It takes nearly an hour to reach my destination. My arms sting from holding her. At the moment she’s only a fledgling, when she awakes she’ll be rather clumsy. I clean up a handful of black feathers off the ground. I wonder what they turned her with, probably something elegant or graceful, a swan perhaps. She sleeps, curled in a ball. Her long honey brown hair cascading over her shoulders and along the floor. There’s a noticeable bulge on her back, she must be going through transition. She shoots up from her spot on the floor, now wide awake and by the looks of it pissed.
“Where am I?” She asks, demanding an answer.
“My nest.” I respond, trying hard not to trigger an attack.
“What happened?” Her brows furrow, making a line in the center of her forehead.
“You’re going through transition. When your abductors kidnapped you they took you to a cave. They then proceeded with what we call the ceremony.” I know I probably sound crazy, she was only human not even a couple of days ago. She begins to laugh.
“You have to be joking.” She states.
“No.” I extend my wings for her to see. She seems to be on the edge of passing out again.
“What is the ceremony?”
“They take a bird and one of us, the wings are sown onto your back and the blood of our kind in your veins. After twenty four hours your wings will begin to grow and certain parts in your body alter to allow flight, like your bones and lungs.” She struggles to grasp the words falling out of my mouth.
“No.” She scrambles away from me “No! You’re lying!” she shouts. Her eyes widen with fear as I try to approach her. “Get away from me!” I hold my arms up in a sign of peace.
“If I wanted to hurt you don’t you think I would’ve already?” I question. She seems to pause while she thinks about it, her body still tense but her eyes soften to decide.
“Why did you bring me here?” She pulls her right arm to her chest. “Why not leave me to die there?”
“Because someone did the same thing for me.” I respond, my mouth dries at the thought of it. “I was in your position at one time.”
“What happened to them?” She tilts her head to the side. How foolish. I could be a threat to her and she’s already become rather comfortable with me.
“Enough questions.” I grunt. I clear my throat to make it even more obvious that topic is not a subject to be brought up. Her arms shake at her sides. Is she afraid of me? I suppose that’s some progress, she should learn that trust can lead to death.
“Can I ask what your name is?” She stares up at me, her golden eyes hidden below long dark lashes. My mind runs blank as I try to remember, it’s been so long.
“I don’t really have one I suppose.” I sit against the stone wall opposite of her.
“Why not?” She watches me with a strange curiosity I’m not used to.
“I’ve been alone for so long I forgot it. I’ve had nicknames but I can’t remember my name.” I explain. I begin to frown.
“Oh.” She looks down at her hands just as she had earlier, the horror isn’t as evident as it had been. “Seraphina, that’s my name.” she whispers as though she doesn’t know whether to trust herself.
“Care to give me a name?” I joke.
“Ryder” She extends her left leg, testing me in some unknown way.
“You just named me?” I can’t help but laugh.
“You look a lot like someone I used to know.” She pauses “His name was Ryder.”
“What happened to him?” I ask casually, might as well get to know her.
“I don’t know.” She shifts to look at the floor blankly. “On his nineteenth birthday he disappeared. Nobody knows what happened.” She pauses “I thought I was dead, and I was just seeing him. But you’re eyes are different.” I shift uncomfortably.
“Your eyes change color after the transition.” I whisper, I watch as her face grows pale.
“What color are mine?” She looks at me, she clings to the wall again.
“Gold.” I rub the back of my neck. I can’t be who she thinks I am. I would recognize her. Wouldn’t I? For goodness sake I don’t even my own damn name.
“Are you-?” Beads of sweat begin to form on the edge of her hairline.
“I don’t think so.” I swallow nervously “You should get some sleep.” Yes, I assure myself. I would recognize this girl. Wouldn’t I? She turns away from me, I can’t tell if it’s in fear or drowsiness. Whatever it may be she needs to rest. This is all too sudden. I should’ve left her for the vultures. No, don’t think like that. She’s better off here. I shake my head to clear my crowded mind. Survival. That’s what I need to worry about, not my past. Whatever is left back there doesn’t matter anymore. And she needs to learn that.
It only takes what I’m guessing is around half an hour for her to fall asleep. I can’t be sure, I haven’t seen a clock in ages.
That boy she speaks of, Ryder, he’s probably sitting at some bar somewhere picking up drunk girls. Or perhaps he’s lounging on a couch browsing sport stations. Whatever it may be, it’s not important. Because if I know something it’s that I’m sure as hell not her long lost boyfriend. If he was even that. I’m me. And what that may be I don’t know, but I’m certain I’m not him. Surely I would recall something from my history that would alert me that I’m wrong. But at the moment I’m searching and I can’t find anything.
Why do I even care so much? Does it really matter? Even if I was him at some point I’m not longer the same person.