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By Jace L. Lockewood All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi


I was only 18, which marked our transition into grown adults. We no longer had a curfew, and could travel anywhere without the need of permission. That was also when we could get fitted for a proper set of wings from my father, for a price varying from a home cooked meal to a few silver pennies. I was the only one exempt from that limitation though, as I was in training to work under my father. To apply for a real set of fitted wings, you needed to fill out an intense form that told my father what kind of wings would suit you best. It covered everything from health to history, as well as genetics. Dad took his work seriously, and he was the master at his craft. No one has ever complained about his or her set of wings.


The air was cold tonight, wind chilling my bones as I sat at the top of our complex fiddling with my wings. I had my tools out and was trying to fix a kink in my father’s recent Falcon X model. It was around midnight I guessed, which meant I should probably head in. Dad is distant, but not uncaring. He worries when I’m out too late, especially in the cold nights. I sighed, giving up for the night as I stuffed the Falcon into my bag and unfolded my own wings. Leaping swiftly off the edge of the building, I expertly glided down to the shop where my father and I live. I hadn’t even touched down on the landing pad yet before I was toppling to the ground by a flurry of ginger and freckles. “Where have you been?” my best and quite possibly my only friend asked as we walked inside. “On the roof; where else would I go at-,” I glanced at the clock on the wall, “- 1:24 at night.” She rolled her eyes at that and leaned heavily on my shoulder, ulterior motive most likely to make me stumble. “Your father was looking for you a few hours ago. He needed some supplies and didn’t want to close the shop. Luckily I was here and available once you were pronounced MIA.”

I sighed, knowing it was easier to not say anything, when this could easily end up two against one if my father heard us enter. “What do you even do when you’re not working here?” I asked her. “Absolutely nothing my dear friend. My very life’s purpose is to work in this little shop in the middle of nowhere until shit o’clock for the rest of my dreary days.” She said, rolling her eyes, “I help Pop and spend time in the arcade, normally.”

The Arcade was not actually an arcade. Once, when this place was a bustling building with everything crammed into it, there was probably an arcade somewhere, considering we would have had to get the arcade sign from somewhere. It was really just a hangout area for the kids around here. It was to encourage us to interact with one another instead of online. The Arcade was actually a very nice place. It had a pool table and a bar, which was well stocked with drinks of all colors and tastes. Some alcohol was permitted to kids above 15, but the real stuff came at 20 years.

I was only 18, which marked our transition into grown adults. We no longer had a curfew, and could travel anywhere without the need of permission. That was also when we could get fitted for a proper set of wings from my father, for a price varying from a home cooked meal to a few silver pennies. I was the only one exempt from that limitation though, as I was in training to work under my father. To apply for a real set of fitted wings, you needed to fill out an intense form that told my father what kind of wings would suit you best. It covered everything from health to history, as well as genetics. Dad took his work seriously, and he was the master at his craft. No one has ever complained about his or her set of wings.

I should probably explain what the wings actually are. They are a type of extremely aerodynamic machinery that helps us glide about our skyscraper. With certain tools, we can use it for more serious travel as well. Dad has been trying to create a set of wings that can actually help us fly. Every time, the prototype would either be too heavy, too fragile, too large, or any other minor setback that ruined the whole thing. The parts of these failed machinery were normally used to create the gliders everyone without custom wings use. Now you may be asking, how in the world a big hunk of metal could actually be able to be used in flight. The answer is a trade secret I’m afraid, but I can say it has to do with the material.

“Someone’s home late.” My father remarked, yawning as he came out of the leather flap that separated his room from the workshop. I smiled sheepishly, suddenly finding my shoelaces fascinating. “He was on the roof again, most likely messing with one of your inventions.” My friend said. “I lost track of time, sorry…” my voice trailed off, as I tried to sneak out of the room. An arrow came flying past my ear, making me freeze in my tracks. Now, I don’t mean an arrow from a bow, like the kind you would normally shoot at a person; I mean a sign in the shape of an arrow, that was probably about a fourth of my weight, came barreling past me to land in the dirty laundry pile. “Someone should probably count on doing the laundry in the near future.” The redheaded assailant commented. My shoulders slumped a little when I realized I was probably the one that would get stuck with that job. “Let’s go Nora,” I said to her, “we can argue about this later.” I quickly pulled her away to save me from any more awkward conversation about the impending list of chores I would have to face.

