“Winged” Part 1

It’s been too long!

It’s been too long since I posted a short story. Let’s blame life, me, and writer’s block. But at last I’ve been working on something and I can finally share with you again. This is my short story “Winged,” part 1. Enjoy 🙂

 

I have a secret. A really deep, dark, worse-than-a-crush secret. But actually I don’t know how deep and dark having a crush is because I’ve never met a guy in my life.

The secret is I have wings.

It’s true. I was born with them. It’s not wonderful. It’s not amazing, despite what you may think.

My mom, my dad, and I live in a small whitewashed beach house on a secluded beach on the eastern shore of Southern Italy, ten miles from the city of Bari. We moved here when I was less than one year old and have been here for the past seventeen years. My parents tell me we’re from the United States, which I’ve never been to. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been anywhere. Everyday I’ve woken to only the sun rising over the Italian waters of the Mediterranean, to only the waves crashing soundlessly on a sandy shore, to only the overpowering scent of sea salt. Yes, it sounds beautiful, and it is beautiful, but it’s all I’ve ever seen. And when it’s all I’ve ever seen, the beauty wears off. I have never set foot outside a mile of my house, and I have never met another human being. All because I have wings.

I always went out to the water’s edge every morning, so this morning was no different. There was a bit of fog hovering over the sea, so the sunrise was muted. It cast a red, sultry, hallow glow on the grey sand that I dug my toes into. It didn’t matter that it was cold and I could no longer feel my feet. I didn’t put on a jacket. I couldn’t, anyway. I wore a camisole so that my wings wouldn’t be crushed. I could feel the rough yet silken feathers brushing against my shoulders. My wings aren’t pure white, like an angel’s. They’re more like a bird’s, thin and straight, but close to the color of my skin. That means they’re an ordinary shade of tan. I think they’re ugly, but my mom always insisted they were beautiful. It was just her way to make me feel better because I was denied the freedom to fly.

Yes, I have wings but I’ve never flown. Part because my parents tell me not to, part because I’m afraid. Whenever I flap my wings around, I’m not convinced they could hold me up in the air. I imagine myself crashing back down into the dirt. I’ve developed a habit, however, of unfurling them in the morning, as I stand there on the beach, and closing my eyes. I hold out my wings while I pretend that I am flying, soaring over the waters, feeling the wind curl around my feathers, my arms outstretched to catch the sunlight. It’s a true dream, like I am truly asleep. But all I have to do is open my eyes and I’m back on the earth, my frozen toes trapped in grey sand. The water laps nearby, teasing me, threatening to splash what’s left of the nerves in my legs away. If I lifted into the air now, I could escape it. I think there’s a lot of things I could escape if I flew.

My wings bended and then straightened. The wind pushed on them, lifting me just a little. It was a taste of the real thing. Without even thinking I began to beat them back and forth, fluttering the wind around my face and loosening stragglers of copper hair from their place behind my ears. I felt the sand around my feet loosen; I felt the breeze again on my ankles. I watched the sun as I flapped my wings. It seemed to be calling to me, daring me to come closer. I got very close, very close to the sky. But it was the sound of my mother’s voice that reminded me that I was still afraid.

“Emily, what are you doing?”

My wings snapped back into their position: huddled against my back like a scolded pup. I sank deeper into the freezing sand.

“Nothing, Mom.”

My voice lifted away, almost what I did. It’s crazy that my own voice could go further than I ever could.

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments. I love getting feedback on my writing ^_^

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