A.N- I don't own any of James Patterson's works, and can't compare myself to him, since he writes in a different style than me, but I did write this fan fic and hope that you people will review it. I worked really hard on it, and it is not done. Um… Please give me comments! Amy Lee Rocks!
The flock of bird kids was right ahead of me, staring at me with terror and watching me with suspicion. The oldest one, the dark haired girl like me, walked over to me, her fists clenched. A boy that looked about her age, again with black hair, followed her and placed a protective hand upon her shoulder. Obviously the two were involved; you could easily tell by the way he touched her; protection, care.
I stepped forward another step, a smirk on my pale face, my long black locks blowing into my eyes; I bowed deeply. "I'm Whisper, thanks for asking." One of the flock, a tall boy in the back with empty eyes, turned to another boy, younger, and asked him what was happening. I sighed.
The oldest one, fists still bared, the boys hand still on her shoulder, gripping it tightly, stared at me, her eyes cutting through me. "I rule this pack, if you want Angel, you're going to have to get through me first." I surveyed the scene; I could take them; 6 kids, all younger than me. Well, maybe not the oldest girl. She was Maximum Ride after all. But of course, that was not what I was here for.
I shrugged and shoved my hands into my pockets of the black hoody I was wearing, with a band emblem on it; Evanescence was a dark rock band with a totally rocking lead singer named Amy Lee. Beneath the hoody was a blank tank-top, and a black pair of pants, baggy and full of pockets, and of course, a black pare tennis-shoes. "I'm not here to kill you, Maximum."
Maximum frowned. "But you are an Eraser; Erasers always try to kill us." Her boyfriend stepped in front of her, sneering dangerously. His dark hair that fell past his ears blew in the cold wind rushing around us. His eyes were a dark brown, and his arms muscled; he was a pretty good-looking guy.
"Shut-up wolf-girl, we all know that you're lying. An Eraser is an Eraser, and Erasers kill people like us. We know it; we've been running from them for a while now. Max here, killed your leader, Ari 2 years ago. Back off okay!" His voice was deep and you could tell he didn't usually talk. He slid his hand into Max's and tried to pull her behind him. She resisted.
"Whisper? Wait, I think I've heard of you." Her face was thoughtful for a second, then it lit-up. "You're not just an Eraser; you're a mixture of bird AND wolf. Like 94 human, 3 wolf, 3 bird. The best creation the white-coats ever made." I nodded; it was true. I flexed my arm, my incredibly strong arm, and unfurled my black feathered wings. It was pretty neat being able to turn into a wolf anytime I needed, and when I wasn't, being able to fly off.
One of the other kids, the youngest, walked up to me and peered up into my face. She was small and innocent looking, but I saw through it all. I noticed gills on her neck and knew she had to be the one the white-coats called "Angel", a winged-girl able to breathe under water. She spoke, "If you aren't here to kill me, what are you doing here? And how old are you? Erasers do not have very long life-spans." She crossed her arms across her flat chest. She looked about 8 or 9.
I kicked a pebble on the asphalt of the basket-ball court we were all standing on. "I'm here because I don't have anywhere else to go. I'm not a full Eraser and I've been told that my life-span is like a normal humans. What are all your names and how old are you?" The all took turns telling me. Max was 16, Fang was 16, Angel was 8, The Gas Man was 10, Iggy was 15, and Nudge was 12. That made me older than them all; I just turned 17.
Nudge stepped forward. "You can't join our group; Max is the leader." I stared at her, my eyes pleading, and she faltered, and turned to Max and Fang. "I mean, she can't can she? She's an ERASER! She'll kill us all!"
The Gas Man came and stood beside Angel (as it turns out he was her brother). His hair was a dusty brown and his eyes the same. He took the ten-year-old's arm and tried to pull her back towards the blind guy named Iggy. He whispered to her, trying to make her give in and come with him. "Angel, this kid is dangerous you don't know what she might do. Come on, you're too close to her. Any minute she might…"
I rolled my eyes. "I am NOT a freakin Eraser! I am a MUTANT! Okay!" I unfurled my wings and flew up to the basketball hoop and sat on it, holding my wait under my wings, less it break and send me crashing to the pavement. Max eyed me curiously.
