He had no idea how long he had been in the vat of odd liquid. The last things he remembered from being solid and human was four scientists grabbing him at the same time. That was when he dissolved into a blob creature. Neither living nor dead.

It was times like that when he cursed having his peculiar gift of memory download. One touch of bare skin, and he absorbed the memories of that person. The good, the bad and the downright weird. It included body memory as well. If he touched a martial arts master, then he could perform the most complicated hand to hand maneuver without fail.

But his gift came with a price.

If he absorbed too many memories at once, he dissolved into a shapeless blob creature until he could touch someone he had already absorbed as a human. There was only one problem with that.

The only people he had absorbed before were on a different continent from him.

So he waited, patiently. The scientists which held him captive in the vat of liquid found a use for him, though it made his heart break.

They would drop their failed experiments into the vat with him, and through his gift he could hear their cries of pain. Since he knew about his other power of magic, he would tell them to wish for something.

The most common things they wished for was to end their pain or to die. And he could feel their terror, their pain. His magic would answer their cries of release and by morning they would have died a painless death. Or their ability to feel pain would have been completely shut off.

Day after day, he ended the suffering of the endless and depraved experiments that were done in the lab. Every time a scientist checked to see if he was still alive, he would get a glimpse of their memories. It seemed the liquid acted as a catalyst for his power.

So he knew where he was.

It was a horrific laboratory called the School. A place where depraved and morally bankrupt scientists came to try and create human-animal hybrids. There had only been two successful experiments that lived.

The human-wolf hybrid, known only as Erasers. And the illusive human-bird crossbreed which had escaped four years previously. The day after they escaped was when they brought him in.

He still remembered why they initially wanted him, and had gone all the way to England to retrieve him. And it wasn't for his power.

Before he became a blob creature, he had been human. But more than that, he had been one of the human-bird hybrids.

Thanks to his power, he knew why they had more difficultly finding him...and his twin brother Nickolas.

Raven and Nick were not born in the States. Their parents were

British. Their parents had come to the States for a vacation when their mother had a bad reaction to some food she had eaten. They had gone to a nearby hospital where a doctor gave her three shots. The first shot had been a standard remedy to fix the queasiness.

But the other two were entirely different. They had secretly given her the bird genes without her knowing. The new DNA combination changed the twins inside her, and there was no possible way to reverse it.

Raven and Nick had been born in St. Mungo's Hospital on July 31. Their parents didn't know anything was wrong with them until a week later. By then they had taken them home.

Raven knew his parents loved them, despite the fact that they were born with wings. His mother had suspected that the doctors in America were the ones who had done this to her sons.

A year and a half later their parents were killed by a madman and he was separated from his twin brother. A man known as Hagrid took them to see an old man. That old man, Dumbledore, had separated them, claiming it would protect them.

But he had touched Raven's new scar with his hand. Raven knew what the old man was up to.

Dumbledore was the headmaster of a school for magic users. He planned to use Raven to kill off the madman who murdered his parents, and control the magical community. Raven could see all the plans he concocted to do it. And it all started with separating the twins.

Raven woke up (not that he really slept as a blob, he just quit paying attention) and knew something was going to happen today.

His day started again with the scientists dropping another experiment into the vat. But this one was very different from the ones they usually dropped in. This one could think.

What is this stuff?


Who said that?

I did.

Where are you?

I'm the gelatinous blob material floating around you right now.

How can you think?

Hell if I know. What can I do for you today?

Can you get me back to Max?

Who? Hold on a minute...

Raven lightly touched the small winged girl and read her memories.

Her name was Angel, and she was six years old. She was one of the bird children who had escaped four years ago! Her memories were about five others, Gazzy, Iggy, Max, Nudge and Fang. It was Fang which drew his attention though.

Each of the 'Flock' was normal, except for Fang. Fand had a small white crow on his shoulder, though Angel didn't see it. There were very few people who became white birds.

Angel waited patiently for the blob to respond.

I can't get you out of here. I'm stuck too. But I can protect you from some of their tricks.


These creeps like to use shock collars on the others. I can block that signal for you. But I need your help too.

What can I do?

I need your help to escape this vat and become human again. My power caused me to become a blob when four scientists grabbed me at once.

I'll...try. But how can I help?

I'll let you know when we escape.

