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Marcus

Character Edited!

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a character in “Angel....or Mutant?”, as played by Abridged

Description

Name:


Marcus. A last name seemed kind of pointless to him at the time.

Age:


14

Description:


Marcus stands at five foot seven with a physique that is very thin without actually appearing bony or malnourished. He has tousled, feathery (as in thin, not literally) black hair and light brown skin, with features that suggest spanish genes from at least one of his parents. Dark eyes, full lips, and a nose that is slightly flattened on the end. His face is mostly boyish with hints at maturity. He is usually found in a pair of pathetically torn jeans, mistreated sneakers, and a faded t-shirt. He recently procured a fairly new leather jacket just bulky enough to hide his wings. It was a "consolation prize" from a delinquent who tried to decapitate him with a switch blade.

Wing Color:

His wingspan is roughly fourteen feet. On the outside, his wings are a deep blue-black with the odd streak of white here or there. On the inside, they are like this:

Image

Powers:

Photographic Memory/Reflexes: He has a picture-perfect memory of whatever he experiences, and doesn't have to be actively paying attention for this to happen. This photographic memory allows him to absorb and retain knowledge at an incredible speed. Photographic reflexes allow him to imitate, down to the slightest muscle twitch, any action he sees. Due to the Ward wanting to explore this ability, he was given access to a couple professional fighting and martial arts videos, among others. A side effect of this mental activity is frequent and sporadic migraines, not to mention mental trauma from bad memories... we'll talk about that in a minute.

Besides abilities that are unique to him, he also has standard avian-hybrid abilities. He has wings, air sacs, porous bones, and accelerated but limited healing. He is also extremely light in terms of weight, and despite this fact, he is physically superior to most humans in almost every aspect, even muscle bound grown men.


Personality:

Marcus is a sarcastically humorous, but mostly sarcastic, and sometimes this trait becomes downright morbid in his darker moods. Like any teenager, he is a myriad of emotions, but even when he's angry, he controls himself pretty well. He's very paranoid and suspects that almost everything is a trap. "Actions speak louder than words" is the best way to take his personality. While he's not outright hostile to others, most of the time he seems less than friendly and rather aloof, though it's hard to tell. It's more like a vibe than anything he says or does. And in fact, if you're ignoring his less than endearing "vibes", you'll find he's pretty quick to help others and not so quick to harm, unless the being in question is from the Ward. He's a vicious fighter and doesn't have a medium when it comes to others, at least not in most cases. Either he cares, and thus does what he can to help you, or he doesn't, and he feels no remorse at all for what happens to you... or what he does to you.

Bio:

You really don't want to know. Being a living lab experiment and mutant freak is not exactly a happy fairytale. He recently escaped and is doing everything he can to survive while staying under the radar. That doesn't stop trouble from being attracted to him, however, and on his second night of freedom he had a bad run in with a couple of delinquents, who he set straight with a couple broke bones and bruises. He got a jacket out of it at least.

So begins...

Marcus's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Connor Krauklis Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart Character Portrait: Haley Price Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Carter McAdams Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Michael

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Settings: Heated lab in the freezing colds of Antarctica

Dr. Gunther stared at the various monitors secured to the lackluster gray wall in his office. What better place to have a secret lab than in the isolated white plains of Antarctica?

Each screen was filled with one interesting image or another. A few of them even ineffectually displayed the outside of the Antarctican Ward in all its insipid glory.

But the most interesting monitors were the ones right in front of Dr. Gunther. The ones that showed them.

Generation 5

The most advanced form of Pouli Anthropos.

There they were in all their glory. Tall, graceful creatures, that looked almost as endearing as softly painted pastel angels. Their wings were smooth and shiny, as healthy as any well fed fowl, and they expressed the slim musculature that was to be expected of their generation. They were beautiful.

Okay, who was Gunther kidding? The children were ragged, poorly dressed, escapees, with little to their names but the few various items they’d conned and stolen out of innocent, unaware, humans. Still, it was better than nothing.

Their cunning showed their willingness to survive and thrive in relatively poor conditions. Weather they accomplished their survival by brute force or trickery varied from child to child, but, 88% of the time, resulted in victory.

They showed poor social skills in regards to humans, but seemed to trust one another (out of the few that had actually encountered each other), and showed a willingness to work together, or become accomplices.

Carefully, he looked from monitor to monitor, meticulously observing the actions that took place within the walls of the black boxes.

The first one he glanced over showed two of the older children speaking, strangely enough, near a dumpster. For a millisecond, he wondered how they were tolerating the repulsive scent of garbage, before shifting through his files.

“Taylor Rice” and “Samuel Echtin” were their unnumbered names. The poor boy, in an attempt to divulge answers about the Ward, questioned the girl. She answered in a typically sarcastic manner. Then, she asked a literal question. Something Gunther thought was a plausible question.

“Hey...have you seen any…more of us?” came her quiet frizzled voice through the monitor.

Gunther chuckled, low and devilish, something that would send chills down the bones of the innocent.

His eyes traveled to the next monitor. One of the younger subjects, “Conner Krauklis”, was out and about in the forest, lost and screaming. No doubt his terrified shouts would eventually attract the attention of those mongrels Gunther had created so many years ago.

The next screen was a bit more interesting. A boy had a death lock on her. For a moment, Gunther was petrified that he would kill her. But then, she was dropped out of his grip. Fear ran rampant in her eyes, and Gunther made no attempt to hide his disgust.

“Dear Eins,” He whispered to himself, shuffling through her papers, “He is your friend. Do not be afraid,” Speaking to himself in this manner, Gunther sounded almost crazed. Of course, with Eins being more than complicated, the doctor had no plausible way of knowing what she was thinking without being close to her. He cared little. Eins had just been a stepping stone for his latest project. The boy, however, was more than a stepping stone. Generation 5, his name was “Jude Oakheart”. Surprisingly he had manifested the power that allowed him to escape.

Then, to the right of his present screen, there was “Marcus”, or so it seemed he was named. The child had cleverly stolen a credit card, proceeded to clear the scene of any plausible evidence, and went on to use the withdrawal money to his advantage. Gunther found the amount of items he had ordered impractical, but kept it to himself.

“Clever, very clever…” Gunther grumbled, as the child disappeared within the confinements of a bathroom, to which Gunther refused to have his camera follow.

Then, his cameras went to the scene of drama. His most least desired experiment, vs his most desired experiment.

Michael, that mongrel of a Vampire, had approached three of them. “Brendan McAdams”, “Matthew Bernard” and “Marceline Bernard”. Gunther’s lips edged into a smile as he wondered how each individual child was handling the confrontation between Avian and Vampire. He doted on it little.

A “special” thing caught his eye.

A Generation 4. They had all been eradicated. Or so his scientists had reported to him. And yet, here was a twenty year old Generation 4 male, with big thick muscles, and a clear mutation that had caused it. Even his wings were broader than the norm.

Screen capping his face, Gunther plugged the image into his databases.

No name. Just an image of the same man, though younger, with a smaller body (the beginnings of his advanced muscle development had begun to show in the teenage picture).

He was coupled with a young, quite miniature, female, with a darker skin tone.

Both of them had supposedly died in a plane crash.

Gunther was going to have a word with the employees of the South American Ward.

Suppressing his anger, his eyes moved on to the next screen.

A boy very similar to “Brendan” popped up on the screen, along with a innocent, and very confused looking girl, who happened to coincidentally also be another experiment. “Carter McAdams” and “Haley Price”. He was urging her to get a move on, do a perimeter of the area. Gunther theorized “Carter” knew trouble was on the rise by the fact that the twins, “Bredan” and “Carter” had been observed expressing a special connection with one another. It disappointed him that “Marceline” and “Matthew” had not developed a similar power, both children also being twins.

However, “Brendan” and “Carter” were identical. “Marceline” and “Matthew” were fraternal. Maybe it made all the difference.

“Alice!” he called. A small girl, no more than six years, with curly blonde hair, bounded over to him, placing her hand in his.

“Yes, Daddy?”

“Do you see the children, Alice?”

“Yes, Daddy.” She responded, ice blue eyes grazing over each Avian filled monitor with intelligence far surpassing the age of six.

“Alice, one day you will rule them all.”

“Yes, Daddy.”

Marceline POV


I resisted the urge to immediately run for my life.

One thing that remained, however, was that everyone stayed calm.

Brendan, Matthew, me…not a single one of us showed any apparent fear.

“Michael,” I responded calmly, and a bit too confidently. I was thrilled. Never before, in my time at the Ward, had I been allowed to directly call a Vampire by his name. Out here, the rules were different.

“Making friends is a good idea. Don’t you think so? Besides, I’m sure one of you make friends with your brethren,” I said, mockingly referring to his team of vampires.

“Why don’t you go ahead and come for us?” Matthew said, a steel edge in his voice.

My eyes, for a second, glanced back towards the building where the “adult bird kid” was stationed. Something looked odd about his feet. They had changed color. It almost seemed like, from his knees down, there was short course fur, and a furry tail sticking out from his behind.

Must be a power or something.

For a moment, his eyes zeroed in on Mike. He crouched down, preparing for flight, or so I thought.

And then, he jumped.

Euro


For a moment, the Vamp had turned to look at me. He knew I was there, and he was letting me know it. I returned his cold hard stare with a much calmer one, making a face as he turned away to greet the children.

The young blonde girl eyes seemed to wander for a moment, falling on me. I ignored her stare to calculate the distance between me and Mike. It was about twenty feet.

No sweat. I had the enhanced muscle strength, not to mention the fact that I was able to half morph my legs into something more lemur like, powerful, and equipped for jumping and climbing.

Perhaps Mike was expecting me to fly to him, attack him from the air. That’s what most Vampires expected, at least.

Nope.

I crouched, down and then, bam, rocketed off from the roof opposite the store. I probably looked just like a monkey, taking a leap like that, but I landed exactly where I wanted to.

Right next to the Vampire.

“You wanna back off, Vamp?” I asked, calm like Solo had taught me.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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Jude Oakheart
The Lab





Jude felt badly about attacking the girl. He bent down on his knee and tried to console the girl who sat terrified against the wall. "Hey, it's me, Jude. I'm not going to hurt you."
Jude heard something. He focused his hearing- losing his other senses while he did- and from behind him heard a little mechanical buzzing, and a couple of clicks. He turned around to see a tiny camera pointed at him and the girl. He immediately got scared. He and this girl had somehow escaped from the building that had held them captive for so long. Then he heard the same screeching from inside the lab. "We need to get out of here." He grabbed her hand and pulled her away from the building running a little ways through the tree line, to hide from the vamps.
Jude commenced tearing off the shackles the girl had around her hands and wings. He looked back and saw actual vamps fly out of the roof of the lab and start circling it. "Can you find anyone else like us? I can't do anything but fight with my fists and you're in no shape to fight. We need to find someone else to help us protect ourselves."
Just then he saw a boy a little younger than he was with dark black bird wings and white tips. He darted off not even noticing the three vamps following him at a safe distance but still keeping an eye on him. Jude thought to himself again- they should help him out, then enlarge the group: there is safety in numbers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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Jude Oakheart
Woods




Jude looked at the girl who finally spoke. Her voice was sweet and soft, just as it had been in his mind. He turned to her as she spoke and he listened. His mind flicked back to the boy who was now in the diner. [color=BF0000]"We should talk to him. He could be helpful. Plus he has vamps tracking him."[/color] He gestured towards the vamps that were circling the sky above the the diner. Jude was on edge, never having liked vamps to begin with but there was strength in numbers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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"We should talk to him. He could be helpful, and plus, he has Vamps tracking him."

The concurring words were less surprising than their meaning, but regardless, the moment Jude spoke, I was startled enough to forget that unnerving stare that had been directed at me a few moments before, and my gaze shot up from the patch of ground that had so thoroughly occupied it until then. It seemed inconceivable that he would immediately and unconditionally accept my supposed findings not a minute after I told him how little confidence I had in my abilities, without so much as a taunting word to poke fun at my confusion - considering taunting words were the only kind of speech I'd ever heard with my own ears for the majority of my life, they were also the kind of response I expected to receive under any circumstances, especially when I was doing poorly in my duties as I was now - but even more surprising was his suggestion that they - note that he didn't say he - should go and talk to the newly located Avian child. He... he wanted me to go out there and talk to someone? I couldn't! I just couldn't handle it! To me, people were terrifying. At every second I spent interacting with a Human being, or even a mutant like myself, I was afraid that I would make some terrible mistake or faux pas, and that I would be severely punished for it. These sorts of errors, and the subsequent harsh and often painful corrections, were the only experience I had talking with people, and because of that, I'd become frightened beyond belief of doing so. It had taken all of my courage to even approach Jude, who I had thought to be my friend, and that courage had, at the moment, been dashed against a concrete wall along with my body. Scared as I was now, I probably would have just broken down if forced to talk to someone else with my only protector from violent retribution being someone who had only just finished dealing me that same sort of beating just a few minutes ago, and might even now be called my captor. I could feel my skin growing pale and cold just thinking about it, and already, a cold sweat had broken out anew on my brow.

"W-we...?" I stammered. Even though my voice hadn't reached the shrill pitch usually associated with terror, its desperate, pleading tone and the fear that was doubtlessly evident in my wide, frozen burgundy eyes surely made quite clear both what I meant by that inquiry, and my reluctance to comply with his orders. "B-but... I... that is to say..." My hands were fidgeting still, but at the same time, they were also raised in front of me, in a gesture that was all at once placating, halting, and defensive, as I at once beckoned him not to take me out there into the open where I would have to cope with the inquisitive, terrible eyes that would doubtless fall upon me, and upon my brightly gleaming wings, while also silently begging him not to strike me for disobeying him and preparing for that blow to come down regardless. "I can't!" I declared at last, the force of my unintentionally vehement - I still spoke quietly, but I also spoke with a conviction and a dread in my soft, low voice - denial surprising even myself - perhaps terrifying would be a better word, since I now realized that past experience said he would now have to punish me for my insolence. "I can't go out there... Please don't make me go out there!" I was beginning to become incoherent in my pleading, but I was too frightened to care. In my eyes, I saw - or perhaps simply imagined I saw - my companion tense up somewhat as he gazed stoically down at me, and in an instant, a thousand visions of the possible blow he was doubtless bracing himself to deal me flooded my mind, and, giving a quiet squeak of fright, I instinctively cowered, shutting my eyes and bringing my hands up to cover my head in a vain hope that I might be able to intercept the dreaded stroke of punishment. Overbalancing myself in the process by tripping over a tree root, however, I found myself, instead of stepping back to distance myself from the attack, falling backward and collapsing rather painfully against the tree behind me. Between the concrete wall I'd been hurled into and this injury, I was fairly sure my back was bleeding (among other things), but at the moment, I was too frightened to care. In an instant, I scrambled up on all fours, half crawling, half diving behind the tree as though into some impenetrable fortress. In the same way a mouse peers nervously out of its hole when it thinks a cat menacing it has passed it by, I tentatively poked my head out from behind the tree, fighting the urge to simply break down and run from the punishment I was now certain awaited me with the more terrifying prospect of a much more painful lesson in submission once I was surely caught and brought back. Hiding behind the high collar of my tunic as though behind a mask, and behind the curtains of my silvery hair as though behind a shroud or veil, just as I hid behind the tree like a last bastion of defense, I gazed pleadingly out upon my kidnapper, silently begging him to let me simply hide myself away from the world, so it could not touch me with its frightening, unknown hand...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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(Firebird, I'm really sorry to godmod your character, but... You haven't really left me any options. Please forgive me. X.X)

"Hey, what's-" Jude began, his voice halting abruptly as I dived behind the tree. He stopped for a moment, seeming to be considering his options as he gazed at me perplexedly where I cowered behind the tree. At last, he seemed to reach some sort of a decision, and, heaving a helpless sigh, he spoke once more.

