanical answers that they could understand.

“People expect us to keep them safe.  These ReBorns are a threat.” Guild member Thomas was pounding the table with each syllable for emphasis.  “If we can’t control them citizens will think we can’t control other things, like our work and the machines.  They will start to doubt us!”

“And what, Thomas?  What will they doubt?  All citizens care about is their own lives and that we keep the city together, and speaking of that, maybe we could get back to discussing our jobs.”  Joshua said calmly.

Joshua had to walk a careful line.  He hoped that if Ryall was with the other ReBorns, they would stay out of sight.

Ryall and Kystel were to go out after dark.  Ryall was still amazed that he had found someone like him.  Flying was the biggest rush of his life but so much better with someone to share it.   He didn’t know Kystel was a flyer when he first met her.  He just knew she was alone and needed help.  It happened that way.  The gift manifested itself and families sent them away.  Some parents turned their own kids in.  No one knew what happened to the ones who were turned over to the Mekaneks, but Ryall promised himself he would help as many as he could.

“What are you thinking about?”  Ryall didn’t hear Kystel walk up behind him.

“I was thinking about the others out there like us.”

Kystel smiled at him.  “We’ll find them.  Like you found me.”

They heard the sound of the others returning.  They came in carrying canned food, more parts for Ralph, and Sloan held out a newspaper.  Ryall looked at him and took the paper.  On the front page the headline read Mekaneks Repair Sabotage!.  The article went on to accuse ReBorns of sabotaging the water system that fed the city and kept steam engines powering the city.  There was a picture of two Mekaneks under the article.  Ryall threw the paper on the floor and walked away. Kystel watched him go, puzzled and bent to pick up the paper.  She read the article.

“Why would anyone sabotage the water supply?”  She asked.

“Kystel, it’s a bunch of lies to make people afraid of us.  It makes it harder for us to go out because normals will be watching for us and wanting to turn us over to the Mekaneks.”  Sloan sounded disgusted.

“I’m going to go find Ryall.” Kystel thought he seemed more upset than the article warranted.

She found him up on the roof.  He was looking out over the city.  “Are you ready?” He asked her without turning around.

“Yes, if you are.”  She stood beside him, watching him.  He was pale and shaking with anger.

“Let’s go.”  He climbed up on the parapet and held down his hand to her.  She climbed up next to him and grinned.  They both dove and it was just like she remembered.  The silence except for the rush of air.  The lightness and the complete joy of it.  Ryall soared above her and she wheeled around and followed, watching his dark silhouette in front of a bright moon.  Whatever had him twisted up would loosen it’s grip in this sky, that much she was sure of.  He darted down again with her right behind, heading east across the city.  He pointed a little to the south and she nodded and they changed direction.  He was steadily dropping and as they got closer she could see a long ditch with pipes running along the edges.  It narrowed when it got to the city proper and branched off in all directions.  He waved at a section that had a bridge going across the top and they came down softly in the darkness.

“This is where they say ‘ReBorns’ caused damage”.  She looked around but there was nothing amiss that she could see.  “I don’t understand!”

Ryall nodded. “Exactly.”

“So it really was just lies. I saw your face after you looked at that newspaper.  Is that what made you so angry?”

Ryall turned away.  Kystel tugged on his arm.  “Come on Ryall. I can tell it really got to you. You can trust me.  I want to help.”

He turned and looked at her.  “I trust you Kystel.” He said tiredly.  “It’s just that I recognized one of the men on the front page.”

“You knew him?”  She asked him.

“Yeah I knew him.  Very well. He’s my dad.”

“Your father?  A Mekanek?  Wow, I don’t even know what to say.”