Angel's appearance changed the way he spent his day. Instead of only granting death wishes, he granted Angel's desire to have someone to talk to in the hellhole. He kept her from despairing and she kept him from boredom.

It turned out that her mind reading ability went both ways with him. Apparently his memory download copied her mind reading.

Then he felt the winds change again.

Several more of Angel's Flock had been captured. Nudge, Max and Fang had been caught at a fast food place and were now in cages.

Once again Angel was dropped into the vat. Every day she had been in the School, they put her in there. Because the days they put her in with the blob creature, they noted a change in the monitors.

This time however, it was different. Raven knew she would escape the School and he hoped to go with them. None of the adults noticed that he became an odd sort of belt around her waist, and when they dragged her out he left just enough goo to fool them into thinking he was still in there.

Angel was a bit surprised Max didn't noticed the odd belt moved. When they landed, she happily greeted her family.


Angel looked down.

"If you don't want to be squished then why don't you come off already?" she informed him.

...Good point. Hold on a minute.

Max stared as the thing she assumed was a belt slithered down like some sort of snake creature. It had no eyes or anything.

"What is that?" she asked.

"He said his name is Raven. He protected me from the scientists," said Angel calmly.

"It's a he?" said Nudge, looking freaked.

Angel, mind translating for me?

She nodded.

"I didn't ask for to become a blob. I can turn back into something more normal looking, but I would need the help of tall, dark and brooding over there."

Fang looked skeptical.

"How would I be able to help you turn back into a human?" he asked in disbelief.

Angel suddenly grinned. Without warning she threw the blob at him and he caught it. The air filled with pitch black feathers, and it took them a moment to realize the blob was gone.

Standing next to Fang was a humanoid creature with large raven-black wings and obscenely long hair.

"Much better. Being a blob is a nightmare," said a somewhat familiar voice with an accent.

"Who...what are you?" asked Fang.

The bird boy grinned wildly.

"I'm like you guys actually. The only difference between you and me is that when I touch someone I absorb all their memories. I can tell you everything that person has said, thought or done up to the point I touch them. I can even absorb their body memory as well."

"Body memory?" asked Max, confused.

"You know how Martial Arts masters can move in complicated ways that normal people can't? Or how they can sit for hours on end with their legs tucked under them? If I was to touch someone like that, I could absorb their ability to do it and be able to really kick butt."

"So if you were to touch say, Gazzy..." said Nudge.

"I could probably mimic voices. I couldn't absorb his little...problem. Just like if I touched Iggy I wouldn't suddenly become blind."

That seemed to calm them down somewhat, but Nudge had another question.

"How did you become a blob?"

"There is a drawback to my power. If too many people touch me at the same time, I get what I call memory overload. My body overloads and I turn into a blob in order to compensate. The only way to turn back is to touch someone I had already absorbed as a human."

"Wait...I've never met you before."

"I'm not surprised you don't remember me. I arrived at that place the day after you escaped."

"How is it that you came after we did?" asked Max.

"I was born with my parents in England. After they were killed my twin brother and I were split up. He ended up going to America and I was stuck with my horrid aunt. She eventually learned that certain people were willing to pay big money for a winged kid and sold me off."

A strange look crossed their faces.

"What's wrong?"

"We don't know who our parents are," said Max.

"Well, I do owe you guys for helping me escape that vat of weird liquid. So maybe I could help. Plenty of those jerks at the School touched me while I was a blob, so I have most of their memories. I could probably lead you to someplace that has that information."

That brought hope to their eyes. Now they had a good lead!

"You said you could grant wishes," asked Angel.

"Well, it was easier to call them wishes. Mostly they used me to kill off the unwanted experiments that didn't work out. I felt sorry for those poor kids so I turned off the part of their brain that felt pain. But I do have a power I could use. Why do you ask?"

They looked at each other, then at him.

"What can you do?"

He grinned. He had an idea where this was going.

"One request each."

For the most part he got simple stuff. Angel wanted a doll, Max wanted the chip in her arm out, Fang wanted to know where he met Raven before, Nudge wanted to know all about Raven himself, and Gasman wanted something to eat.

But it was Iggy's request that bothered him.

"I want to see."

Raven looked at him.

"I might be able to do something, but there is no guarantee that it would work. If nothing else I can give you a bird that transmit the images to you. So hold still."

