An Outsider's View

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I was sitting in Mr. Collin’s ancient history class watching every second tick by on the clock above the white board. Five minutes left. I was itching to unfold my dark grey wings and fly around a bit. Yeah, I said “my wings”. I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. My guess is as good as yours about how I could’ve gotten them. I’m glad I have them, though. You can’t even begin to imagine the amazing feeling you get when you fly. I’m not the only one who can do it, either. I’ve spent the last several years trying to track down others like me. I found one other person who has wings and he lives in the same orphanage as me. Quite a coincidence, huh? Anyway, his name’s Axel and he’s about as goth as you can be, without actually being goth. He always sorta kept to himself until he knew he wasn’t alone. We’ve been best friends since then. He left the home a couple of days ago, though I don’t know why. He liked to do that; get away from everything and keep people on their toes. But he hadn’t called me and I was beginning to worry about him. The bell jarred me out of my thoughts and I busted out of the classroom without waiting to be dismissed. I pushed through the crowd of teenagers, all worried about their little non-mutant problems like the upcoming football game or their grade in chemistry. I, on the other hand, was worried that my best friend had flown into helicopter blades or was being tortured and tested by a mad scientist somewhere. In other words, very mutant problems. I had begun to feel claustrophobic by the time I reached the back door and stepped into the packed parking lot. I started running to the Home and about halfway there a large shadow appeared from above me. I looked up to see the tawny colored wings and black clothing I knew so well and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Hey, Lily!” Axel yells down at me, “Why do you always take the hard way home?” He does a few loop-de– loops in the air and I take my oversized hoodie off and unfold my wings through the holes in the back of my t-shirt, take a running start, and jump, pushing my wings down hard. Soon we were flying high, hidden from the world below by clouds. “Show off!” I yell as Axel starts flying upside-down. Man, I’d missed that wind brushing through my wings! Axel and I swooped down so fast and so suddenly that my stomach felt like it was in my throat. That was the best feeling in the world. We landed in the back of the ice cream shop that we usually go to after school. We re-hid our wings, stepped into the shop like normal people, and bought two smoothies. Axel walked toward a table in a dark back corner. I could tell he had something important to tell me. We sat down and I slurped my smoothie and waited; he would talk when he was ready. It took just two minutes for him to start talking, but it felt like an eternity. “Lil, I’ve been doing some research the last few days…” Wow. Axel doing research; that was new. “I think I know who made us this way.” he said. That sentence was like a slap in the face. No, worse; it was more like being hit by an SUV going sixty. It knocked the breath right out of me and it took a while before I could talk. “Really?” I asked weakly. My brain was beginning to function again. “Who?” “A Dr. Bradley Daniels” he answers. As he told me what he had dug up about this Dr. Daniels I thought about what it would be like to know who our parents were, where they were... did they even know if we were alive? Were they alive? My mind was filled with never-ending questions, but I knew that if we found our real origins, our lives would never be the same. “...So, I was thinking...maybe we could go find this guy.” Axel finished.
“Do you realize how dangerous this could be?!” I asked him. He looked around and I noticed some people looking at us curiously. Oops. Too loud. He looked at me with obviously forced patience. “Well, duh!” he hissed, “If this guy really is some kind of freak genetic scientist he could decide to stick us in cages for the rest of our lives or kill us, even! But he could also be the answer to all the questions we have. He could change our lives: for the better. I think it’s worth the risk!” I thought for a moment. “Okay. I’m in.” I said decidedly. He looked stunned for a split second then hopped out of his chair, a smile on his face. “Then let’s go get ready!” he said excitedly.

We stepped in through the back door to the Home to pack a few things we might need on the trip: bottled water, some cash, a cell phone, and a couple of blankets. We were lucky; nobody saw us. We didn’t bother to leave a note. About half an hour later, we were standing in a pasture where we could get into the air without anyone seeing us. I looked at Axel. He looked nervous, excited, scared out of his mind... basically how I felt. I almost hoped he couldn’t see my fears as clearly as I could see his. It was pretty cloudy today so it would be easy to stay hidden from the people below. We launched into the air, silently listening to the steady beat of our wings.