"Are you alright?" He asked. I nodded slightly, still watching him fearfully, unsure of what he was going to do. "Okay, then," he continued, turning away from me at last but giving me a slight smile back over his shoulder. In an instant, I grew much more relaxed. He wasn't angry, he was going to let me stay! "If you don't want to move from here, you don't have to. I'm going after that bird kid. You just wait here for me to come back."

As he turned and walked nervously into the light, I watched him fade from view. Little did I realize how much danger I was in, with my protector absent and myself all alone, nor did I predict how events would unfold...

For several minutes, I waited, my eyes trained warily around the trunk of the tree behind which I was concealed. Shapes bustled about to and fro as people left the building for whatever reason - I didn't know that the diner's closing time was almost up - but the shapes of both Jude and the mutant child I had sensed were hidden from my sight. I watched tentatively, fear slowly dawning on me as I realized that the beings that pursued us before might still be on our trail, and that staying behind might have left me exposed. I began to nervously wish for Jude to return, not wanting to contemplate the possibility of being attacked alon-

A branch snapped above me, the faint crack amplified by my paranoia, rending the air like a gunshot in the silence. I glanced slowly up, but I can't say I expected what I saw: a black shape, dropping sharply from the air, descending upon me with bat-like wings spread wide, as though it were some great bird of prey! Before I could so much as scream, I found the wind knocked from my lungs by a powerful kick which sent me reeling. I tumbled head over heels, rolling pel-mel across the dirt in a confused, terrified bundle of intertwined limbs. Desperately, I tried to rise, and to flee my attacker, only to find his hand descending to block my vision: he was already right on top of me! I tried to cover my face, but a powerful blow struck through my disorganized defenses, dealing me a painful slap across the face and snapping my head backward, then holding it there as the enemy clutched my throat. As I was hoisted limply into the air like a broken doll, my adversary's visage became clear to me in the moonlight.

Batlike wings, taut, angular features, and fangs in place of teeth... so this was a Vampire, the being I evidently resembled, yet was just as evidently being hunted by nonetheless. It gave a quiet, hoarse chuckle and clamped its vise-like grip down tighter upon my neck, cutting off my breath and silencing yet another scream of terror in my throat. I could feel my vision growing blurry, my thoughts growing panicked, and my body growing weak.

A voice in the back of my mind couldn't help but note the irony of the situation. Just as I had encountered my protector, so I had encountered the one whom he could not protect me from, and just as I had been helpless before Jude, so I was helpless before the hunter who had claimed me. But the situations were not the same. In the case of Jude, I had held onto some hope that he would relent, that he would somehow save me. But this Vampire would do no such thing, and I knew it. He would knock me unconscious if I was lucky, torture me if I wasn't, and then take me back to the Ward for my execution. In short, unless I could somehow escape him... I was going to die.

Despite my weakness and fatigue, this fear bred something within me. Whether it was strength or some instinct to survive, I didn't know, but the next instant, I found my own grip tearing weakly at my assailant's own wrist, forcing it inch by inch from my throat and growing stronger with each passing second as the air returned life to my body. I gazed with righteous indignation down upon him, my own amber eyes - wait, weren't my eyes burgundy? - meeting his own surprised dark orbs for a single instant. Then, I spread my wings, the moonlight shining down upon me and bathing me in a divine halo as though I were some kind of avenging angel locked in mortal combat with some terrible demon, planted my foot in my enemy's gut, and forced off with all my might.

An audible snap resounded through the air. I had forgotten to release my grip on my enemy's wrist, and I found to my surprise that the force of my sudden movement had been enough to snap his wrist entirely. On top of this, my powerful kick had actually knocked him off his feet, sending him flying into the tree behind which I had cowered just a moment before. But, I had little time to celebrate my brief victory, for in an instant, he was up and upon me once more, giving a feral roar and bringing a lightning fast kick up into my gut, picking me up and sending me flying into the tree canopy above. The sharp branches tore at my flesh from all sides, and when I fell to earth again, I found blood trickling from several small wounds, and a very angry Vampire welcoming me back to the ground with a sharp punch to the solar plexus. This I managed to deflect, bringing one of my hard wings in front of the blow and turning it away along the surface of the extra appendage, sending him staggering past me and giving a snarl of pain as his knuckles were cut along my scale-like feathers, and as my knee drove itself up and into his groin. He staggered backwards, and I followed up the attack, reaching out and grasping his shoulders. He was overbalanced, so it was a simple matter to haul him back up and towards me, causing him to stumble right into my next attack as I drew back my wings and proceeded to slap them back and forth, several loud snaps like the cracking of a whip ringing through the air as my enemy's head tilted back and forth, back and forth, blood oozing from countless tiny cuts as my scaled wings flayed the skin from his face. I found myself giving a quiet chuckle which rose and fell with the sounds of my wings tearing across his flesh, an action which terrified even me. Deep down, I couldn't help but wonder... what was I doing? I was scared out of my wits, I should have been helpless... And yet each time my enemy approached, an instinct, an impulse, would occur to me, and I would simply act on it, as though I was a marionette, dancing as my strings were pulled. Something deep down inside me was telling me how to fight, and, even though its tactics horrified me, I couldn't help but obey.

A sharp jolt of pain snapped me back to reality. My horror at my own actions must have distracted me, for I realized to my much greater terror that I had momentarily ceased my beating, and my enemy had caught my wing mid-stroke and was twisting it violently. Giving a psychotic, bloodstained smirk, he silenced my squeak of fright in an instant as he smashed his own head against my own, sending me falling backward, only to be hauled back up by my agonized wing, then knocked to the ground again by a savage kick to the shin. Letting go of my wing, he threw himself shoulder-first on top of me, driving me into the dirt and immobilizing me with his own weight. I cried out in pain, only to be silenced once again by a sudden blow to the face, forcing me to raise my suddenly weak and fragile hands to defend myself. My burgundy eyes widened in terror. The strength was gone. There was only fear, and pain. I was helpless, and alone - immobilized, and under attack. Desperately, I reached out for the first willing mind my senses came across. I had hoped to reach Jude, but little did I know that he was not the one to whom I appealed.

"Please! Help me!"

The one to whom I cried out telepathically was not my protector, Jude... No, the one I could only pray would save me was none other than the mutant I had sensed before.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

0.00 INK

(Apparently, to tag her you need to put a & symbol in. Sorry. XD)

Giving an enraged hiss, the Vampire raised his working hand, clenching it into a fist and bringing it down at my face. Desperately, I grasped at it with my trembling hands, hoping to turn the blow away, but found myself unable to block the sheer force of the furious attack, and the hands I willed to protect me were instead beaten against my own head along with the enemy's fist. Again the Vampire drew back his hand, and, in that moment, I knew I was helpless. I had played my last card by calling for help - ironically, that was all that my powers seemed to be good for - and now, I had no options left open to me. My strength was gone, my terror overwhelming, my body weak, and my defenses broken. What could I do but either wait to be saved, or be taken and die before that time?

I could do nothing.

As my enemy's fist came down again, I shut my eyes tightly, hoping to somehow escape the impact by ignoring its visible presence, like a child covering his face and claiming he can't be seen if he can't see anyone else. It was useless, obviously, but somehow, my fears demanded the action to be taken, as though sparing no expense and leaving no stone unturned for a possible route of escape that, deep down, I knew did not exist. But, to my surprise, the pain of the strike that descended upon me never came, for with another feral snarl, the Vampire was suddenly grabbed by the wing and wrenched away from me. With a rush of air, the beast turned away from me, swiping upward at a shape I could not make out, but did not fear. In an instant, I realized the truth: I had been saved.

The Vampire rose and lunged away from me toward the figure I assumed was Jude, come back to rescue me, but with a faint gasp and a thud, he was knocked flat to the ground, and my rescuer pounced upon him, mounting a counterattack. I didn't watch any longer, instead opting to move away from my assailant and out of the way of my protector. Scrambling across the ground, I dove behind several shrubs and a tree, peering back out only after the sounds of fighting in the glade had ended.

Silhouetted by moonlight as he rose from the fallen form of his defeated foe, my guardian's features became clear to me for the first time, and, to my surprise, I found that the person I looked upon was not Jude - rather, it was some other mutant I had never seen before, but whose mind I recognized. He was a little taller than myself - which was to be expected, considering my rather puny height - but not quite so towering as my last companion. Compared to Jude, he was very thin, perhaps even as thin as me, and his countenance was softer and more youthful. His unimposing stature and boyish features suggested that he was probably close to my age, maybe even a little younger. But the real question was... who was he? The logical answer was that this was the avian boy I had sensed a few minutes before, who Jude had gone off to look for, but despite this possibility, I was still surprised, and rather unnerved. The obvious fear occurred to me in an instant. Could I trust him? He had saved me, but I knew next to nothing about him, and had no way of determining what he might do to me. For all I knew, he might have some purpose in mind for me even worse than the planned execution the Vampire would have led me to, or the frightening, if secure companionship/captivity Jude had offered.

"Wow. Wow," The mutant muttered, brushing the blood and sweat from his face. "I really need to stop doing this to myself." Evidently, he'd been in more than one fight with Vampires, if his comments were anything to go by. Well, then, that answered at least one question. He was slated for recapture and execution just as I myself was, which meant that, at least, he was on my side in regards to the Ward. That, in turn, meant that I might be useful to him as an ally in some regard, which gave me at least some hopes that he might leave me alive, although I did not doubt that if he wished it, I would be forced to become his captive. Still, this was better than no information at all. But, my observations were suddenly halted, for instantly, I found his dark gaze turned upon myself, both his expression and his voice laced with distrust as he spoke, this time to me as I slowly, fearfully rose from behind the bushes, feeling terribly exposed by his searching black eyes as I stood, my wings and silvery hair catching the light of the moon as it bathed me from head to foot, drawing into full relief the laboratory prisoner's garb I still wore and clearly identifying me for what I was.

"Are you okay?" He asked coldly, his eyes seeming to pierce into my very soul, as though he would search my very being with his gaze for any trace of some undefined guilt, then would tear it from me with his accusing eyes. I nodded nervously, still reluctant to use my voice after having gone for so long in silence - it didn't help that the Vampire had partially refastened the old gag when he was choking me, although only one of two clasps now held it loosely over my face like an oddly comforting mask of white cloth, and thus I could still speak if I so chose, and could have unfastened it at any time myself. I stood fixated by his cold eyes and equally cold words, my hands still half frozen at the level of my collar, clasped fearfully together now but left trapped where they had been raised to shield my face just a moment ago. I looked, ironically enough, as though I was praying, my hands tightly interwoven just below my chin and fidgeting about with suppressed anxiety as I stared back at the one who gazed at me, terrified by his eyes but also enthralled by his pointed gaze, too frightened to even look away from him despite how desperately I wanted to avert my vision. But despite my fear, a strange feeling, like a barely intelligible voice I could only faintly perceive in the very back of my head, told me that I wasn't the one who was afraid: rather, that my potential rescuer was afraid of me. It seemed preposterous, and yet, something about him that could not be seen, smelt, touched, tasted or heard, but rather could only be felt, perceived as an impulse by some kind of sixth sense, told me thus. He did not trust me, not because I was suspiciously afraid of him, but because he was suspicious, and hence afraid of me. But... why? The answer became clear in a moment as he once more spoke, sounding just a little more vulnerable and a little more anxious than he had before.

"You're not one of them, right? I mean, you weren't pretending... right?" He asked. Suddenly, everything made sense. He was worried that I, too, was a Vampire: his enemy. Even if I only resembled one in part - namely, in that my wings were batlike despite their scalelike feathers - I still shared almost no similarities with Angelic mutants, or with normal Humans, save in my physical shape. My hair, eyes, skin, wings, body, and everything else about me... all of these were unnatural. It was only to be expected that I would be confused for some new type of Vampire, wasn't it? I started to nod, but then stopped, a pressing question occurring to me. If I wasn't an Angel, though, was I a Vampire? I couldn't be sure that I wasn't actually one of "them." In fact, I didn't even know what I was myself!

"I... I'm not sure..." I said at last, my quiet, broken voice muffled slightly by the cloth over my face. I glanced away at last, no longer afraid of his eyes, rather, I was lost in thought, in fears about myself and my own nature. "I don't know what I am... I don't think I'm one of them, but... I'm not sure if I'm like you, either." I had only answered one of his questions at this point, which meant I would have to continue, no matter how reluctant I was to keep speaking. I was afraid of him, and that fear choked my words in my throat, but, on the other hand, there was more to it than that. I wasn't just afraid, I was... ashamed? After years of silence, of not speaking, of being unable to speak, it simply felt wrong of me to actually say anything. It didn't feel like I had the right to make words, anymore. As though I had committed some grave sin, and lost the privilege of speech. As though I was, quite simply, unworthy of saying a single word, and with each syllable I spoke, I only compounded my error, only committed yet another crime.

"B-but... thank you for rescuing me," I said at last. "I wasn't faking a thing, i-if that's what you meant. I ran away when I should have died, and so... I know it's wrong to be so selfish, but I want to live, and so... I was running away. If you hadn't saved me, then they'd have taken me back, a-and... That is, I owe you my life, and..." I trailed off, no longer sure of what I meant to say myself. Was I thanking him? Was I answering his question? What was even the point? Flushed with humiliation, I decided it would be better to just shut up, and so simply gazed downward, defeated by my own inability to understand myself. I just hoped he would believe me, and understand that there was nothing to fear in a useless being such as myself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Alice

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Euro


“The hospital seems like the best answer,” Great! So Taylor was on board. I nodded to her encouragingly. Power in numbers. Now all that was left was…

"Yeah I'll travel with you guys... Are you guys sure about the hospital? I mean... would doctors even know how we work? Honestly a vet would probably know more knowledge about a wing... And a hospital is a very, very public place... I'm just not so sure...But if you're certain it's best I'll follow..."

I frowned, feeling shame begin to fill up my system. Samuel was right. Besides the whole “we’re-screwing-ourselves-over-by-going-to-a-hospital” thing, it’s not like the doctors would have any idea how the girl, or for that matter, any of us worked. I mean, carrying her to the vet still gave us the chance to get our asses busted by the Ward or some other government facility, but hey, at least she’d survive. Hopefully. And here’s where I got stuck.

The hospital was a huge, open public facility, with freaky, annoying doctors, and obvious tattletales who’d have us busted with the government the instant we got there. I knew that for sure. That’s how ruthless intellectuals worked.

The local veterinarian on the other hand was generally concerned with dogs and cats. Ever wonder why there are stand alone Avian vets just dedicated to the health of birds? Never fear here’s your answer; as the majorities of pets consist of dogs and cats, people are bias to learning about cats and dogs. Even horses pass their lists. But guinea pigs, rats, birds, lizards, and many other “minority” pets fall into a different category. You’d need an animal hospital for that, and trust me when I say a vet’s clinic does not constitute the words animal hospital.

“That’s a good idea, Sam,” I was banking on the idea that he didn’t mind me calling him that, “But Avian vets and regular vets are two very different things.” I said softly, “If we….assume that just any vet will be able to handle her, we could be playing with fire. Not to mention the fact that a vet may not have what it takes to make a human blood transfusion. If I know anything about doctors, I know they’re intellectuals, kind of like lower level scientists. They’ll save her, if only to study her later on. We can almost bet on the fact that they’ll call up an Avian specialist to assist them if they have too….” I trailed off.

God, the girl was going to be hanging by a thread by the time we got there. She twitched in Matthew’s arms for a second, before going still again. I could hear her breathing steadily, which was a good sign, but the occasional twists of pain were a cause for concern.

“Can we hurry up with the decision making?” Matthew scowled, panicked concern scrawled across his face, “She’s going to go into a coma by the time you guys get moving.”

I rolled my eyes, but accepted his harsh words. He was simply concerned about his sister’s well being, and probably wasn’t thinking straight. Without a second thought, I slipped over to the closest car, a decent looking Honda Civic, probably of a generation older than 2012. I had one of two options:
1) Use some sort of pin to unlock the front door of the car
or
2) smash the window open.

