The boy was flying.
It was the most wonderful feeling in the world, swooping through the clouds, dipping and diving and twirling. The feel of fresh air in his face, blowing his hair out of his eyes. He was alive. He was free.
BANG BANG BANG!
"Ken! Ken, get out of bed! Now!" a women's voice screeched.
A dark haired boy of about 13 startled awake.
"Ken! If you're not down stares in the next five minutes you don't get breakfast!" The voice was shrill and commanding.
"Yes, Auntie." The boy, Ken, said. "I'll be right down."
He pulled himself out from under the light blanket and looked around his small attic bedroom.
Another day... He thought to himself, a bit dejectedly. With a soft sigh, he began to get dressed.
"Good morning, Aunt Jen, Uncle Morry." Ken said respectfully, bowing slightly.
"Hello, Ken." His uncle said coolly. He was a tall, imposing man with an impressive crop of blond hair.
"You're late." His Aunt said snappishly. She was long and lanky with long, curly red locks.
"I'm sorry, Auntie." He whispered, eyes cast down. The way he held himself was almost servile, as if he had done something wrong and knew it. This seemed to satisfy Jen.
"Well, sit down, Boy!" She barked. Ken did as he was told. A bowl of watery oat meal was placed in front of him. He found his eyes wandering to the plates of his guardians, which were piled high with scrambled eggs, but he knew better than to ask for some. 'You can't', they'd say, then not explain why. It all had to do with his mysterious illness.
Ken gulped, gathering his nerve. He had been planning this all night, and it had to go perfectly.
Both looked up.
"I was wondering...Ummm...If I could, maybe, go outside today?" he asked, hesitantly.
"No!" His aunt snapped "You know you can't go out! Your sick!"
"But I feel fine, really!" Ken protested. "And it's been so long since I've been outside! Only for a moment, I promi-"
"Did you take your medicine today?" His uncle interrupted.
"No, not yet-" SLAM! Morry hit his hand ageist the table, creating a tremendous noise.
"Take your medicine and go upstairs, NOW!" He roared.
"Y-Yes, Uncle." Ken stuttered, then quickly retreated back up to his attic room.
Ken sat sadly on his bed, holding a red bottle and a cup of water in his hands. He had done this so many times before, but he never liked it much. A half a cap of the medicine mixed with a cup of water. Ken shuddered, then gulped it down very fast. He tried not to reach.
How can this be MEDICINE when it only makes me feel worse? He thought, unhappy.
The head-aches, the mussel pains, the burning thirst. He knew, somehow, they were from the medicine, not whatever sickness he had. Ken sighed again, and reached for a framed picture on his bed-side table. The thing was no doubt his most prized position.
Two adults, a man and a woman with their arms around each other, smiled into the camera. In front of them were two young boys, both with blue-black hair and bright blue eyes. The man had a shock of brown hair and laugh lines, and the women's honey blond curls framed her kind, round face. One boy was what looked like a three year old version of Ken himself, dark hair falling just past his chin. And next to him was an older boy, about 7, whose hair stood up willy-nilly, and whose sharp, intelligent eyes were framed by a pair of square rimmed glasses.
"Sam…" the boy whispered longingly, moving his thumb over the older boys form.
His mom and dad, the two in the picture, had died in a car crash about a month after this was taken. And he and Sam had been sent here, to live with their aunt and uncle. The first they had done to the brothers was force them to have blood taken, and when the tests came back they had said that both boys had a disease, and thus had ended their freedom. Ken hadn't had a decent meal, gone a day without taking medication, or gone outside since he was three years old. But all of that he could bear, because Sam was always with him. Always. Until…
Ken still shuddered at the thought of that horrible night when he was 9 years old.
After Sam had tucked him in, he had left the room to talk to Auntie about something. Then Auntie screamed then Uncle screamed then Sam screamed and ran back up to their bedroom and tried to barricade the door. But Morry was much stronger than the 13 year old, and broken it down. And he had dragged Sam away.
That had been the last time Ken had seen his brother.
His Aunt had come in the next day to inform him that Sam had needed emergency surgery due to the illness, and it had failed. He had died in the process.
