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Why: How we came to be
It has never been clear what exactly brought us together, even to us. Maybe it was God, or maybe we just found our way to each other by crappy luck. Either way we are together now, probably for the best. We look out for each other. Some of us are like siblings, others like replacement parents. We are a family, however much we argue and bicker. And now, as the basic leader of this group, I will attempt to explain how our lives crossed paths. This will be mostly my story of course, but it will tell of how I came across all of these little children.
My name is River. I am currently eighteen, though my story starts at a much younger age. It starts when I was six years old. I had lived with my parents, in a society that understood me, basically worshiped me even. But some thought I was an abomination. They hated my parents because of me, so I guess it really shouldn’t have been a surprise when they broke into my house one night. I wasn’t home at the time; I was at a friend’s house. We had just gotten to sleep when her mother came rushing into the room where we were sleeping. She took care not to wake her own daughter, but she shook me as hard as she could to wake me up. She told me my parents had been shot and killed, most likely by one of the people that hated me.
I didn’t bother to use the door. I undid the wrappings keeping my wings glued to my back, yes I said wings, and burst through the nearest window. I hurtled through the night sky, making it to my house in record time. I didn’t want it to be true, but seeing the police at my house forced me to believe it. Knowing they would stick me in some kind of foster care, I flew away.
I knew exactly where to go for the time being. There was a small wooded area outside of town, and it led to shelter, so I headed over to the area. It took longer than normal to get there, it seemed like a storm was coming in. Storms always mess with me, even to this day. So when I finally got there, it was pouring rain. My feathers stuck to each other, making it basically impossible to fly. So I landed and walked solemnly through the woods.
I was heading towards the home of a kid I had met a year ago. There was no way to even know if he was still there, but it was the only place I knew to try. I finally reached the clearing of the woods, having walked for roughly thirty minutes. For no apparent reason, I hesitated to continue to the house I could see off in the distance. Laughing at myself for being so paranoid, I continued to the house.
The only thing that broke the dead silence in the woods was my knock at the door of the house. No one answered for a while, but just as I was about to turn around and try to find some other option a tall little boy appeared at the door. Well, I guess I couldn’t really call him little since he looked to be a year older than me. But still, he seemed to recognize me and invited me into the quaint little house.
“What are you doing here, River?” he asked as I sat on the worn out couch. I shuddered at the fact that he knew my name, even though I hadn’t introduced myself. After all, this boy didn’t look anything like the one I was looking for. But guys change, so she assumed that this was him.
Still, she felt the need to ask his name. She needed to find Vexen, and if he wasn’t him then she needed to get out of this house fast and find him. “If you don’t mind my asking, what is your name?” I asked quietly.
“Vexen. You should know that though, we met last year,” he said with a smile. Just to make sure it was him, I asked him to show me his wings. The Vexen I knew was just like me, they had taken him when he was younger and messed with his DNA enough to where he formed wings. He chuckled and spread his wings, only a little though so as to not break any of the already falling apart furniture.
His wings were like fire. The reds, oranges, blacks, and yellows all blended in together and faded out as one. It truly looked as if someone had lit a match to his wings just to see the beauty of them aflame. Now that I looked, his eyes were a work of art too. His left eye was a light green, an almost celadon color, while his right eye was a light powder blue color. Even as a seven year old, he was muscular in frame and yet still on the thin side and very tan. I couldn’t help but stare.
“Do you believe me now?” he asked, still chuckling. I nodded and he continued. “Like I asked before, what are you doing here? I thought you had a family a couple miles away from here. So why would you leave to come see me? I didn’t think you had connected to me so much,” he stated, sounding bored in our conversation. I felt like knocking the lights out of him for saying that I was connected to him, but I answered by turning and running out of the house. I flew in the air, instinctively knowing he was behind me.
The rain had stopped, so flying was a bit easier, but I was still nervous about it. I had fallen out of the sky numerous times after storms, and at the height I was going there was no margin for mistakes. I shifted my wings and dropped my height a little. Vexen now flew above me, synchronizing his wings to mine. We flew for a while, and for the first time n my life, I didn’t have a clear destination. I finally dropped to the ground, completely exhausted. Vexen followed, but he wasn’t completely wiped out like I was. In fact, he looked like the fly hadn’t affected him at all.
“How are you not tired? It’s been over three hours of flying. I’m exhausted,” I stated between heavy breaths. He shrugged. We walked for a little bit, finally finding an abandoned building a few blocks away from where we landed. “Is this ok for you? It’s not like we have any money to buy any food, let alone a hotel room. So we might have to resort to stealing for a while. And we’ll have to crash here for the time being,” I sighed, having no intention of giving his opinion any meaning. He nodded and we slept there for the night.
For seven years that was where we lived. We took turns stealing food in the day, and took our loot back to the building where we divided it up. We grew thinner and thinner by the day since neither of us were very good at stealing. The winters were hard seeing as though the building had no heat. So we huddled together as we slept, still cold but a little warmer because of each others body heat.
One day, it was my turn to go out stealing. I was in the middle of pickpocketing some rich lady when suddenly I found myself on the ground. A girl looking to be about seven years old was speeding past me. She held in her hand a designer purse. A lady was calling after her, and I didn’t want to be caught so I picked myself off the ground and sped after the girl. “Hey! Wait up! You idiot! Why did you try to steal that? You’re gonna get us both killed!” I yelled at her. She just kept going.