"If you haven't already noticed, we are ALL mutants." She motioned to the group. "See our wings? That's not something normal people have. And Angel there has gills, tell me that that's normal." I scanned the group. They looked normal, all clean cut kids, in not too dirty clothes, with cut hair; until they turned around. Every single one of them had bushy wings sticking out of their shoulder- all different colors; Max's was tawny, Angel's was white and so on. None were black, except mine; I stood out like a black sheep among lambs.
I pushed myself up and stood on the rim, still holding my weight. "You might all be mutants, but I however, am a freak!" I jumped down and pushed hard with my wings, taking off into the air. I soared higher, until the gang was only specks on a black sea. I turned away and out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the specks take off. I flew faster, trying to out run whoever it was; more than likely, it was Max.
Ahead of me in the park was a rather large tree, I did something really stupid- I landed in it, thinking I could hide from her. 10 seconds later, she landed beside me. "Whisper?" I was surprised that she remembered my name, I turned to face her. She was eying my wings which were only partly folded. "So your wings are black, what's the big deal." I unfolded them fully and they pushed aside some branches and leaves to make room; her eyes got really wide. "Okay, so you have a bigger wing span than us. I'd kill to have that."
I shook my head. "So it makes me able to glide more than you, so what. They're black, anyone can see them and they can't be covered up by any clothes. You know how much it hurt me to have to cut through this hoody so that I could have wing slits?" Max looked at my shirt, obviously not knowing anything about the band it advertised. "I want to be normal, Maximum. I don't want to have to cut up my clothes so they'll fit."
She crossed her arms across her chest. "Get used to it. That's what you get for being a mutant. And don't say 'I couldn't help it' because I know you couldn't help it. It's not fair, but it's life. At least we aren't toad mutants that live like a week and then die. That wouldn't be fair." Her eyes fell back on my wings and I looked at hers. I imagined to anyone else, we looked like adolescent angels in a tree; a dark one and a light one, two opposite sides conversing. I guess she was thinking the same thing, because the next second she stood and took off from the branch.
I looked up at her, confused. Was she just going to leave me here? I'd spent over 2 weeks tracking her down, and now she was going to fly off and leave me in a tree. She laughed at me. "Come on then! You can't just sit there and let people see you!" Oh! She wasn't going to leave me. I stood up and hopped off the branch, following her into the sky.
We flew silent for a few minutes, just enjoying the feel of cool air under our wings. It really was beautiful in California; that's where I'd found them. Max turned to me and watched me fly. "That's really neat how you hardly ever have to flap your wings. That's gotta be handy." She on the other hand, flapped 2 or 3 times a minute. I nodded, continuing to look straight.
"What about the others? Won't they wonder where you are?"
She shook her head. "No, I told Fang that I was going to follow you, and to take care of them." She smiled. "He'll watch over them, he's good at that." She looked dreamy for a second, and I kind of envied her.
I decided to ask the already known. "Are you two… Involved?" It wasn't as if I cared, I was just curious.
She was silent for a minute, thinking it over. I waited. We were now flying over a neighborhood of small, but humble homes. Finally she answered. "Not really. We've kissed a few times, but that's it. We're really close, but I think he's scared that if we get too involved and then something goes wrong, we'll tear up the group." She frowned. "I feel the same way, of course."
"I guess that's reasonable." Ahead of us was a group of children playing, probably skateboarding, in the street. "We better fly higher." With two strong beats of my wings, we were high above them, too far to be considered as any more than raptors.
She raised an eyebrow. "Exactly why do you care if me and Fang are together?" I was afraid she'd ask that. "We aren't a couple, but you can't have him." I laughed; she was staking claims on Fang, and I'd barely even asked about him.
"Don't worry; I won't take him from you. Not that he'd want me anyways." There I was being negative again, I had a problem with that.
She looked relieved. "Okay good. But seriously, why are you so negative?" Like she didn't know! I was a mutant among mutants! A freak among freaks! I didn't fit in with the Erasers and even though I really wanted too, I didn't fit in with Max's group either. I really didn't feel like explained all that to her.
"I already told you I was a freak. I am not like you guys- I can turn into a wolf. And I'm not like the Erasers because I have freakin wings. I don't fit in anywhere." Anger flashed across Max's face; she looked pissed.