He hadn't even been aloud out of the house for his big brothers funeral.
In fact, he wasn't even sure if Sam had had a funeral.
Ken shook himself and placed the picture back on his bed side table. No use dwelling on the past now. He picked up a text book and started to read.
He was standing on a large, open plain, nothing in either direction for miles.
Where…? He thought vaguely.
"Hello, Kenny." Said a voice from behind him. Ken stiffened. Only one person in the world (Out of the few people he had met) called him Kenny. He turned around slowly.
"…Sam?" Ken breathed.
It was defiantly his brother, in all his glasses, messy-haired glory. He stood serenely, with his hands behind his back, smiling slightly.
"Hello, little brother." He said.
"Sam! It really is you!" Ken gasped and ran towards him, but stopped as Sam raised his hand in a movement that quite clearly meant 'halt'.
"I'd love to stay and chat, little bro, but I don't have a lot of time. I need to tell you something."
"What?" The younger brother seemed confused.
"Listen." Sam walked up to Ken and placed his hands on his shoulders. Blue eyes bored into blue eyes. "Don't let them do to you what they did to me, got it?"
"Sam, what do you-"
"Just promise, OK?" Sam snapped fiercely
"Good." The older brother looked relived, then gave Ken a quick hug.
"I need to go now, Kenny Boy." Already, Sam seemed to be dissolving, as if he was made of sand and there was a strong wind blowing. "Oh, one last thing. Trust the wolf boy."
"No! Wait! Where are you going? What did you mean?" Ken cried desperately.
A laugh floated to the younger boys ears as if carried on the wind. "That's for me to know and you to find out, little brother."
"Gah!" Ken jerked awake, panting. His face felt sticky from using the text book as a pillow.
Dream. It was a dream, was all.
Ken tried to convince himself of it. But he had never had such a real dream before. And what had Sam meant, 'don't let them do to you what they did to me?'
The boy snorted slightly. 'That's for me to know and you to find out.' What a Sam thing to say.
He shook his head to clear it, than glanced at the clock. 12:30.
Really? I mean, seriously?
Ken thought. Time for more medicine. He reached for the bottle on his bed side table, but was distracted by a noise coming from his window. A tapping sound. Like someone was…Out there…
No. You're being stupid. No one is there. It's the wind.
But…Just to be safe…
Ken walked causally to the window, and slowly pulled back the curtain.
"Holy…!" He jumped back, mind racing. There was someone there.
A boy about his own age, with a mess of red-brown hair held in places by, of all things, a pair of goggles. He had a very dark tan (A stark contradiction to Ken's sickly white pallet) and, at the moment, was grinning like he had just won the lottery and indicating that Ken should let him in.
Don't open the window, Ichijouji. This is how all the horror movies start…
Every ounce of good sense in his body was screaming at him to shut the curtain and yell for his uncle. But…Something was stopping him. This boy was the first human being besides his aunt, his uncle and his brother he had seen in ten years. And he was curious. So agented all instincts, he threw open the sash and pulled the window up.
The boy bounced in, all smiles as if they had known each other for years.
"Hi! You smell funny!" He said cheerfully.
"Uhhhh…" Ken smelled his shirt self-consciously. He had just taken a shower an hour ago. However, that was forgotten when he saw what the strange boy was doing. He was flitting around the room, sniffing everything.
"Who…Are you?" Ken blurted, then covered his mouth with his hand, realizing how rude that sounded. The boy, however, didn't seem to mind.
"Oh." He laughed. "My name's Davis."
"I'm, uh, Ken."
"Well, hi there, Ken!" The boy called Davis shook Ken's hand so hard, it felt as if it would fall off.
"And…Why are you here?"
"Well, my friends and I are staying nearby, and I caught your sent. You smell like one of us, so I followed it here."
"I…Smell…Like…What?" Ken looked absolutely lost.
"Like one of us!" Davis said, brightly, scratching behind his ears, which only increased his resemblance to a dog. "You know, different? Gifted?"
The dark haired boy had no idea what the other was talking about, so he decided to change the subject. "And I also smell…Funny?"
