I Once Was Me

Submitted by Cora R to Contest #9 in response to: Write a story about unrequited love.... view prompt

I was once me.

I am not anymore.

It is strange, not to be yourself any longer.

But that is what happens when you crash to the earth, your wings pulled from your back, bleeding, slightly feathered strips of skin and bone all that’s left.

I once had wings.

I was once an angel-kin.

I was once a princess.

I once was me.

I am not anymore.

I am this.

This wingless, horrible thing.

A girl who can walk on clouds because she was born to, but cannot get to them. A girl who had wings, but cannot soar as she used to. 

All because of her father.

Ah, yes. My father.

He thought humanity was a weakness. 

If I was to love a human, I should be like them.

You lose your wings and you are thrown from the cloud home.

I cried, I admit.

I did not mean to love her.

Yes, I loved a girl.

A girl and a girl.

A girl and a girl who loved a boy.

It couldn’t get any worse?

It couldn’t?

I never was going to do anything about it. 

I just watched her.

Marvelling, quietly, at her face and her hands and her hair.

I sat on clouds, listening to her sing.

I never saw her.

She was gorgeous.

But she loved him. 

I suffered in silence. I would not inhibit her happiness for anything.

Or so I told myself.

Sometimes there is a time when we vindicate our humans. We sentence them to death by our airy oblivion.

We destroy them, the worthless ones.

Entirely.

Not just their bodies, but their minds, their souls.

Why keep them alive, if they were useless, worthless, unneeded for humanity?

My father saw me watching them, one day, and asked me what I was doing.

I told him, that day, that I was watching two people in love.

He told me to stop. That watching humans was not my place.

I said I would.

But I did not.

I was foolish.

I didn’t think what he might do.

He caught me, again.

And again.

And again. 

But I could not give them up. I could not give her up.

He decided to make me.

He told the council that they were the target.

He paid them to eradicate them.

He thought I would never be able to stop them.

The price of a doomed human is a wing.

Two humans is two wings.

No one gives up their wings.

No one gives up even one feather.

But I did.

I gave up both.

The pain was beyond anything I'd ever felt.

It was like every bone was breaking, every heart bursting, every scrap of grating fire shredding itself down on my back.

They threw me, hurled me from the heavens, bleeding, having nothing but the clothes on my back, down to the world below.

I stared up at the sky for hours.

That horrible, horrible sky. So blue, peaceful, kind-looking. So cruel. So heartless, so full of contempt, so cold. 

I stared up at it, remembering everything. How I got there. How I lost my wings. 

How much I loved her.

How I loved, I loved, and I lost her.

I felt my life bleeding out of me.

At least, I thought I did.

But I got up.

I straightened up, somehow, amazingly.

I got on my feet, that were not made for walking. They were made for clouds, for softness, for skies. Not dirt, not grit, not travel.

But I got up.

I don’t know how.

But I did.

I got up, and I shouted to the skies where I'd been born.

“Try,” I shouted, “Try all you like, but you cannot destroy me! You can do nothing to the girl who decided two lives were worth two wings!”

They answered in silence.

I started to walk.

I didn’t know where I was.

For all my bravery, I felt like I was dying.

I had no worth in me anymore.

What is an angel-kin without her wings?

She is nothing. She is no one.

I was once me. 

Now I am simply a shell.

I am something powerless.

I am someone powerless.

I am an angel-kin, at the mercy of every human who will ever dare to stare, with wide open eyes, at the gaping holes in my back, where my wings used to be.

I will listen to their cries of, “Oh, Gods, what is that awful thing? The angel who has fallen to the ground, has lost her wings, and is worthless?”

And I will bear it.

For some things, some people, are worth giving your wings for.

Like her. And, by that, him.

Her husband. Her love. The one who made her happy. The one I could never have been to her. The one I wished I could have been.

I was just a girl who watched from the clouds. The girl who fell hopelessly in love with someone who could never love her back.

But, she would live.

They would live, but at the cost of my wings.

I should have regretted it.

I truly should have.

But I could not.

Because somewhere, she would have her children.

Somewhere, she would grow old.

Somewhere, she would die on the fates’ time, not ours.

Not by Airy Oblivion.

She will never know what I did for her.

Perhaps that is a good thing.

Now, I can walk away.

I can walk into the world where dusty feet walk on for miles, without my attachment to anyone. 

I can walk, on feet made for flying, somewhere no one would ever find me.

Where they would not see the scars on my back, the pieces of bone, the scraps of feathers, that were all that was left of what had once been the only thing keeping me off the ground.

But, oddly enough, I didn’t mind.

She was alive.

That was all that mattered.

She was all that mattered.

I smiled to myself, and walked up to the nearest door.

I knocked, for the first time in my life, on the hard wood of a door.

I once was me.

But not anymore.

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