Seeing as there was no pin, I went with option two. Using my shoe, I made a hole just big enough for my hand to fit through without scraping myself. The alarm, of course, was going crazy, and I had to work fast to unlock the door and rewire the underneath of the steering wheel so that the car would shut up. This had been me and Solo’s life when we’d first escaped. And while I was no pro, I most definitely knew what I was doing.

Which brought up another problem.

A very pressing, very heartbreaking, very traitor like problem.

I had to ditch those kids as soon as the girl was safe. Staying with them….was dragging me and Solo back to a life of misery. I would explain it to them. Explain why I was leaving. But for now, my concern was getting her safely to the hospital.

As the engine roared to life under the working of my hands I began barking orders. Unaccustomed to being in charge, my commands sounded more like solid requests rather than orders.

“Sam, you get in the front,” always safer to have someone besides yourself looking out for stuff in the front seat, “Taylor and Matthew you get in the back….Matthew support your sister’s weight. Try to keep her in an upright position so that the blood doesn’t flow faster towards her upper area and head..” Eyeing her blood soaked sweater, I came up with another quick idea, hoping Taylor would go along with it, “Taylor take her sweater and press it against the wound with enough force to slow the bleeding…”

Matthew, upon hearing my command, quickly slipped the bloody sweater off from his sister, revealing a simply black t-shirt, much less stained. He offered the sweater to Taylor with a pleading look on his face, and I hoped she would accept the job. The reason I’d chose her over Sam or Matt? Simple. She was a woman.

As I finished my tirade of commands, I slipped into the driver’s seat, patiently waiting for them to join me in the car.

Alice


I stared at the monitor indifferently as was my habitual response to anything that flickered on and off the hazy screen. I had been, naturally out of my own curiosity, observing the bird children, learning from their movements, but not necessarily understanding their interactions. The “Eins” as daddy referred to her was deathly frightened of everything, including her savior the “Marcus” who had rescued her from the clutches of a pair or so of Daddy’s Vampires. I couldn’t understand her, couldn’t understand her fear. If she’d been the stepping stone to the blossoming of my life, how was she so different from me?

If I had been there, I would have killed the Vampires and enslaved the boy.

It only made sense. One with such power should not wield it lightly. One with power must flaunt said power. One with power must become the dominant one.

That’s why I was Daddy’s heiress.

I was the powerful one.

“Alice,” Daddy’s voice was filled with kindness; fake kindness, but it was the only type I knew of. I wasn’t sure if to react brightly, or if to simply saunter over to him. In an attempt to please him, I skipped over to him as an average six year old would. Seeing as I was in the body of a six year old, I could only hope it would work. He ignored me.

Hope. Ha, what a joke.

Arriving by his spinning chair, I put a delicate hand on top of his. The chair seemed to float, as I could not make out what lifted it, and I assumed it worked on some sort of intensely concentrated vaporizing system. I could smell the water in the air, after all.

“Yes Daddy,” That was a default response. It was the obedience Daddy wanted, and it was the obedience he got.

“You’ll be leaving for Arizona today,” he said quietly, grazing his eyes over the gruesome scene one of our bird children had, had. She looked very similar to me, at least similar to me when I was an adolescent, but much more beat up with a grisly set of claw marks on the side of her wing, courtesy the Vampires.

I wasn’t sure if to call her a “poor thing” or if to think she deserved it. I wasn’t sure how Daddy wanted me to react.

“Yes, Daddy,” I said. What else was I suppose to say? What else did people say? He went on as though I’d asked a question about what I was to do once there,

“I may have a few Vampires waiting for you. They will guide you through the steps of integrating yourself into the human world.” My hear skipped a beat (I think that’s the expression).

Daddy was going to let me be with the humans. Daddy was setting me free on the world.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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"Sigh. So, you're from a Ward too?" The boy asked sharply, breaking the silence and compelling me to turn my gaze upon his piercing eyes once more. His voice sounded... tired. It didn't seem like he was so worried that I was an enemy anymore, rather, it simply seemed like he was exhausted and fed up with the world for being the way it was, as though he was simply too fed up to care whether or not I was a threat to him anymore, and had simply decided to believe my words for now. I felt a little more at ease with this deduction, since it meant that I would at least have a little bit more time to figure things out before anything happened to me. My hands stopped fidgeting about at last, and instead settled where they were, folded before my collar.

After a moment, I managed to remember that I was supposed to answer when someone asked me a question - an impressive feat, considering the confused nature of my thoughts - and after another, I managed to make the decision to give a quick nod rather than using my voice, a new and worrying prospect in which I did not place any faith. My answer conveyed thus, the boy glanced around, evidently having heard or seen something that unnerved him. But, after a moment, he seemed to settle slightly, giving a wary glance to the fallen Vampire before turning to face me once again.

"We should get out of here, before anyone else shows up," The boy said simply. The comment was not, in and of itself, surprising. Anyone in their right mind would, when still so close to the enemy's home territory, and having only just foiled one of the hunters pursuing them, suggest immediate departure. It was only common sense to distance oneself from the enemy while one had the chance. But, on the other hand, the comment meant several things that were quite astonishing.

"We," he had said. That could only mean one thing: I was to go with him at once, and to trust in him to keep me safe. But, on the other hand, he could just as easily have said "You're coming with me, or I'll kill you." I was quite clearly at his mercy, so if he wanted me to obey him out of fear, then now would be the obvious chance to establish how things were going to be. I'd have no option but to follow him, so why...?

No, the only reason he would phrase things that way was because he wanted me to feel at ease... wasn't it? That simple, obvious suggestion, was also a gesture of reassurance, and a statement of policy. It meant that so long as I did nothing to endanger myself, he wasn't going to hurt me. Moreover, it was an invitation, which meant I would have the opportunity to reject his offer, if I wanted to. But, terrified as I was, I already knew what my answer would be. I would accept his request, and go with him.

It was basic survival instinct, really. He had just saved my life, and was, in essence, offering to continue protecting me without specifying anything I'd need to do in return. It was too good to be true, I knew, but it was also a much safer bet than Jude, whose intentions I could not guess, save that he needed me to serve as a locator for other Mutants, and far, far superior to going it alone, as I had almost no idea what sort of world I had ventured into, and couldn't protect myself from a particularly dangerous animal, let alone the Vampires that would surely pursue me until I was dead and buried. And, if worst came to worst and he questioned my usefulness as an ally, I could always serve him in the same manner as I would have served Jude. And, while I knew Jude would not harm me yet, I could make no such guarantees for the future. This boy, on the other hand, was much the safer bet. And, if I went with him, I could escape both of those parties that would capture me: Jude and the Ward alike. So, at last, I decided, and gave voice to my reply, no matter how hard it was. Shuffling nervously into the clearing, I glanced about much as my protector had just done, then nodded and gave my response.

"R-right... I-I can come with you, then?" I asked, attempting to confirm my suspicions. In that instant, my heart seemed to stop, as I waited on baited breath for his answer, and for the fate to which that answer would subject me.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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(Hooray for massive misconceptions and epic-level social failure! Eins is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters to write, just because of how strange she is compared to all my other ones. XD)

In the instant that I was given my answer, I could feel relief flooding into my heart as though bursting forth from behind a dam. It was too good to be true, and yet, for all intents and purposes, it was true! I had finally found someone willing to protect me, as of yet without any cost to myself. My face lit up with a smile of exuberant gratitude, the foreboding that had covered it vanishing like a seemingly endless night giving way to the first rays of dawn. I didn't realize at the time exactly how apt that analogy was.

"Thank you," I said at last, wanting to burst out with joy but restraining myself due to the circumstances. Consequently, what wanted to be a triumphant, thankful cry was nothing more than a hushed half-whisper. But, no matter how soft or quiet those airy words were, they still carried with them the full weight of my immeasurable gratitude. It might have seemed silly to be so thankful for a simple offer with no security, no defined term of being, a suspiciously undefined means of repayment, and no plan behind it, but to me, it meant the world despite all of these factors. I had seen the thoughts in this boy's eyes, heard them inside his head, even if they had been thickly veiled behind his subconscious, and I could tell that he was at least partially in earnest. By this means, and by his actions, I could discern for sure one thing: my chances were much better trusting in him than they were relying on anyone else. And so, I accepted his offer with all the thankfulness of a lost kitten given a new home, and all of the nerve-wracking confusion and worry that entailed.

"You're going to need some new clothes," The boy said suddenly, snapping me out of my joyous reverie. I halted halfway across the glade, not really understanding what he meant. True, the jumpsuit was cold and somewhat inconvenient due to its many locks and buckles meant to restrict and detain its wearer, but I didn't really understand why the garment needed immediate replacement. Was it really that pressing an issue? If so, why?

"And we might need to do something with your hair... I don't know." This comment confused me even more than the last one. I understood that my hair was abnormal in comparison to that of most other people I had seen, but I didn't understand why that was such a bad thing. At the time, the thought hadn't even occurred to me that such an abnormality might be deemed suspicious by ordinary people who didn't know of the Ward and its doings, as I the only world I had ever known was the Ward. It seemed only natural to me that everyone knew about the Ward, and thus that abnormalities such as my own would be thought unusual, but uninteresting. Truth be told, blending in with ordinary Humans hadn't even occurred to me, as, quite frankly, I did not know what an ordinary Human was, save for the biological definition I had gleaned from the Masters back in my old room. The only differences between me and a normal Human, as far as I knew, were my avian and vampiric traits. In my naive mind, I simply assumed that they thought the same way and on the same level as myself.

"Alright, let's get out of here. We need to get rid of those clothes before we do anything else." The boy turned and strode toward the edge of the clearing, leaving me baffled but forcing me to take off at a slight jog to catch up with him before he reached the edge of the forest. Unfortunately for me, my footwork was still off due to my inexperience walking on uneven ground, and I found myself tripping over a small outcropping I had not noticed, and, with a stifled squeak of surprise, fell flat on my face before I had even finished taking my second step. Undeterred, however, I swiftly picked myself up and rushed over to the boy's side, dusting myself off as I did so.

"We'll fly up to that building and look for a... salvation army. I got my clothes from one of those, but in another location," the boy explained rather unsatisfactorily. I had no idea what a salvation army was, or what one looked like, or how I would tell one apart from anything else in the area, so his directions were rather useless to me. I didn't understand. He spoke as though I was supposed to know these things, almost on an instinctive level. Then... it must have had something to do with the Ward, right? That was the main thing we shared in common - being brought up in the Ward - so that seemed to me like the only logical option. Satisfying myself with this deduction, I began to ponder the meaning of those two words, hoping to be of some use to my new protector by finding this army thing he was looking for. A little voice in the back of my mind asked me why I didn't just ask him what he meant, but I silenced it with the justification that I was evidently supposed to know this, and if I showed ignorance in such a manner, I'd no doubt come off to him as stupid. Foolish as it was, I wanted to impress him somehow, to make sure I didn't fail him and give him a reason to reconsider his offer.

Well, when I thought about it, I'd many times in my mental wanderings in the Ward encountered the word "salvation." Each time I did, it always seemed to have a different meaning. Some of the older mutants and the lower ranked scientists seemed to associate it with some sort of universal and apparently very powerful parent known as "God." But, this word, too, seemed to be defined differently each time I ran across it, and it seemed to me preposterous that so many people could share the same parent, especially considering the fact that mutants like us had no families to begin with. I ended up dismissing it as some kind of metaphor, and moved on. In relation to the higher ranking scientists, the word "salvation" had carried a much different connotation. They had referred to their salvation as their complete acquisition of everything they wanted, and the complete control of whatever they wanted. I seriously doubted that this was the right definition of the word, so I dismissed it as well. Lastly, I had stumbled across the word in the minds of mutants like Jude and this boy. To them, salvation was, quite simply, freedom, liberty, and the right to live their lives as they pleased. In short, it meant rescue from the confines of the Ward. This definition seemed the most appropriate, so I moved on to the second word.

"Army." That was a very simple word I had run across often in the minds of all of my Masters, and understood well. The "army" - of which I only knew one - was the organized force of mutants that, led by the Ward, was intended to follow their Masters' will and conquer the world. This word at first seemed to correspond much better with the second definition of salvation than the third, which rather confused me. But, at that point, I remembered something I had once heard, about armies being able to change their commanders. It had been the fear of many of the scientists who worked on us that we would instead serve other Masters than themselves. In that case, perhaps this "Salvation Army" was the army that the Ward had intended to build, turned against it and used instead to fight for the Salvation of those mutants still forced to serve their Masters? Such an organization, I supposed, would surely have some subsection devoted to supplying fellow runaway mutants. Without this vital system, it would surely be rendered powerless, and collapse, would it not? And, I supposed, clothes might be counted amongst the supplies such a resistance movement could provide. But this seemed much too good to be true. Could it really be that this boy who had found me was actually an agent of a secret, underground rebellion, sent to free me from my captors and give to me "salvation?"

In retrospect, I must have gotten something wrong somewhere. Despite the boy's subconscious screening to keep my prying eyes away from his thoughts, I could still understand enough of what he was thinking to know that what he referred to wasn't some kind of underground resistance. Besides, looking back to see where I went wrong, there were several things that were quite impossible about my deduction. First and foremost, why would we be looking for a secret resistance army from the top of a random building? It didn't seem like we would find anything that way. Also, if he was an agent of this secret resistance - or at least knew enough about it to get supplied with clothes - he would have to also know where its base was already, making any such search completely irrelevant. No, much as I would like to believe in this fantasy, there was no organized group of mutants who would help and protect me. I would have to make due with the companion I had.

Motioning for me to follow, the boy skirted the edge of the small wood we were in, then abruptly leaped upward, flapping his wings and shooting up into the night sky through a gap in the tree canopy. Not wanting to be left behind alone, I quickly took a deep breath, braced myself, and then leaped upward, my wings flapping with a strength and a power that belied their small size. In a single fluttering of my diamond-like wingspan, I was in the air, and another stroke propelled me through the trees. Just one more, and I was in the open sky, my puny stature and miniscule weight rendering my abrupt launch almost effortless.

In retrospect, it had been quite difficult at first. To be honest, today was the first day I had ever really, truly flown. In my cell, I had practiced hovering so as not to let my wings atrophy, but once I was free and in the open sky, it had been another matter entirely to work out how to guide myself, and to keep myself from falling. The prospect of flying for any longer than a short glide was still rather frightening to me, meaning it was rather fortunate that the building my guardian had chosen to move to was only a few wingbeats away. Turning myself towards it, I clumsily flapped my radiant, bat-like wings, and managed to set myself on the right course. Another two strokes, and I had reached the roof, my feet finally finding reassuringly flat ground as I stumbled to a standing position, folding my wings once more. Even from that small flight, it was rather evident how clumsy I was, both landing and in flight. I hoped my guardian wouldn't hold it against me, and then turned my mind to some of the questions that still confused me.

"Err... You said I needed to get rid of my clothes... right away, right? W-well, it's kind of cold up here... B-but, if it's important, I could just leave them here." I asked, innocent confusion filling every cadence of my voice as I fiddled with the collar of my jumpsuit, fully unfastening the cloth mask and trying to find out exactly how the jumpsuit fit together, never having needed to remove it before. But, evidently, it was urgent that I abandon the outfit at once, so I sought to comply, blissfully ignorant of the implications of the actions I was trying to commit. To be sure, I had long since known of the differences between the Human sexes, male and female, thanks to the definitions provided me in the minds of the scientists that had surrounded me during the large part of my existence. I even knew how Human reproduction worked, and about the genetic distribution between parents and offspring. All of the biological components made sense to me, but, at that time, I was entirely unaware of there being any sort of social importance to those differences. I simply assumed that everyone understood them from an academic point of view - as that was the only point of view I had ever experienced - and felt no embarrassment or drive in relation to the bodily features of the opposite sex. Consequently, I wasn't in the least reluctant to comply with the rather vague command I had been issued, and, in fact, had no idea that I had misinterpreted it, as my experience showed that such an order could make logical sense under the circumstances, and my lack of any self-conscious prejudice kept me from being dissuaded by a desire for privacy, a word which I did not, in fact, even understand at that point in time. And so, I continued in my search for some buckle or fastener that would allow me to remove the jumpsuit. A few moments of feeling about led me to a zipper located just beneath the buckle on my collar that had used to fasten the gag across my throat, and in an instant, I had pulled it open, separating the mask of sorts I had worn before and dividing my already rather meager clothing to an almost fully revealing point. The only thing that saved my future self from a great deal of humiliation, once I had been informed of what I was doing, was a series of buckles and straps that held the garment together despite the unfastened zipper, and thankfully kept me from removing it due to my rather clumsy hands and lack of manual dexterity.