"Yeah." Davis's eyes darkened. "Unnatural. Like something's blocking your normal sent. Or trying to change it."
"Oh. That's, uh, weird?" There was an awkward silence, the Ken sighed. "I'm sorry, but I don't know what to do now. I'm, er, not used to people."
"Why? You shy or something?"
"Not really. I'm not allowed out of the house."
Now Davis looked lost. "And why's that?"
"I'm 'sick'." Air quotes around the last word.
"But…You don't smell sick. Strange, yes, but not sick."
Ken looked sad. "I don't feel sick, either. At least, not until I take this." He held up the bottle with the medicine in it.
The reaction he got was unexpected, to say the least.
Davis let out a low, guttural growl, backing up slowly and never taking his eyes off the bottle. If he had had ears, they would have been lying flat ageist his head, and if he had fur it would have been standing on end. He bared his teeth.
"That thing is…it's…evil!" He snarled.
"What? This is just-"
"You don't drink that, do you?"
Ken's eyes widened in panic. "Yes. Three times every day."
"It smells," Davis squinted, trying to find the right words. "Wrong."
"But it's going to make me better!"
"Does it make you feel better?"
"Well, no, but-"
"My point exactly. Why do you-" The boy broke off suddenly, his head snapping up. "Someone's coming. I can hear them." He whispered.
"Uncle!" Ken hissed. "You need to get out, now!" Then the boy looked out the window. A four story drop with nothing near it to climb up. "Wait. How are you going to get down? You need to leave before he gets here."
"Same way I got up." He flashed a grin. "Jump."
Ken didn't ask for an explanation. There wasn't time. He quickly pushed Davis to the window. The boy climbed onto the sill.
"Wait." Davis looked Ken in the eyes, "I'll be back."
"Be back, yes. After all, we're friends now, right?" Ken froze. He had a friend? "Oh, one more thing." Davis's face was serious. "Don't take that medicine."
"Just promise, OK?" The boy at the window snapped fiercely. Ken was stuck with a strange sense of deja vu. Those were the same words Sam had said in his dream.
Davis nodded, then jumped out the window. He landed in an almost graceful crouch and bounded away on all fours.
Ken hurriedly shut the blinds, and managed to jump on his bed, picked up a text book (Opening it to a random page) and pretend to be reading before his Uncle came in.
"Ah, Ken. Studying again, I see. What are you up to?"
"Oh. Uh…" Man, I'm really bad under presser "Protean synthesis!" He blurted.
His uncle blinked. "But, that's an English text book."
"Oh. I mean, yeah, of coerce it is! I meant to say protean synthesis and how it influences… Shakespeare's 14th sonnet!" Oh yes, I stink under presser…
"O-Kay than. I'm just here to make sure you took your meds."
"I-" Ken hesitated. "Yes. I did."
"Oh. Good, I'll see you at dinner." And with that Morry left the room.
Ken's mind was a werl-wind of activity. One thought ran into another, creating a large mish-mash of thoughts and feelings. How was he supposed to think with all these… Thoughts?
What would Sam do? Ken thought desperately. Well, that was easy. He would make a list. That was one thing the older Ichijouji swore by. In fact, if Sam had created a religion, the first commandment would be 'Make a list.'
Okay. What do I know?
1)- I'm supposedly sick.
2)-Sam was supposedly sick as well.
3)- I just had an extremely strange dream in which my dead brother told me not to let them do to me what they did to him and to trust the wolf boy.
4)-An equally strange boy came to my room, acting more like a puppy then a wolf, but was definitely canine.
5)-He said I smell like I'm 'different', whatever that means.
6)- He told me my meds were evil and not to take them.
And 7)- The medicine makes me feel worse, not better.
Alright. And that brings me to the conclusion of…
Ken reached down and plucked up the medicine bottle. He carried it to his small bathroom.
He couldn't say he didn't enjoy flushing the foul stuff down the toilet.
Davis continued running through the forest, still on all fours. He used his hands as if they were another pair of feet. He knew that if anyone saw him he'd get some funny looks, but he couldn't help it. It was just so much easier to run like this because of his gift.
