The Hooded Angel | Short Story Society Week 3

At first it was only playing around, experimenting and pushing science to its limits. That little invention turned into something I could have never expected. I was working on my latest invention in the lab, which is a wing-like structure with thrusters for stability, when at the other side of the street, something disastrous was about to happen.

The wings are inspired by the condor, which is the most efficiently moving animal on earth, if you do not count the human on a bicycle. I have been studying their flying mechanism for months, but now my wings were finished. Well… Almost finished. A scientist is never completely finished, just like an artist. There’s always room for improvement. I guess us science people do have something in common with artsy people after all. The wings are made of the lightest metals with small motors for setting the pieces in motion, they are covered in feathers, just like the condor’s wings are. If my calculations were correct, and I assume they are since I checked them at least once every hour (as if the numbers were to change any second), the wings could carry a person. My invention could make someone fly.

That person, of course, not being me. I’m already scared if I have to climb up a chair to get a book from the top shelf. Imagine what would happen if I were actually going to fly! Well… I don’t have to imagine. Because this is what happened.

At the moment I was fitting on my wings, I had strapped myself in and checked if all the motors worked (they did), something happened in the periphery of my eye. A little boy, that was silently playing on the balcony a few floors higher across the street, made an unexpected move. I turned to see the little boy, slipping over the ledge and slowly falling through the balusters of the balustrade. If felt like it all happened in slow motion. Einstein’s theories about relativity and space-time continuums, were at the tip of my fingers. Time slowed and space contracted, making me be hyperaware of my surroundings. And especially of that little boy. Those little feet stumbling over his miniature car, that then rolled away as the boy fell backwards, his head bumping against the baluster but not stopping him from falling any further.

I am not a sporty person, I can’t even run for 20 meters without being out of breath, but somehow (don’t ask me how) I got myself to the window, and opened it, in a split-second. In my way there I had pushed some stuff around, my bottles of chemicals making a ringing sounds when they hit each other. My toes still hanging on to the ledge of the window, I didn’t dare to look down, and I didn’t have time to either, because that boy was still falling. You can’t just ignore fear, because those chemicals in your amygdala (which is the emotional center in your brain) won’t stop existing if you ignore them. When in danger, your body has the automatic reaction to fight or flight, in my case that would be the latter option. Literally.

My vision blurs and my breath is stuck in my throat. This is it. I need to jump. I let go of the window and I fall, while frantically pushing buttons hoping my wings will open up. The wings are programmed to move exactly as those of a condor do. As they spread, with a wingspan of over two meters on each side, the air resistance makes me suddenly decelerate. My hair floating in my face, and in my mouth. I hope no-one is watching this, because that wouldn’t have been a nice view. As I spit out the hairs, my wings make me move forward and downward. The boy is only a few meters below me and I spin downward, and grab him by the collar. At least, that was the plan. What did happen was that I grabbed the air 20 centimeters away from his collar. Moving and grabbing at the same time is harder than it seems. The surroundings disappear in a blur of vertigo and I try again, this time grabbing him at his little arm. The comfort of his arm alone made me sigh in relief. For one second. Then I realized we were still falling.

Still holding on to his arm, I spread the wings wide open. The ground still comes towards us, only slower than before. I’ve always spend my life as close to the ground as possible, but right now, I wish I was way higher. I wish I was flying high, and not close to hitting the ground while being crushed. I prefer my bones to be intact, thank you very much. My wings, that are still opening and closing fast, makes us fall slower and just before we are about to hit the ground, I make a turn. Now my head is up again, the turn caused by sweater’s hood to fall over my eyes. I clutch the boy to my chest as I go up again. Slowly at first, and I can finally relax a little. The height still scares me, but feeling the wind blow past my body, without feet on the ground, it feels good.

As I was making my way back up to the little boy’s balcony, I no longer felt like science nerd Angie, the girl that didn’t go out much, the girl who spend her time in her lab. I was an entirely new person. I’m not some kind of superhero, but I felt like everything was possible. The limit was no longer the sky, I could reach beyond that. I could be anything.

Like an angel risen from its figurative ashes, I dropped the boy off, before flying off to the impossible. A hooded angel with a world to explore.


Send me your stories! I’ll post an overview post of all the stories of week 2 on Thursday 🙂

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