Aug 10
fiction 0 comments challenge: Wings

The Gift

 "I have..wings?" I almost dropped the note, my hands shaking. I did when the door banged open, my little sister standing in the doorway.

"Mila! Come on! I wanna go watch the ravens!" She called out, her stuffed replica of the bird in her arms. 

I sighed. "I know, Genny, I know. Hold on, I'll be ready in a moment." I stood up, leaving the note on my quilts as I did. I stretched my arms above my head as Genny stomped her feet on the ground.

"They're going to go away! Come on!" She tromped down the stairs to where I knew she'd wait for me. 

I slipped on my sweater, ruffling my hair before brushing it. My long brown tresses were then put into a braid, my thin fingers neatly twisting them into the hair tie. The dark jeans I slid on contrasted with the lighter, yellow-striped sweater. The one Grandmama had knit for me before she passed away.

I left my room, my steps soft on the wooden stairs. Genny was waiting in front of the doorway, her hair blown back as the tides hit the shore. She turned to me, her arms around the stuffed animal.

"You're finally ready! You took forever!" She opened the screen door, the salty air thick with fog as we left our home. Seagulls cried above, but that wasn't what we were looking for. Not on this birthday of mine.

October 10th.

It was like a bell had been tolled. Ravens descended from the mainland behind us, a black froth over the sky. Genny cried out with delight, holding her stuffed toy up. 

"Oh, I wish I could fly like they could!"

The precious sweater Grandmama had knitted me was rent apart as wings as black as the birds above me sprouted atop my shoulder blades. The ravens cried out in alarm, swooping down to land in front of us, like they always had. Genny almost ran inside to grab the feed she'd bought for them, every day of the past year, but stopped as she saw the wings the note had promised.

"Mila?! Why do you have wings?!" They folded against my back as she shouted at me, her fingers running over the lush feathers. "Do you have tail feathers too?!"

I'd covered my chest as tatters of the sweater gradually fell off my slim body. I stood in just my bra, arms crossed to preserve some modesty. "I..don't know."

"Do you think it's Grandmama looking over you?! She always loved birds and you!" Genny jumped to hug me around my neck before slipping off. "Wait, let me get the seeds! Then you can take me out flying!"

I watched her go back inside, looking back to the tides as I picked up the pieces of the sweater. With one of the loose strings, I tied it all in a loose bundle and set it down next to the many rocks on shore.

The ravens were still looking at me expectantly, their eyes reflecting their intelligence. I knelt down in front of them, suddenly afraid. I had wings. Wings. Could I fly? I didn't know.

They unfurled slightly, their wingspan maybe two of me. Ten feet of sinew and muscle and hollow bone held aloft by some fixed join on my back. Something I knew I couldn't see.

Genny rushed out from behind me, the large bag of purchased seeds replacing her toy. She tossed handfuls out onto the ground, some being pushed by the wind. The birds ate their daily seeds with no complaint. She set down the bag and looked up at me, smiling.

"Let's go to that cliff, okay? Say goodbye to Grandmama again?" Her eyes were happy despite her words. I nodded, biting my lip.

"Of course, Genny."

I brought the sweater inside, taking a tank top from the top of my dresser before I left. Genny brought the seed inside when the ravens had flown away, silent as always.

Genny and I walked up from our small home, using the small path leading up the cliff. The wooden railings along the path had been pounded into the ground years ago by my father before he'd died. I used the worn wood as support as I walked behind my sister as she ran up the stone path. 

"Don't go too fast!" I called to her. "You'll trip!"

"I won't!" She told me from so far ahead. My sister waited for me at the top. I was slightly slower than usual because of the bulky wings. When I made it to the top, she immediately headed for the several headstones on the lone ledge of the cliff.

Grandmama was there, buried for years. With her was Mama, the last thing Papa had touched, and my brother, Tobin. Genny knelt in front of the graves, holding flowers she'd picked on the way up here. Wet with fog and dew, they turned the dirt covering their coffins darker.

She didn't speak as her eyes closed, hands together in prayer. I stayed standing, looking over the cliff as the seagulls picked at the remnants of the ravens' meal. Genny looked up. 

"Okay, I'm done! Let's try to fly!" She tugged on my hand as she dragged me towards the ledge, over the stone graves. She let me go a few feet before the edge. "I know you can do it, Mila!" 

I looked over the edge, the waves crashing into the rocks below. I glanced at my sister before stepping back, my wings unfolding completely. 

Buffeted by the wind, I jumped.

I plummeted for a bit, my wings feeling like they were going to break. A strong wind then pushed me upward and I rose, suddenly stabilizing. My wings began to flap as I flew upwards, off-balanced without a tail. 

I flew above Genny and the cliff, looking up at the clear blue sky. I reached out a hand to touch it.

My wings folded in as I fell once more. This time, it was intentional.

I fell right past Genny only to rise to hold my hand out to her as I came back up. "You, too!"

She laughed and jumped right into my arms, pushing me back. She held me tightly as I flew above our house, over the village we so frequented. Over the gravestones. Over the seagulls.

The ravens we'd always fed for the last years flanked me. I looked at them; their eyes reflected nothing now.

I flew with them for as long as my wings could carry my sister and I. 

i overwrote again, didn't i?
names borrowed from fire emblem echoes: shadows of valentia.

About the Author: Abriatis
but if time would stand still, this moment, I'd freeze it in place