She walked, dazed, with pebbles digging into the soles of her feet. To where, one may ask? She did not know. The rain, slowly decreasing in temperature, turned into hail. The little diamonds of ice, bounced off of her body, creating light, stinging sensations. Weather wouldn't stop the girl, though. She was quite a sight. Her choppy, self-cut, black hair stuck to her arms and stomach. Two large slits, side by side, cut into the back of her sweat shirt. The shorts she wore that day? Just barely managing to stay together.

Her eyes suddenly came into focus when she realized her feet had come to a stop. She saw the uneven ground cut off, moved her body forward, and saw a vast ocean far below her. She stared at the beautiful picture of the waves crashing against the side of the cliff and smiled a little. She stood there and just... Listened. To the waves. To the hail. And to her memories.

15 years earlier...

"Isn't she just the most adorable little girl you're ever seen?" the woman with dark, red-streaked, auburn hair, asked.
"That's irrelevant. Where did she come from?" her husband said, standing with his black hair and large frame.
"Well. You
saw me pick up the basket from the doorstep," She stated, rolling her eyes.
Her husband grunted, stared at the wriggling creature in the basket, then sighed, admitting defeat. "Might as well get her a blanket until we can buy a fresh set of clothes for the thing." With that, he turned on his heel, he walked back inside the house. The woman rolled her eyes again and smiled. "He'll warm up to you. Don't worry, little one." She paused for a moment, then skipped after her husband shouting, "What'll we name her!?"

2 years earlier...

"Ah!" Moraine cried out for the third time that night as her back caused her to go into another round of pain. She'd successfully kept her cries silent, but the latest spasm was too much for her to be conscious of her volume. The door to her room opened and light from the hallway spilled into the room. Her mother came running in, "What is it, baby?"
"It's my back again. I c-can't se-seem to get-get it to stop hurt-hurting," Moraine sputtered out through her tears. Moraine's arm reached behind her and rubbed a spot in the upper part of her back. Moraine's mother had tried to find out what had caused her back pains. She was either too young, or didn't show enough symptoms for any of them. Her mother rubbed forehead and said, tiredly, "I know you don't like going to hospitals," She paused, seeing her daughter's eyes widen, "But I have to take you to the doctor. It'll last about an hour or so." Moraine groaned, her suffering only half forgotten.

"What's going on?" the deep voice of her father penetrated Moraine's room. "Oh, Alex! Moraine's back seems to have not stopped hurting," her mother said, distress evident in her voice. Alex frowned, the spoke to his wife, "Well. It better fix itself soon, Laira. I can't get any sleep." He yawned then walked out of Moraine's doorway, his heavy footsteps receding. Laira made a noise of disbelief and shook her head. Moraine noticed her pain was decreasing and told her mother so. "You still have to go to the doctor, Mo," Laira said, using her daughter's nickname. She tucked Moraine in and left her room, closing the door behind her. Moraine tried unsuccessfully to go to sleep that night.

The next morning, Moraine was very, very silent, wincing from time to time. Her back had not stopped it's torture throughout the night, and it showed through the black circles underneath her eyes. Laira worried for her daughter, but understood that she became like this every time she had to go to the hospital for check ups. She glared at her husband as he drove, seemingly uncaring of their daughter.

Upon their arrival at the hospital, the signed in and waited for the doctor to come out and take Moraine to see if there was anything wrong with her. "Will you be okay?" Laira asked. Moraine nodded. "Do you want me to be with you?" Her mother asked Moraine nodded again. "Do you want Daddy to be with us?" They entered an uncomfortable silence.

"Hello, you must be the Slate family," A female doctor came out, smiling warmly. Moraine studied her and determined her age to be around 30 years old. "I'm Doctor Arabella, but call me Ara. Will your parents be joining you... Moraine, is it?" Moraine blinked, and looked towards her mother, her eyes expressing her thoughts. Laira cleared her throat and replied, "I will be coming with her... Ara." Ara nodded, looking over the fact that Morraine had not answered her. "Follow me this way please." Moraine silently sighed while staring at her father, his nose already buried in a magazine, and went after the doctor and her mother.

"Alright. So, from the summary I see here, you've been experiencing back pains?" Ara inquired. Moraine nodded and then, asked, her voice cracking, "Are you going to look at my back?" Ara's forehead wrinkled with worry lines, "Yes, but not after you've had a glass of water." The doctor grabbed a glass from beside the sink, turned on the faucet and began filling it up with water. She handed the glass to Moraine, "Here. Drink." Moraine did as she requested and smiled, handing the glass back to her. After setting aside the glass, Ara said, "Alright, let's begin. Show me your back please?" Moraine lifted up her shirt and turned around. She heard a gasp, both from her mother and the doctor. All was silent for a few minutes.

