The slapping of feet on cobblestone echoed down the narrow alleyway. Shouting could be heard from further back.

He strained harder, trying to run faster. The yelling grew louder.

His wings fluttered behind him as he ran, one much shorter than the other.

They left a trail of black feathers behind him as he ran.

"He's over here!" shouted a large man, chasing after the small boy with the clipped wings.

No no no no no...

I can't get caught again.

He leaped, straining, trying to get just a foot off the ground.

Sharp pain shot through his wing, and he fell, violently tumbling to the ground.

"You're not getting away this time, brat."

Not again.


He woke in a cell, his wing bound in a cast that covered his torso and most of his back.

"Damn it! Not again! Fuck!" He yelled, punching the wall to his left. "Not again." he sobbed, hiding his face in his arms.

"Not again?" a voice inquired. "What do you mean, 'Not again'? Haven't you always been a slave?"

"No. I haven't. My mother raised me free as the birds in the sky."

"Why are you here now, then? Shouldn't you still be with your mother?"

"Fuck off."

"Is that any way to speak to your new owner?"

"You can't own me."

He was suddenly enclosed in a glowing red bubble, and thrown violently to the bars. He was frozen, staring shocked into her deep blue eyes. Her mark spun ferociously by her left eye. She wrapped her hands around his neck, pressing his face into the bars.

"Yes I can." she whispered. "And don't you forget it."

She threw him to the floor, and spared not a backwards glance as she left.