Short Stories

Crane’s Light – Chapter 7: Wings

Lyra hadn’t woken in days, deep in a slumber that didn’t seem to come from her tonic, which worried Hideaki greatly. He kept vigil often, watching her sleep and taking note of the barely visible rise and fall of her chest, the only signal to her state of living.

One night he found himself downstairs at her desk, thumbing through her journal in search of a clue that would give him an indication as to what could possibly be happening, or how he could possibly help, when he heard her scream. His legs seemed to swiftly and automatically carry him to the room, and he burst through the door to find her writhing and howling in pain on the bed, the white of the covers turning red with her blood. He could feel a jolt of panic as he quickly arrived at her side and attempted to examine her.

The blood was obviously coming from her back, and as he attempted to look closer, he did notice something emerging from the area, but suddenly felt the breath leave him as her fist made contact with the soft flesh just under his ribs. He fell back to the floor in surprise and looked at her, eyes widening as she stared straight into him, her eyes narrowed as her face contorted in pain, letting out a growl, “Don’t fucking touch me, Hideaki.”

His mouth shifted into a deep frown, but he nodded quietly, assuming that her hostile temperament was coming from a place of extreme pain. She let out another scream, the sound of which sent a chill through him, and she threw herself onto her side, facing him as her eyes squeezed shut, her jaw clenched. Her arm extended outward and he reached out, their hands coming together and gripping tightly. Her eyes opened, wide in pain and fear as tears streamed from them, her voice breaking, “I’m sorry.” He shook his head at her apology and gave her hand a squeeze. “Is there anything I can do?” He asked. She shook her head as her eyes closed, appearing exhausted in that moment. He felt fear begin to build within him in response and squeezed her hand again, but her face had smoothed and softened, and she didn’t squeeze his hand in return. “Lyra?” He asked, scooting closer.

Her eyes shot open and she let out a blood-curdling shriek as her hand tightened around his in such strength that he grimaced, trying not to show the pain it caused him. No point in making her feel worse. Something behind her moved and he found himself gazing at what seemed to be a white wing, tinged pink with a bit of blood. Her face had relaxed once more in exhaustion, her breathing deep and heavy, and for the first time in the time he had known her, she was sleeping peacefully without pain. He smiled instinctively and rose, letting her hand slip out of his as he moved around to look at her back.

Her back was deep red due to a mix of inflammation and blood, but now protruding from it was a pair of tidy, white wings, colored pink or red in some places due to the bleeding. She let out a soft snore, something she had never done in his presence before, and his smile widened. Studying her back once more, he turned and walked to the dresser, intent on grabbing some clean cloth.

Lyra’s eyes fluttered open and she let out a soft groan, feeling a mixture of sensations within her body, the most noticeable being the lack of pain that used to reside within her; it was foreign as the pain had been there as long as she could remember. Another sensation was a cool wetness moving against her body, and she turned her head to see Hideaki smiling softly at her as he ran a wet cloth over her back, cleaning her. Perhaps the most odd of sensations was what else she saw when she looked back, and her eyebrows raised as she noticed the wings, her mouth opening in surprise.

“I told you they would come,” Hideaki murmured as he finished up and sat back, continuing to smile at her. Her eyes rolled slightly, “I don’t think now is the time for an ‘I told you so’,” she muttered back at him. Her wings moved with her, as if her mind already knew how to instruct them, as she rolled over to face him, her face serious as she gazed at him. “I’m just now beginning to realize everything that’s happened. I’m sorry I hit you,” she murmured. He shook his head and chuckled. “It was a surprise, but I understand why it happened. The most important thing is you are okay. And the pain?” She found herself smiling widely at him as she reached out and grasped his shirt, pulling him in and kissing him passionately. “Sore from what just happened, but gone otherwise,” she whispered after the kiss had finished, and they grinned at each other as he pulled her in close.

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