Tai was going to kill him for sneaking away from camp. And he would have a hard time sneaking away tomorrow to see Ken again. But it seemed worth it. That kid needed a friend.
Davis smiled to himself and ran faster.
Ken stood in his small bathroom, in front of the mirror. It was about 9:30 pm, and he had just gotten out of the shower and changed into his pajamas. However, when in the shower, he had felt something itching and burning on his back. He slipped the gray shirt he slept in over his head and turned around, craning his neck to see in the glass.
On each of his shoulder blades, an angry red bump had appeared. And, oh, did they itch!
"A bite." Ken muttered to himself. "Not mosquito, though. Spider, maybe? Yeah, spider sounds right. I got two spider bites." He shook himself. He had been feeling strange since he missed that dose of medicine earlier today. Not bad, just a little odd.
The boy didn't bother to put his shirt back on, he was too tired. He curled up under his blanket. It had been a long, confusing, very, very weird day.
He happily dropped off in to the blissful darkness of sleep.
They were chasing him.
There were a lot of them, and they were chasing him.
Had he done something wrong?
No, he had done something right, and they just didn't like it. They wanted to change him back, trapped him again, put him in a cage.
There was a window in fount of him. He didn't hesitate, just jumped!
And then he was flying, soring, free.
But then there was a pain in his back, and he was falling, falling, falling…
"Oh!" Ken jerked himself awake, breathing hard. That was the third time I've had a weird dream in 2 days…Is that normal?
The boy checked his clock. 7:30. They ate breakfast at 8. He had enough time to shower and change, and maybe read a chapter of two of his mystery novel.
He walked briskly to the bathroom and leaned over to turn on the shower. Then stopped. He had caught sight of something in the mirror. No. It wasn't…Right?
Ken stood up slowly, and cautiously turned around to face himself in the glass. He froze.
"Oh, my…" He trailed off.
Ken stared at himself, pale and scared looking. That wasn't what was so strange. But what was-
A pair of purple, gossamer wings sprouted from his back. Like fairy wings stained with grape juice.
"Wha- When-How?" Ken spluttered. He was confused, yes. But, strangely enough, not scared in the least. This didn't hurt. In fact, this felt good. It was natural. It was wonderful.
And then he felt a long forgotten memory tickling the back of his mind.
"Sam? Sam, what are you thinking?" A nine year old Ken looked up at his brother.
"Hum?" The older boy turned to look at him. "Oh. Hi, Ken."
"What are you thinking about?" Ken asked again.
"I-" Sam broke off. "I'm not going to take the meds today."
"What?" The younger looked amazed. "But if Auntie finds out-"
"I just want to see what happens, Kenny-boy. She doesn't have to know unless something bad happens."
Sam smiled. "Macro."
Ken felt a grin spread up his face at their special game. "Polo." He responded.
Later that night, as Morry dragged his brother away, their eyes met.
"Marco." The elder mouthed.
"Polo." Whispered the younger through his tears.
It clicked into place. After all these years, it finally made sense. Sam had stopped taking the medicine, and something like this had happened. Maybe not wings, but something. And then he died because of…
Well, okay, maybe everything didn't make sense, but he knew more that before!
He reached back to touch the simmering wings. They were cool and smooth. He concentrated, and they fluttered ever so slightly. He wanted to stretch them out. He wanted to fly!
Then Ken gulped.
How was he supposed to hide this from his Aunt and Uncle?
Davis knelt on the ground in the woods, quickly tying the battered laces on his right shoe, then his left. He stood up, stretched slightly, then put his hands on the ground.
"On your mark," He whispered to himself, "get set, and g-"
"Where do you think you're going?"
Davis made a false start, causing him to fall head over heels and land on his butt.
"N-Nowhere! Just for a run!" Davis said as he turned around to see a boy taller than himself with a wild mop of deep brown hair. "Nothing bad, Tai, I swear!"
The boy called Tai looked at him disbelievingly. "Sure. I believe you, Davis. Now, tell me what you're really doing."