“The others don’t know, but it looks like I’m going to have to tell them.”  Ryall was about to say something else when they heard a noise.  Out of the shadows came two guys swinging pieces of pipe.  Ryall yelled for Kystel to take off and as they leapt for the sky, a pipe connected with one of Ryall’s wings.  He grunted but kept going.  They headed up and back north and west.  Kystel could see Ryall was having some difficulty now so she stayed as close as possible.  They should have known better than to go to the place mentioned in the newspaper.  They weren’t flying very fast and Kystel prayed he would make it back to their building.  Finally their roof was visible.  She landed with Ryall right behind her, but not his usual graceful move.  He came down hard and rolled to the side, his wings folded around him.  He laid still for a moment and gritting his teeth in pain, told Kystel to get Emelia.

“Will you be okay?”  She didn’t want to leave him.  He was helpless.  He couldn’t fly and he couldn’t walk down the stairs with his wings like that. He was shivering now.

“I’ll be fine.  Just hurry.”

“I’ll be right back!”  She ran down the stairs to Emelia’s room and pounded on her door.

“Whatever it is, can’t it wait til morning?”  Emelia griped.

“Emelia, it’s Ryall.  He’s hurt! You have to hurry”  Kystel was frantic.

“I’m coming.  Hang on.” the door opened and Emelia emerged wearing a leopard print robe and slippers. “Don’t look at me like that.  Come on.”  Emelia pounded on the room next to hers on the way.  “Come on Sloan, I need you!”

Kystel lead her up the stairs to where Ryall lay moaning.

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Night Wings Part 7

Sunday Scribbling #204 Big Dreams and One Word: Idiot

To read previous Night Wings stories click the nightwings tag at the bottom of this post

Morning always comes and the soft pink light of dawn was creeping over the city skyline. Ryall awoke, stiff from sleeping half sitting against a wall.  Kystel was still asleep with her head on his shoulder.  He hated to wake her but they were exposed out here in the light.  He moved, trying to get more comfortable and she opened her eyes and sat up, looking slightly embarrassed.

“I..I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay. We both fell asleep.  We need to get inside though.”  He stood and reached out his hand to help her up.  She let him pull her up and ran fingers through her hair.  They walked to the access door and before they could get to it it burst open and Sloan came flying out, skidding to a stop.

“Ryall!  I’ve been looking all over for you!  Oh, Hi Kystel.  Come on, man you got to see this!”

He was pulling Ryall by the arm and as they ran down the stairs he told them between breaths. “Ralph is dreamwalking again.  I got up and he had been working all night.  You have to see it!.  I think he has it working!”

They were taking the steps several at a time, Kystel following as quickly as she could.  They arrived at Ralph’s workshop the same time as Emelia.  Lolly and Arkin were already there.  They were huddle around the back of his workbench staring down at something glowing with a blue-greenish light. Ryall stepped up to Ralph and lifted the goggles from his face.  Underneath, his eyes were closed.  He continued working with his hands.  This must be what Sloan meant about dream walking.

Kystel couldn’t quite see what was on the workbench, so she moved closer.  Ralph was just standing in front of the bench now.  Ryall put his hand on his shoulder and said his name.  Ralph slowly opened his eyes.  He looked down at the bench and picked up a chain.  Attached was a glowing ball that had a depth to it – green and blue sparkling fluid like substance changing constantly.  The globe was encased in copper rings that moved separately.  It was beautiful.

Ralph walked to Emelia and placed it around her neck.  Emelia’s eyes grew wide in consternation.  “What are you doing, Ralph?  I don’t want that!  Take it off!”  Emelia began to pull the chain over her head and the colors changed.  The bright glowing blues and greens turned grayish and started to have a pink shimmer.

“Emelia, don’t!” Ryall said.

Ralph held up a hand.  “It has to be you, Emelia.”

“How do you know? You sleep walking fool!  Why do you think you have the answers?” Emelia snarled at him, but Arkin put his hand on her arm.

“Leave him alone Emelia.  You know he doesn’t know how it works.  It just comes through him.”  She looked up at Arkin with tears in her eyes and he hugged her.  “You’re the healer.  It makes sense.”

Ralph had backed up into the corner and was hugging his coat around him.  “I’m sorry Emelia.  Don’t be mad.”