It was at this point that I felt a great deal of emotions, many of which contradicted each other and equally many were unfamiliar to me. At the same time, I felt a rather piercing pair of black eyes staring directly at me, and so looked up, turning with confusion to face my companion, unaware of the meaning of his stare or his suddenly frantic thoughts.

"A-ah... is something wrong?" I asked nervously. What I really meant was "Did I do something wrong?" but I let that question go unspoken, hoping against hope that the cause of my guardian's worry was not me. But, given the discomforting stare he was giving me, I had a feeling that these hopes were meaningless...

(Sorry for the slight godmod at the end. I'm just kind of assuming, given Marcus' personality, that he will be very, very confused by Eins' complete lack of social understanding or inhibitions, hence the sudden surge of thoughts and the stare I added in. Again, I apologize if this is something you'd rather have me remove. In such a case, I'll comply gladly.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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"Yeah, something's wrong!" The immediate response to my innocent inquiry was harsh and direct, barked angrily over the boy's shoulder as he turned away from me for reasons I didn't really understand. As he began to explain what I could and could not do - listing several different restrictions I had never expected, and the purpose of which I did not then comprehend - I couldn't help but feel guilty and ashamed, like a child caught doing something prohibited. To be perfectly honest, I might have felt a tinge of embarrassment at how the boy averted his eyes from me as though frightened, and cried out in anger as though my mere action was something repulsive enough to burn him to a simmering anger. Was my natural form so unnatural as to be disgusting to him? While I hadn't really thought of his opinions on how I looked when I began to unzip my jumpsuit, now that I had received his most vehemently negative impressions of me, I couldn't but feel somehow insulted, or monstrous. I could only wonder as much as I looked down at the ground, not sure what I should say or do to make up for my mistake. I'd had no idea what I was doing was so incorrect. He had to understand that, right? But even if he did, it was evident that my crime was too grave to be simply dismissed and forgiven. Doubtless, he would have some punishment prepared at a later, more convenient time, and I mentally began to prepare myself for it. I was his inferior, and, as I was relying entirely on him for my own safety and support, I would simply have to submit to his judgement, or risk his abandoning me. I needed his guardianship and guidance to live, so, in short, whatever he wanted me to do or not do, I would have to abide by, even if I didn't understand it. But, on the other hand, hadn't that been what I was already doing? He had ordered me to get rid of my evidently conspicuous clothing, and so I had tried to follow his command. Despite that, I had apparently somehow misunderstood him, and done something gravely wrong which had offended him deeply. Then should I ask for an explanation of everything? But that would only make me seem stupid and doubtless irritate him beyond belief. Perhaps I should try to read his mind to find the answers I sought, then. But this option was dismissed just as quickly as the last two, for if he found out, he would surely be righteously indignant, and I would be severely punished for intruding upon his private thoughts - perhaps even killed for finding out something I shouldn't have, or worse, left to die slowly on my own. Then should I simply wait and try to follow his lead and do as he did, trying to adapt his own actions to suit myself without bothering him with questions or failures? It would surely be a minor annoyance to him, but it seemed to be the only option available to me. I could only brace myself for the many scoldings to come and hope that he would understand.

"I-I'm sorry. I didn't... I wasn't... that is... I don't... understand..." I mumbled at last, fumbling with the zipper and pulling it back up as far as it would go as fast as I could do so. Cowering behind my suddenly comforting cloth mask, I fastened one of the buckles on it with my still fidgeting hands, and pondered whether I should do the same with the second so as to silence my loathsome voice completely, feeling that simply muffling it and hiding my evidently repulsive countenance and form wasn't a good enough solution to the problem I had caused. I decided against this measure, wanting to be able to respond immediately to any question he might ask of me, or to apologize and beg his forgiveness should he choose to continue scolding me. Fortunately, it seemed that he had passed over my infraction for the moment, and seemed to be forming a plan. I looked up nervously through the curtains of silvery hair I let hang down in the hopes that they would cover my hopelessly red face. Combined with the half-mask of the garment, they formed a sort of screen from behind which I peered shamefully, my burgundy eyes dancing fearfully about as though unsure whether or not they deserved to see any of the things around them.

"Here's the plan. You're going to hide in the alley down there, and I'm going to go into the Salvation Army I spotted over there, and get you something else to wear. Alright...?" The boy spoke suddenly, and I started to attention as best I could while also keeping my face turned submissively downward. In the end, all I did was stiffen slightly, and turn my gaze up at his face - a feat of resolve that was almost beyond me, due to the strange attraction the concrete roof beneath my feet held for my wandering eyes. I was aware that he wanted some kind of response, but found myself unable to give him one, so overwhelmed was I by the lingering anger and irritation that I thought I could see in his eyes, and by the shame I felt at my innocent error. In the end, all I did was give a slight twitch that wanted to be an affirmative nod, and turned my gaze sadly downward, humiliated further by my humiliation itself.

"What's your name?" The abrupt question was rather unexpected, and rather awkward, considering that it couldn't be answered by a simple yes or no - in short, I would have to say something again, and that was a privilege I didn't feel myself worthy or capable of handling at the moment. In any case, I hadn't expected him to ask my name at all, considering he had completely passed over the subject when he first encountered me. I had assumed he simply didn't care about who I was, and personally felt that I wasn't someone who warranted such a concern anyway.

"I'm Marcus," he added, almost as an afterthought to his previous query. This was more surprising than anything else - his anger, his swift return to calm control, and his sudden asking of my name were all unexpected, to be sure, but this was beyond that. He was giving me his name? To a normal person, I learned later, a name was just a simple thing everyone had, a term by which one defined themselves, or by which one was defined. But to me, a name was something almost mystical, a label placed upon a living soul, chosen to suit that soul, and used to show everything that person was. I had never had a name of my own, instead being referred to by the simple designation of "Eins." That was a name without meaning, a worthless term used to define an equally worthless being. The importance I felt a name possessed was why I had at one point tried to make for myself my own name, a true and beautiful name that I hoped might encompass everything I was, and everything I hoped to be. But that name had been unsuited to my hopeless and worthless nature, and thus had been scoffed at and trampled upon by all those who heard it. I had no doubt that this boy, Marcus, would feel the same, even if he was giving me his own name, seemingly forgiving me for all of the errors I had just committed by doing so. And so, forced to answer as I was, I said not what I wanted to say, and instead simply repeated the same old title I loathed, and yet in all regards, I deserved.

"Eins," I blurted out, forcing the word from my throat. My eyes dropped further down, and my neck seemed not to support the weight of my skull, filled as it was with foolishness and mistakes. I averted to my eyes, my countenance turned downward and my head bowed submissively. "My name is Eins," I repeated gloomily, my shame consuming my each and every word as I spoke in a broken tone of humiliation. My form was utterly motionless save for the occasional shiver that ran through it - I wasn't sure if I was verging on the point of tears or if I was just cold. Perhaps it was both? - and for the occasional breeze that tousled my hair about me, the moonlight catching my silvery locks as they flapped about me like a flag of defeat and surrender.

"I'm sorry... s-sorry for burdening you. I'll just follow... your instructions..." I murmured at last, and then was silent, bearing the weight of my guilt and embarrassment without complaint, and on my own.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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"I'll be back in a few minutes," The boy, no, Marcus, said, dropping over the edge of the building after motioning me to follow him. I hesitated a moment, lingering on the edge of the roof and looking down rather fearfully at the ground below, which I couldn't even see - my night vision, as I did not yet know how to actively use my Vampiric traits to my advantage in such a situation, was probably worse than my ability at flying or protecting myself, considering I'd only lived in a fully lighted underground chamber all of my life, and thus never had to see in the dark or look at anything over 150 centimeters away. On the one hand, I was rather reluctant to do anything involving my wings, as I didn't really trust in my ability to use them well at this point. But, on the other, Marcus had commanded me to wait for him in that alleyway, which meant I had to obey, somehow. So, gulping down my fears, I spread my silvery wings, and stepped into empty space. For a split second, I could feel gravity tugging down harshly on me, ready to send me plummeting to the hard ground that lay an indeterminate distance below. Fluttering my wings tentatively, I tried to keep myself from coming down hard while also not entirely breaking my fall. As the only level of flight I was used to happened to be "hovering" and my landings always left something to be desired, this was much more difficult than it sounded. At times, I would start falling too fast, and begin to panic, flapping my wings quickly only to find that I'd begun to go back up. So, I would slow down again, and start falling so fast that I was sure I'd break on the ground like an eggshell when I hit it. But, after a few seconds fraught with the terror of falling to my death, I managed to locate the ground and get just a few feet above it. I folded my wings, bracing for a landing, but found to my surprise that I was falling forward rather than down - I'd folded my wings too fast and too early! The old panic returning, I frantically tried to put my feet beneath me as I met the ground, stumbling forward upon unsure footing. Trying to bring my balance back over my feet, I instead overturned myself, and went toppling headfirst forward, landing hard on my side despite my efforts to catch myself with my hands.

I gave a quiet groan, and was almost tempted to simply lie where I had fallen, defeated. The impact hadn't been, in and of itself, unbearably painful. But, on the other hand, my back was cut and bruised, I had small cuts all over my body from being thrown through the branches of a tree, and I had been generally battered and beaten down ever since I escaped the Ward. The force of my uncomfortably hard landing had been enough to cause all of these many wounds to flare up with protest yet again, and a fresh wave of pain wracked my form with every passing breath. But, Marcus wanted my attention, so I would have to rise and give it to him.

"Ah..." I gasped with pain as I tried to roll over and rise to a standing position, forgetting for a moment the many injuries that marked my back. In an instant, I was up, the pain from having so many wounds ground harshly against the pavement by the weight of my body motivating me to rise in an instant. I brushed my hand across my exposed back, and it came back somewhat bloody. Even scratches and grazing wounds could make a rather prominent red stain if there were so many of them in one spot at once.

"Just wait here, and don't touch the dumpster, who knows what -or who-'s been dumped in there. Don't leave this alley unless you're being attacked by something or someone,"[i] Marcus directed. I nodded, thinking that was all, before he gave me one final instruction. [i]"Or unless something comes out of the dumpster," he added, leaving me confused as to what he meant as he strode from the alleyway and into the lights of the street beyond. I glanced around. Truth be told, I didn't even know what a dumpster was, although that wasn't as problematic as identifying the mysterious "Salvation Army" Marcus had spoken of earlier, as the only other notable thing in the alley than myself was a rather large box-like object, almost, if not as wide as the world I used to live within, if not quite as tall. Its purpose was unclear, but due to the cryptic comments of my guardian and the nauseating smell coming from within, I had a suspicion that it was probably a storage device or prison of some sort for dangerous objects and/or creatures. Why else would he stress so heavily that I should not approach it, and that I should flee if something emerged from within its unspeakable depths, and that I might be attacked by "something?" Upon this realization, I quickly moved to the opposite side of the alleyway, gazing intently and uncertainly at the mysterious box-like object that was apparently a great threat to me.

For the entire time I remained alone in the alleyway, the dumpster had my entire attention. Every time I thought I heard a noise, I suspected that it had come from within the horrible container, and recoiled until I was up against the wall, spreading my wings and mentally preparing myself for both the grisly and unimaginable visage of the imaginary - but no less blasphemous against the laws of reality, several of which the image I had pictured defied maddeningly - terror which I fully expected to emerge at any moment. Many times, I was certain that I could both hear and see something moving around just beneath its closed lid, causing it to rattle terrifyingly. My fear built within my chest until finally I could hold it no longer, and it burst forth in the instant that what I dreaded happened: something brushed under the lid and leaped out from its prison and into the world it was not meant to enter! In an instant, I had leaped back, landing near the alleyway's exit and beginning to back up as I sized up the being before my eyes.

It was small, tiny even - only tall enough to reach up to just below my ankle, and not even the length of my foot - and covered head to each of its four feet with alternatively black and white fur, streaked with dirt and grime that likely came from within the prison in which it had been contained. As it gazed up at me with innocent green eyes, looking almost as afraid of me as I was of it, I had to wonder why I was supposed to be afraid of this creature. It was clearly too small - and thus, too weak - to seriously harm even a helpless person like me. I supposed it might have some terrifying mental ability - considering my own power to infiltrate the minds of others, this wasn't out of the question - but in that instant, I couldn't help but be drawn towards it rather than driven away. It was actually rather cute and fuzzy, and some sort of instinct deep within my heart told me to go and stroke its dirty but nonetheless soft fur.

"Meow." The creature's sudden cry caused me to abruptly reconsider my planned course of action. The sound was mournful and piercing, and so abrupt as to take me completely by surprise. I jumped at least a foot in the air, and began to creep backwards, my gaze divided between the small creature and the bin from which it had emerged. Was it calling more of its kind? Yes, that must of have been it! This terrible creature, along with its fell brethren, would overwhelm me with numbers rather than strength, and would doubtless devour me alive or something similarly awful! Marcus had directed me to flee should anything emerge from the dumpster, and I now regretted not obeying his orders immediately upon the fulfillment of their conditions. I needed to escape, at once, so, unthinking of the doubtless many people outside of the alley who might see me and realize what I was, I turned to flee, only to run headlong into a boy just entering the alleyway. For a moment, my fears were compounded, until I heard him speak.

"Eins? It's me. I got the clothes, hope they fit. I'll turn my back and keep watch while you change..." He said, handing me some kind of bag. In my panic, I hardly perceived these words, or those that followed as I dived behind my comrade, gesticulating wildly to the creature in the alleyway as I peered at it from behind his protective shoulder.

"It came from the dumpster!" I squeaked as a means of explanation and warning, hoping that Marcus was capable of fighting off that horrible being and its loathsome kindred. If he wasn't, I was absolutely certain that we'd be on the run again, or worse, dead.

How I wish now that I had realized the joke in Marcus' "orders," or known what the "creature" - actually just a small, harmless kitten - was. And, most of all, I wish I had actually paid enough attention to hear the apology he had started to give me before I cut him off with my burdensome antics. If I had, then I think the days following our meeting would have been much, much easier on us both...

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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"You have got to be kidding me."

These were... not the words I was expecting. I looked up with confusion evident in my gaze as Marcus stepped to the side, gesturing his hand dismissively and motioning me to get back in the alley, looking fully disdainful of the fear I had felt and of the creature before us. "B-but... it..." I murmured, my voice trailing into silence as I became acutely aware of doing something wrong yet again. Had I again misinterpreted his orders, somehow? He had been perfectly clear that I was supposed to escape if something emerged from the dumpster. Something had, so... why? Why was he acting this way, scolding me again as though I'd done something wrong by obeying his commands? Had I misunderstood him again? Why...? Why was it that there were suddenly so many things I didn't understand? It seemed to me like people in the outside world - no, people in general - were always getting mad at me no matter what I did. First, my unremembered failure that had apparently resulted in my imprisonment and punishment, and subsequent near-execution. Next, my sudden appearance apparently angering Jude, and resulting in another punishment. After that, I had quite nearly been punished for my fear of being seen by other people, and then had been beaten savagely by the Vampire for my flight from the Ward. Marcus had saved me, only to scold me when I misinterpreted his orders to unclothe myself. And now, I had only tried to do as he said, but had somehow mistaken his command yet again! In a way, the fact that he, as of yet, hadn't actually physically struck me in retaliation for my failures was actually worse than the punishments I was used to and fully expected. How besides guilty was I supposed to feel for constantly burdening someone so benevolent as to protect me and not harm me? How besides ignorant should I have seemed when everything had to be explained to me, and where all of my innocent follies resulted only in actions so absolutely stupid as to frustrate even such a generous, wise soul as my guardian?

