The city tumbled down. I felt satisfaction as the order was gone, and chaos was well under way.
Abruptly, I shuddered awake. The morbid satisfaction of my dream faded away with the night air. I glanced around. No one else was around. Shakily, I stumbled out into the main area.
I was surprise to see the form of Shadow, perched lightly on one of the beams of stone that made an archway.
“Hey,” I called out, my voice quaking. I flinched, wishing I hadn’t sounded so weak to him. Again, I wasn’t one to show weakness. Shadow turned to me, taking in my vulnerable form. I was aware that I was wearing a borrowed nightgown from Chef that made me seem more like a girl than a tough experiment.
“Good evening. Couldn’t sleep?” Shadow beckoned for me to join him by moving over. I unfurled my wings and settled next to him.
“No, bad dream,” I confined. The moon cast a silver glow on Shadow, making his black hair nearly white. Shadow smiled ruefully.
“Really? Me too. Could be the water in this place,” he joked. A smile tweaked my lips, but I wondered if this was how kids at school interacted with each other.
“Whacha yall doin’ out here this late?” a small voice called from below. I peered over the edge of our perch to see a small kid. His hair looked silver in the moonlight, but I could tell that it was blonde-ish red, and very tousled in a cute way. He sleepily rubbed his eyes at me.
“We couldn’t sleep,” I told him. “Do you want to come up?” I didn’t see any wings on him. The small boy smiled. I figured he must be around the five or six age, and my heart gave a twist to see him here. It meant that he was like us.
“Naw, its okay, I can get up.” The boy crouched on the ground and leaped onto the left wall, right wall, left, right, all the way to the beam.
“Reilly, experiment AF56, marten fusion,” Reilly held out a hand politely. I grinned even more.
, E-3, bird and octopus combination,” I shook his hand. Next to me Shadow waved to Reilly. Reilly beamed. Crystal
“I wanted to go to Chef to get some creamy milk when I saw you two up here,” he explained. “So what’s up?”
“We both couldn’t sleep,” Shadow informed him. Reilly nodded, blonde-red hair bobbing.
“Wanna go to get milk from Chef with me? I fall asleep right after drinking it, so maybe you will too,” Reilly pulled a teddy bear into his lap.
Which was how we all ended up at Chef’s area. I inhaled the aroma of foods she was producing. So maybe there were other people up. I was right, inside was
and the three Tess’s. Tex gave us a nod, but a shadow in the corner caught my attention. Tex
Out of the shadows emerged Cougar. He nodded to Shadow, and smiled at me. Welts from our fight were already showing up in nasty forms on his face. Shadow nodded back to him, and continued to the stone counter.
“I would hate to meet the person who did that to that guy over there. Cougar’s really tough,” Shadow whispered to me.
“That would be me,” I whispered back with a tight-lipped smile. Shadow blinked in astonishment at me, and then he laughed.
“Wow, congratulations on surviving without a mark.”
“Yes, let’s just throw a party for it,” I twirled a finger in mock joy. Shadow chortled, and Chef came to us. She held out a glass of milk for Reilly.
“I have a place set up for in back to sleep in before you try to walk out and fall asleep on my doorstep,” she told him before she turned to me and Shadow. “Crystal you need to find some lady friends. You can’t keep hanging out with all guys. They might get in a fight about it,” Chef chided me. Shadow’s cheeks flamed and I giggled. Chef grinned. “Now how may I help you?”
“My night-time usual,” Shadow sighed.
“Re-heated stir-fry,” I asked. I almost never had it, but when my parents would pull an all-nighter on a report, I was asked to order stir-fry and it almost always arrived cold and late. So I would heat it for my parents, and it was something I ate when I needed comfort.
Chef produced our orders and left to go to another table. I ate my meal silently, waiting for Shadow to broach a topic of some sort.
“So what was your life before the Refuge?” Shadow finally asked after a few moments of silence.
, spare the fact of what I am.” Normal
“So what changed?”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the memory of my fellow student’s faces. “I unfurled my wings in public.” Shadow laughed with me.
“Smart,” he smiled cynically.
“What about you?” I asked. He was silent for a while, face solemn. Then, after what seemed ages, he replied.
“My scientists were also my parents, but they didn’t care about me. Oh they took care of me,” his face twisted angrily, “but there was always my brother they loved way more. He was so much stronger, much more deadly than me. They fought over who would get to study him while the other got me. ‘It’s your turn!’ ‘No, I studied him last time!’ I would cover my ears and go over the star constellations in my mind to drown it out. But then, I escaped. I don’t think my brother even knew I existed, my parents took care that he never saw me.”
I blinked. Instinctively I reached out and held Shadow’s hand. He tried to say more, but his voice was choked off by a sob. Gulping in air, Shadow turned his head into my shoulder and cried.
Not much, but I hoped you liked it!