The light was blinding. I blinked, and sat up. I was in the same clearing where I had fallen asleep last night. The fire I had made had burned out during the night, leaving a small pile of sooty ashes. I swung my backpack onto my back, and climbed down from the tree. I thought for a moment, considering where to go, and headed east, trudging slowly through the mud.

It was funny. I thought, as I dragged my feet through the leaves, but compared with last night, when I had been high on adrenaline after escaping the Institute, this morning felt awful. My carer, Dr Angelos, had pressed a tenner in my hand as I had raced out along with the stream of other mutants, and I had stupidly spent it an hour later on a cheap backpack. It had felt nice, spending money. It had felt free.

However, this morning I had no money, no shelter, and I was incredibly hungry. The soft twanging sound came to my ears, and I passed a sign that said 'Northdale, one mile.' A man was leaning against it, playing a broken guitar. His eyes met mine, and I hurried on, shoving my hands in my pockets.

The Institute had been good when it had come to clothes, though. Maybe it had been Dr Angelos' persuasion, but they had kitted me out in jeans and a faded t-shirt. No Christian Dior, I know, but it was better than nothing.

I was pretty smart for an experiment, if I do say so myself. I listened when scientists talked around me, and I had picked up a basic idea of the outside world.

My wings were pressed tight against my back and were aching like heck, but I didn't dare release them. It wouldn't have done much good if I had, anyway. After last night's dismal attempts at flying, up to a tree, I had resolved not to take both feet off the ground until I had figured out how to crash land.

I breathed in heavily and smelt something delicious. I had reached the town. People were everywhere, hurrying to and fro, paying no attention to me. I followed the scent to a coffee stall, where a lady was serving cappuccinos to people in suits. I checked my pockets, but I already knew I hadn't got any money. I turned away, trying to ignore the smell and the loud talking. I needed a plan.

I was alone. Completely alone. Which was good, for now. Most of the experiments had used their mutations to get out of the quickly, but I couldn't fly. So I had ran and ran until the I couldn't hear sound of erasers howling. It was doubtful that they'd come after me. I was just another experiment, nothing special about me. The guy in the cage next to me was part tiger, part mouse. They'd go after him pretty quickly. They were trying to see if his DNA would cancel out. He'd been nice. A little messed up, he'd kept trying to eat his tail, but nice. I hoped they hadn't caught him.

They crowd buffeted me back and forth. I hitched my rucksack back up, and walked in a department store, to see what clothes they had I could take without anyone noticing. I was starting to stink.

Inside were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Racks of clothes hang everywhere in every colour you can imagine. I sighed, knowing that I would have to rip up the clothes I stole to make room for my wings. Putting on tops was a pain, trying to hook the fabric on without messing up my feathers. A word to the wise. Don't mess up your feathers. It's painful.

I closed my eyes momentarily, and walked out again. There was no point stealing in a huge store which would have a security system. I'd get caught immediately, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do. I was stumped- breaking out had been easy, fun, even, but now that I was out, and I had no idea of what to do. I was by myself, with no rules, no limitations, no one to look after.

It felt awful.

So, there you have it. This Reagen, the leader of the group, although she doesn't know it yet. That should be it. Please feel free to add more if you want to.

The next chapter should be up next Saturday.

Blackie

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