After about five hours of uneventful flight, we landed, exhausted, in a town close to where Dr. Daniels’ lab was supposed to be. We stopped at an old burger joint and grabbed some fries and a map. We were still about forty-five minutes’ flight from the lab now, but it was getting dark and we had to have our strength when we met this guy. We got out the two warm blankets we had brought and slept behind a run-down gas station. We took turns keeping watch, just in case. In the few hours of sleep that I got, I had a weird dream. A voice kept saying “You don’t belong here”. I thought about it during my lookout shift, but had forgotten about it by morning.

We got up early and called a cab; we had decided it would be better to drive rather than fly, even though it would probably take longer. The cab dropped us off a couple of blocks from the building where the answers to our lives’ secrets could be. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Axel asked. “Well... we’ve come this far, right?” I answered, in a way I hoped sounded encouraging.
“Alright, then,” he smiled and I followed him as he continued walking.

When we finally arrived at a large gate with the address we had for the lab, Axel’s face became serious all of a sudden. Here we are, I thought. The moment of truth. How did we expect to get in, exactly? Knock on the door and be welcomed in by friendly little midget people with milk and cookies? Well, apparently Axel had a plan. He hopped over the tall metal fence and motioned for me to follow him. Once we were both over it, he went over to a window and jimmied it open. He slithered in first, then I followed him. This was too easy! There had to be some sort of catch somewhere— oh. Just found it. When I had crawled through the window I was greeted by the sight of a horrible, reptile-like man holding Axel in a headlock. His- or rather, its skin had a pale green tint and had patches of what seemed to be scales all over. Its face was disfigured and lumpy, its arms and legs as thick as flagpoles, and it looked like it was about seven feet tall. I was so shocked by this that I didn’t even notice another one heading straight for me until it was too late. The thing quickly had its disgusting, muscular arm squeezed tightly around my neck. It smelled like sulfur and old sewage; the awful stench made me gag. Just as I thought I was going to hurl all over myself, a tall, thin man with dark eyes glided into the room, casually taking in the scene. “Well,” he said slowly, with a soft, greasy voice, “I see we have guests.” as he spoke, I noticed an evil looking syringe sitting on a desk close by. I glanced at Axel and saw he was thinking the same thing as me: a weapon. Before I knew it, Axel had slipped out of the creature’s arms and was holding the long needle to the man I knew was Dr. Daniels’s throat. Axel looked at me meaningfully and, somehow, I pulled the creature that was holding me over my shoulder and kicked it in the head hard enough to knock it out for a while. Thick dark blood trickled from its temple. I saw the other one heading toward me and heard a struggle toward where Axel was holding the doctor. As if it was second nature, I kicked the other half breed in the gut. He doubled over and I hit him hard in the back of the neck with a metal rod resting on the wall beside me. The room’s smell was now overwhelming. I looked up to see Axel standing over the twitching form of what used to be Dr. Daniels. Axel had injected him with whatever had been in that needle. I watched in horror as the body convulsed and twisted on the floor. Axel and I turned away. What I saw then was a strange holographic face floating in the middle of the room. It looked like everyone I had ever known, all at once. It was then that I remembered my dream: “You don’t belong here!” boomed the constantly changing face. It was the voice from my dream! It repeated the sentence over and over again. All of a sudden, something that looked like a tunnel hovered where the face had been. Before I could stop myself, I was sucked into it and heard Axel behind me. After several minutes or maybe it was several years, the tunnel abruptly ended and we were dropped off in a strange, otherworldly city. It felt more like home than anywhere I had ever been before and I couldn’t explain why. Then Axel pointed at the people of the city; they all had wings.





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