Raven closed his eyes and put his hands against Iggy's temples. His magic was waiting for his command. He sent tendrils of his power to the place that was blocked in the boy's mind. Pieces that had been severed by foolish scientists reconnected for the first time since Iggy lost his sight. When he was somewhat assured that he had done what he could, he removed his hands.

"I recommend waiting until night, so you won't go blind from the sudden influx of light."

Night fell, and Iggy slowly opened his eyes. At first everything was blurry...then colors started to form. Shapes took form as well, until he realized that he was staring at the fire. He moved his head, and saw faces.

A small pair of blonds, two dark haired boys, a girl with dark skin, and another with strawberry blond hair stared back at him.

"Iggy? Are you okay?" asked Max.

"I...I can see."

Fang walked up to him and said "How many fingers am I holding up?"

Iggy blinked.


The enormity of what was happening hit him like a ton of bricks. He could see again! Raven had fixed whatever the scientists had broken! He could see his family!

"You're welcome," said an somewhat unfamiliar voice. Iggy turned to it, and saw a boy about Fang's age with long hair that covered most of his face.

"Thank you."

Max woke up early. She heard a flap of wings too big to be the hawks and looked out the cave. A dark blur darted past her and went up into the clouds. It looked a lot like Fang, but she knew he didn't like waking up this early. So what was it?

The blur came down from the clouds, the feathers black as night. It appeared to be black all over, which made her confusion worse. She looked deeper into the cave and saw Fang.

Wait...if he's in here, then who is that?

The figure landed close the cave entrance and she gaped. The boy before her looked familiar. Too familiar.

It was Fang. But that made no sense at all. Fang was still asleep in the cave.

"Who are you?"

The Fang-look-alike grinned wildly.

"Forget my name already Max?"

That voice...!


His grin never left his face.

"But you..."

"I know. I look like Fang. And I have a good idea why. But first..."

He reached behind him and pulled something out. It looked like a bag of sorts. But it was what was inside that caught her attention.

"Are those...berries?"

"All safe to eat and washed in a clear stream. I downloaded the memory of a nearby Park Ranger who spends some nights camping in these mountains. He prefers to go all natural when he camps."

Iggy was next to wake up, a clear look of relief on his face. He had thought that seeing again was a dream.

"Morning Fang."

Raven laughed.

"I'm Raven. Don't worry, Max made the same mistake."

In short order the others woke up (all of them except Fang made the mistake Max had) and the breakfast was quickly consumed. Once Nudge had fully woken up she had several more questions for Raven.

"Why do you look like Fang? How do you keep the memories straight? Where did you find those clothes?"

Raven patiently waited for her to take a breath and answered.

"First, I didn't find these clothes. I used my power to make them. Much easier than explaining where I left my wallet. Second, I have a little trick to keep all those memories I take in straight."

He whistled and a large flock of crows appeared out of nowhere. There were hundreds of black crows...and thirteen white ones which hovered closer to the Flock.

"All these black crows are memories of normal people. The darker the crow, the more cruel the person. Though most of those dark crows work for the School."

"And the white ones?" asked Angel.

"People I associate good things with. My parents, uncles, and apparently the Flock. And one of them is my identical twin brother Nickolas."

"Wait...did you say identical twin?" asked Max, suspicious.

Fang apparently had an idea of where this was going, as a white crow landed on him without prompting.

"That crow belongs to my twin."

"Does that make Fang your brother?" asked Nudge.

"Well, I do know of one way to find out."

"How?" asked Fang.

"We could get a blood test. The only problem is that if we got one we would enter the radar of people I would rather avoid for the moment."

"Who?" asked Max.

"The old man who split us up. He wants to control me, and I would rather not deal with him."

They decided to drop the line of questions.

"So where do we go now?" asked Nudge.

"There's a place called the Institute for Higher Learning in New York. You should be able to find a clue there."

"What about you?" asked Max.

"I have no idea. I could always go back to England, but with these wings I would attract attention."

"Why not stick with us?" asked Angel.

Raven seemed surprised.

"That's not a bad idea Angel. Bird kids should stick together. Besides, you're already one of us," said Max.

"I am?" Raven sounded confused.

"You helped Iggy and Angel without thinking twice. And you might be Fang's brother. That's good enough for me," answered Max.

Raven smiled widely. That was the best thing he had heard in years. They finished breakfast, what little there was left, and took flight.