As he explained how I had apparently gone wrong - something about how he had only been joking, which, although I didn't really understand it, seemed to be a way of saying that one was not entirely serious when one made a particular comment, although how one went about discerning the truth from a "joke," I could not begin to fathom - I couldn't help but feel insignificant and mentally inferior. He threw around so casually concepts that I had never even heard of and did not fully understand, such as "jokes" and "kittens," while I simply stood, my head hung low in shame, trying to grasp his meaning in the hopes of discerning some means of not making the same mistake in the future. But, as it lay, I still hadn't the slightest clue how to interpret his words, laced as they were with "jokes" and other casual statements of the facetious. How was I supposed to know when he was in earnest? How was I supposed to meet his expectations, to please him?! I felt as though I'd been unjustly convicted of a crime I didn't commit - or, more aptly, like a child being scolded for unintentionally doing something wrong. I was totally overwhelmed by his words, by his actions, and by the world in general. I felt helpless, unable to even do menial things due to the vast handicap of the unknown. If I couldn't even grasp things that were evidently very simple, then of what use was I to anyone? Perhaps I'd have been better off just going back to the Ward to die so I wasn't a burden anymore. I'd done wrong enough to deserve it.

As Marcus gave me the bag and directed me to put on the clothes within it, ordering me to hurry myself in the action or else face the Ward - a threat which, despite my guilt, decidedly frightened me enough to give me the courage to pass the terrifying kitten as it looked up at me and gave a quiet mew - I headed reluctantly for the end of the alleyway, where a brick wall rose sharply from a building, thus terminating the path. As I reached this point, I set down the bag, and, my hand hesitating over the zipper I'd tried to undo before, I glanced uncertainly back at my new master.

"E-er.... is it really okay, then, to... take this off?" I stammered nervously, my voice almost crushed by the feeling that what I was saying was unbelievably stupid. He had directed me to undress and abandon my old clothing in favor of the new garment he had procured, so it seemed only reasonable that I was supposed to remove the outfit. Yet, I didn't want to do something to anger him further, and at this point, my belief in reasonable courses of action had been entirely shattered. No matter how reasonable it seemed, there was still the chance that I had misunderstood something in his orders, so, reluctant as I had been to do so before, I now decided it would be prudent to ask and confirm what I was supposed to with him before I did it. I only hoped it wouldn't trouble him...

And, this justification for my actions didn't make me feel any less ignorant, or embarrassed.

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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(And, yet again, I do awkward things to embarrass Eins. XD)

My companion's monosyllabic reply, while relieving me of my fears that I would somehow anger him again, didn't make me feel much better despite that fact. He stated his answer as though it was so obvious as to be undeserving of any response longer than a single word, as though merely questioning the fact that it was okay to do as he said - as I understood it, anyway - this time was so pointless as to be idiotic. I had missed something else that I should have instinctively known, it seemed. The reality of how clueless I was weighed heavily on my shoulders, almost crushing my will to do anything entirely with the fear of doing it wrong. But, I was apparently supposed to do as I had been told, so...

"So... Eins... Anything I should know about you? What kind of abilities do you have?" The sudden query distracted me from my uncertainty as I slipped off my tight-fitting shoe and legging package, then tackled the nerve-wracking challenge of yet again unbinding the zipper, feeling the cold air against my skin as an abrupt reminder of the fact that, aside from the garment I was currently removing, I had nothing in the way of clothes, and of how cold the night was - colder even than my old cell.

"A-ah..." I stammered, trying to find an adequate response to his question as I fumbled about with the first buckle, not really sure how to unfasten it. How should I answer him? I could tell the truth about my powers - the ability to enter minds and take on the pain of others - but, I feared, that might make him paranoid and cause him to be reluctant to trust me - or even to abandon me entirely. But, on the other hand, if I lied to him, he would probably realize that I wasn't telling the truth, which would make him even more suspicious. But I couldn't simply remain silent - given that I had called him for help telepathically, he already had some clue as to the nature of my powers, and would no doubt be curious, or even apprehensive, of what they were, and thus would have his suspicions confirmed by such an obvious action - as doing so would probably make him angry at me again, since I would be defying his request outright, a course of action I could not even begin to consider. At last, I settled on a compromise between truth and untruth, deciding to tell him what my powers were by a roundabout way that would hopefully assuage his potential fears whilst also not arousing his suspicion.

"I can communicate with others at a distance," I said briefly, doing my best to answer in a confident and assured manner so as not to seem suspicious by stuttering or hesitating in response to his question. "A-and I can take on people's pain, too," I added as an afterthought, my finished response punctuated by the sound of a clicking buckle - I had finally discovered how to undo the fastenings - followed by another and another as I worked my way down the cloth's front. To my surprise, however, even though the front of the jacket was entirely undone, it still refused to part enough to slip around my shoulders and off of me. I could feel a faint tugging holding the jumpsuit together from behind, which must have meant... there was a clasp in the back, too? Feeling my arms around blindly behind me, I tried to reach far enough to locate the fastening, stretching first to one side, and then the other, then to both at once, but all to not avail. Despite all my efforts, I found myself unable to do more than ever so fleetingly touch the very edge of the last buckle, as I had to reach around my own wings to do so due to its location at the bottom of the slit through which they protruded, concealed just below them. Growing frustrated now, I spread my wings to their full length, then raised them upward, trying to reach the fastening, but even then, I could not quite grasp the clasp that would separate it. Overbalanced by the effort, I instead found myself taking a step to the side to catch my weight, only to collide into the wall at the alley's end and tip backwards, falling on my rear with a quiet "Oof!" of pain and surprise, the old bruises I had sustained yet again flaring to painful levels of protest. I rose to my feet her again, rubbing the side of my head where it had bumped against the wall. Already, I was feeling several small uneven patches beneath my hair, each from a spot where I'd been struck today. My head was hurting and my ears were ringing, I was tired, I was cold, I was sore, I was depressed, I was scared, and on top of all that, I couldn't even undo this last buckle!

"E-er..." I stammered, hesitating to ask for help as I recalled the reaction of abhorrence Marcus had shown before at a single glance at my body. It would doubtless be uncomfortable for him to even be close to me like this, but how else could I comply with his orders? It was the only option I had, but, somehow, that didn't make it any less embarrassing. "T-there's a buckle on the back..." I said weakly, my voice barely more than a whisper. "I-I... can't reach it..." I finished lamely, leaving my conclusion unsaid, but nonetheless implied. Ashamed at my request due to its apparently rule-breaking nature, I flushed red for what seemed like the millionth time today and turned away, my head once more bowed in humiliation.

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus

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"Okay. Turn around and I'll get it." My face flushed a brighter shade of red - if that was possible - as my guardian reluctantly approached me from behind, reaching out and quickly unfastening the strap. I somehow just knew without looking that I must have made another mistake and angered him. After all, he hadn't even wanted to be near me before when I had tried to undress, and now I was forcing him to approach me regardless just because I was a helpless klutz.

Ashamed as I was, I didn't need him to tell me to hold my now limp and loose jumpsuit, keeping it from slipping down any further than where it currently dangled dangerously below my exposed shoulders while he patted it down for other hidden fastenings - probably meant to make the suit cumbersome to its wearer, if any existed, although I had a feeling the one on the back was the only one and was probably just meant to keep the suit from sliding down and covering my wings.

"Done," he said at last, and stepped back and away, evidently not having found anything else. A glance over my shoulder told me he wasn't looking, so for the first time in years I stepped fully out of my prisoner's raiment, letting it fall softly to the ground as the frigid air danced across my now fully exposed skin, causing me to shiver in the sudden chill. I'd been cold enough, even with the thin garment on. Now that I had discarded it, I felt as though I had stepped into a freezer and locked the door behind me. Quickly, I began rummaging through the small bag of clothes, glancing over the various items that greeted my eyes. Well, over my confused fear I hadn't really heard much of Marcus' instructions, but they were things he wanted me to know, and were fresh in his mind, meaning just by being close to him I had a fairly good idea of what I was supposed to do - although there was a somewhat confusing part I didn't understand about something called "underclothing" which evidently was not included in the outfit he had brought, as I couldn't seem to find any of it.

The new garments consisted of a pair of snugly fitting, ankle-length leggings known as "pants," made of some very soft, snowy white colored material I didn't recognize. I slid into these first, but found them to be only slightly thicker than my old attire, and just as tight against my form. While the latter was good, as it gave me one less thing to trip over, it still meant I was rather cold despite the garment I now wore.

The raiment known as a "T-Shirt" - I wasn't sure why there didn't seem to be a "U-Shirt" or a "V-Shirt," or even an A, B, or C shirt, but evidently that was just how the naming convention worked, despite making very little sense to me - was a little more complicated in terms of size. The garment was a dark shade of ocean blue, and, unfortunately, while it fit me fairly closely in the bust and stomach areas - although it became somewhat loose and rumpled in the latter region - it was evidently tailored to fit someone quite a bit taller and more sizable than myself. Vertically, it went clear past my waist and reached nearly to my thighs, while its sleeves - which, due to their construction, were evidently meant to only reach to around elbow level - ran clear down to my wrists, and were so bulky as to look almost comical as my small, white hands protruded from their vast consuming depths. This garment I donned second, and, after some stumbling around in a confused search for zippers or other fastenings of the sort I recognized, found that there were none, and I was instead supposed to pull it over my head. After this confusion was resolved, I managed to get the garment on - although my practically bladed wings were somewhat difficult to fit through its fragile back without tearing too large a hole in it - and set about tackling the remaining accessories.

The stockings I had been bought - rather over-sized black cloths that, unlike my other clothing, were thick and warm - reached almost up to my knees, but were fairly simple to work out, since they were quite similar to my old leggings. The shoes, on the other hand, were somewhat more complicated to work out. My instructions as received from Marcus' mind dictated that I tie the strings on top of the rather confusing footgear - which white with flecks of deep blue, and in their flat design were like some sort of a cross between a tennis shoe and a slipper - in something called a "knot." Unfortunately, it took quite some time to decipher exactly what this meant. But, after a few minutes of fiddling with the strings, I managed to finally get them to assume the shape they were apparently supposed to, and the shoes fit quite snugly on my feet. But, unfortunately, aside from them and the socks keeping my feet quite warm, I myself was rather cold. I searched through the bag a final time, and to my delight, I found at least a partial solution to my issues.

The last garment was a thick blue jacket with soft white lining that had obviously seen better days - both its sleeves had been at some point removed, the torn area restitched and patched entirely over by hand so as to maintain the garment's insulation, and its zipper was not only broken, but also jammed just below the collar, making it impossible to either loosen or fully close - but on the other hand, it was very comfortable - the collar was both loose and high enough for me to slip into and hide behind in much the same way as I had concealed myself beneath my mask before, and the garment also came with a rather large, consuming hood that I could probably pull over myself if I ever got embarrassed, on top of which the garment would also conceal my folded wings perfectly - and warm - even if I would end up wearing it more as an open poncho, it was oversized enough to flow down almost as far as my gigantic shirt did, and from the moment I put it on had a tendency to wrap around me like a sort of cloak - and so I instantly decided to wear it, pulling it over my head and feeling almost instantly comforted by the feeling of a sort of barrier between my face of the eyes of any who might look at me. I also donned the hood, as an extra measure against the shame I still felt, before turning uneasily and picking up my fallen jumpsuit.

"I-I'm done," I murmured uneasily, not sure how Marcus would react. Something, be it instinct or some other basic feeling, told me that I should be worried about his opinion on how I looked at the moment. If the outfit suited me well, I wanted him to say so, and at the same time, I was afraid that he would reconsider his choice based on my appearance. I didn't really understand the feeling of trying on a new and uncertain ensemble until later, but at the time, I was quite baffled by it. "W-what should I do with this?" I asked, holding up the old white jumpsuit as I tried to get my mind off of my sudden anxiety, hiding my somewhat reddened face beneath my new hood.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard

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"Perfect." The reply brought me some measure of relief, as evidently this outfit, unlike my last wardrobe, would be satisfactory to my new master and to the job of blending into society I would have to do. I gave a slight smile beneath the concealing, oversized collar of my new jacket, glad to see that I had met with his standards at last. It was a comforting thought to know that I could, after all, earn Marcus' approval, even though most of my attempts to follow his commands were rather unsuccessful, to say the least.

But, the calm that came with this response did not last long. As Marcus took a step forward, he froze for a moment, and I could clearly hear the breath stop in his throat for a split second. A second later, it picked up again with renewed force, and he took off abruptly without so much as a word of directions. For a moment, I was conflicted. Was I supposed to follow him, or should I wait here? What was it that had startled him so much? Why hadn't he given me any orders? I couldn't be sure of the course of action that was least likely to result in my further chastisement without knowing what it was that my master wanted, but how could I do that when his thoughts were clouded by fear and excitement and he hadn't given me a word of direction? But, at that moment, an answer came to me. Orders or no orders, something had scared him. And, if something could manage to scare Marcus, then it would surely be a much graver threat to myself. Here, by my self in the dark, there was one thing I knew for sure: with or without my master's will, I did not want to be left alone.

In an instant, I took off after him, nearly tripping over several objects that might or might not have actually existed as I rushed frantically behind my master, trying to catch up to him despite his considerable speed and my own clumsiness. I was slow enough on the ground to begin with without counting my lack of experience at running and the stumbles and falls that caused, while my master was nimble and quick. It took my utmost effort to catch up to him, especially once I realized that those few people on the streets at this late hour were staring at us - staring at me - as they passed. The fear I felt at having their eyes on me was mitigated only by the reassurance provided by the knowledge that my face was hidden by my hood. Even still, I almost became so panicked as to run away and give up on following Marcus.

Despite my difficulty pursuing him, I did not cry out for him to wait, or protest being left behind. Whatever was happening, this was his will, and I would not jeopardize it by valuing my own opinions over his. Whatever it was he was doing, I had faith that he knew, and so simply followed quietly, doing my best to keep up despite the many stumbles and the occasional fall I took along the way.

And then, as suddenly as our flight had begun, it ended as Marcus abruptly stopped at the mouth of another alleyway, gazing intently in at something I couldn't initially make out until I managed to get closer, running up behind Marcus as I finally caught up. Standing before us was a being of a stature greater than my own - as most were - whose wings I noticed almost the instant I set eyes on her. By the look of things, we had found another avian-based "Angel" type mutant, which explained why Marcus had run off, at least. But, although it appeared that all Angel mutants were allies of each other - at least, Marcus treated it that way - I couldn't help but feel - perhaps Jude's sudden attack on myself had something to do with that - that I wasn't included in that alliance. Considering Marcus' reluctance to take me and the beating I had been dealt by Jude, it seemed to me that the Angels would only keep me around so long as I was useful, and even then, that I was suspect and inferior to them. As it was, I could at best be called Marcus' servant, and now that he had found another potential ally, I was quite afraid that I might no longer be worth protecting to him. If I had to reveal my ability to track other Mutants - and, by extension, the true nature of my powers - I had a feeling that I might be considered both equally useful and dangerous, which would, while preserving my safety, hardly improve my situation. Thus, I stayed nervously behind Marcus, clinging gently to his arm and peering fearfully over his shoulder as though it was the girl in the alley that I wanted to be protected from rather than my guardian's own betterment, and the subsequent abandonment I so dreaded.

