Chapter 1

Her Waking Nightmare

I was floating, floating over clouds coasting over California, looking for . . . hell; I didn't know what I was looking for. I guess I'd know what it was when I'd found it.

I shot up from my sleeping position on the undergrowth. I was breathing heavily and for some unexplained reason I was absolutely terrified. Something was wrong. Trust me when you've spent your entire childhood running away you know these things. I did a 360. Where was Iggy? He was supposed to be on watch! Yeah, I know what you're thinking, it's your fault Max you put the blind kid on watch, what kind of idiot tells a blind kid to watch something! But to be perfectly honest, Iggy was by far one of the best watchmen we had, I mean, no offence to me or Fang, but in a hearing contest Iggy would kick our cute little behinds. But super hearing or not Iggy was nowhere to be seen.

"Iggy, are you there?" I whispered. I was beyond worried now, I was getting frantic.

I was circling around looking for . . . whatever it was I was looking for, when I saw it . . . or rather them. The flock were all sitting on the top of a nearby cliff. I had found them, my family. I called out to them but none of them moved. I thought maybe they just hadn't heard me, so I yelled again. Nothing. Baffled I tried to get below the clouds and stop floating and circling but I couldn't get any lower, I just kept being pushed back.

I snapped my eyes open. It had only been a dream, just a dream, only a dream. Hold on, a dream while I was awake!? What did it mean? Had it meant anything? And where the hell was Iggy!? Ok, ok I had to try not to wake the others up. I was thinking hard about this. If I woke Fang he would just think I was being weird. Plus I was still pissed at him over the fight we'd had over who got first watch, which Iggy took in the end. If I woke Nudge or Gazzy it would only upset them and they wouldn't be much help. If I woke Angel perhaps she could sense Iggy's thoughts but I couldn't turn a 6 year old into my own personal sniffer dog! And let's face it I wasn't even going to consider waking Total. I looked around. Still no Iggy! I made my decision.

"Guys, it's me Max" I screamed at them. Still nothing. It was as if . . . NO . . . but I realised they still hadn't moved an inch since I'd spotted them. They weren't moving and now that I had begun to think about it they were lying in really uncomfortable positions on the ground. Suddenly I was getting closer, the clouds were moving out of my way and I flew down. I managed to get close enough to see them clearly and I almost puked. So much blood, so many feathers. Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, there was no way any of them could have survived, I was going to be sick I was trying so hard not to cry and scream and puke and run away all at the same time. I opened my mouth.

I almost screamed but I remembered just in time not to wake the others. I checked them all just to be sure. Gazzy and Angel were sleeping facing each other with Total in between. Nudge was bunched into the nook of a tree, squirming and shifting but otherwise fine. Fang was near Nudge's feet sleeping on his back with his arms around his chest for both extra warmth and extra protection. I would have smiled if I hadn't been so worried about Iggy and terrified of the connotations of my waking nightmare. I was going to follow my first plan. Find Iggy myself and hopefully get back before any one noticed I was gone. So I took a short run, unfurled my wings and took off above the canopy. I mean there was only so far a blind boy could go right? I circled there for a few seconds trying to spot anything when I thought I saw a dash of colour under the trees to the far west. Please let this be him I kept thinking, please let my poor blind brother be alive and well. I ducked down under the trees and spiralled just slightly out of control when the image of the flock in pieces pierced into my brain again. 'Must find Iggy' I thought, 'Must find Iggy'. I used that thought to block the image from my head, to shut out the dream that wasn't a dream. I couldn't think about it, I would break down and above all right now I could absolutely not afford to break down.

Fang's blood pouring out over the dusty desert ground. Mixing with Gazzy's and spilling into Nudge's. Tumbling over rocks to spread beside Iggy's lifeless body and dye Angel's blonde hair to a blood red. Lapping finally to rest at Total's deformed and twisted mass of fur. The ground stained with the hybrid blood of my family. My flock. The only people I had ever truly loved.

Shut up me, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP. I wanted to die. It was all so realistic, the slashed wings, the twisted limbs, the gashes running up and down their bodies. I started to shudder uncontrollably and my wings snapped shut to my body. I fell hard onto the ground and tumbled into a tree. I tried to stand but my legs fell out from under me and I ended up on my knees. A tear rolled down my cheek, followed by more and more falling down the sides of my face. I started to mutter and it became a prayer. I didn't believe in God but I was hoping and wishing someone was listening. 'Let them live, make it all be a dream, where's Iggy, save them, save them all, forget me, don't save me, save them, save my family.' When I had begun to babble incomprehensibly I collapsed to the ground and I started to shake harder. I was beginning to choke on my tears. I could feel the brain attack starting. I tried to cry out but my voice was already gone. The pain. I just wished it could all stop. Kill me now, I thought, please kill me now but please God, let them live. Let them live, let them live, let him live. "Him?" someone said, but it was too late, I had already passed out.

Hi guys, well I'm not going to beg for reviews but I would like a few as regards my writing style because I'm not sure if this entire chapter works. I'm going to update the next one when I finish writing it because it still has some tweaking to be done but yeah I would totally appreciate some good constructive criticism. By the way, that him at the end? I think we all know who she means (and I SWEAR if anyone says Iggy I will be so angry)! Ok bye until I figure out my next chapter. If you read that too which would suggest you had to like this chapter so yeah that would be really good! Cat