"You're a freak? Try being an 8-year-old flying fish! Or a 14-year-old blind boy with wings! Or a 10 and 12-year-old that want more than anything to have friends, but do to there WINGS can't!" Her voice was strong, while protecting her friends. She sighed, lowering it, to say something more. "Or a 16-year-old girl with wings, that's in-love with a boy with wings who doesn't want to go out with her, and has a voice inside of her head like a crazy person." What was she talking about? The white-coats never mentioned that she was crazy.
She turned away from me, completely quiet for a second, while trying to gather her thoughts. She spoke again. "I knew you were coming, Whisper, the voice told me. It said that a loner, half Eraser, half bird, was on its way to find us. It said your name, but it didn't say whether you were friend or foe. I told Fang about it and he brushed it off at first. Then I told him that you were stronger than me and he got kind of scared."
"I'm not stronger than you. No one is stronger than you; the white-coats even fear you because you're so powerful."
She shook her head. "I may be a pretty strong bird-mutant, but nothing compare to a bird-wolf-mutant. You could tear me limb from limb in a second." Why was she fighting with me? I was arrogant when it came to my strength, but yet I still admitted that she was stronger. Why did she bother trying to argue?
"NO! You're stronger!" Suddenly I felt like a kid arguing over who jumped farther out of the swing. Not that I ever did, seeing as how I don't even HAVE any friends and I'd always win anyway with my wings. But anyways.
Max glared at me, her eyes blazing. "Fight me."
Ahead of us was an old field full of old, tall, browned grass. It was perfect for snakes and chiggers, but it was also perfect for a fight. We flew down to it, dropping altitude so fast my lungs screamed. My sneakers touched the dirt and knee-high grass before Max's did. I balled my hands into fists and prepared to lose against the strongest mutant ever.
She landed in front of me, facing me with an icy stare and frowning tremendously. Neither one of us moved. A warm gust of wind blew through the field and brought sweat to my temples. The grass whipped against my legs, and even though my pants were thick, it stung and itched against my calves. Max looked at me, her short-sleeved shirt a lot less protective than my thick hoody in a fight. But hoodys were hot, and no way was I going to take off my favorite shirt and lay it in this dirty field. Besides, it takes forever to get a shirt on when you have wings sticking out of your back.
"Who's gonna throw the first punch?" Max's voice dripped venom, and I didn't really know why. This was not a "you-picked-on-me-all-though-high-school-and-now-I-am-going-to-take-my-revenge" fight. We were just fighting to see who was stronger. But Max sure could play the scene.
I was tired of waiting in the hot sun, I jumped pounded my wings against the air and flew at Max, my arms extended, ready to damage. She however, was not bad at defense, she leapt to the side, spun around and grabbed my wings, holding them, pulling at the feathers. I winced.
Spinning, I caught her in the chest with a kick. It wasn't a powerful kick, but it wasn't a wimpy one either. If it hurt, she didn't show it. She wasn't holding back; she punched out, caught me in the stomach and knocked the breath out of me. I flew back a bit and then my wings gave out and I toppled to the ground. She dropped down too, waiting to see what I was about to do.
Though I really didn't want to, I could feel myself changing. I looked down at my fingers as they grew longer and the nails turned jagged and sharp. My arms bulged and my face expanded in length, giving room for my jaw to jut out and pointed teeth to form in my mouth. My hair grew shorter, and my ears shot up. My shirt morphed into fur, and a bushy tail appeared out of my back side. It was probably quite a sight to see, since no Eraser ever turned completely into a wolf before. Max was probably sickened at the sight, but I couldn't see her because my eyes were closed so tightly. When your whole body changes form and even your organs transform, it doesn't tickle.
That's when my wings started to buckle and fold into my back, the feathers changing to fur. I shook with pain, and one final change pulsated through me; my eyes turned from avian, to canine. I opened them slowly and Max, now black and white gaped at me. I stood on all fours and leapt at her, determined to prove that I was not a wimp. She was so freaked out that she didn't even try to block me; I hit her square in the chest and sent her toppling to the ground, pulling in her wings. One second more and they would have been crushed beneath her.