Emelia looked at him over Arkin’s shoulder. “I’m not mad, you idiot.  You know I’m not. And I’m not scared either!  And you!  Get off me you big creep!” She pushed Arkin away and looked around defiantly.  “What are you all looking at?  So now what, Ralph?”

“Now, we wait.”

Kystel looked around the group.  “Is someone going to explain this to me?”

Ryall smiled. “Ralph found a book.” We’re still trying to figure it all out.”

Ralph yawned.  “I started doing the weird sleep working thing.  It’s like something was coming through me, like I was the radio and the music found my wavelength.”

Kystel frowned.  “So what does it mean? We are a bunch of weirdos that part of the world thinks are freaks of nature that should be destroyed and now we have jewelry that’s as freaky as we are?”  You are all crazy, and I’m beginning to think I’m crazy too.”

“Yeah, we’re all wackadoo and you’re our new queen. Get over it Kystel. At least you don’t have to wear the freaky bauble.”  Emelia was holding the chain away from her neck and looking down at it like it might bite her.

Ralph was asleep with his head on his arms and snoring.

Lolly smiled. “It’s about balance.  Balance for us.  Balance for the world.”

Sloan chimed in.  “There’s good and bad, humans and machines. That’s our dream.”

Ryall waved Arkin over to help him pick up Ralph. “Come on Kystel, don’t you wonder why we can fly and why Emelia can heal, and all the others?  There has to be a reason.”

They took Ralph over to a couch and covered him with his coat.

“Well all this thinking is making me hungry.  Somebody want to show the new girl where stuff is so we can get breakfast cooked?”  Kystel wasn’t about to go completely crazy on an empty stomach.

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Night Wings 6

Night Wings is an ongoing story.  To read more you can click on the nightwings tag at the top of the page, bottom of the post or down on the sidebar choose nightwings from the drop down box called Riffling the Files.

Three Word Wednesday CLXXVIII: Generate Meager Tease

When Ryall could breathe again he suggested Lolly show Kystel around, where to sleep and where they kept their meager stash of clothing.  Emelia and Arkin went to eat while Ryall and Sloan helped Ralph carry his finds to his workshop.

They carried odd pieces of metal and glass and wire, things he was too tired to try to identify.  Ralph was happy and that was what mattered.  Lolly would help Kystel get settled.  He was tired.  He had been more worried about how Kystel and the others would fit together.

“See you in the morning Ralph.”  Ralph was already turning to the stuff on his workbench.

“Get some sleep, okay?”  He said the words but he knew Ralph would work all night.  He got involved and lost track of time.  They often found him sleeping up in the machinery or with his head on the bench.  He would forget to eat if they didn’t remind him.

Sloan slapped Ryall on the back. “You are wasting your breath man.  I’m gonna go crash.”

Ryall told Sloan goodnight and went for one last walk around to check things.

He climbed the stairs to a hallway that led to some more stairs and opened onto the roof. He came up here at night when he needed to think and this was one of those times. He sat down on the roof next to the access, in the shadows.  He could see the lights from an airship off in the distance.  The steam the underground generators released by vents in the street bathed the city streets in a foggy glow. Buildings stabbed up out of the mist with no solid ground below them.  They were in the clouds and it gave him a sense of peace.

He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. The quiet was interrupted by crying.  He listened for a moment trying to pin down where the sound was coming from.

He got up and walked to the edge of the roof behind the access.  “You’ve had a long day.”  It was a statement.  Kystel had flown, moved to a new place, met new people, and of course, there was Emelia.

Kystel nodded.  “Sorry.  I didn’t want to bother anyone.  I just needed a little time.”

Ryall scratched his head and sat down by her.  “Look, Emelia can be meaner than a snake but she really doesn’t mean it.  She is still learning how to use her gift.  Healing is work.  She acts tougher than she really is.”

Kystel rubbed her hands on her face.  “It isn’t Emelia.  I can kind of understand her reaction.  This is her home and her family.” There was a tremble in her voice when she said family.

