I ran as fast as I could around the track, four laps to complete a mile. The cold was stinging my eyes and my limbs felt light and swift. It felt so easy, I wasn't even out of breath.
When I reached the last lap Mari was cheering and jumping up and down, her red hair was flowing in the wind. I heard the click of the stopwatch and slowed myself down little by little. She ran up to me and threw her arms around me squealing,
"Ohmygosh Allison! You ran a mile under 3 minutes! That's a new record!"
My fears had been confirmed. I didn't just have wings, now I had super speed. What was I going to develop next, super strength? Was I turning into superwoman?
The idea of me in blue tights and red cape almost made me crack a smile.
After all that running we walked back home together. I would have wanted the walk to be a bit quieter, but she talked almost the entire time. I guess I couldn't blame her. I would have been excited to have a friend with wings too, if I wasn't the one growing them.
"So...how big are they now? It's been an entire week, so they must have grown a couple inches. Right?"
I shuffled them around inside of my sweater and gave her a grim look.
"The tips of the feathers reach my elbows now." All the excitement seemed to drain out of her and was replaced by a look of apprehension.
We stopped at my house and she hugged me before hopping onto her bike and cycling away.
I waved before stepping into the house and sitting down for dinner.
For the next few weeks I spent the days with worry. Every inch added another piece of worry, another bit of stress in my mind.
I could feel my mood changing, and I think everyone else could too. I didn't go anywhere outside of the house unless I absolutely had to, I declined the invitations to any parties, I even didn't go on any dates with Elijah.
People texted me asking if I was okay, and Eli as usual didn't see anything strange about my behavior. It was all very frustrating.
I saw it coming. I played it over and over in my brain, but I wasn't able to think of anything other than, running away. The thought of leaving my hometown, my friends, my family, Elijah, it hurt.
I swung back in forth in our backyards makeshift swing with these thoughts swimming in my head. Mom and Dad were out today, they we're going to have dinner together since today was their anniversary. I had on a camisole, despite the cold, in order to let my wings stretch out.
I kept them open and let the air flow through their feathers. I closed my eyes and enjoy the movement. I swung a little faster and let myself stay like that for a moment. I imagined myself in the sky, with the clouds all around me, the hot sun at my back and the wind in my face.
I felt free.
I opened my eyes and screamed. I was ten feet in the air, somehow when my eyes we're closed my fingers must have loosened off the rope.
'Don't panic, don't panic! Flap! Flap! Flap!'
I was straining my back muscles, the wings we're still much too small. I gritted my teeth and tucked my arms in legs in, before slowly closing them and falling onto the soft grass.
I cursed and slowly got up, my whole body was aching and stiff. My knees were badly scraped so I limped back into the house. That sense of freedom, I knew I was already addicted to it, drunk off of its sickly sweetness. I wanted to taste that freedom.