To my amusement, I found myself snarling. I guess Erasers don't do that either, because Max was really looking scared now. Imagine this scene from the eyes of a normal kid- an angel being attacked by a vicious wolf. But I didn't bite her, like other canines would, I just stood there, my paws on her chest growling low and ferocious.
That's when Max realized what had happened. One second she laid there staring up at me like I was a ghost, and the next second, I was flying through the air at a horrific speed. And remember, I no longer had wings.
She jumped up, remaining in the air longer than a normal human. "What the heck? That's not what Erasers look like!" I tried to say 'I told you so', but all that came out was a string of ranged barks. She shook her head. "But if you still want have this fight, just tell me." I barked again and she nodded, flying at me increasing in speed.
I was in pain, lying on the grass, but there was no way I was going to let her attack me while I was unprepared. I pushed myself up and pushed off the ground with my hind legs, meeting her half way. The force knocked her back, and she plummeted toward the ground. She tried desperately to regain her balance, and finally did, when her feet touched the grass. I dropped to the ground, my padded feet protecting my feet from rocks.
She kicked out, caught me in the leg and I stumbled, lifted my for-paw and stood on 3 legs. A low howl escaped my jaws and flowed through the air. Max prepared for another kick, but I was quicker. I bounded forward, limping, but only just, and caught her cheek with my claws, bring forth crimson gore. For the first time, she showed pain, barely, but I could tell it hurt. I lifted my arm, and saw that it was deep. I stopped, scared I'd really hurt her. Not a chance.
A fist flew into my doggy chest and I collapsed into the grass, gasping for breath and feeling a throbbing pain in my left arm, where Max had kicked it. But I didn't give up. I used my left arm, the one that had slit my opponent's face, to push me back. I leapt at her again and this time hit her legs. She toppled backward and landed on her wings, that lucky for her, were pulled safely in. Her face was bleeding profusely, and the blood was already rolling down her neck. She reached forward and placed her palm against the wound, trying to stop the flow. I watched curious, and she looked up, thinking I was going to bite her or something and took the same bloody hand and rammed it into my jaw knocking me backwards.
I rolled over a while, and then came to rest, my arm, jaw, chest and stomach all pounding. I heard her voice strong and indifferent to her pain, "The fight it over, Whisper." That's all I needed. Turning back into a human/bird doesn't hurt nearly as much as turning into a wolf does. It was a much quicker transformation, and soon I was lying, completely human, my clothes perfectly unharmed, in the grass on my back.
I heard Max pant; no, that was me. I struggled to sit up, and when I finally did, I saw Max laying a few feet away, blood all down the front of her shirt, and it still oozing from the source. I hopped up, stumbled, caught myself with my wings, and ran over to her. She was shaking, obviously from loss of blood, but her face remained clear. I bent over her and reached out a hand to pull her to her feet. She refused it, placed her own arms behind her back, pushed herself up and took off into the air. "Wait here, Whisper."
I stood in the field, rubbing my jaw and wishing very much that I had a mirror. I didn't hear them coming. "Hey, you! Where's Max?" It was Fang's voice that made me turn. Hey stood in front of the others, his dark sweaty hair sticking to his forehead. His arms were at his sides and his hands were fists. His dark blue jeans and black t-shirt probably made him pretty hot in this weather; but of course, I was the one wearing total black. I couldn't take it anymore, I reached behind my head and started to pull the hoody off, starting with pushing the wings through the holes. It took a second but I finally got it off. I tied it around my waist, and instantly cooled down a bit.
Fang looked really good looking standing there all leader like, and threatening my well-being with just his fists. He repeated himself more sternly. "WHERE IS MAX!" I shrugged.
"I don't know; she flew off somewhere." That's all I said, nothing about the fight or the blood or the… Fang looked past me, at the indent in the grass. He saw the blood.
"What have you done to her?" He looked panicked, not at all calm like Max was during the fight. He ran forward, shoving me out of the way, pushing on my sore arm. My fingers tingled, warning me that they were about to morph again. I controlled the feeling and stood quietly to the side. The rest of the group ran forward to see the scene too, but no one touched me again. Iggy however stood still; he wasn't going to get anything out of seeing the blood, since he couldn't see.
The Gas man whistled. "That's a lot of blood. You sure that's Max's? She wouldn't let an Eraser," he flashed me a look "hurt her that much." Fang nodded.
