This week’s Tuesday Tales prompt is airport. Of course anything with flying brings me back to my urban fantasy mutant girl WIP so here’s what the word airport brought to my mind this evening…
The open air stung a bit as it pushed over Cassandra’s tender scales. While her wings took some getting used to, she found that flying wasn’t as intimidating as she’d assumed. The fuzzy, membranous wings knew when to flutter and flap to gain altitude and they unconsciously took over when they found a suitable current to glide on. It was probably a good thing that instinct took control; the rest of her was too busy panicking at every shift of her body.
You can do this. You can do this! You were made for this, born for it, her frazzle brain squeaked out as her wings dropped her low enough to make out buildings and people scrawling by underneath her. Why isn’t anyone freaking out? Cassie pondered, daring to test out the theory as she dropped low enough to brush the top leaves in a tall tree with the tips of her fingers and toes. Under her a bus was spewing out its contents of teenagers, and their energy exploded all over the sidewalks. Every one of them was too engaged in conversation or had their noses down in their phones to bother looking up at her. She’d been so scared to make her escape during the day, but she needn’t have worried. Even the mothers out walking with their babies and the guys walking their dogs were too entranced by whatever was right under their noses. They didn’t even look around at the plants and houses around them, never mind the sky. Still, she hadn’t taken to the sky to stick around the city. With only a bittersweet tug of nostalgia she cast a silent good-bye glance to the life she’d known and pushed up towards the clouds.
Cassandra’s heart was hammering and her stomach was twisted in on itself. It took a good half hour to time when to breathe and how deeply; the whole journey was like being on the smoothest of roller coasters or a lazy sailboat, depending on what speed her instinct prompted her to use. Below her through the hazy cloud cover she could barely make out the liquid veins of rivers pulsing through the few green splotches that broke up the urban sprawl.
It wasn’t just the air and the height and the use of the new, unusual parts of her body that kept disrupting her thoughts. With the inferior human cartilage and tissue gone all sorts of new scents pummeled her, making her mouth water and her stomach churn in tandem. Who knew clouds had a smell? Every birdsong and sigh of the wind changing directions made her whip her head side to side in startled attempts to figure out what she was hearing. Every little nuance of each little sunbeam had its own pitch and an uncanny volume, so in comparison the passing jet not only temporarily deafened her but nearly gave her a heart attack.
Her beautiful wings, her glorious tickets to self and freedom collapsed and folded against her back, sending her plummeting through the cloud cover towards the airport below, followed by a screech that was out of the range of human hearing. No, not when I’ve come so far! Not when I’ve escaped and had a chance to figure out what I am! No!! Her talons clawed through the robin-blue sky as the airplane rocketed through the air hundreds of feet above her. Still, it was enough to startle her wings into spasming again. Through sheer will power she forced them to stay open and not fold again, and they caught the air and saved her from becoming a mess on the runway. It was further proof that testing her new body wasn’t a game and never had been. There was no test run, no time in a classroom to figure out what worked and what didn’t. It was do or die now that she was on her own.
Yet under the roar of passing plane engines and the thudding of her fearful heart there was something else. It was faint and not exactly a noise. It was barely more than an afterglow of an emotion, put out to the world in the hopes that someone would find it. Cassandra hovered in place, her wings a purple blur behind her as they fluttered to keep her in one spot. Her fangs worried her lower lip until they drew blood and her talons clacked together in thought. She didn’t even know what it was, yet she couldn’t go back to her old way of life and she obviously wasn’t fit to hack out some sort of misfit existence on her own. I was supposed to fall, I was supposed to be here, she thought. I’m passing through from one place to another just like any of those people on a plane. I’ve had my starting out time, and this has been my layover…and now it’s time to go home.
Unsure, tentative, and panting from the exertion of new muscles Cassandra swallowed hard and changed her direction ever-so-slightly so that she could head towards whatever was reaching out to her.