Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Missing Wings 2

"Who are you?" Bryant repeated, stepping closer to the man.

"I am the answer to your questions," the man said, grinning widely. Bryant noticed his teeth were crooked and yellow. The man's cheeks were strained tightly as he leered down.

"Then tell me who you are," Bryant said. His voice was calm and cool, though he could feel the frustration bubbling inside of him. But he had come too far to blow up over a silly man playing childish games.

"You must come with me first, Galen," the man said.

"Where?" Bryant said. He didn't bother to correct the man that his name wasn't Galen.

"To a safe place." The man's smile dropped as his eyes roamed over the streets. "It is not safe here."

"I'm not going anywhere until I get some answers," Bryant stated, crossing his arms. He longed to reach up and itch his shoulder, but didn't dare in front of the strange man. "Who are you? How do you know who I am?"

"It's not safe here," the man hissed, inching toward him. "We must return..." He trailed off, flinching inwardly. Bryant raised his eyebrows. "Where?" he asked, stepping closer to the man. "Return where?"

"It's not important," the man said. His long skinny hands clutched at his forearm, his fingers wrapping around his skin. "We must go, Galen."

"Let go of me," Bryant cried, struggling. "I'm not going anywhere with you!"

The man's dirty fingernails pierced his forearm, leaving white crescent imprints on his olive skin. "Now, now," the man growled. "You'll never get anywhere that way, will you?" He yanked Bryant's arm, dragging him down the sidewalk. Bryant dug his heels into the ground. His other hand desperately flailed for something to grab.

"Help!" he screeched. "Help me! This man's trying to kidnap me!" The man roared and reached up to strike him. "Quiet, brat!" His hand swung around and Bryant closed his eyes.

And felt nothing. He heard a scuffling and the man scream, dropping his forearm. He opened his eyes and gasped. A cat was snarling and wrapped around the strange man's face.

"Don't just stand there!" A girl with blond pigtails grabbed his other arm. Her cheeks were streaked with dirt and her bright blue eyes were frantic. "We've got to hurry! Come on, KC! Follow us!" She rushed down the street. Bryant hesitated, but followed her. It would be easier to escape an 8-year-old girl than a dirty old man.

"Who's KC?" he yelled as they ducked into an ally. They emerged on a different street, dodging cars as they ran across the intersection.

"The cat," the girl yelled. "Kitty Cat. Get it?"

"Very original," Bryant muttered.

"If you're so smart, think of something yourself, Bryant," the girl snapped back. Her pigtails streamed behind her as she hopped around fallen trash cans and old boxes.

"How do you know my name?" he shouted, his forehead creasing with worry. Why did all these people know his name? He just wanted his wings. What was going on?

"I'll tell you later," the girl yelled behind her. "We've got to get somewhere safe first."

Bryant skidded to a stop. "Oh no," he snapped, shaking his head. "No more later. No more safe places. I want my questions answered. Now."

The girl stopped in her tracks and whipped around. Her eyes flared with temper. "Fine," she snapped. "Just get out of the road first." She pointed a red door on the side of the building. With all the dignity he could muster, Bryant marched into it. The room was dark and musty. Boxes of books were stacked from floor to ceiling. A flickering electrical sign over the door read, "Research room."

"Where is this?" Bryant whispered. The girl started to answer, but cocked her head to the stairs. She put a finger to her lips and grabbed his arm, jerking him behind a tall stack of boxes. His back brushed against the wall and his skin screamed in agony. His fingers twitched and his shoulder ached with itchiness. Footsteps descended down the stairway. The girl stood as still as a statue, her eyes glaring into his. Fire was eating at his back, tearing at his skin. It felt like a million ant bites and thousands of bee stings rolled into one.

Biting his cheeks, he brushed his back on the wall. The motion just fueled the burning. The girl's eyes widened and she shook her head. The itchy sensation spread to his arms and down his legs. His entire body felt like it was crawling on hot pins. A ruler was sticking out of one of the boxes. The girl's eyes grew bigger and she shook her head. The footsteps grew louder. Bryant reached toward the box and gently took the ruler in his hand. He slid it out slowly, sighing in relief when he slid it under his shirt.

Suddenly, the box wobbled and crashed to the floor. The footsteps began to run in their direction.

"Hide!" the girl hissed.

To be continued.....