Today I’ve decided to begin posting an original comedy web serial, One Day Dex Could Fly. It’s about a young, rather uptight law associate who inexplicably wakes up one morning with wings.
I will post a new bite-sized chapter once a week every Saturday. So without further ado…
Chapter 1 – Dex
THE RISING SUN IS SHINING CLEAR AND BRIGHT, and the air is warm on my feathers as I look down, watching my winged, rippling shadow jump and skip over the trees and lush, green grass of Boston Commons, a large, beautiful city park between Beacon Hill and Downtown Crossing.
Dipping down a bit, I glide right over the top of Brewer Fountain, one of my favorite places in Boston, enjoying the familiar sound of the running water pouring out in little streams from a two tier column into a wide, shallow, double-lipped base. Children jump up, reaching for me, laughing and chasing me as far and as fast as they can on their tiny legs. Smiling, I turn my head for just a moment to look under my wing to see them recede into the distance, hopping up and down and waving at me. Their happiness awakens my own effervescent, childhood joy, which bubbles over into carefree laughter lost to the wind.
By the light I know I am going to get to work early as I head downtown. That is one of the many beauties of flying in the city. I miss all of the snarled traffic clogging the streets and smogging the air. Passing over the northeastern edge of the park I leave the serenity of nature behind for the asphalt and concrete of Downtown Crossing. I consider heading a little south to pop into Thinking Cup, knowing I’m running enough ahead of schedule to grab hot, fresh Cage-free Eggs and an Americano to go. Flying takes a lot of energy, and I’m already hungry.
But I don’t want my feet to touch the ground just yet.
Weaving between skyscrapers, I have almost reached the law offices of Sweeney Conn where I work as a first-year law associate. My job is all-consuming and stressful beyond description, but right now I am only thinking of the wind and the weightlessness and the beauty of the metal and glass giants winking sunlight.
I have to make a sharp turn up ahead. Dipping my right shoulder, my wings catch the shift in the wind, pulling me toward the narrow opening between the buildings and–
My eyes fly open and I suck in a breath as the hardwood floor of my apartment swings into view. I am about to roll off the edge of my bed. Gasping, mind reeling from the rude awakening, I teeter on the edge for half a second before realizing I have tipped past the point of no return. I am going to face plant.
As I reach for something, anything to keep from falling, the strangest sensation I have ever experienced shoots through my body, down to my very bones, almost as if a huge weight has lifted. I feel light, light as air in fact, and this enables me to hover on the edge of the bed for a few seconds longer as–
A prickling shoots across the surface of the skin stretching over my shoulder blades, and something opens out of them, making me breathe out in a rush as if someone just punched me in the gut. The sensation is not painful, per say, but rather reminds me of the feeling you get when you hit your funny bone or lift your foot for that final step that doesn’t exist at the top of a staircase, only to find empty air. Disconcerting and alarming.
Like fingers from a closed fist or the petals of a budded flower, I feel the new limbs open until they pull completely free of my skin. This is at once terrifying and oddly familiar…almost as if I’m allowing myself a satisfying stretch after being cooped up in a small space for hours. They continue to expand, nerves, sinews, muscles, bones lengthening at the buzzing speed of shooting stars, stretching out until they must be twenty feet across or more. I can feel the bones and joints are connected by a sort of webbing that automatically catches the air, creating a pull like a kite caught on a strong breeze.
This all happens in a matter of seconds, and my mind cannot fully process what is actually happening to me.
Muscles across my chest and back I didn’t know I had tighten, the identical appendages on each side of my back automatically work in tandem, and a great whoosh sounds, jerking my near-weightless body a few inches up and off the bed.
In my moment of complete and utter shock at what has just happened, my mind blanks and the same should-be nonexistent muscles in my upper body contract again, and the limbs smoothly, naturally fold inward, collapsing in a weight that is at once soft, heavy, and thick, tucking down the length of my body.
I promptly fall.
My right arm clips the edge of the bed and I land on the front of my left shoulder with a thud. I settle onto my stomach, groaning. Falling from that height should have hurt far worse on this unforgiving, hardwood floor. For a moment I wonder if it has something to do with my change in weight. I slide my left arm above my head to help alleviate the pain in my shoulder, and the new limbs and muscles in my upper body move again in a weird, uncomfortable way.
I lie there in shock, afraid to think about what just happened. About how I lifted off the bed. About how my body has just drastically altered. About how I feel as light as a—
My alarm clock goes off, making me start.
Naturally, I think about silencing it. Normally, this would’ve made my arms and legs and torso respond automatically, going through the motions that had long-since become muscle memory to comply with my subconscious commands.
But this time my body responds differently.
The new limbs open again, but instead of just catching air to help me hover for a moment, this time with a great sweep and thrush, I am lifted off the floor. I cry out in a panic as the floor retreats for a moment, then rapidly approaches. Without thinking, I land on a knee and foot, and launch my newly agile body up in tandem with the movements at my back. The floor retreats again until I am above the bed, then I instinctually make the limbs shift so that the sweep and thrush move forward, which pushes me backward, righting my body so it is vertical. Then I make them shift again, and I…and I—
Down. I rise slightly. Up. I sink slightly. And so on and so forth for several seconds.
My alarm continues to go off.
Eyes wide, heart hammering, I look a little to my left and see my reflection in the full body mirror hanging on the back of my closet door. The visual confirms what I already know.
I…I…I have wings.
Enormous, beautiful wings. Only they are partially transparent, like gossamer, as if the slightest gust of wind might blow them away. But they feel perfectly solid to me and move up and down in sweeping, powerful strokes. Somehow they pass through my chest-of-drawers on one side and my bed on the other at every downstroke, as if they can only affect me and the air and nothing else. It looks like I am half ghost. The feeling each time they pass through the solid furniture is uncomfortable. It’s a shivering, cold pressure, and it shoots ice up my nerve signals along the new bones, muscles, and sinews, making me wince. Even my feathers are affected. The way they are attached feels similar to how my hair is attached to my scalp. So even though the shivering sensation is there, the feel of the wind rushing through, over, and past my feathers is incredible.
As I continue to stare at my reflection, I see my upper body has changed drastically, my ribcage much, much bigger, the muscles around my sleeveless shirt far larger, and my upper body bones are huge, even if they feel lighter now.
But the changes I see are also partially transparent, superimposed over my regular body and clothes, just like my wings.
With a cry of shock and terror at the altered sight of myself, that automatic collapsing happens again and my wings fold downward, almost disappearing from my reflection. I drop to the floor and smoothly land in a crouch. The long feathers at the base of my wings pass through the floor, bringing that uncomfortable feeling again, but this time I’m a little more used to it.
Slowly standing, I stare at my reflection. My wings are folded over my shoulders and the outsides of my arms. I can see them clearly extending below my hands, reaching all the way down to my ankles. After a few seconds of stunned silence, I fully extend my wings and breathe in deeply at the unreal feeling as they open. The air flows over thousands of feathers, my enlarged lungs expand, filling a ribcage that can’t possibly be this big…
This…isn’t possible, I think. I’m still dreaming.
But in all of my flying dreams I’d never felt anything close to the hundreds–no, thousands–millions–of details, from the warm, downy sensation on my arms at the touch of the undersides of my wings to the millions of nerve endings that make the skin at the base of my feathers tingle at the slightest swirl of air that only dust motes should be able to reveal.
Meanwhile, my alarm continues to go off, and I realize in that moment—
It would’ve woken me. This isn’t a dream.
I have wings.
And I just flew.
Click here for Chapter 2!
© 2019 Mandy R. Campbell
If you’d like to check out my other stories, head over to my Author Page for more info. 🙂