“You’re too sweet,” she blushed. I felt my cheeks flame too. Confusion swept me, and I frowned. I didn’t understand the feeling that was waving within me, pulling me in different directions at the same time. My brain immediately did a body-check as it was trained to in the case of a problem. Organs…working. Skin…intact. Blood pressure…rising mostly near my face. Emotions….unrecognizable….
I returned to the conversation. Sugar was smiling at me. I blinked.
“What?” I asked, alarmed.
“Just wondering if you wanted to go to Chef’s to get something to eat.”
I frowned again. “Is that where everyone goes to hang out? It seems like everyone wants to go to Chef’s area.”
“Basically,” Sugar’s tiny wings twitched a little, “but a few people hang out in the Main area at .”
“Doesn’t anyone go out into the desert to explore?” I was getting tired of going to the same places, and I wanted the feeling that only exploration could give me. Both Spark and Sugar stiffened.
“Only Cougar,” Sugar whispered softly.
“It’s dangerous out there,” explained Spark at the same volume.
“Hm,” I muttered, my wings folding tightly across my back in thought. “Dangerous for even us?”
A tiny smile quirked on Spark’s lips. “Even us.”
But of course, I wasn’t too deterred by this thought. That following night, after hanging out around Chef’s area, when everyone was in their own personal area, I unfurled my wings and flew out the hold of my roof big enough for me. My feathers lightly brushed up some dust, but that was all that stirred.
The taste of the sky filled my lungs, and I was free again. The world dropped below me, receding into the black of the night. One more powerful down-stroke of my wings and I was soaring.
The desert spread out before me. There was no order, nothing to destroy, just peace and nature riding along its course. Pleasure seeped into my brain. I pulled in one wing to wheel in a wide circle.
But, just as I had been trained to, I scanned the area in a 360 maneuver, instinctively making sure I was safe. In the distance, a blob shimmered. I narrowed my eyes, trying to get a clearer view. It remained a blob.
The back of my neck prickled. I don’t know what it was, but something gave me a feeling….like something bad was going to happen. Foreboding. Shivering slightly, I drew in a wing and half folded the other to turn and dive down to the safety of the Refuge.