"You escaped from the Ward, just like me and Eins... Your wing isn't broken, is it?" My master said. I simply waited, and watched.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard

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Marceline


As I straightened my back out, stretching in the process, I became aware of the skid of footsteps, the muted company that had joined me in my shadowed alley.

Turning on my heels, I cautiously faced my uninvited guests.

Who in turn surprised me on their own.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the alley (assisted by the shine of the moon that penetrated the entranceway of said alley) I was able to deduce faces, features that told me I wasn’t about to be randomly jumped by a Vampire.

A thin boy stood before me, with tousled black hair that framed his face nicely, and a set of dark eyes. I took the time to notice the fact that he seemed to be a cute kid, about my age, and that he wasn’t alone. Beside him another, much smaller indiscernible figure, shielded by a hood, cowered into his side, and I could only assume I had frightened the shit out of them. I mean, how often is it that you see a random girl falling out of the sky?

I’m going to go with not very often.

They definitely weren’t Vampires. Or at least I thought so. The girl was too small and frightened, and the boy was equally too streamlined to express the bulk that most Vampires sported.

"You escaped from the Ward. Just like me and Eins." The boy asked, sounding winded, but throwing everything into perspective with that one question. If he had recognized me as a Ward escapee, if he had recognized my wings, my best deduction was that both of them had wings too.

Isn’t logic amazing?

I bit down on my lip as I tried to fit more puzzle pieces together. It’d been a little over a month since me and Matthew had busted out of there. We’d had plenty of traveling experience during our lifetime of being transferred from Ward to Ward, and were aware of the fact that there were others out there like us. But since then, it seemed like our number of escapees had increased considerably. And it seemed as though many of them had been shielded from the fact that there were others out there, just like themselves.

Was the Ward purposefully letting us go? Was this just some game to see which of us would die first? Or were we really fighting our way through the scientists and Vampires towards freedom?

Arizona itself seemed to be a hotspot for Ward facilities. Soon enough I was going to stop being surprised by the mutants that seemed to pop up everywhere.

I broke out of my thoughts for a second to see the boy throwing me half a smile, kind of stuck in between awe and caution, as if he was still processing the fact that I was real.

"Your wing isn't broken, is it?" he asked, seeming to already have spotted my floppy, struggling left wing.

In an attempt to seem friendly, I responded with a lopsided, kind of sheepish smile, “Yeah I'm from the Ward. I escaped a little over a month ago.” I said slowly, “And my wing...It’s pretty much gone right about now. Can’t really move it, though it pains like hell.”

I attempted to sound casual. While I couldn’t asses the girl’s feeling, seeing as I couldn’t see her face, I had a feeling that the boy was glad with the present situation. I couldn’t blame him. What a relief it was to understand that there were others out there just like you. If I had been in his place, I would have been the same way.

This was just like a serious relationship. I had to take it slow, be careful with what I was saying. Matthew wasn’t here to help break the ice, and so it was up to me to make sure everything went smoothly between myself and our new set of mutants. The fact that the boy seemed so calm was a great assistance. It wouldn’t have helped if he had tried flogging me right there and then.

I needed to get them on my side before they decided to turn tail and leave me helpless.

“I was in the hospital,” I began explaining quickly, “Me and a few others had been attacked by Vampires. I ended up getting pretty beat up, and we ended up having to resort to the hospital. They fixed me up, but being me,” I sighed at that point, “I went out for a flight and ended up crash landing.”

I smiled again, just as sheepish as before, “And so here I am, broken up in the middle of Arizona. I’m Marceline, by the way,” I said holding out a now much cleaner hand for him to shake (this is the only point in my life where I will ever say this; thank God hospitals are sanitary).

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Alice

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Marceline

I waved casually to Eins as Marcus introduced both himself and his companion.

"So, Marceline... we need to get you back to the hospital. How far away is it? I guess walking is an option... but flying would be better. If I helped, do you think you could fly with one wing?"

I’d just been about to tell Marcus the distance of the hospital, when he made his suggestion to put it in mild terms.

I frowned feeling my pride stiffen every friendly muscle I’d just had.

God, I could imagine it now. We’d look like an awkward giant-three-winged bird toddling through the air. It was so embarrassingly laughable that I couldn’t even bare to look at it in a humorous light. Or maybe that was just my pride speaking. Biting my lower lip, I deliberated for a moment, allowing Marcus and Eins to be covered in a blanket of silence.

Let’s see. Walking would save me all the shameful feelings of not being able to carry myself on my own two wings. On the other hand, in my ever increasing bad condition (being made worse by my rebellious nature) I was bound to tire myself out before we’d reached half-way there. And the whole trip would probably end up taking, about, two hours. Far too long. My brother and the rest of them would find that I’d snuck out of bed already.

Which left flying. In my condition, flying with Marcus’s assistance would give us about twenty minutes to make it back to the hospital. Enough time for the kids to find out about me being gone, but also enough time for me to get back without giving any of them heart attacks.

It was at a time like this that I wished Euro hadn’t decided to pick up and leave us. Damn that boy….man for having other things to do. With his herculean strength (or his car stealing skills) we may have slid out of this one at a much faster rate.

But no, I was left with other bird kids who were similarly malnourished to me, and just as clueless as I was about stealing cars.

Wonderful.

I wasn’t going to lie to them though.

“I don’t like this idea….but it’ll have to do. There’s no way we can make it back in time on foot…so to the air away….”

I spread my good wing, holding out my arm for Marcus to grab onto. My pride was bending my will into all sorts of impossible positions, and I could only imagine my conscience wreathing under my decision. What can I say? I liked being independent.

Motioning to the length of the alley with my other, not outstretched, arm, I said, “The alley should be long enough to give us an adequate running start.”

After all, with the two of us bumbling along, I didn’t think we’d have enough space to just jump into the sky.

“Maybe she should take a head start?” I said, jerking my chin towards Eins. If she was already in the sky, there’d be no worry about leaving anyone behind, and we’d have more space in the alley, rather than just having her go stand behind us, or outside by one of the stores.

Alice

There was so much to learn, so much to comprehend, I thought my mind would overflow with the questions that were pricking the back of my mind. Rubbing my forehead, I tried to make sense of what Mike had said.

I’d seen Vampires attacking the bird kids on the screens back at my father’s lab. But never before had I gotten a good in depth look on either species. What Mike was telling me was so different from what I knew from passing glances at blurry screens (you would think Gunther could afford better).

And McDonalds. The way he’d spoken of it all of sudden made it much more distasteful than I had originally thought.

Pursing my lips, I asked another question, a much more important one, that had been pricking my mind for quite a while.

“Where are we going now?” We were outside. The Arizona air was cool now, chilled by the snug blanket of the night sky. “Any place in particular, or are you just going to stuff me back in the Ward?”

For a moment, I surprised myself by breaking my usually monologues tone. The last words I said came out cracked, with a bitter tone, and I blinked away the strange wet substance known as tears. Father condemned me when I cried, and therefore I knew better than to cry. But he wasn’t here now, and with him gone, there was space in my head for me to think about how I felt. Emotions. Something I didn’t necessarily understand.

“Sorry,” I apologized quickly, going back to my dull, non-threatening tone.


Matthew

“What do we do after this?” Taylor asked, all of sudden concentrating on her swinging feet. I frowned. Good question.

"Well I'd say we get Marceline, and get the hell out of here. The nurse said she was doing alright. I'm sure she'd be alright now, right now we're taking a unnecessary risk." Samuel responded, looking my way and shrugging.

Raising my hands, I quickly made my position clear, “Don’t look at me that way,” I said, chuckling, “I’m not the leader. If there had to be a leader, I would chose Euro, but he left our sorry asses alone….well, anyway, I agree with Sam. I think we should get Marce, and get out of here. This place gives me the chills.” I shrugged my shoulders, as if I was trying shake of a nasty substance from my back.

I turned my head, searching around for the nurse that had addressed us earlier. My eyes didn’t find her for a while. She was camouflaged in with all of the other, similarly dressed, nurses, and even with my stellar vision, I was forced to pick body apart from body in an attempt to discern her.

When I finally spotted her, I waved my arm timidly, to which she responded by coming over.

“Yes, sweetie.” Aww she talked to me like I was a scared little kid.

“Umm, can you tell us what room Marceline is in?” I said in my most polite teenage voice.

She hesitated for a moment, before saying, “I’m sorry but you and your….siblings,” I arched my eyebrows in surprise. Marce must have told them we were all related, “Can’t see your sister just yet. You’ll have to wait till the morning.”

Her tone was as friendly as ever, but I had a feeling she knew about our secret. Maybe from Marce’s doctor or something. And I had feeling she was keeping us from seeing Marce because maybe, just maybe, a certain government investigation team was on its way to apprehend us. Which meant they didn’t want us going anywhere. This nurse had, in the span of a minute, become far more creepy and deceptive than I had originally thought.

She smiled at me again, before curtly nodding her head, and disappearing back in the masses of nurses.

Getting up and stretching, I turned back to address Sam and Taylor, “So, who’s up for an adventure. Any ideas on which direction we should head?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Alice

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Alice

I grimaced under Mike’s conditions. They were, by the tone of his voice, absolute. Not that I knew how to fly. I mean come on, I’d been cooped up my entire life in Gunther’s lab. I’d never used my wings. Not being able to explore on my own, though, that one hit a tender spot. Even if Mike was locking me in room 24/7 I still had to stick with him. I was only learning as much as I was allowed to stray. Which meant I had no independency.

"Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I would like to ask you a question. If you choose not to answer, I will not be offended. Do you have any abilities, or powers that I should be aware of?"

At least he was giving me a choice. It wasn’t like he wouldn’t find out later. Somebody give him my files, and one way or another, he’d know everything about me, right down to my genetic make-up. So, might as well tell him now.

I sighed, before being my longwinded explanation. I would try and shorten it as best as I possibly could.

“First and foremost, you should know that I don’t have a pair of ‘parents’. Gunther’s not my real father,” I internally flinched when I said that but continued anyway, “I was born from the DNA of many of the bird kid mutants, including some of the ones you know…looking at it from that point of view, I have many parents.”

I twisted my fingers together as I began listing off my powers, “I have increased intelligence, for my age. It doesn’t mean to say I’m extremely smart. I just understand things quickly, and am smarter than the average child my age. Of course, most one year olds can’t do what I do. I can turn invisible for a small amount of time. It’s kind of like a shimmer, and I’m gone…but you can still hear my heart beat, my breathing etc. if you listen closely enough….”

I avoided Mike eyes for a second while considering if I should tell him about my last power. Sighing, I gave in. He would know about if I didn’t tell him anyway.

“I can shape shift…but not normal shape-shift…” Closing my eyes, I allowed myself to shimmer down to my much smaller six year old self, “I change the appearance of my age of so it seems.” My voice had risen about an octave with my more childish vocal cords.

Marceline

"Well..." Marcus seemed to be taking a shot at explanations. "Hovering is pretty much flying... kind of." He stopped abruptly, taking one long breath, before trying again. "Look, just get a running start and jump into the air. Your wings will do the rest. Worst case scenario, you get a few feet in the air and then fall. But if you can hover, I don't see that happening."

I sighed. I wondered if Marcus was just frustrated with her, or being a typical guy. I couldn’t tell, since I didn’t really know what the two’s prior relationship was.

I could feel my face softening, melting down to Mother-hen Marceline. I was pretty sure I had multiple-personality disorder, or something. Or maybe that was just me adjusting to the situation, like I’d always done for my brother.

Sighing, I pinched the bride of my nose before stabbing at an explanation of my own.

“Eins,” I said, trying to sound friendly, “Marcus is right. If you can hover, that means you have what it takes to fly. Besides,” I frowned as I stapled words together to form a coherent explanation, “Flying kind of has to do with the wind too. Flapping is to help you get up and stay aloft. The wind is what allows you to glide and stuff. The only time you really ever have to worry is when there’s little wind, which means you have put in some extra flaps…”I sighed. I could understand why Marcus had, had a hard time with this explanation. “You’ll understand what I mean when you get in the air…you’ll feel it, in your wings and body and stuff…Just trust me.” I said the last three words in the friendliest, most trusting tone I could muster up, before falling quiet.

I was never that…maternal…to people outside of Matthew. It was embarrassing. Clearing my throat, cheeks flashing red from embarrassment, I turned to Marcus, “I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Both you and I know that. This is going to sound awkward but...I don’t think you’ll be able to hold me arm or shoulder. I’ll probably end up with a broken arm, or popped out socket…so..I think…you might just have to hold me…like…around the waist…or something…”

That was it. My face was full blown red. I frowned, quickly turning to look at my friend, the wall.

God if there was a time to slap me, it would be now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard

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"E-errr... It's not that I can't get into the air..." I explained nervously, pressing my fingers together and staring anxiously at the ground, letting my hood slip over my eyes in a futile attempt to hide how embarrassed I was now that the one behind whom I had been hiding had slipped from my grasp and stepped away. "It's just... I don't really know how to move around once I'm off the ground..." A quiet rustling punctuated my statement as I slowly unfolded my wings, being careful not to tear apart the fabric of my rather fragile new shirt as I did so, and slipped them out from beneath my concealing jacket. As the diamond-like appendages emerged into the moonlit alley, they seemed to glisten and shine like pearls, as though they were emitting their own light rather than reflecting the luminescence of the mysterious white satellite in the dark sky above. I didn't realize at the time that Marceline had probably expected avian wings rather than my own batlike pair, and thus didn't even take into consideration the suspicion this would no doubt cause.

I gave them a few flaps - it didn't take me much to get off the ground - and began to hover in the air as a sort of demonstration.

"E-er.... I know you're supposed to lean forward and keep flapping if you want to move, but... I've never really done it before, and... and I might fall..." I explained lamely, gently touching down once more and looking at the two "Angels" for guidance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Alice

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Alice

"Okay, now that you were truthful with me, I will return the favor. The thing is, if I let anything bad happen to you Gunther will kill me. I hope you can understand and forgive me for these rules I've imposed upon you. If you prove capable, then I will make exceptions. The more you learn, the less strict I will be. Plus a few sessions at the fireing range wouldn't hurt either."

I nodded complacently as Mike told me the truth. I knew for a fact that what he was saying was honest. I knew Gunther. He would crush anyone who got in the way of his goals. The Vampires were just another expendable tool that my father used at his own discretion. When he felt they were no longer good, he simply got rid of them.

So, I knew Mike was telling me the truth when he said Gunther would kill him if he were to let anything happen to me.

"I'm not asking you to trust me in any way, but if you ever have a problem, or a question about me for that matter. Feel free to ask it. I won't mandate which form you choose, but I only ask you don't shift in public."

Well, to be quite frank, that was a rather open invitation. My questions still burned in my mouth, but I held my tongue. I had a few things of my own to inform Mike on, things that, in certain respects, made me feel embarrassed. My clothing at the moment hung loosely around my body; of course being for a sixteen year old, they would have never fitted me perfectly. Still, they covered me, overflowing around my body, and giving me a hard time when it came to moving.

Shifting back to my normal form, I said, “You won’t have to worry much about me flying away…I can’t fly. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say, Gunther’s never allowed me out and about much. Also, by his orders, I’m to stay in my sixteen year old form whenever I’m out and about with you, so you won’t have to worry much about me randomly changing back and forth between forms.”

I hesitated for a moment. My ability to speak with others, through my thoughts that is, was a handy thing. While I wasn’t able to mind read, I’d been able to persuade people, or rather trick them, into thinking that I was the one thinking for them. They didn’t understand that their conscience voice and mine were too different ones. It had come in handy in certain situations between me and my father’s personal assistants and scientists.

Taking a deep breath, I continued speaking, “I think I’ll be able to keep my brain in check, and resist using any mind abilities with one exception. Or rather a request. I want you to teach me how to fly. A least give me times of the day, and places where I can go out and practice. Not that I’m planning to, you know, run away or anything.” I tact on the last sentence quickly, hoping to avoid any suspicion from the Vampire.