"Going for a run…"
Tai's face clearly said, 'continue'.
Davis sighed his defeat. "…To see that kid again."
The older boy shook his head. "Davis, I said not to go back there. You're putting us all in danger! If someone see's you and calls them, we're all in deep trouble!"
Davis squared his shoulders and stared straight into the others eyes. "So, what, you just want me to leave him there? He's one of us, I can tell, those people are doing something to him! He needs help, and I'm going to help him. Besides," He added, almost to himself, "I promised."
Tai's eyes softened. He laughed slightly. "You're too much like me for your own good, you know that? Fine, go to him."
"YES!" Davis cheered letting out a small bark of happiness, than covered his mouth, looking to see if he had waken anyone up. Seeing he hadn't, he got back into his runners position.
"Oh, and Davis?"
"Don't do anything too stupid, okay?"
"You got it!" And with that the boy ran off.
Tai looked around their make shift campsite, and at the other sleeping figures of their little clan. He'd better not get caught…
Ken scrambled around his room in a panic. Right now he was dressed in an ancient pair of acid wash jeans, and a faded blue tee-shirt he had cut slits for his new wings in. But he couldn't very well go to breakfast like that, especially with what happened to Sam.
"What am I gunna do what am I gunna do what am I gunna do?" Ken hissed to himself. In desperation, he picked up the picture of his family.
"What would you do?" He asked the Sam in the photo. Not that he expected to get an answer. But, strangely, he got one. Not in words, but in what his brother was wearing.
"A hoody!" Ken smiled. He went to his closet and pulled out the biggest, baggiest sweatshirt he owned. Wincing slightly, he folded his wings awkwardly and slipped it over his head. The clothing successfully hid them from sight.
Ken looked at his clock. "In 5…4…3…2…and 1…"
BANG BANG BANG!
"Right on cue." Muttered the boy.
"Ken! Ken, are you awake?"
"Yes, Auntie!" He called back, "I'll be out in a second!"
Ken took one last nervous look in the mirror and took a deep breath.
He really hoped this worked.
Ken scooped the watery oatmeal into his mouth as fast as he could without looking suspicious.
"Have you seen the news?" Asked Morry to Jen. "There've been some weird robberies-"
Keep eating, Ken. You're almost done.
"Yes, I have." Sniffed Jen. "Low lives, all of them. The scum of the world."
The only thing between you and your room if a few bites of oatmeal.
"I think we should upgrade are security system. I mean, if they were so close to here-"
A little more than you're home free. One more bite, and…
"Ken, Sit up!" Snapped his aunt.
Uh-oh. "I am sitting up, Auntie."
"No, your not. Your back looks all funny."
"But I am sitting up, Aunt Jen." Ken faked confusion, hiding his panic, and hoped she'd drop the subject. Of coerce, she didn't.
"Ken, don't play games with me! Sit up!" And then she did the worst thing Ken could think of. She reached over and touched his back. And froze.
"Boy!" She hissed, her voice deadly, "What's that?"
"N-Nothing! It's nothing, I swear!"
"Liar!" Jen shrieked, sounding high and shrill. "Morry, feel this!"
Before Ken could stop him, he had reached over and ran his fingers across his back. The man's eyes narrowed.
"Take off the sweatshirt." Morry whispered, poison in his voice.
"TAKE IT OFF!" His uncle roared.
"I WON'T!" Ken shouted right back.
Morry seemed to get an insane glint in his eye. He reached across the table and slowly picked up a very large, very sharp knife.
"Now, I'm going to give you one last chance. Take off the sweatshirt, or else."
Ken froze. He wouldn't really…Ken realized he really didn't want to find out. Slowly, reluctantly, he pulled off the hoody. His wing unfurled from under it and gently flapped twice.
"Oh my…" His aunt whispered. However, his uncle had a more direct approach.
"AHHH!" He shouted, than lunged, aiming the knife at the wing closest to him. Ken barley managed to dodge, and had his upper arm nicked in the proses.
"Morry, stop." Jen said quietly.
"Jen, I won't have another in the house! I flat out refuse! Do you suggest we leave him like that?"
