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An Angel Without Wings

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The sound of the starting gun echoed in Kailey McAllister's mind as she looked across the huge, unused five mile track of the abandoned Mareece Allan High School. The crumbling blue paint of the stenciled "MAHS" on the hurdles glistened with dew in the early morning sunlight coming from the eastern horizon.

Kailey had to run.

After stretching out her muscles, Kailey's feet settled to an even rhythm on the crunching sand of the track.

Her lungs burned, but the pain felt good. It meant she was that much closer to knowing that no one else in her school would even run so far. No one else would sprint for miles. The thick summer air was heavy, and difficult to breathe. The pain in her side almost caused her to stop, and no longer hear the familiar pounding of her shoes on the loose gravel.

One more mile, she thought. Just one more.

One more mile quickly turned to three, five, and seven miles. Kailey had never ran so far in her life. Not in the four hour game of "Catch and Kiss" with the boys at recess in first grade. Not in last season's track meet when she broke the state track record. Never.

A huge black butterfly exploded from the moist dirt surrounding the track. For the first time in years while running, Kailey stopped dead in her tracks .

If she hadn't paused so suddenly, she never woulod have noticed the extreme, blinding pain in her head.

Kailey had had this feeling before. The feeling that any moment she would pass out onto the soft ground below. That she couldn't breathe, no matter how hard she tried.

*~*~*~*~*

It had happened only once before, at last fall's state qualification track meet. She was against six other runners, competing for a spot in the state championship. If she won, there was a high possiblity her school would move on.

Kailey was in the two mile sprinting race, and was winning from her first step past the starting line. She and another girl were running over a small bridge that went over a creek that flowed just within the school grounds. Then, for her first time ever, Kailey was passed by the other girl.

She just couldn't lose. Kailey hadn't lost a single race in ten years, since kindergarten, and wasn't about to start then. With one last surge of energy, she'd bolted ahead, breaking the orange tape that was draped between two poles at the finish line. She saw her smiling coach, Lin Bolten, in the bleachers, and then everything went fuzzy.

*~*~*~*~*

Althought it had happened before, Kailey was surprised when she felt the dizziness take over her mind and body.

Okay, she thought. Just a few more yards. Kailey ran, and just as quickly as she started, fell to the ground. She died with the taste of untrodden sand and and dust in her mouth.

Kailey didn't know she'd died. She didn't know she'd wacked her head on a sharp rock, which instintly cracked her skull. But what was most strange, she didn't know that this new, spiraling feeling was her spirit soaring to the clouds.

Kailey found herself in brightly lighted place, with no sky and a ground as soft and light as cotton. She was half floating, half standing, in front of a small wooden desk, where a golden haired woman was sitting with a "Receptionist" name plate.

"Hello, dear. Welcome to Heaven. Please fill out these forms. You can sit over there."

Kailey looked around. "But there's no where to sit!"

"Oh, I'm sorry." With a flick of the receptionist's finger, a big white couch appeared behind Kailey. "There you go."

"Okay...thanks." Kailey uncertainly sat down and looked at the forms. Name, old address, date and place of birth and death, live and deceased family members and pets. There were only a few pages, so it didn't take long. She went up and handed them to the angel.

"Thank you..." She looked down at the papers. "Uh...Kailey. Here's your room key and," she flicked her finger again. "Here are your wings. Only Guardian Angels get halos. You'll be staying in the Human wing, floor 6,532,018, room 76. But before you go down, each angel gets a wish of something to add to there room or life here for each ten Good Behavior Points that you earn. Each new angel starts with one wish." The woman raised her eyebrows. "Well?"

"My wish..." Kailey said. "I- I don't want wings. I just want to run."





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