Katy Stevens had the dream again that night.
In the dream, she woke up in her room, exactly as it was in life. Moon light streamed through the window, falling in rectangles on her carpet. The posters that completely covered the walls were all there, flaunting pictures of surfers riding 30 foot waves or grubby boys falling off skateboards. Her rickety old computer sat on her desk, the standby light still on. The giant blue teddy bear that she had won several summers ago at a carnival sat in the corner.
The only thing that was different was Katy herself. That was the only thing that gave it away for a dream, and that she had had this dream before. Her back was tingling, like that feeling when your foot falls asleep. She felt her stomach tremble. She knew what she would see when she got out of bed and looked in the mirror. She slipped from under the covers and silently crossed her room, her feet sinking in the thick carpet.
They were there, white and fluffy and oh so soft. They looked just like the ones she had worn in the Nativity play a couple of years ago. She had been ten then and not to big for that stuff.
She already knew what she would do. She knelt down onto the window seat and gently unlatched the window. The house was old and the window creaked as it swung outwards. Her house wasn't one of the new ones up on the hill, clean, identical and character less.
The window was large it wasn't quite wide enough to take off from, and it took all Katy's courage to brace her self and tip forward into the night.
The great wings opened just in time so Katy's toes touched the cold grass in between the powerful first wing beats. The first strokes were the hardest, and she barely cleared the fence. The Stevens lived on the edge of town so all she had to worry about was the telephone wires and the road beyond that. She cleared them both with room to spare, and anyway, she had had this dream before and every thing turned out fine.
It took several minutes to gain altitude. Soon the fields were patch worked beneath her, and the towns where sprawling carpets of yellow lights, with the occasional main road winding through the darker rural land like an electric eel.
She headed strongly in one direction. She had no compass but she knew she was going north. She knew exactly where her house was behind her. Once, Katy's parents had taken her down to London to see the Christmas lights and go shopping. She had gotten separated in the last minute shoppers and had been terrified. Some how, she had managed to find her parents, even though they had gone in a completely different direction. The strangest thing was that at the time she was only four.
She continued on through the night. No sounds drifted up from the sleeping world below her. It was still march, and it should have been icy, but the breeze was soothingly cool against her skin. It pushed back her hair and ruffled her flannel pajamas, which had flying pigs on them, and patched holes at the knees and elbows.
Katy's father was a famous hot air balloonist, (he ran his own company), and so had her grandfather, so being comfortable with heights ran in the family. She had first gone up when she was only two. Her mother was a journalist, and had married her husband in the air. Her parents both were rather eccentric and encouraged Katy to do eccentric things too. Katy was pretty down to earth; she liked to think about things a lot, but loved them none the less.
Katy gently rocked up and down between strokes. Like a swan, or an angel. She looked at the wings either side of her. They were at least 16 feet wide, bigger than any bird around today.
Suddenly, she tilted her wings and soared up into the low wooly flock of clouds she was flying beneath. For a second she was in them. It was moist, but not suffocating. Then she was up and above them.
Even though she had had the dream every night this week, she still gasped as she entered the white world above. It looked like a landscape from the moon, or the North Pole. The satin blue sky was pin pricked with stars above her. She dogged around the waves in the clouds, laughing for happiness. This was the way life should be. If only she could do this forever, and never go back down to earth.
I'm sure you know what its like. We've all dreamed of flying at least once in our lives. Effortlessly soaring, weightless, where ever you please, freedom singing with the wind in your ears. You could fly around the world; see the mountains, the desert, the rainforest, going where you choose. Leave your life behind you. Fly over cities and wave as people gaze up, mouths a-gape. Glide over the ocean, dolphins coming out to play with you, to leap the waves, flying their own way, and you, praying you'll never...
And then Katy woke up.