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I am running. Blood runs down my right arm and leg, leaving an obvious trail behind me for the man who is tracking me.
‘Will you just hold up? Running won’t get you anywhere!’
‘No!’ I scream.
‘Look, I’m not going to hurt you.’
Finally I can’t run anymore. My legs turn to jelly and I collapse into the soft, green grass. I look up at the man in front of me, without even a single bead of sweat on his face. He has a single pair of large purplish-black wings that rustle as he holds his hand out to me. I refuse, a look of pure terror on my face.
‘Look, White Wings, you’re in pain and you need someone who understands. If you would just let me help you…’ I hesitate and slowly reach my hand forward. Just before my hand touches his, I wake up with sweat rolling down my face.
That’s right -- I was sweating like a dog, possibly even worse. I had experienced that dream for the past five nights in a row, always waking up at the same time. I never saw how I got hurt, I never saw what happened after I took his hand, and I knew that I always forgot something important. My last image before awakening was of his smile, somehow warm, and yet somehow not. This morning, pain racked down my spine, particularly between my shoulder blades. I ignored it and began my morning ritual before school. However, when I looked in the mirror, a very small, almost unnoticeable trickle of blood ran down my back-following the exact trail that the torrents of blood had during my dream. I bandaged my back up, a little shaken, and then did my best to ignore it-and the steadily worsening pain.
The school day was pretty much ordinary, despite my growing sense of foreboding and the steadily increasing pain. When I went to a park not long after school had ended, the pain became excruciating and the rivers of blood from my dream came pouring out. Can you guess what happened next? The man from my dreams showed up. He actually looked much younger in person; if I had to place a guess on his age I’d say he was about 16. Of course, it was at that time that I remembered the important fact: that coming out of my back were a pair of soft, white wings. When I looked at my back, though, I didn’t see any wings. I was pretty much freaking out by then. However, using my sense of logic, I knew that if I ran it would end with me going with him to wherever it was -- no matter if I ran or not, so my best bet was to save energy. I stood my ground and stared at him. When he came to five feet away, he stopped.
“You have seen my coming, White Wings? Most are screaming in terror and blaming me for the pain by now,” he said in a cruelly amused voice.
‘Where’s the kindness of the black-winged angel from my dreams?’
“I would be more polite, but I’m tired after chasing at least three of your kind around today. May I rest?”
“Why are you asking me? It’s not my grass, oh great Lord Black Wings,” I replied in a bravely sarcastic voice, considering I was on the verge of doing what apparently everyone did in my situation… run around like a chicken with its head cut off, screaming bloody murder!
“Hmm,” suddenly he smiled at me, “I think I’ll get along with you just fine. Well, we had better be going, eh White Wings?” I try to stand, and unfortunately fall flat on my face. He holds out his hand. I stared at it for a minute, then suddenly some of my strength returned and I reached out to take his hand. He gave me another smile and pulled me up easily.
“I think you’ll rise to my status quite swiftly, White Wings.”
“Why do you keep calling me that? I have a name, you know…”
“Yes, I do know your name, miss Anais. We are required to call all those at ranks below us by their rank, and the same with those above us unless they give us permission to call them by their true names. You may call me Isaias, White Wings.” Unspoken though it was, I could tell that it was a great honor, especially as I had only just met him.
“Thank you… Lord Isaias.” He smiled at me -- that same cocky, yet still friendly, smile from my dream -- and I could easily tell that I had addressed him correctly. As I took off into the skies with a black-winged boy that looked not much older than me, on a pair of white wings I had only just realized that I now had, I could tell that it was the end of the line for me -- and yet, the beginning of another, different kind of story. Perhaps I will tell you about it when our paths cross again.