I run as hard as I can through the tall grass that stretches above my head. I hear yelling and pounding footsteps behind me and I push myself to run faster.
My lungs heave and my heart beats furiously. I glance back to see four figures slowly gaining on me.
Panic sets in and I feel tears run down my face. I look forward again and hit something hard.
I cry out at the impact and fall onto the ground. My head hits a rock; the breath is knocked out of me instantly and I gasp for air that won’t come.
Black spots flood my vision and I am only conscious long enough to watch a grinning man's face come into view before everything goes dark.
My eyes fly open and I gasp at the pain that floods my body almost immediately. I squint against the bright white light but I can't see anything through my watering eyes.
I clench my jaw, blinking back the tears. I feel panic settle deep in my chest. My stomach flips at the bleach stink filling my nose.
Looking around, I realize I'm laying on facedown on a cold metal table and I'm surrounded by medical equipment. My back and head howl in pain; I feel bandages wrapped around both.
The bandages cover my chest so all I am wearing is a pair of underwear. I push myself up, only to fall back down with a pained cry as my arms give out.
Tears fall down my cheeks at the agonizing pain in my back. Holding my breath, I slowly look at my half exposed back.
A sob escapes my throat at the two bloody spots and I can't help the scream that leaves my lips.
A door bursts open and people surround me. I hear them calling my name but all I can focus on is the pain between my shoulder blades. I hold my head in my hands, my harsh cries echoing around the room.
My nails dig into my skin and I feel blood running down my fingertips. I continue screaming until something sharp pierces my neck. Then everything goes dark again.
"Do I have to go Julie?" I ask quietly, looking up at the woman who has been taking care of me since I was captured.
"I’m afraid so my dear, but it's so we can keep you safe," she says sweetly.
"More like so everyone else will be safe," I mutter.
She sighs and leans forward in her seat, taking my hands in hers. "We just want to keep an eye on you," she admits.
I pull my hands from hers and lay back in my seat. I can't help the wince that escapes my lips as my back immediately stings from the contact. "Yeah, whatever," I say and close my eyes.
Minutes later, the car stops, and the driver comes to open the door. He grabs my suitcase and I follow Julie out of the car.
The school looks like a castle, with vines growing up the sides, and an unkept garden. It was supposed to look abandoned to keep curious humans away but that never works, so the entire school is under a cloaking spell of some kind.
I let out a defeated sigh and make sure my hoodie is pulled over my face, before trudging along the walkway into the academy. As I enter, my eyes catch sight of white and black feathers.
Tears fill my eyes and my hand flies over my mouth to stifle a sob. Julie quickly rushes to comfort me.
She puts her arms around me, careful to not touch my back. She shushes me quietly, and I try to stop the tears from escaping.
"It's alright Luciana, everything will be fine—they’re just like you," she says in my ear.
"No they're not, they have wings."