"No, but I don't want to be charged with murder, either." The woman's voice was eerily calm. "We'll call the doctor. The same one that did Sam. He should be able to fix him."
"Or the boy will…"
"Yes, he will."
Ken, sick of being spoken about like he was not there and overcome with emotion, spoke harshly. "What's going on? What are you talking about? What doctor? What happened to Sam?"
Morry completely ignored him, grabbed his arm and dragged him roughly up the stairs.
"Ow! Ow! Stop!" Ken cried, but was once again ignored. At the top of the stairs, the man through his bedroom door than slammed it shut. Ken heard the click of the lock. Desperate for answers, he pressed his ear to the door and listened.
"…Different than Sam's."
"Will it work this time? I mean, it killed the other one…"
Ken couldn't take anymore. They had killed him. They had killed his brother. And now they were going to kill him, too.
Don't let them do to you what they did to me. 'Thanks for the warning, Sam.'
Ken went to his closet and dug around in the very back and pulled out two backpacks. These where the original ones him and Sam brought when they first came here. He grabbed Sam's because 1)-It was bigger and 2)-His old one had Mickey Mouse on it. (What? He had been THREE!)
The boy darted around the room, bag in hand, stuffing things into it. The hoody (Which he had been holding this whole time), two changes of close, a pair of scissors, his mystery novel, and a notebook. All were hastily stuffed into the bag, along with several other random things.
He stopped and thought, and his wings responded. They stretched and fluttered, ready to fly. Ken took a deep breath, and headed for the window.
Only to find there was already someone there.
"Holy-" He exclaimed, jumping back. The he recognized the face. "Oh! Davis!"
He through open the window and the other boy climbed in.
"Told you I'd be-" Davis stopped as he took in the wings. "Wow! I knew you were one of us! Wings, that's a good one! One of my friends back at the camp has wings, but hers are more like bird wings. You know, with feathers and-What happened to your arm?" The boy's eyes had fallen on the deep gash on Ken's arm.
"My aunt and uncle." Gasped Ken. "There trying to kill me. They've already killed my brother, well not them but some doctor, and now they're going to do it to me! I have to leave. I'm already packed, so if you could move, I'll be going."
Davis's eyes widened as he grabbed hold of Ken's arm. "You're not going alone, are you?"
"Of coerce I am. What else would I do? I have nowhere to go."
The dog-boy looked at him as if he'd lost it. "You can come with me."
"There's a whole bunch of us. We kinda just move around a lot, but we're all different. You know, gifted?"
"Is…Is that okay?"
"Of course it is! Now are you coming or what?"
"I-" Ken hesitated, but only for a moment. "I'm in."
"Great." Davis started to pull Ken twords the open window. "Hay, you ever used those wings before?"
"Well, you better learn quick."
At that moment, they both heard footsteps in the hall.
"Yes, he's in here-" Jen opened the door to see Ken standing by the window, with Davis on the sill. Behind her was an extremely creepy man Ken assumed was the doctor.
"He's getting away! Screamed Jen shrilly.
"Time to go!" Davis cried, then jumped out the window, once again landing in a crouch position.
"Right behind you!" Ken called back, when he felt a vice like grip on his arm.
"Oh no your not!" Jen had his arm in her grasp. Then Ken did what he had wanted to do since he was 9 years old. He punched his aunt full in the face.
The woman reeled back, clutching a nose bleed, and released Ken's arm. The boy didn't stop to think. He just jumped out of the window.
For one, terrifying moment, he was falling. Then his wings woke up, it seemed. The twitched, then fluttered, than flapped all out, carrying him on the wind on holding him above the ground.
He was flying.
"Come on! Follow me!" Called Davis, already running on all fours slightly ahead of him.
Ken ignored his aunt's screams from behind him. The fresh air he had missed so much hit his face, and he breathed the cool morning air. He flew after Davis as fast as he could, barely able to contain his excitement.
For the first time in 10 years, Ken Ichijouji was free.
Well, that's chapter 1. Tell me what you think. Ken will meet the others next chapter.
Review, please! It boosts my confidence and makes me update faster!