Ryall took her hand.  “Look I know you miss your family.  We all had family that we left, either voluntarily or by force.”

Kystel thought about what he said.  She worried about her brother. What if she had stayed and her parents found out about her wings.  Would they have thrown her out?  “Look, I appreciate you bringing me here.  I hope I can fit in and I know it isn’t going to happen overnight.  I’ll try not to be a crybaby, if you will tell me what I can do to help.  I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”

“You won’t be.  There are others out there who may need us.  We have plans and you can help us.  It’s going to be great to have company in the air.  It will be worth anything to see you fly away from Emelia the next time she mouths off.”

Kystel liked it when he teased her.  He had not let go of her hand and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. They sat for awhile in silence, watching the lights of the city.  It was a warm night and Ryall and Kystel fell asleep and dreamed of skies where they could fly in sunlight without the threat of Mekaneks.

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Night Wings part 5

Sunday Scribblings #203 – When Pigs Fly

The boy on the back of the bike stared from Kystel to Emelia, then at Ryall.

Lolly rolled her eyes and put her arm around Kystel.  “Kystel, this is Emelia.  You’ll have to excuse her.  She hasn’t been around people much and her manners are a little rusty.”  She looked pointedly at Emelia.

Emelia dropped her arm and glared at Ryall for a moment, then stepped forward.
“Nice to meet you.”  The words were welcoming.  The tone was anything but.

“Hi.”  Kystel answered without a smile.  She glanced at Ryall.  He brought her here.  The next move was his.

“So what kind of freak is she?”  The boy put his hand on Emelia’s shoulder.
“She’s a flyer, like Ryall.”  He said.

Kystel stared at him and then at Ryall.  “How did he know that?”

Ryall introduced them. “Kystel, meet Arkin.  One of his gifts is the ability to see “freaks” and identify their gifts. “

“Wow.  I bet the Mekaneks would love to get their hands on him.”  Kystel said.  “What about her?”  Kystel nodded her head in Emelia’s direction.

“None of your business, freak!”  Emelia was smiling now.  She seemed to enjoy being a pain.
“She is a healer.”  Sloan said grinning. Lolly had her hand over her mouth and even Ralph had stopped looking anxious and started to smile.  Ryall looked away and Kystel tried not to laugh.  Arkin was the first one to give.  In a moment they were all laughing.  Emelia tried not to but even she finally loosened up.

“She’s really very good.”  Ryall sputtered. “You might need her sometime!”

Kystel still laughing put her hands on her hips. “That will happen the day I play poker with the twins!”

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Night Wings part 4

“What on earth is an escat-whatever you just said?”  Kystel asked.

“Eschatometer.  Don’t ask me how it works.  That’s Ralph’s area.  He loves to invent things.  There’s always stuff laying around to salvage.  We rescue bits and pieces and Ralph makes new things out of them.”  Ryall smiled at Lolly and Lolly grinned back.

“At least he hasn’t blown himself up lately.”  Lolly elbowed Sloan.

“Don’t freak her out, Sloan!  Don’t pay attention to him Kystel.  He likes to exaggerate.”

The twins didn’t look all that much younger than Ryall but Kystel saw the look in his eyes when he watched them. He cared about them. She wondered about how they all came together.   Did they have families that were left behind?

Lolly touched Kystel’s arm.  “Come on, I bet you’re hungry.”

Kystel followed Lolly over to what served as their kitchen.  She looked back at Ryall and Sloan talking.  Ryall looked concerned and Sloan looked angry but they were speaking too quietly for her to hear.  Lolly was spooning up something onto a plate and looked from Kystel to Ryall and Sloan.

“Don’t worry about them.  They’ll work it out.” Lolly held out the plate to Kystel and put the kettle on to make some tea.  “Sit down.

“So, now what?”  Kystel took a bite and waited for Lolly to answer.

Lolly poured the hot water into a teapot and brought it to the table and sat down with Kystel.  “You will stay with us.”  She said.