Marceline

I didn’t expect what I saw when Eins broke out those wings of hers. My shoulders stiffened, and I eyed them carefully. Marcus was either extremely oblivious to what Eins wings looked like, or he knew something I didn’t. I was going to go with the second choice. Because I understood from what he was saying, something about knocking Vampires out, that he wasn’t stupid. He clearly knew what danger was, so why would he be with Eins if she was a Vampire. But she definitely wasn’t one of us.

“Good job, Eins,” I called in a hesitant voice, trying to reinforce Marcus’s thoughtful encouragement. I’d tried to keep the uncertainty out of my voice, but it cracked anyway. I internally reprimanded myself. I didn’t want Eins to be afraid of me. Or did I? I mean, how would I be so sure if she was on our side or not?

Marcus didn’t seem to be bothered by the whole waist thing, and with my new found surprise, the blush from my face began to recede away. I could feel a pulsating pain come from my damaged wing, and I assumed it had something to do with stress. Because I was stressing out. I mean what had I agreed to when I told them about the kids back at the hospital? For all I knew, they were double agents, about to whips out knives and guns on my sorry ass.

Shaking my head, and still looking at Eins, I slowly put an arm around Marcus’s shoulder. I was too scared and unsure to be bothered by the contact anymore.

“We’ll be able to take off,” I said in a far off sounding voice. Then, in a low whisper, out of Eins earshot, I murmured, “Marcus, what is Eins? I mean” I subtly signaled to her wings with a casual flick of my hand, “What are those? On her back. They’re not, you know, wings like ours…” I trailed off, nervously glancing at the girl. My instincts had kicked in, and all of a sudden I was in flight or fight mode. I swallowed quietly, eyes darting to the entranceway of the alley. My only escape. Not that I could fly or anything.

(@ Abridged. I think perhaps you should have them take off in the your post. I don’t mind if you rp Marce’s actions. Then I’ll have her, you know, lead them to the hospital post after that. I don’t want this whole taking off thing to take too long.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard

0.00 INK

Well, while it was nice to see that they were encouraging me, and that evidently, flying shouldn't be a problem, somehow I didn't really feel any less nervous.

Truth be told, the only way I'd flown earlier was by hovering in the air and then flopping forward slightly before I panicked and righted myself... over and over again. I essentially was simply lurching myself forward, stopping, then lurching again. That was why it had taken me so long to surmount the roof of the building, not mention why it had been so difficult for me to get down again. But... they wanted me to fly, so... I would have to follow their orders. That was the only way.

"O-okay... I'll take off then, and try it..." I murmured, not sounding entirely convinced of the safety of these actions even though I was the one doing them. Still, it was the only choice, so I couldn't complain. I was a servant, which meant that doing something like that was out of the question, as was failing in my duties. They wanted me to fly, so I would have to fly, no matter how scared I was or how many times I fell. I couldn't have them worrying about me, nor could I afford to slow them down by being burdensome. So, slowly, I began flapping my wings again, and bit by bit I rose into the air. Not wanting to be unable to see my surroundings, I swiftly pulled back my hood once I was high enough that my face, and the fear in my eyes, wouldn't likely be seen. I didn't take into account, of course, the fact that my long, white hair immediately came flowing out and trailed behind me as I rose like the tail of a comet. I, myself, didn't realize at the time exactly how strange my hair was. It wasn't just that it was white, which contrasted greatly with my age. No, my hair was even stranger than that. It quite clearly had never greyed nor been bleached it dyed. Rather, it was obvious that my hair was naturally that color. Its hue, unlike what one would expect, was a pure, silvery white, like the light of the moon in reflected, or like the pureness of snow I had never seen. It seemed more like a void of absolute color than a dimming of whatever hue it had originally been, almost as though it was glowing with a light of its own rather than merely shining with the glistening moonbeams that filtered through its soft, straight strands.

A few more flaps, and I cleared the alley, floating upward with a speed I was rather concerned about. Unfortunately, due to my small form, I couldn't help but rise quickly, even given my rather small wingspan and my wings narrowness. Soon, I found myself stabilized somewhat as I floated over the alleyway, gazing down at the city below. For a moment, I couldn't help but shake off my fear and be consumed by awe and wonder. I never had dreamed something like this could exist, even here in the outside world. Vast expanses of masonry, lights gleaming from every surface... people bustling around beneath me, moving with a chaos despite the completely ordered cityscape around them. Each one of those tiny shapes was a living, thinking being... a "Human." I hadn't seen many of them, and couldn't help but wonder at how intricate, and yet how normal they were. This was the life form upon which I was based, a being that did not know the joy of soaring without limit above the clouds, of spreading one's wings and rising through the boundless heavens. Then, it struck me. I didn't know what that kind of freedom was like either. It might have seemed a little conceited, and more than a little foolish, but just this once, I wanted to act for myself... to feel what it was like to be "free."

And so, my curiosity and delight overcoming my fear for an instant, I cut out two flaps from my usual routine, and leaned my body forward, letting myself slowly begin to arc out into empty air, as though stepping off of a vast cliff. Then, forcing my body forward with an inexorable will, I began to flap my wings faster than I ever had before. There was only a mere second or two of acceleration, and then, I was off, rocketing into the vast and unbounded heavens. I streaked like a comet out into endless space, my flowing white hair and glistening wings trailing behind me like a gleaming tail as I eclipsed the moon, then banked to the side, slowing the movements of my right wing as I came about abruptly, my wings' protective covering the only thing protecting their delicate membranes from the strain of the sudden turnabout. Then, I turned my gaze upward, and with my wings beneath me, I continued to rise, my wine red eyes set firmly on the heavens as I spread my arms, aiming to grasp one of those tiny lights that seemed just a little beyond my current reach. As I pierced like an arrow through the clouds, I at last spread both my arms and wings to my sides, letting my momentum carry me as I slowly spun about, my flight beginning to dwindle as I rose on my final wingbeats into the endless heavens.

The world beneath me was white as I stared down from above the clouds, as though I, too, was a star in that unlimited sky, gazing down on the gorgeous world below. My eyes soon took in the entire panorama as I slowly spun, searching out over every inch of the immeasurable canopy beneath me. Then, with my arms spread wide for joy, I did something I had never done before.

I laughed. I laughed loud and long, my voice ringing out forever over the sky even though it did not reach the world below. In that instant, all of my fears were forgotten, for I had achieved what I and many others like me had thought impossible. I was flying at last, soaring through the endless world above the world that I had only dreamed about. I felt, for an instant, that my existence was validated, that I was meant not to serve, but to fly as I was now, from the moment I first took breath to the moment that I at last departed from the earth. If I had died in that instant, I would have done so without any regrets.

But, like all good things, that seemingly eternal moment came to an end. I felt gravity begin to take me, and with my wings no longer flapping to maintain my altitude, I slowly began to fall. For the first few seconds, I didn't do anything to stop myself, so transfixed was I by the new and unimaginable beauty before me. But, moment by moment, the realization came to me that this was a world in which I could not remain. I had enjoyed being a star, and overlooking the Earth, but for now, there were things I yet had to do before I could enjoy this moment forever. I had left my masters on the ground, and it was time I returned to them.

"I'll come back," I whispered to the heavens as my voice was drowned out by the air rushing around me as I once more pierced through the clouds, and began to fall.

Spreading my wings to slow my descent, I gave several powerful flaps until I found myself slowly fluttering downward, like a feather dropped from a height as it sways back and forth, seeming to go down in slow motion. Slowly, tentatively, I finally managed to calm my stressed nerves, and, overcoming my panic, I landed on the roof over the alleyway I had only just left. Gazing downward, I decided to wait here and see when my masters would come up to join me.

That was right... I wasn't born to be a star. I was created to serve, and until I had completed this duty, I would simply have to wait. Still, I had to admit... it seemed like before my eyes still was not this mundane world where one's feet must always touch the ground. Rather, the world I still saw, even after I had left it for the time being, was the unlimited sky.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard

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Matthew

I grinned when I heard Samuel say democracy. I like the sound of that. We were working together, rather than having someone be the leader. I hoped that wouldn’t change. So far we were doing a good job without my sister or Euro here to lead us on.

"Always..." Samuel said, nodding in response to my previous question.

“Sure” Taylor responded, shrugging her shoulders. I could understand the look on her face. It was one of those ‘we’ve-got-nothing-else-to-do-so-might-as-well’ looks. Which was understandable. It’s not like we were normal anyway.

"As for the directions, I haven't got a clue. I'm sure we'll figure it out though." Samuel continued, helpfully.

I smiled. His casual response was cluelessly optimistic, which encouraged me not to give up.

Sam’s head turned before he casually sauntered over towards the waiting room’s door, peeking outside. Turning on his heels, he walked back to where we were.

"We could always split up and search the hospital individually." he suggested quietly, "Or... if things get bad enough we could always ask the doctors... politely."

Both Taylor and I snorted at the same time.

“Jinx, you owe me a soda,” I muttered under my breath comically, suppressing a mischievous grin.

“Right...” she said sarcastically in response to Sam’s idea, “I think that could be our last decision”

Putting a finger to her chin, she looked thoughtful.

“Searching the hospital could be a first choice though…Individually...”

That seemed to be our resolve. It was a good a idea anyway. If we were all thinking on the same wavelength, then we all probably thought we’d look way too suspicious running out together, all huddled up, and looking for our “sister”. Not to mention the fact that none of us had a single idea about which direction to head in.

I bit my lip, “I guess we’ll be splitting up then.”

Glancing toward the entrance of the waiting room, I could see the hall conveniently split up into three paths, as though it were meant for the three of us. Left, center, and right.

“I’ll go right,” I declared, eyeing the right hall. I’d just made a split second decision. All the halls looked equally dreary, and I deliberated the idea of splitting up again. Still, if we stuck together, it’d be too obvious. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ward caught us faster that way. After all, we were in a hospital. A hospital, that, by the looks of the hall, was one huge maze. I swallowed noisily and nervously.

Taking a deep breath, I looked back the two of them, before smiling. Sticking my right arm out in the middle of the group, I explained, “We should probably do one of those things where people stick their hands in the center of the group and then raise them,” I shrugged, “It’s corny…but since we are a team now…” I let my thoughts trail off, "We'll meet up back here if anything."

I glanced at the clock. It said 10:15.

"After about an hour. So, like 11?" I questioned, still patiently holding out my hand.

Marceline

"I thought that it was a trap to lure me in, even though the Vampire couldn't have predicted that I would've followed him into the woods. But then she started getting her tail kicked again and I jumped in. And she seemed to think I was going to take her head off next, which didn't help my suspicion any. But she started doing that beaten dog routine and I stopped worrying about it. Well, actively worrying about it. Now every time I express any kind of emotion she acts like I'm going to rip her head off."He rolled his eyes, and I chuckled warily, "I've just kind of decided to keep an eye on her... I'm not sure."

I nodded, complacently taking in the information. At least, from what I understood, Marcus was still keeping an eye on her, unsure of her or not. He was a good guy.

In a matter of seconds, after his explanation, we were taking off. Synchronizing our steps, we took a running start towards the opening of the alley. If felt a little awkward, running so close to him, and I internally sighed in relief when he put some distance between the two of us, allowing us to speed up.

The take off wasn’t so bad. I could hear the heavy flaps of his wings, and I knew he was working extra hard to help stabilize us in the air. I myself was pounding my good wing up and down, hoping it would help him somehow, and feeling extremely sour, bad, and regretful for the situation I’d put him in.

When we were stable enough, he seemed to tilt one wing up, allowing us to flow almost fluently through the air. I grimaced. If Marcus let me go now….I subconsciously tightened my grip around him, loosening it when I realized how wussy that must have looked.

He glanced behind us, probably scouting out for Eins. Her little display earlier made me grudgingly sure that she could keep up with us. All that complaining for nothing. She’d done just fine. And that, my friends, is what happens when people underestimate themselves. I really need to stop talking to myself…

He turned back to me, half smiling, half frowning. This still sucked. I couldn’t move on my own, and was completely dependent upon some boy I’d met not but ten minutes ago to help me. But, in the end, we were still in the air. That was what mattered.

I smiled wryly in response wondering if I was doing the right thing. On the plus side, I’d just added two new members to our cracked up family. On the down side, I had no idea if they were good or bad. I had to make myself believe they were good. They were on the run from the Ward too…but…

I sighed shaking my head.

"What now?" He said loudly, speaking over the commotion our wings, coupled with the night wind, were making. I pursed my lips. We’d head to the hospital.

Tilting my good wing, I angled us the in the direction of the hospital, depending on Marcus to straighten us out. As if by instinct, I replayed his earlier motion; glancing backwards, I raised my eyebrows at Eins as if to silently say ‘keeping up?’

“We’re heading towards the hospital,” I said, trying to keep my voice level enough so that I was able to be heard. All of a sudden, I’d found my throat all dried up, and found myself rather tired. I really needed to stop stressing out.

“We’ll go in through the window I left from. After that, I think we’ll search for the rest of them. Then we can get the heck out of there, and somewhere….better…” It wasn’t necessarily safer, being out on our own. There was always the chance that some Vampire would get us. But it was better than being in a stinky hospital all day.

It took us about twenty minutes to reach the hospital, and sneak back in through my window. It was cold, but I peeled off my sweater anyway, wondering if either Marcus or Eins had realized that the blackish-red splotches on it were really blood marks. Walking around a hospital with blood all over your clothing wasn’t exactly the best way to go, and so I simply wrapped my arms around it. I was unwilling to leave it; it’d kept me warm for almost a month, and God knows when I’d get another one. If I kept it hidden it wasn’t such a big deal.

But my wings. It’d be hard to hide those with the thin black t-shirt I was wearing. Hesitantly, I turned the sweater inside out, so that the fluffy inside was facing outwards. Slipping it back over my head, I smiled dryly at the two of them.

“Wouldn’t want any nurses to see all that blood,” I glanced at the entrance of the room, “Eins you might want pull your hood back up. Normal people don’t have natural white hair.”

I loosened my own hair, before wrapping it up in a tighter bun. “People out there are going to be suspicious. As far as they know, I was in here alone. So we’re going to have to be sneaky.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard

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The sound of voices and wingbeats beneath me told me that my masters had taken off as well, prompting me to spread my own silvery wings and follow them as they clumsily rose from the alleyway below, like some sort of giant, two-headed bird. I might have laughed at how silly they looked, but it wasn't my place to do or think such things. So, instead, I focused on not messing up and falling to my death as I still worried I might do at any second. They'd gotten a head start, which meant I'd have to catch up to them, or be left behind. And, even though they were flying two on two wings, they were still moving at a pretty decent pace, and already had quite a bit of distance between them and myself.

Gulping down my breath, perhaps as an instinctive method of filling the air sacs located adjacent my lungs, I took two steps, reaching the edge of the building, then leaped off of it, giving a powerful beat of my wings at that same instant. With an almost violent force, I was launched into the air, carried for a moment, then propelled further by the force of my second flap. My initial leap had already carried me into the sort of lunging posture that was apparently appropriate for high speed flight, so now all there was to do was go forward with my full strength! In an instant, my mind was consumed once more by the desire to fly, and to fly as fast as I could. I wanted to be free to roam that unlimited sky, to defy the laws of gravity as I moved ever farther, ever faster into the heavens. At the time, I didn't even notice the strength this desire seemed to give me, and even if I had, I probably wouldn't have thought it anything unusual.