"That's Max's, it's human. Unless she" he started to walk toward me "hurt someone else and Max got away." He got nearer and nearer and without warning, his fist flew at my neck, but it didn't make contact. I felt myself lift off the ground; Fang had a hold of my shirt collar. "You didn't' did you?"
I shook my head. "I hurt no other human."
"You hurt Max then? You did this?" I remained silent. He took that as a yes. With his other hand, he grabbed my right hand, with the caked blood until the nails and then dropped me. I landed on my feet. His face was red with anger and he kept clenching and unclenching his fist. "WHERE IS SHE?"
I didn't know. I shook my head. He turned away slowly and then suddenly turned back his fist flying at my face, so I closed my eyes preparing for the blow that I'd earned. It didn't come. I opened my eyes cautiously and saw that Fang's fist was now being held by Max's hand. Her face was bandaged with a white cloth and medicine tape, but you could already see that the cloth was turning red, and though the rest of the blood was washed from her cheek and neck, the front of her white tank-top was incredibly stained. Her face was serious. Fang looked thoroughly confused.
She spoke. "Don't touch her. It wasn't her fault, it was mine." Fang lowered his arm, and stepped back. She looked at me. "How bad hurt are you? I see you got a pretty nasty bruise on your face, and your arm is hurt by the way you're holding it. How about your stomach?" I lifted the edge of my shirt and saw another huge bruise covering my abs.
"I'll live." I noticed that the blood had already bled through the bandage on her face. "But if we don't get you stitches, you're going to bleed to death." She nodded.
"I was about to have that done, but I got a message that you were in trouble. I don't know why I came, since a few minutes ago I was the trouble, but never-the-less, they slapped on the bandage and I told them I'd be right back."
"Who?" Did she actually have friends here?
She sighed, looked around the group, at Nudge who was frowning, Angel who was near tears, The Gas Man who looked like Fang, deeply confused, and Iggy, who was paying attention more than any of them. "My friends." Fang turned to her, a weird look on his face.
"Friends?" His voice wasn't cold like it'd been with me, it was caring; he really did care for her.
She nodded. "Two years ago, you know, when we went to rescue Angel from the White-Coats, I flew off to rescue this girl from a pack of bullies, and in the process, got shot." Fang walked over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I was afraid you'd be all 'you shouldn't have gone and helped her', but I had to, I couldn't stand watching them beat her up, when it was so unfair."
"No, Max, I would have understood. I know how you go for the underdog." She looked at him for a second and then turned back to me.
"Even so, I was bleeding a lot and was getting weaker by the second." She winced, as the blood pushed through the bandage and started to trickle down her face again. "So I followed the girl to her house and asked for help. They were really cool, they being her and her mom, and helped me as much as they could. I stayed for a while and then left again, back to the mission of finding Angel. They told me that any time I needed help, to come back again, and I needed help again." She closed her eyes again, and lifted a shaking hand to her cheek. "And I need it now."
Fang ran forward swept her up into his arms and started to take off, the others following. The Gas Man told Iggy and they started to fly off. I heard Max's voice strong again. "Don't forget Whisper." Fang looked back at me, his face still angered and I took off after them flapping my wings half the amount that they had to. Fang was having trouble hanging onto her and trying to remain in the air.
I flew forward and matched my wing beats with his. "Let me carry her."
"No!" He pushed down hard with his wings and got higher, but then started to sink again.
Max looked up at Fang, his health in mind, not hers, and said "Let her carry me."
He looked hurt and bleak. "But, she'll drop you."
Max shook her head slowly. "No, but if you keep trying to be a super man, you're going to fly too low and get shot down by hunters." He nodded and carefully handed her to me, a look of complete despair on his face. I felt sorry for him, but not near as much as if he'd been shot down as Max had said. I beat my wings once, soured ahead of them and saw the cabin ahead of me. I didn't know how I knew it was the right one, but for some reason, it felt right.
I started to descend, the group at my heels, until I finally touched my feet on the sidewalk leading to the door. I heard the soft pitter-patter as all the other five touched down. Angel walked ahead and rang the door bell. We knew that if this wasn't the right house, we'd all be caught, but we also knew that if we didn't chance it and ask for help, Max was going to die.