“ Didn't save that one did you?” A familiar voice chuckles, nodding at the crumpled bleeding boy on the ground.
“ Wasn't worth saving.” I answer and turn to walk back the way I came.
He snorted and ran his fingers though his licking flame hair.
“So you reckon you’re God now?”
I ignore him. I didn't need to be God to know that world had a lot more need for innocent people just trying to get by then it did for drug dealers.
“So can I finally tempt you to meet our brothers?” he grins and drops an arm around my shoulders which I shake off and leap onto the next roof.
“Yeah. Our brothers. You know from-“ he points upwards towards the full moon.
I frown, kicking a loose roof tile over the edge.
“You don’t know?”
A low growl starts to rumble in my chest in frustration.
“That’s it!” he cries and pushes me t the edge of the roof. “You are coming to the pub.”
“Why?” I ask incredulously, stretching out my wings regardless, feeling the wind catch in the lethargy membrane.
“Because brother, we are going to tell you who you are.”
My first memory is of waking up outside my garage.
My wings had been badly torn and broken, I hadn’t been able to fly for nearly a week.
Since that confusing, lonely time, flying has always brought me so much pleasure. Even now, on the way to what I expect to be a sleazy, dirty pub I can’t help but relish in the sight of the city miles below me and the power of the air as I slice through it.
Flying behind the stranger who is supposedly a brother as he steers me to the pub, I allow myself to ponder the possibilities.
He’d said we were from up here, understandable consider we have wings, but what did he mean?
Why do we have wings?
What has happened to my memory?
Who are these brothers?
Do I have parents?
Suddenly, the flame haired stranger folds his wings back, diving down towards a towering skyscraper.
I follow behind, wind whipping my dark hair into a frenzy with enough force to burst my lungs if I were breathing.
As we draw closer, slowly righting myself for a controlled landing, I see that the roof had been partially covered with bits of scrap metal and plastic to create a ramshackle shelter.
Low chatter and laughter emit from inside and cast my guide a glance he doesn’t notice.
He grins and walks into the makeshift pub through a set of beaded curtains which catch in my hair.
A fire emits a low glow in the corner, enough light to see better by without being too bright and harsh on my eyes as long as I don’t stare directly into the flames.
There are cheers and greetings as he walks over our “brothers” who drink out of mismatched glasses and bottles. A white haired young man, roughly the same age as me, stands behind a makeshift bat that looks as though it used to be in a courtroom.
“I bring a stray!” The stranger cheers and all eyes turn to me, reflecting the firelight in the eerie cat-like glow I’ve only seen in my reflections.
“He doesn’t remember…”he jerks his head upwards and I receive curious glances.
A beefy hand is suddenly thrust out, waiting for mine.
I look up to the owner ad find a sturdy man with stubble, black eyes and a bald head giving me a toothy grin.
“Welcome to the club. I’m, Hate.”
I shake his hand, unsure how to respond.
A slim, pale hand reaches for mine next. He seems a little younger than myself, seventeen, eighteen maybe. Despite the tall, wiry body, light grey eyes and white-blue hair. When he speaks, it is low and felt more than heard.
“I'm Thunder. That’s my brother Lightening behind the bar.” He smiles.
The very similar looking brother gives me a nod.
“And I’m Blaze.” The flame haired stranger smirks.
The hoard of eyes stare at me expectantly.
“I don’t know my name.” I say uncomfortably, shifting as they chuckle.
“Well what do you do?” Thunder booms.
“Do?” I frown.
“Yeah. You know. There’s a reason Storm is in charge of drinks. He keeps them cold.” He smiles at me as if waiting for me to understand what I think is meant to be a joke.
Blaze sighs, gulping a mouthful of liquid out of a bottle.
“I'm serious. He knows nothing. Not about Upstairs, not about Reaping- nothing.”
A stool is kicked out from somewhere in the centre of the men and a wide gap forms. Silence falls, only the crack and thrum of the fire breaking through it.
An older man with grey hair sits on a stool, foot on the chair he kicked out.
“Sit down.” He says, something in his voice making me do so. “hello brother, I think I remember you though I would bet you have no idea who I am?”
I shake my head.
His lip twitches.
“Well I’ll do introductions in a moment. How about I tell you a story? Our story?”
I nod hesitantly.
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
He tilts his head back, bottle to his lips and I watch the amber liquid disappear down his throat.
He throws the bottle in the fire where it breaks and makes the flames roar. He wipes his mouth and sigh.
“Then let’s begin.”