From what I could tell, there were three steps to flying. Firstly was the launch. Through the strength of one's legs, a powerful jump could be used to gain initial momentum, and to carry oneself from the ground without overly straining one's wings. I had picked up this art back in my old concrete world when I had hovered to keep my wings from atrophying. But now, I had found two more steps. The second was the first segment of actual flight. Through several powerful wingbeats, each punctuated by a large intake of breath to replenish my air sacs, I could continuously bounce upward, catching the wind and launching myself like a rocket both straight ahead and into the air. Once I had reached a satisfactory height, the third step was key in maintaining my desired altitude, as well as in gaining speed. You see, while continuous, powerful bursts of energy would keep me aloft, they would also carry me progressively higher and higher until I was finally completely exhausted. At that height, a stall and the subsequent free fall would surely be fatal, with no chance of recovery. So, I reasoned, I would have to keep my speed and height without going beyond my original intentions. In this endeavor, any excess movements would only serve to knock me off course and waste my strength, which meant that the goal for the third stage of flight would have to be maximum efficiency, with each movement flowing into the next: that is to say, continuous wingstrokes that were strong enough to propel me, but subtle enough to keep me at my current level of altitude.

Therefore, as I flew, my wingbeats grew progressively faster and faster while also becoming smaller and smaller. After about ten seconds of flight, I found that I was moving fast enough to cause my eyes to tear up, and mentally made a note to search for some kind of eye protection later. But, for now, I was overjoyed at the prospect of the sudden freedom I had been completely ignorant of until now. This kind of speed, this kind of absolute movement over an endless expanse of space... It was surely what the people minding their own business far, far below me had always dreamed of, and it was something only I could experience. That realization gave me a sense of pride as my wings seemed to stop beating entirely, instead simply oscillating up and down at such a pace as to be like a blur of white light streaming off of my back, a celestial halo that carried me inexorably forward, my speeds continuing to rise with every passing second.

The wind must have given a loud, ear-splitting roar as I abruptly came alongside, then, in the same instant, passed my comrades, for I could see their hair and clothing blown to the side opposite me be the sheer force of my passing, overcoming even the overwhelming pressure of their flight, the wind of which should have been enough to keep these things pinned securely behind them like the silvery hair that trailed out behind me like a mane of light. I gave a joyous laugh as I sped on ahead, blissfully ignorant of the fact that I might have actually been moving fast enough to create a small vacuum beneath their wings in my wake, which would likely have carried them both ahead and downward at a somewhat dangerous speed. Fortunately, I hadn't yet achieved a sufficient speed to make a shock wave of sufficient force to actually destabilize them, so this faux pas ended up being rather harmless in the end. "You were right! It is easy!" I called back to them as I slowly halted my flight by turning my momentum into an upward launch, then looping back overhead to come down beside them, at which point I hovered along on their left in the semi-standing posture to which I was more accustomed, the slow pace of which kept me by their side as we limped our way to our destination.

However, as I flew at speeds that, although I did not know it, I almost certainly should not have been able to achieve, I never turned my gaze backward. Consequently, I never even noticed the faint trail of glittering silver particles left behind me as I flew, nor did I realize that not all of the light emitted by my gleaming metallic wings had been reflected from the moon above them...

A few minutes of flight brought us to the building known as a "hospital." I wasn't sure exactly what it was, but from the moment I entered it, I felt suddenly on edge. The sterile smell of its rooms, the perfectly ordered white cupboards and drawers, the mysterious instruments laid out all around... It seemed, somehow, that it was too clean, or perhaps too methodical. Remembering the many thoughts and pains I had obtained from Jude and the other mutants back in the lab, I immediately shied away from anything and everything that I didn't recognize to be safe - which is to say, the entire contents of the room. All the fears I had felt in the places of my fellow prisoners in the Ward now flooded my mind, as though a chorus of invisible voices was warning me that this place was dangerous. But, I didn't say anything, although I felt my skin grow cold and didn't doubt that I had blanched somewhat since my energetic, enthusiastic smile in the skies a few minutes ago.

I was quickly directed to pull my hood up again, so I did so, letting its warm, comforting folds wrap around my face and restore some of the heat that my inexplicable terror had sapped from me. As I folded my wings beneath my jacket - although I wore it more like a cape - a question occurred to me, however, that caused me enough curiosity to momentarily overcome my fear.

"Err... Why does everyone keep saying that my hair isn't normal?" I asked innocently, my voice sounding curious and just a little bit hurt. I knew that normal people had hair, and I also knew that "white hair" was also a common expression among Humans, so why was my hair so different from theirs? I didn't realize that "white hair" didn't refer to hair so purely and naturally that shade that it could truthfully be said to practically glow with a light of its own.

(Foreshadowing...!)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Alice

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Marceline

"Because the only people who have natural white hair are old people and mutant escapees, and obviously you're not old. People will notice and remember you... maybe the wrong people."

"Like I said, normal people don't have white hair," I snapped, irritated by the repeated explanations. Some small voice in the back of my head told me it was wrong. Told me I should have given Eins the benefit of the doubt, be more light about it. But I wasn't in the mood to keep up with innocent curiosities when I had more pressing matters on my hands. I had just brought two completely clueless mutant children in a place that I was most certain they didn't want to be. My lips pursed as I warily eyed the door. I wondered if the doctor from earlier was still seething about my "masturbation" accusations. It left me grinning mischievously, almost evilly, and, for the benefit of my two new mutants, I quickly wiped the smirk off my face. At this rate, they were going to start thinking I was insane.

For a while, I deliberated on what to do, while Eins and Marcus stood off idly waiting for, I guess, directions.

"I don't think we could get out without saying we snuck in," Marcus said, breaking the silence, "Maybe... me and Eins should go back out the window and go in from the front. If they would let us in..."

I scrunched my nose, unwilling to leave the two of them alone. Eins had already proved to be more than enough to handle, and I didn't think she and Marcus alone in the hospital would do any good.

"I don't think, if we were normal you'd get in any trouble. But I'm willing to bet whatever I have," If I was wrong there went all my clothes, "That a couple of those nurses have been informed about my present...condition."

Meaning my wings. A sighed, resigned to our plan.

"Here's how things are going to go," I said quickly, trying to give as much information in a little span of time, "We're going to go out there casually. If no one asks us anything, great. But if stuff happens, we're just going to wing it. No doubt the commotion is going to bring the attention of the....family," I smiled wryly as I thought of referring to Matt, Sam, and Taylor as my collective family. If Marcus and Eins stuck around long enough, no doubt they'd become a part of that family too.

"Once we're all together we bust out of here."

I didn't wait for their approval. Assuming they were following me, I carefully opened the door, walking out with caution written all over my face.

A male nurse immediately threw me a grief stricken look, "Miss you're not supposed to leave..."

"My ass!" I said, pushing a hospital cart into his stomach before he could wrap his too big arms around me. He was too fit, too muscular, and way too accurate to be a hospital nurse. I could deduce from this that we were probably surrounded.

"Run!" I screeched last minute dodging the same nurse from before.

(@ Abridged and Tsuk
You guys can probably go into a fighting scene. We'll be up against a few nurses (male and female) who aren't actually nurses, but rather gov't officials. The commotion should bring all the other bird kids, who have split up, to the same point. From there, I'm thinking los government officials will apprehend them and bring them in for questioning.)


Alice

I looked at Mike intently listening to all his directions and observing his take off. I grimaced when he hit the air, flying what looked to be a dozen feet above me and circling my position. My teeth gnashed together. It looked so easy that it was laughable how frightened I was of the actual take off. Him circling me didn't make it any better; I could barely imagine myself getting in the air, much less angling myself enough to go round and round.

But I was determined not the let that deter. Putting on a confident face, I gave myself some space, trying to mimic the amount of the space Mike had given himself. He was taller than me so the space was no doubt more than what I needed to get in the air. My foot steps would not be as striding as his, and so I would be able to pick up speed in a relatively small space. The extra space made me feel comfortable though.

From what I'd seen of the bird kids, they didn't need to run to fly. I figured Mike was teaching me this was because I was just beginning. There was no way I was ready to just snap out my wings and fly from a stationary point.

Taking a deep breath, I snapped out of my standing position, racing forward. When I thought I covered enough ground to give me an adequate amount of speed, I jumped pushing my wings out, and pumping them fiercely in attempt to get in the air. And...it worked!

I smiled triumphantly for moment, before nearly tumbling out of the sky.

"Woah!" I yelped, forgetting about my momentary happiness in favor of trying to stabilize myself. I was not circling anywhere, at least not today. Looking up at Mike, I tried again for the grin. I didn't smile often, and the stretch on my mouth felt good.

"How was that?" I asked, as I waited for him to lead me on further to wherever we were going. All of sudden I was excited. What if I did see bird kids on this night?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Alice

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Marceline

"Where?!" Marcus retorted sarcastically. Figuratively speaking, his sharp response provoked an equally sharp feeling in my chest.

It was like venom versus venom.

"Anywhere but here," I said, scathingly, pausing just enough to get in a pouting scowl. My own sarcasm burned my tongue; it was natural, for me at least, to act that way. To challenge when I felt I was challenged. And so, I flinched internally, hoping Marcus wouldn't take it badly.

The pseudo nurse was still coming after me, his long, heavy muscled arms outstretched in a threateningly uncomfortable way. Grimacing, I imagined that the incoming grip was a gentle hug, rather than the tight squeeze I knew I would feel in less than a minute. I gasped when his arms wrapped around me, quashing the breath out of my lungs and making my world spin with oxygen deprived dizziness. Ouch. I could feel my wing crushed up against my back; it disturbed me when I realized that my damaged wing had gone limp. I suppose the pain had been a bit much for it to endure.

I was in the air now. I was tall myself, but this guy was taller and stronger. With his height, my toes could barely reach the ground.

"Idiot," I grumbled under my breath, knowing he wouldn't hear me. He grinned down at me condescendingly, and I could feel my rage growing. Writing in his arms, I tried to slip out of his grip. Instead, my foot clipped him in the knee, forcing him to drop me as he doubled over in pain. Good. I hoped his knee would feel pain for a good week or two (you know, if he happened to survive this encounter.)

While he was wreathing on the floor, I found myself in the vice tight grip of much slimmer, more sure, arms. A woman. She'd been so quiet, I'd barely had time to react before I'd realized that her slim hands were wrapped around my neck. The best I could have done was slip out from under the delicate strangling half circle she created with her left arm, only for me to grab her right and fling her over my head. My wing (both of them, thank goodness) were beginning to feel normal again, as the blood flow previously constricted returned back to its normal flow, and I ripped off my blood soaked sweater. I was taking this bitch down.

She snapped up on her legs faster than humanly possible, and began charging at me again. I would have compared her to a hunting lioness, if I knew what one looked like.

"You are going down." I snarled charging back and snapping out my wings. The elongated hall of the hospital was perfect; flapping hard, it was less than three seconds before I was in the air at my top speed, my wings slightly bent to compensate for the fact that hall was smaller than the length of both my wings put together. For a minute second I wondered how the boys, with t their probably large wingspans, would have been able to cope with the claustrophobic space.

I have no idea what my top speed it; but, I do know that it supposedly breaks the speed of sound. Curiously I wondered if this was the fastest I could go. Could I break the speed of light? It was a good question, since I hadn't always been able to fly this fast. It had built up over the years, till I had hit a maximum speed. The Ward Master hadn't labeled it as my utmost max speed, and so it left me wondering how they had programmed my body.

And for that matter, for the first time in my life, my eyes. Normally, a bird kid, even with our advanced sight, would not have been able to see at my speed. Their eyes would have teared up and everything around them should have been a blur. But I was seeing just fine. A slight frown tugged at my lips; it had always seemed so natural that I had never considered it. Perhaps, when they had messed with my brother’s sight they had messed with mine too?

I didn’t have enough time to contemplate all those questions. Before the lady was able to hear the flap of my wings I had crashed into her (what with my faster than sound thing going on). I heard a sickening crack come from her arm, and a splatter of blood whipped across my face in a diagonal line. Ew.

We crashed into the very end of the hall, rolling in a discordant ball, and tumbling more than a few nurses out of the way. When we finally stopped, I was able to look back and check out Marcus and Eins.

To my surprise, and dismay, Eins seemed to have been hurt. However, he’d done it, Marcus had saved her. As I tried to get up, I froze, feeling a strange tingling sensation rolling down my back. It was stressful, as thought my muscles had tensed up, and I realized that was exactly what happened. To make matter worse, the muscle spasm had my left wing (the hurt one) constantly pulsing with pain. I kneeled on the ground, not sure if I was giving up or taking a break.

Matthew

I nodded briefly before dissolving from our little group to head down my hall. It was only now, when I was away from Sam and Taylor, did I realized how frightened I really was. My mouth feel dry, and I could feel the early stages of a headache crawling up along my brain. I needed an Advil or Aspirin, or whatever the hell people used to get rid of headaches.

I could give you all the boring details of my exploration through the hall but I’m not trying to kill you. All you need to know was that is exceedingly dreary and frightening to be alone and worried for my sister. It had all my nerves on end, and I found myself carefully picking my way from nurse to nurse, politely asking them discreet questions, hoping they wouldn’t relate me to my sister quickly.

After about fifteen minutes of searching I heard the strangest thing I’d ever heard in my entire life. Third floor, eastern corridor off of room 308. The Angels are under attack. Help them. I hissed (at least in the human approximation of the word) before I began making sense of the urgent invasion of sorts. It didn’t take me long to deduce how I had received such an alien plea for help; either a) there were other mutants in the hospital, or b) the Ward was trying to bait me. And either way you looked at it, if the Ward was trying to bait me or not, it meant that either Marce, Taylor, or Sam were in trouble.

Following the direction, I soon found myself close to room 308. And that’s when I spotted her. Relieft flooded through me.

“Marce!” I called out, elated. She was hurt, so that definitely meant something was going on. There was a woman not too far away from her with a deformed looking arm. She was slouched against the wall, her lips twitching angrily as she stopped me quickly lopping towards my sister.

“Don’t you dare,” the woman growled at me as I went in to pick my sister off the ground. I had been about grumble my own response back when I realized she was holding a gun to my face. I swallowed noisily waiting for her to pull the trigger. Time seemed to stop, and I barely had a fraction of a second before I ducked. The bullet careened off the metal top of the hall, reflecting back and digging itself into the flat marble floor.

I looked back at her stunned; had she really been out to kill me? Usually the Ward went for capturing, not killing. And there was nothing even remotely Vampire-ish about her. Out of my peripheral vision I was just able to spot the blurred shapes of two smaller (or rather thinner) people, about my age, I would guess. I didn’t risk glancing, too afraid that the gun was still loaded.

Alice

"You did great, I fell on my face a few times before I could even fly at all. You're a natural, When you want to land just get as close to the ground, flare your wings a few times to reduce speed."

I felt a genuine smile creep onto my face. How many times in my life had I even been complimented? I’ll answer that for you; not many.

Even with the space Mike was giving me, I found myself angling away from him, not wanting to be smacked by his mammoth wings. For a while, I admired the way he flew. It was far more graceful than me, and if there was anyone who was “natural” at flying out of the two of us, I would have thought it was him rather than me.

For a while we flew separately, until it seemed that he had something to tell me. Carefully, he angled his wings, coming close enough that I could hear him, but staying far away enough so that we didn’t collide.

"We'll be landing at the edge of the forest, we wouldn't want any bird kids seeing our approach." I nodded quietly, listening intently as he spoke.

Then, as he had described to me earlier, he began descending towards the ground, flaring his wings out in order to make a smooth landing. I watched him with envy; I knew this was the part of the day where I failed my flying test.

He called down for her, and she grimaced when he mentioned “handling this nicely.” This was not going to be nice.

“Here goes nothing,” she muttered under her breath. Taking a steep (probably too steep) dive downwards, she angled herself as best as she could, for the ground. It wasn’t enough.

“Ouch,” she growled, as she tumbled in a pile of crumpled leaves and pointy bushed. Groaning, she asked sarcastically (something she had picked up from observing one of the bird kids), “How was that.” She rolled her eyes, not at Mike, but rather at herself.

Twisting around so that she could see her wing, she grunted when she realized that her Vampire wing, jet black as it was, was marred with the small trickle of blood that indicated a cut. Her pure white Angle wing seemed find, albeit a bit ruffled.