I cradled my baby close to my chest, watching in horror as they approached me, guns pointed at my child. Backing away, my bare feet sliding dangerously on the wet pavement. I pressed my baby closer to me, running my fingers soothingly up and down his cheek, tracing intricate patterns on his flesh. My little miracle. Tears streaming down my pale cheeks, I cowered away from the harsh gazes of the armed men that stood before me.
“Mrs Brooke. You are under strict orders to hand that child over. You know the law.” The leading police guard bellowed, raising a bony finger to point at my baby nestled against me. Feeling my words escape me, I shook my head, backing up even further until my head slammed against the cold brick of a neighbouring house.
Rain drizzled down from the heavens, the sky a menacing grey above me. Instinctively, my eyes searched the crowd for the face of my husband, seeking comfort from his presence, but when my eyes landed upon his exhausted face, I saw that his face bore the same disgusted look as the other men that surrounded me. To them my baby was nothing more than a monster that our world needed to be rid of. My son was an abomination even to his own father. But not to me. No. He was my miracle, a gift from the Gods. I would choke on my last breath before I let them take him.
"Dalia, darling, you need to listen," the hard voice of my husband penetrated through my layer of fear, hitting me at my core. "Hand him over, that thing is not our son. Just relax and hand him over, then we can find our true son." As I began to shake my head his eyes darkened in anger, fists clenching at his sides. "This is an outrage Dalia! That is a monstrosity, not a child!" He shouted at me. I recoiled away from him, his words like a fist in the stomach. No, it wasn't true!
"No!" The words thundered out from my mouth, causing a subtle trace of shock to line my husband’s brow. Angrily lifting a hand to wipe the tears from my face, I felt every muscle in my body clench, my mind already set on what I had to do. Closing my weary eyes, I sent up a silent prayer, reaching out to anyone who was listening, pleading with God to spare my son. "Mrs Brooke..." One of the guards called my name cautiously, causing my eyes to fly open. Casting one more hate-filled glance at anyone who would connect their gaze with mine, I spun on my heel and fled, my feet slapping the frost covered concrete.
The daunting sound of sirens followed me, gaining on me and forcing me to pick up my pace. Pressing my baby closer into the warmth of my dress, I sprinted down the street, dodging parked cars and dashing down near alleyways. My breath coming heavy and fast, I took another turn into the shadows, heading straight for the woods that lined my small hometown. With the slender beams of the moon marking out a path, I dived for the shelter of the trees that loomed high above me, acting as guards of the mysterious creatures that took cover within it. Allowing myself no time to hesitate, I jogged deep into the heart of the woods.
Relief drowned me as I heard the wailing sirens fade, the terrifying voices of the police lost amongst the busy chatter of the woodland creatures. Feeling my eyes flood with tears once more, I brought myself to a halt, leaning against the trunk of a withering oak tree. My baby lay shivering in my arms, his scared cry wrenching at my heart. Rocking him back and forth as I tried to desperately regain my breath, I closed my eyes and pressed my forehead to his. I allowed my love to pass between us, to wrap around us like a blanket of warmth, willing my baby to know how much I cared, how much I loved him. Letting out an exhausted cry as every event that tonight had held fell upon me, I sunk to my knees. "Oh my baby, my sweet Christopher."
Suddenly, voices echoed out around me, arising another wave of terror inside my chest. Climbing briskly to my feet, I forced my legs to move, regaining rhythm as I raced in time with the beat of my heart. I could hear them calling me, warning me that they would do whatever means necessary to get my child, even if that meant harming me. Christopher's cry rang out through the dense woods, leading them to us.
Blinking tendrils of blonde hair out of my eyes, I squinted through the darkness, only just managing to veer away from a gruesome patch of brambles. Christopher let out a weak wail and I longed to comfort him, but I couldn't, I had to keep running. Feeling my panic rise as my foot caught on an external root, I twisted so as not to crush Christopher as I stumbled down to the ground. They were gaining on me. I could hear them, a pack of wolves descending on their prey. My heart leapt into my throat, thumping painfully. "Mrs Brooke!" A voice called, too close for my liking. Wasting no time I scrambled to my feet, planting a quick kiss on Christopher's head before I tightened my grip on his small body, and once again I set off in a fast sprint further into the clutches of the darkness that surrounded me. Running faster and faster, I willed Christopher to stay quiet, knowing I couldn't keep this up for much longer.
When I fell to the ground a second time, my legs giving way, I knew that that was it. I was exhausted. Christopher whimpered in my arms as I curled myself up into a tight ball, holding him close to me, feeling his heart beat thumping gently. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks, merging with the few droplets of rain that had fought their way past the outstretched branches. Small fragments of the moon’s light pooled down in front of me and I dragged myself towards it. Taking a deep breath and shutting out the noise that raged on around me, ignoring the gun shots and the eternal call of my name, I carefully unwrapped my baby from the sodden cloth that I had placed him in only hours ago. Moving my fingers gently over his pale stomach until they reached the nape of his neck, I turned him over in my hands, resting his plump body on my knees, his round blue eyes fixed on the earth below us.
Allowing a small smile of hope to spread over my lips, I placed a hand down on what protruded from his back. Wings. Small, undeveloped wings, his flesh stretched tightly over the bone. Like a baby bird’s wings, without anything to cover them, they were naked and vulnerable to the merciless cold of the night. I was unsure whether they would come to look like the pair of wings that birds possessed, or whether they would look like something more angelic, but I knew that they were not a deformity. I watched as my son wriggled his shoulders, his back arching slightly as his wings began to shake. My smile spreading wider across my dry lips, I bent down to kiss the top of his head, my nose nuzzling the blonde mop of hair that covered it.
Snap. My head shot up, my eyes immediately searching the night for the nearing danger as my hands moved to wrap my son back up in the rain-drenched cloth. Enclosing my son once again in my arms, I climbed to my feet, setting off into the darkness, meandering away from the approaching sound of destruction. The hem of my dress caught on a nearby bramble bush and I hurried to untangle it, ripping the sodden fabric in my hurry to free myself. I could not let myself be caught by those ruthless, coldhearted, monsters.
As I jogged on, the chilling call of the gunfire and the ominous crunch of twigs under footsteps pursued me, closing the distance between me and my worst nightmare. Blinded by fear, my body overtaken by a suffocating terror, I lurched forward, leaping towards a small alcove made up of fallen branches and withering leaves.
I pressed my body down into the ground, clutching Christopher to my side. Pressing my cheek down into the moss that coated the woodland floor, I brought my gaze up to connect with Christopher's, his bright blue eyes were deep pools that anyone could loose themselves in. There were others out there like Christopher, other children hiding away in this distorted world. The first one of their kind had been discovered seven years ago in 1993, bringing with it's birth a new beginning for the human race. Across the world many like Christopher were being hunted and killed, their wings ripped from their backs and hung on the walls, a trophy to show off to society. Some were being captured, locked up like rats in a cage, scientists prodding them day and night... Not Christopher. If I ever made it out of this alive, I would find them, the others like Christopher; I would do whatever it took to keep my baby safe. Christopher was not a monstrosity, he was the future. He would be the one to lead the way forward from this dark state the world had fallen into. A miracle sent from the Gods.