We made our way to my room, where she claimed my bed and left me sitting on the floor in a blanket. “Do you prefer the warm or cold weather?” I asked. “Neither. I burn either way and end up miserable.” She promptly replied. “If you didn’t insist on flying so high you probably wouldn’t get burned so often.” I said. “If you didn’t insist on being a prick 24/7 you probably would have more friends.” She retorted. “Did you just come here to insult my life choices or do you actually have a reason for sticking around after your shift?” I asked, ignoring her last remark. “Yeah actually, I got a message from Samantha.” She said. “Ah yes, the other and richer half of the Sylvestre/Grey duo.” I said, leaning back on the wall. “Yeah well looks like she is in trouble again except this time it sounded really serious. She asked if I could come get her.” “And you said?” “I said I’d be over in a week.” “And I’m guessing you want me to come with?” She nodded. “Fine,” I said, “but you are taking my shifts at the shop for a week then. Try to only bring two layers of clothing if you can help it. Wouldn’t want you falling out of the sky.” “I’ve been here for 11 years, I think I know what to pack.” I rolled my eyes at that, remembering the last trip we went on she completely under packed, so I ended up getting to freeze to death while she sat nice and cozy in my jacket because apparently, being a gentleman involves freezing your butt off in the middle of winter.

I can only count one person as a real friend and that is Nora Hope. Full name, Florence Hope Sylvestre, but she is only ever called that when I get her in trouble. There aren’t many people like her where we live. Ginger, and pale are not a good combination in the desert. Most of us are on the darker side of the scale, me being classified in the lighter portion, as tan. The older folk are the darkest, being the ones exposed to the sun and heat the longest. Here, it is a sign of wisdom. Everyone here is a big happy family in the midst of ruin around us. Where we live is called The Waste for a reason. It’s dark and desolate, but it’s home and we make it work.

It’s a better life than that of the City. It’s a nightmare there and everyone knows it, but the City is beyond repair. Some say that the Council is just a bunch of skeletons and the city just runs itself. It would explain how the Awake manage to sneak around so well, since if the City is run by presets, no one is really monitoring anything. It would explain how Skeleton Lung came about. It’s sad to see how the last two places humanity has managed to survive in have become so broken. One is full of white noise and empty people, and the other is full of resistance to a threat that probably died out with the last battle.

Jace’s long dead distant relative led the rebellion. “Desmond The Destroyer” they called him, even though his name was Ramón Locke. Once a skinny little failure, Ramón became the icon of the rebellion. It was all for nothing though, and the whole thing eventually died out.

The sun rose just as Nora and I headed out, hoping the weather won’t be so bipolar as we spread our wings and caught the breeze to the higher portions of the sky, with a little help from the temporary boosters. It’s not like a little morning breeze could actually carry us far, so two backup boosters were the best option. Gliding was the best we could do in our normal wings, so we strapped on the heavier gear for our trip. I hated the heavy weight, but it got us where we needed so I guess it wasn’t that bad then.

We passed landscapes that still leave me breathless. A field of flowers growing out of what was once a bare and burned wasteland and fields of sand with contours and cliffs that blow away at a moments notice to something completely different. It took a while to reach these views, as the land around our little shantytown was scorched and cracked. Of course all the land would probably look like that if not for the giant man-made ocean that spread it’s fingers through the land around the sleek modern city of utter and complete lies. The flowers were biologically engineered and the sand was imported from the other continent. The city was the queen of hearts in a drug-induced wonderland, and my little home was so insignificant compared to the great and looming city that could be spotted in all directions from miles away.

Nora was directly ahead of me, riding the winds like she owned the sky. I loved watching her fly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without her wings in the near vicinity. She was freedom personified, able to do or go wherever. She came to our town broken and burned, but flourished even though she was so unfit for such a harsh environment. I smiled to myself as we flew the last few miles, wondering if I would be leaving this endeavor as happy as I was now. The answer, I would find out, was no.

Not even adjusting into landing gears, we zipped through the city, already hooked up for the zip lines. Now comes the fun part of closing the wings while hooking up to a line. How we never broke our faces trying this stunt, I would never know, nor would I ever care to find out. I heard the usual shouts as we entered the heart of the city. The common folk here never did like us. Nora was the only reason I wasn’t shot dead at the spot. She was welcome in the north side, as she was so close to Sam. “Best friends” was the cover story but everyone with a brain could tell they were both head over heels in love with each other. Then again, in a city full of druggies, no one really has the capacity to see past a façade.

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