Written in first-person with alternating narrators. After three students get too close to a mysterious gemstone, one of them finds herself, a couple years later, going through a physical metamorphosis of angelic proportions. What of the others? And how will she hide the wings sprouting from her back? What will people think? Is it truly a sign from God?
Chapter 1: Growth
Narrator: Serena Dobb
It was the Ninth Grade. Canadian Geography had been a mandatory course. I walked into class with everyone else. The truth was, I wasn't going to walk out with everyone else.
The room was dark. Blinds had been drawn, and the white screen had been pulled low across the blackboard. The overhead projector was lying on an empty desk, ready to show us something or another. Yes, the routine setting. Except for one thing.
Sitting atop the projector, where the transparent plastic sheets with displays should have been, was a large opalescent gemstone. I mean, the thing was the size of my head.
The projector was off, yet the stone gave off a glow of its own. Right now, it was a rich blue, slowly shifting to a lavender hue.
My classmates were whispering and muttering in harshed voices. Most of us were awestruck. We were in the middle of a geology unit, and we knew that this gemstone was definitely something out of the ordinary. An oddity. A phenomenon.
That, or, something made of glass akin to a disco ball.
But even more mysterious, was the fact that Mr. Robinson was nowhere in sight. No teacher. No substitute teacher. No student teacher.
We sat in the room for ten minutes, chatter rising to a volume that'd rival the cafeteria at noon. But I wasn't talking. Maybe I was shy, back then, or maybe I just didn't like anyone near my seat.
Curiosity got the best of me.
I rose, and approached it. Three of us; Albert and Jessica, too. He bravely turned on the overhead projector. Light shone into the crystal and then every which way into the dark classroom.
Mr. Robinson walked in at that moment, oblivious to the light display Albert had set off. His hair was dissheveled, and his collar was unbuttoned. He looked like a mess.
I heard him mutter loudly under his breath, something intended for all of us to hear, "My brother's company dug it up in the Yukon. He's got no idea what it is, kids."
That's when it zapped us. Quite visibly. Green tentacles of light, reaching towards the three of us at a less than instantaneous speed. I had enough time to take a step back, not that that mattered. Somehow, I wasn't afraid.
That didn't stop our classmates from panicing. Screams. Yells. Shouts. Someone had the decency to unplug the overhead projector from the wall. And then some idiot pulled the fire alarm!
Albert, Jessica and I all dropped toward the floor in unison, unconscious.
I woke up in the ambulance. Perfectly okay, not that anyone believed me until a week had passed. Albert had a concussion from falling onto the hard floor. I was surprised he hadn't cracked his skull. Apparently, someone had caught Jessica. And I had fortunately fallen onto two empty and adjacent chairs.
At some point, a man in gray with a badge my mother refused to describe came to our door and asked me about what had happened. He was curious about how I was feeling since. Any change in personality, any changes in my body other than puberty, anything out of the ordinary. Then, he asked a very strange question: How did it feel when the green light embraced you? What was strange was that his tone of voice seemed to indicate familiarity and fondness. Baffled as I was, I told him it felt benign, calming and even... loving.
And once that week had passed, Mr. Robinson was never seen in our school again. Apparently, it had been grounds for dismissal. And at the time, I had no idea what the school or any other authorities had done with the mysterious gemstone.
My life continued in a normal, perfectly ordinary manner for the next two years and three months. That's when I felt them. Two welts, adjacent, upon my shoulder blades.
I had no idea what could have caused them. I'm not too athletic, and I haven't been hit there. Was I having some rare kind of allergic reaction?
The doctor checked me out, did some tests, and assured me at some point that it wasn't cancer. She was clueless. And so, she did what doctors do when they're clueless: she prescribed muscle relaxants. And if those didn't work, she advised me to take an Aspirin for the pain.
Doctors and chiropractors have never gotten along. My father felt the need to cover all the possibilities. I mean, it wasn't an emergency, it wasn't an intense pain... just mild discomfort. It didn't physically hinder me in any way. And they were barely visible. Heck, I didn't even notice them unless I was naked, looking over my shoulder backwards at a mirror.
Well, the chiropractor assured me it had nothing to do with knotted muscles or any of the soft tissue work he was familiar with. He gave me some mild adjustments, the kind everyone can use once in a while, and then advised me to come back in two weeks. Probably, I thought to myself, for the rest of my life. My father smiled on our way out, and muttered something about 'parasitic cash leeches'. I never saw that chiropractor, or any other, again.
And so, as the weeks passed, the welts became bumps and the bumps sprouted something white and soft. It felt so nice to touch, stretching one hand behind my back to reach up and graze my fingers across it on either side.
My appetite grew, and my parents noticed. However, they attributed it to the fact that I was a growing young lady who needed all the fiber she could get. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to get much taller. But I admit, I had an unspeakable appetite that I was, for the most part, trying to ignore.
Three days later, as I repeated that silly little gesture, a single white feather fell from the end of my left shoulder blade. I stopped singing, something I'd only now learned I could do quite well, and looked down in shock.
It was pristine and long, lying on the carpet, white as snow.
Holy crap! I realized, I'm growing wings!