The house was an enormous wooden affair, filled with lofts and ladders at varying levels. There was family there, but the adults (aunts, uncles, parents, et al) stayed only on the ground floor, never venturing up past the first loft. There were five children, I was one, and we climbed to the top of the highest platform and stood at the glassless window that faced outside.
One dark-haired boy (I thought of him as “cousin”, but did not know his name) stood closest, and turning to us with a mischeivous grin said “I’m going to play ‘Mortle’.” The rest of the children gasped, and I felt apprehensive,and though the name of the game wasn’t familiar, I knew I had played it before.
My bare feet tapped impatiently on the wood of the loft, and I thought “I bet he won’t. They’ll stop him, they always do when we play this.”
The other children crowded closer, and I pulled the youngest back, a red-headed boy of four, and sent him to fetch me something so that he wouldn’t see and tattle.
The dark-haired boy said “Ready? Here I go!” and leapt onto the slide that led from the window to the ground, far below. He slid forever as we watched, coming to rest on the ground yards from the house. He then ran back towards us and flew up to the window on tiny transparent wings the had sprung from his back. We all yelled derisively as soon as we saw that, saying things like “Cheat! You can’t use your wings in Mortle!!”. I haughtily stepped forward and handed him my crumpled wings that I had taken from my pocket, and said “Here. I’ll show you.” I crept to the edge of the window, and then flung myself out onto the slide. I felt heavy and leaden, and came to rest just short of the end of the slide. I ran back to the house, and then passed the adults carefully as I tried to climb back up with the rest of the kids.
“Brianna, where are your wings?” my mother asked in a warning tone. I told her that they had were itching, so I had given them to my cousin to try and trade. The adults all laughed, and began reminiscing. “John we traded once, didn’t we? My wings were too tiny to hold you up!” I left them laughing with nostalgia an resumed my place next to the rest of the kids. They all asked me how it was, and I told them “Awful. You feel all heavy and clumsy. I much prefer using my wings, even if it is for babies.” They agreed, and then a few kids climbed to the sill themselves. “One, two, three- ” They jumped, and flew in a race to the closest tree and back. The dark haired boy won, and when I asked him where my wings were, he said “I think I dropped them during the race.” I felt a sick sense of loss, and crept again past the adults on my way outside to find my wings. As I passed through the door, I heard my mother say, “Honestly, I don’t understand this fascination with games like “Mortle” and trying to be allowed to go out without wings. You think they’d try and enjoy them as long as they could. They only have them until they are fifteen, then they’re mortal, just like the rest of us.” The sky above me was filled with the shouts and laughter of flying children as I inched miserably across the ground, trying to recover my wings. I didn’t find them before I woke up.
B R I A N N A Â P R I V E T T
is the sole occupant at brianna.org, and tried flying once without the aid of an airplane. She lived to tell the tale, though she’s seriously doubted the power of thinking ‘happy thoughts’ ever since. If she’s not injuring herself in one dreamy pursuit after another, she’s probably checking her email. She likes contact with the Outside, on occasion, so drop her a line.