“You don’t know me.  Why would you let me stay?”

“Ryall brought you.  I trust him. Do you have enough to eat?  There is plenty if you want more.”

“This is great, thanks.” Kystel cleaned her plate.  She had been so hungry.  Lolly poured tea into two cups and handed one to Kystel.  She pushed the sugar bowl to her, taking a spoonful and stirring it into her tea.  Kystel heard a loud engine sound and stood, dropping the tea.  The cup shattered as she turned. wild eyed and ready to run. Lolly grabbed her arm.

“It’s okay!  They’re with us!”  Kystel turned and saw a girl with nearly white hair and pale blue eyes.  She and a boy nearly as dark as she was light were riding a motorbike.  The back of it had a compartment that held copper and wire and what must have been the salvage Ryall had mentioned.  As they skidded to a stop the boy on the back was laughing and Ralph came down the ladder and ran to the bike hugging the girl.

“What did you bring me Emelia?” He swung her around and set her down rushing to the back of the bike and pulling out his prizes.  He was gathering them up and then stood looking around confused as he realized everyone was silent.  Emelia pointed at Kystel.

“Who is she?”

Ryall was standing with his arms crossed.  Maybe everyone wasn’t going to be happy about a stranger.

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Night Wings part 3

Three Word Wednesday CLXXV Prompts: Frantic, Lurch, and Odor

Continuing from Sunday Scribblings

Kystel looked around.  “This is it?”  She laughed bitterly.  “This isn’t any better than the dump you found me in!”

Ryall pulled her along. “Just wait!”

It was dark and dirty, nothing but old chunks of metal and discarded engine parts.  There was the odor of motor oil and garbage though underneath it Kystel got a whiff of something good that was making her mouth water.  Ryall guided her around a corner and then told her to follow him as he crawled under some pipes.  He stood on the other side and reached down and grabbed the handle on an overhead door and pushed it up.  Inside all was light and warm and there was definitely food cooking. She heard a thump and a string of curse words and some kind of metal tool dropped from somewhere above and landed near her feet.  She looked up and a pair of feet climbed down a metal ladder and a head leaned down.  A high-pitched nasal voice asked “Can you toss me that wrench?”  Startled, Kystel lurched to the side, nearly stumbling.  Ryall put out a hand to steady her and picked up the wrench. He tossed it up to a skinny guy in an aviator hat and goggles.

“Thanks mate!” There was a smile as he caught it and scrambled back up the ladder.  She looked at Ryall with one eyebrow raised.

“Ralph.  He is amazing with machinery.  I think he is part machine himself.”  Kystel just nodded.  She was staring around her and chewed on a strand of brown hair, a nervous habit. A couple in the corner was playing a frantic game of chess.  They moved so fast, the game was over as soon as it started.  Ryall said “Come on.”  She followed him over to the chess players.  “These are the twins, Lolly and Sloan. They can read each others’ minds.  Doesn’t matter how close they are or how far away. “Guys, this is Kystel. She’s a flyer like me.”

Lolly hugged Kystel.  “I’m so glad Ryall found you and glad you came with him.”

“Thanks.” Kystel turned as Sloan grabbed her hand.

“Ryall didn’t tell us you were hot!  Do you play chess?”

“Um, a little?”  Lolly slapped his arm. “Oh no you don’t!  Kystel don’t let him con you – he cheats!  Come on, lets get you something to eat.”

Kystel followed her gratefully.  She was starving and whatever was cooking in that pot on the stove smelled delicious.

“The rest of us will be here in about an hour.  Ralph sent them out looking for parts for the eschatometer.”

“The what?”

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Night Wings part 2

Sunday Scribbling #200 prompt Milestone
Ryall twitched his wings and wheeled west grinning over his shoulder at Kystel. She tried the same maneuver and found it was easy. She darted after him watching his silhouette against the moon. Suddenly he was beside her pointing to a ledge. They both landed on it and he pulled her against the wall in the shadows. She heard an engine noise and he put his finger to his lips and pressed up against the stones. She had seen the dirigibles from the ground, but never so close. She could actually see the faces of pilots inside and the blinking lights on the sides would have been pretty if it hadn’t been for the terrifying sound of the steam engines that slowly pushed the huge balloon through the paths between the buildings. She and Ryall were still and silent as it passed by them.

