Hiding our wings was the first things we learned to do. If anyone found us, our little island would become swarmed with people looking for the winged creatures, and we would have to move again.
It proved very useful for sneaking through the woods without getting caught on anything. Getting an injured wing was the worst fate for us. It almost never healed correctly, and flying would be completely ruined because it would just become too hard. A branch could fairly easily scratch up a wing and if you ran, it might even break it. So we kept them hidden.
"Okay, here we are." My friend Kaitlyn said. She had these beautiful blue eyes that I just got lost in every time I looked at them. It was like flying over the ocean. Unlike most girls, she decided to let her hair grow long. This was unusual because it could get in the way of flying occasionally, mostly because it could get in your eyes. But it was beautiful.
I looked around. It was just more woods.
"Where is here?" I asked, still looking around.
She tapped my shoulder and simply pointed up. I looked, and saw what I thought was a tree fort. But it was big enough for half of our village. I let out a soft whistle.
"How do we get up there? Flying would be impossible through these trees, even if we could." Flying was something that took great time to practice, and most didn't learn until they were sixteen or older. It would be younger, but wings don't come in until about five years old. We were about thirteen. We didn't really keep track ourselves. We just knew we had a few years before, theoretically, we could master flying.
"That's why I brought you here." She smiled and I melted. She was right though, I had practically mastered flying at an age that was unheard of. I had been gliding from the cliff top to the nearby beach at eight years, and flying since twelve years. It was definitely not as pretty as the older people in the village, but I wasn't old enough to have very big muscles. So I had to do a lot of flapping.
My friend Steven walked through the brush we had just come out of.
"How would he even get up there?" Steven was often considered the brains of our little group. He wasn't a genius, but his observational skills far surpassed any normal angel.
"That's why I brought you here. This should be easy for you." She smiled again, this time at Steven. He started looking around.
"There's a clearing over there," He began mumbling to himself, "But you can't take off from a dead stop yet. Maybe…" He started running, seemingly with a great purpose.
When he came back, he was grinning, the signal of his victory.
"There's a cliff over there. You can jump and take off from the cliff, then fly up to the fort."
"Steven, you're the man." I said before running towards where he said the cliff was. The trees stopped abruptly, revealing the cliff about ten feet from their edge. I lept off of one foot, more for distance than height, and let my wings out of my back.
Unlike most human lore that I had heard, Angels didn't usually have white wings. Those that did were said to possess great power, whether good or bad, but they were so rare that no one paid any attention to the myth. My wings were kind of a mottled brown color, much like a red-tailed hawk. They were feathered much the same way too, more for power than stealth. They made a slight noise as they split the air.
I caught some air just before hitting the water sending me flying parallel to its surface, about six inches up. I put my hand in the water, just for the hell of it.
Flapping once, I gained some altitude for the turn-around. When I was about ten feet above the water's surface, I made a U-turn to face the cliff. It was a bout forty feet up from where I was. I flapped while turning in circles, which, I had found, was the easiest way to gain altitude.
When I was about at the tree's height I turned towards the cliff once again. Flying just over the trees, I spotted the fort, and landed with a loud groan from the wood.
"Was that you, Mason?" Kaitlyn asked.
"Yeah, it was me."
"Alright now we know you can get up there. Let's go back and get the supplies." Steven said.
"I told you to bring them in the first place." I said.
"I didn't want to have to bring them back if you couldn't make it up there in the first place."
Kaitlyn had been the one to find it, but Steven said that we should make it into an easily accessible fort that we could bring crap into, and hang out in. But, as it were, I was the only one who could get in, and there was no way I could carry either of them up to it.
The goal was to just hang a rope from it so we could climb up, and another rope with a bucket so we could bring things to the top more easily. Seemingly easy, but with all the suspicion from the adults in the village, we would have to be sneaky and try not to get caught.
As we approached the edge of the village, my mother noticed me.
"Mason! What were you doing?" She asked.
"Nothing mom, just some exploring." I tried to push away from her and keep moving.
"I hope you weren't 'exploring' the air around the cliffs again." She put her hands on her hips. Her worry was unreasonable, but well intentioned, and ingrained into our culture. Children weren't allowed to attempt flying until fourteen years of age, and I had attempted it at six, nearly killing myself, and breaking my wing. I was well-known in the village for that incident, both for being dumb enough to jump off of a cliff at six years old, and for the fact that my wing healed perfectly.
"Of course not mom." I semi-lied.
"Good boy." She went on with her business.
I ran to catch up with Kaitlyn and Steven.
"Whose house first?" I asked when I did.
"Mine." Steven said. "I have everything we need, and my mom won't care."
Steven's mom was really lax compared to most in the village, mostly due to the fact that Steven was very trustworthy in the eyes of most adults. Truthfully, he was just the best at hiding his mischief.
We picked up the bucket and ropes, as well as a couple of tools, like a hammer and a lot of nails.
On his own, no one would have questioned Steven carrying all those things, but he was already seen with us, so people were bound to wonder what was going on. We had to sneak out of the village in broad daylight, no simple task. We darted from shadow to shadow, waiting to move to the next cover only when we knew no one was there.
We were one move away from getting out, when a voice behind us startled me.
"What are you doing?" it asked. I turned slowly to find Nick, one of the local leaders staring right at the bucket of rope and tools.
"Oh my god, I thought we were caught. Hi Nick." I said.
"You're lucky it's just me, or you might be in serious trouble. You know how Darius feels about sneaking around, and taking things."
"We know." We all said in unison. Nick was someone we had known for a long time, and was actually almost my brother-in-law, thanks to my sister. He had caught, and let us go, more times than I could count, and he was still thought of as the greatest person in town.
"I'm just going to look away, and if you're gone when I look back, I can't punish you can I?" He proceeded to turn around while we ran for the hills.