"Is something wrong?" Moraine asked with an unsteady voice. She felt a cold hand on her back and jumped, but calmed down as it warmed up. "There's... There's something growing here... I've never seen anything... Like it," Ara's voice spoke with wonder. Laira continued staring at her daughter's back. Then she giggled and said, "You know? These... These kind of looks like... Wings. You know? With the placement and everything." The doctor's hand stopped above the two identical bumps. "Miss Slate. Is it alright if you bring your daughter in tomorrow for an X-ray?" Moraine's mother nodded. "Sure."

After both Laira and Moraine saw the X-rays the next day, Moraine suddenly wished she had done a better job of keeping her sounds of pain inside.

1 year earlier...

Moraine had kept her secret for 1 year from her father. 1 year of no tank tops or tight shirts. Laira had also not told her husband about that day in the X-ray room, covering up the truth with a obvious lie. "She just needs to drink more milk," she'd said. Alex, sensed her lie, frowned, but didn't care enough to ask for the real truth. A year later, what they had seen in the X-ray had finally showed it's "true colors" so to speak. Moraine stood in front of her wall mirror and stared at her back. Ha, how ironic. Mother's joke turned into reality.The feather filled limbs hung limply. "Why wings?" She tried to move them, but they just ruffled a little bit, then fell still. Moraine sighed and spent the rest of her night testing out her fully grown limbs. After a long night of no sleep and cold night air, she'd begun to understand what it meant to fly.

A few hours earlier...

"What is that!?"Her father's voice boomed. Mo quickly dove for her sweatshirt and slipped it on, but it was too late. Her father had seen what she and her mother had hidden for so long. " Mo froze as her father looked at her with, not surprise, oddly, but anger. Her mother came in and stopped in the doorway. She said nothing, the emotions on her two family member's face's was enough to tell what had just happened.

"Alex…"
"Don't. Just… Don't."

Moraine's father stood in her room for one more minute, then calmly walked out the door, past his wife, and to their room. Laira followed him soon after. Alex pulled down his suitcase and began opening all of the wardrobes. Whilst he was folding the clothes and putting them into his suitcase, his wife asked, "What are you doing?" He didn't stop. He didn't answer. He kept on packing. "Stop. You don't know what you're doing, Alex. You're just confu-" Laira tried to explain what she thought he was going through. Alex slammed his hand down on the bed, making the suitcase, and his wife, jump.

"That thing. I refuse to be it's father," her husband said, his voice full of hate. Laira's thought his choice of words were strange. She said, slowly, "Not by blood… But… We are her parents." Alex laughed, "By blood? She is not of your blood. But mine?... She is." Laira gasped and she allowed her eyes to widen. She began to think back and try to track down when she or her husband had been gone for long periods of time. Then she remembered. "You… She…" She tried to speak, but lost her voice. "So you've found that piece of memory, have you? It was bound to come back to you sometime," he sighed.

"Yes, it was unavoidable. Her body was just too beautiful to resist." Laira's eyes became watery and she felt weak. "If I had known that she was a creature, and not human, I would have never done what I did. But, 9 months later, the damage came to the doorstep. Karma certainly has a way of showing itself, doesn't it?" His wife let go of her held back tears and leaned against the doorway. Her husband was not as sane as she thought he'd been. "I let that thing live in my house, eat my food, and breathe my air. And now this. To have her be part of that... monster."

Alex sighed and came up to Laira. "You know… Maybe if you'd found out earlier. We could have prevented this." That snapped a chord within her. "I would rather die than have never known Moraine."

"Is that so, Laira?" He looked into her bloodshot eyes, hardening his face when he realized she'd told the truth. "So be it."

A loud gunshot resounded in the room.

The present...

She touched her cheeks and felt warm water on top of them. With each tear, Moraine let go of one memory. The water never stopped flowing. Letting her mother's voice enter her brain, Moraine nudged her wings through the slits in her shirt.

"It's okay that you're different. I still love you for who you are..."

Spreading them, she walked backwards a few paces.

"He may never understand, but we'll be okay.

She ran forward, tucking the extra limbs into her back...

"...I'll protect you."

And jumped.