“It’s gone. It won’t make this route again for hours.”

When Ryall found her she was living in an abandoned building, half starved. She still had so many questions but she was starting to see that maybe life wasn’t going to be completely horrible. She had hid the changes from everyone, including her family including her family until one day she and her younger brother had climbed out on the roof to sit and talk. They had been joking around and she tickled him and he started to slide. She grabbed for his hand but he kept going. She didn’t even think. She just jumped. She caught him and they floated to the ground. He stared at her, not with gratitude, but horror. She needed the wings and they were just there. She put him down and ran into the house. He followed her slowly. She was in her room, shoving things into a bag. He stood in the doorway, crying.

“Kystel, what are you going to do? What about Mom and Dad?”

Kystel kept packing. “You tell them I love them. If I stay you know what will happen, Matty. The Mekaneks will punish them because of me. ” After the wars some babies were born with special abilities and they were viewed as dangerous mutations and taken away. No one ever saw them again. The families were often treated as though they were contagious and they were shunned. Her dad could lose his job. She was not going to be taken away as though she had done something wrong.

“But where will you go?”

“I’ll find a place and when I can, I’ll let you know where I am. Now stop sniffing and wipe your nose.” She handed him a handkerchief and hugged him. “I love you Matty. I’m sorry.” She grabbed her bag and ran out the door. That had been months ago.

“Okay, ready?” Ryall’s voice jerked her back into the present and she nodded. He was taking her to others like them. She wasn’t sure she trusted him completely but she didn’t have a choice. She nodded and he leapt from the ledge with her following. It was darker now and the only light came from the streets below. She followed Ryall between buildings and over a part of town she didn’t recognize. Ryall pointed down at some kind of warehouse and headed down toward it. Kystel followed. They came to ground in a alley and Kystel was suddenly reluctant.

“Come on. You’re going to love them.” Ryall had his hand on the door handle.

“Wait. What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t want me to stay?” Kystel knew this was going to be some kind of milestone. Once she met the others and knew where they lived she was committed. Until now she could pretend that this was only temporary. That she would wake up and go home one day and everything would be the way it was.

“Kystel, everyone is afraid at first. You are one of us and we take care of each other.” Ryall pulled the handle and entered, holding it open for her. Kystel stepped inside.

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Night Wings

Three Word Wednesday CLXXIII prompts : ideal, measure, and teeter Sunday Scribblings #199 Prompt: Yes

He turned back to look at her, smiling, his silhouette dark against the evening sky.  Even though she couldn’t see it, she could hear the smile in his voice.  “Come on.  You can do it.  I promise!”

She took a step onto the parapet, teetering a little.  She held her hands out for balance. She trusted him.  It was herself she doubted.

“Come on!  This is the ideal place.  No one can see us up here.  They can’t hear us either!”  He yelled the last as if to prove it to her.

Kystel took a step, measuring her stride by the bricks that made up the wall.

“Hold out your hand now.” Ryall said.

She stretched out her hand and met his fingers.  He guided her a few more steps until she was standing next to him.  He held her fingers and they looked out over the city skyline.

“Are you ready?”

Kystel grinned.  “As ready as I am ever going to be.  How do we do this?”

“You just let go and trust what you feel.”


“It will be okay.  I’ll be with you.”

He leaned out and left the edge as though he were diving into a pool.  Kystel hesitated a moment longer and then followed him.  There was no weight, no feeling of sinking.  The air currents took her and held her as though she was part of the sky.  There was no noise except the wind rushing by her ears.  She was close to Ryall now and could see his dark wings unfolded.  He glanced back and hovered as she caught up.

For the first time in her life, she felt at home.

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