I was forced to tackle her. We rolled on the ground, but before I could pin her down she jumped in the air and unfurled her wings. I gaped at her for a second, and then I did the same and continued following her. She didn’t realize I was following her, so she unwillingly led me back to her home. A little seven year old came out to greet her. “Trish! Behind you!” the little girl yelled. The girl, Trish I assumed, spun around and roundhouse kicked me. I gasped and bent over; trying to stay in the air so as to not meet the cruel concrete beneath me.
“What do you want!?” Trish screamed at me.
“I want to help you two. If she,” I pointed to the little girl still on the ground beneath us, “is anything like you and me, I can help you. You might think you’re the only ones with wings, but you’d be wrong. They have experimented on a lot of us. Come with me and we’ll take care of you. You’re too young to be out on your own. Are there any more of you?” I asked, genuinely concerned.
Trish seemed to relax a little bit at the idea of being taken care of. “Yeah. He’s out right now though. We might have to wait a while. Who are you?”
“The name’s River. Vexen is back at the building we live in. Care to introduce yourselves?”
“I’m Trish as you already know. That little girl down there,” Trish started, but she was cut off by the little girl’s objections. “Fine. That girl down there is Goldie. We call her Gold, and they call me Fish. The guy we’re waiting for is Kingsley. We call him King,” she said. Conveniently, a guy landed before Goldie. I presumed that was Kingsley, so I gestured for the group to follow me and led them to my home.
We landed at the abandoned building, my home for seven years. I held my hand up, telling them to stay outside while I braced Vexen for them. They nodded and I slipped into the building, kind of hoping Vexen was gone. But instead, I found him lying on the floor, obviously taking a cat nap. Angry for no apparent reason, I stomped over to where he was lying and kicked him gently in the stomach. He woke with a start, leaping up.
“A little paranoid don’t you think? I just came to tell you I found some kids on the street. They’re just like us. Wings and all,” I exclaimed. He was obviously less thrilled.
“We can barely handle getting food for just us. And now we have who knows how many more mouths to feed! This is not your smartest idea. In fact, I don’t even think it ranks top one hundred. This is just plain idiotic,” he yelled. I took the liberty of slapping him across the face before I allowed the others to come into the building. They all smiled and waved hello. “Hello,” Vexen stated coldly. He explained to me that he was going out for his ‘shift’ and that he would be back later.
Once he was gone, I apologized to the group. “He’s just a little cranky. Didn’t get to finish his daily cat nap ‘cause I woke him up. Sure I did it by kicking him, but he’s always like this anyway, so it’s not like he’s acting like this just ‘cause you guys are here. Anyway, make yourselves at home. We might be here a while.”
They chuckled and settled down on the floor. It was getting kind of dark outside, so I figured I would join them in at least a little bit of sleep.
It seemed like only five minutes after when I woke to Vexen bursting through the door. “Get up! Everyone get up! The scientists, they came back for us! They tracked us down and they chased me all the way here! They’re not kidding this time. They were shooting at me! With real bullets! Come on we have to hurry!” he exclaimed, dropping his voice to a dull whisper once we were all up.
Since we had nothing to our names, there was nothing to pack and carry. This helped us considerably as we rushed out of the building and into the night sky. When I think back on it now, I guess I should have wondered why Vexen was out so late at night. But in the heat of the moment, no thoughts crossed my mind other than keeping our group of ragtag mutant freaks safe. We sped along, and when one of us started to fall behind, the two oldest still flying would carry them for a short distance to let them rest.
We finally settled down on a grassy hill, satisfied that no one was following us anymore. Goldie, Kingsley, and Trish all collapsed on the ground gleefully. I hovered over them, making sure it was just a lack of energy that they were suffering from, not a bullet wound. Half of me still couldn’t grasp what was going on. The other half was freaking out that the scientists had finally found us again. Vexen and I sat on the grass next to the sleeping bodies of Goldie, King, and Trish. We watched silently as the sun rose over the horizon, filling the sky with pinks, oranges, and yellows.
That was our life for about a year, until we found a place we thought was safe again. Again I was out on a stealing shift when I found yet another member for our ragtag group. It was then when Vexen decided, I thought jokingly at the time, that I was to go out stealing no more. He wasn’t joking. The newest member of our group was called Jayden. He was the exact opposite of Goldie, even though they were the same age. While Goldie wings and hair were completely golden besides her black under feathers, hence the name, Jayden had platinum blonde hair and basically camouflaged wings.
This made me see the differences between Trish and King, and they were close to the same age as well. Trish had blonde hair and King was a brunette. Trish’s wings were pure white, and King’s wings were silver and bronze. But you could tell they had a soft spot for each other. Just like I guess it was obvious that Vexen and I had a connection to each other as well. Only Gold and Jayden didn’t have a real bond together, they were more like sister and brother than anything.
I guess it shouldn’t have really come as a surprise when they found us, yet again, and ruined any chance for a semi normal life. I could tell Trish couldn’t deal with not being normal, but she never shared her feelings, and I never pushed her to. I couldn’t blame her really. I missed my life with my parents when my biggest worry was what to wear and what to eat. But I was the basic leader in this group, along with Vexen. It was my job to stay strong for the group. And I planned on doing so.
So I got used to a life on the run. Never staying in one place for long, never getting attached to anything other than my group of mutants. I actually started to sort of enjoy it. But I still wondered every day how the scientists, the very same ones who took us when we were little and mutated us, always managed to find us. But that was a mystery I would find out later. After all, this was only the start of our journey. There was a lot more adventure later on in our messed up lives. But that’s a whole other story.
River & the rest of the freaks
Raleigh, North Carolina
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