Prologue: Alex

We walked for what seemed to be miles and miles. The sun was hot on the backs of our necks and our uncovered arms and legs. We stopped, and I slumped under a tree, the weight of the backpack starting to become unbearable. The air still had an unruly chill to it since Jake, my older brother, had died making everything solemn since his departure. I felt like collapsing and crying my eyes out, but I knew I had to stay strong until we got home, wherever that was.

It use to be Jake's apartment, where Jake, my best friend Leo, and I would hang. I remembered it, a small bedroom Leo and I shared, painted completely black, the walls covered in silver drawings of a city view drew by Jake, the windows of the buildings in yellow highlighter which glowed in the dark.

But, the Warriors or the Archangels had burnt it down, and we were on the run. The Warriors, the anti-angel humans on Earth, ridding it of us, a secret division of the government, you could call them. The Archangels, the high-ranking Angels who use to rule us, until part of the angels broke away and came down to Earth without becoming Fallen Angels; they started new lives, hiding the best they could from the Archangels. Our parents along with Leo's parents, who were friends with each other, were some of the few that came down to Earth. They had been captured by the Archangels about four years ago, and we three were on our own, until Jake was murdered. Now, it's just us two. Alex and Leo, Leo and Alex.

"Alex, I can fly us," Leo said softly, his words breaking me out of my thoughts. He came over and sat next to me, splashing his face with water.

"No, I can't risk you fainting again, what if you die this time? Then what, Leo? It's not easy. It never was since Jake died!" I yelled, and then buried my face in his shoulder. Why was I taking this out on Leo? It wasn't easy, but it wasn't his fault either.

He leaned his head on mine, patting my back awkwardly. I never cried, ever. Jake was my older brother, who was the only family I had left, now he was gone, and us? We were lost, on the verge of possibly even dying. Whose fault was this? Mine. If I hadn't let Jake go to the war tank to get help, he would've been fine! He would've flew us out of here after Leo was better, but I was practically going crazy seeing all the blood coming from Leo's leg, which he now limped on.

I lifted my head up, looking at the sky and thinking. How would we get home? Which direction was home? I closed my eyes and imagined Jake here, his large black wings, sturdy and powerful ready to carry us up and away. Then, I imagined Leo's, scrawny, newly grown brown wings. When would I grown mine? What if I never did? Then what would I be? A scrawny little girl with no family, no wings, and no home.

I sighed and stood up, saying, "Are you sure you can hold us both up?"

His dark green eyes studied me for a moment. "Yes, but we have to leave the backpacks. I think home's Northeast, and we aren't too far away, so about . . . 40 minutes." Leo said, looking at the sky.

"Okay." I took a deep breath, and he scooped me up into his arms.

He ran, and then took off into the sky, unfurling his ruffled wings.


We had been flying for about an hour. "Are we there yet?" I asked, looking up into his focused eyes.

"We should be . . . I don't know why we're not . . .," Leo said, looking over the endless yellow sand below us.

Leo grunted, hoisting me up onto his back, below his wings. "We might have to land soon--," His words were cut off by an unexpected loud Crack! That echoed through the sky.

Then, suddenly we were plummeting down, down, down.

I raised my head to see Leo, his right wing a bloody mess, his eyes closed. He was about 70 feet away from me, but with my enhanced vision I could see his pain stricken face clearly.

I screamed, trying to reach him, I had fallen off him first, about 40 feet below him. "LEO! LEO!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. "LEO!"

With a thud, I landed up the ground, my left arm landing with a crack, hurting so much. With great effort, I turned myself around, facing the sky. I black jet swooped in, its door opened and Leo was grabbed.

I was frozen with fear, another scream caught in my throat. The tears started to suddenly flow, sending salty water onto my bloody face. The jet turned around, heading straight for me.

Leo, I thought, before everything went black.