((A quick note: I kind of implied with the last part’s introduction that this is intended to be better than the original, which isn’t really my intent. Though I’m attempting to fix some of the logical fallacies, some of my changes are just that–changes, only because I believe them better or more interesting. In addition, I talked about making them psychopaths or whatever; I’m not going to try that, as I’d end up mangling it horribly.
Bad writing! After originally posting this, I noticed that Iggy’s real name is James canonically. To keep with my naming scheme of real names, I changed his name through this chapter and will be using it in the future. It’s a shame, because I actually like the name Iggy.))
The voice came from behind me–I whirled around instinctively, alarmed by the noise, though I knew it was Devin once I registered his voice. Young and scared sounding. Another nightmare, likely.
“Yeah?” I said, mustering up as much concern as I could.
He said nothing for a moment, just standing there with his long blond hair over his eyes. He was wearing pajama bottoms (which he had been wearing for days at this point) and his torso was bare to free his brown wings, which were longer than mine. Almost useable.
“They were chasing me again.” Devin spoke at just over a whisper, trembling.
“Oh, honey…” I used Jeb’s words, from when he comforted the others; I still didn’t know how to handle the nightmares.
Tears ran down Devin’s face and he ran forward, burying his face in my stomach. I patted his back, still feeling too inadequate to do anything else. It had been two weeks since Jeb left, and I was adapting slowly. I sighed softly, crouching down to face Devin.
“We’re safe here,” I whispered. “They can’t find you.”
“But…” He didn’t finish his thought, if he even had one, and his stomach grumbled loudly.
“Come on, let’s get some breakfast.” I stood up and turned back to the fridge, opening it gently so as to not make too much noise. I peered into it, feeling the same sense of fear that had plagued me ever since Jeb had left. We were running out of food; only the stump of a loaf of bread was left. I had known that was all that was there before looking in the fridge, but I had to look in the slight chance I might have missed something.
I closed the fridge; the bread could be lunch. For now, we still had a little bit of dried fruit, a single can of condensed milk. Enough for breakfast, but nothing more. I pulled those out of a cupboard along with two glasses and two small plates then set them on the counter and began rationing out a small amount of both milk and fruit for me and Devin, mixing the milk with tap water.
“Is Jeb coming back today?” Devin asked as we ate at the kitchen’s island counter.
“I don’t know,” I said absently; I was only half paying attention, my mind focuses on coming up for a solution to our nearly empty food supplies. More and more, traveling to the nearby town seemed like the only option…
“Hey,” came a voice from in front of me–startled, I looked up from my food to find Jacob standing there, his stunted black wings trailing out of a dark sweater.
“Hey,” I replied, smiling tentatively. “Breakfast.”
Jacob nodded, taking a portion of the food I had left out. Though I had taken over rationing, I trusted him to take the right amount–rather, I had to make sure he didn’t take too little.
“We’ll have to go to the town,” Jacob said as he sat down next to me.
I nodded, then said, “Jeb left money in his office.”
Jacob said nothing and we finished eating in silence. Devin took off for the living room, where he had left his practice books the previous night; I headed to the other bedrooms to wake James, Monique, and Angel.
James was just leaving his room as I entered the corridor that housed our bedrooms. “Jake’s in Jeb’s office,” I said as we passed, using Jeb’s name for Jacob. It felt right, with me being the leader in Jeb’s absence. James said nothing, brushing past me.
Now I was at Monique and Angel’s room; there weren’t enough rooms for all of us to have our own, and Jeb had placed them together. Now I wished I could ask him why.
Monique was already awake, sitting on her bed against the wall, when I entered the room. Wavy, rough-looking brown hair draped down her back, nearly matching her darker skin and similar brown eyes. She was the only one of us with long hair; her miniscule wings, able to lie nearly flat against her back, allowed her to. She was the only one of us who could pass as normal.
“Hi,” I said to her as I padded towards Angel’s bed, which was hidden by drapes–Angel liked being alone, for reasons I couldn’t understand.
“Hi. Do I have to get up?”
I managed a smile, turning back to Monique and crossing my arms like Jeb. “Yes. Breakfast’s in the kitchen; take half.”
Monique scowled, her eyes droopy. She got up, however, and I turned back to Angel’s bed as Monique left the room.
“Time to get up,” I said in a slightly raised voice as I pulled back the drapes surrounding the bed. Angel was curled up over a pillow, lying on her stomach–she was wearing a shirt, which bulged at the back in a worrying way. Feathers stuck out from both the bottom and neck of the shirt, and I frowned. Angel hated her wings, the only working pair among us, and frequently tried to hide or get rid of them, often with horrible results. I could still remember when she had tried to cut off the feathers with a pair of scissors she had stolen from Jeb.
“Mmm,” she said at last, straightening out on the bed.
“Angel, you know you’re not supposed to do that,” I said as she sat up slowly. “Take off the shirt.”
“No!” Angel said, anger breaking through her sleepy voice.
“You’re just going to hurt yourself,” I said, trying to sound stern. “Take it off.”
“You’re not Jeb,” Angel said feebly, but she nevertheless began scrabbling at the shirt. Maybe she was just remembering when I had accidentally broken her wrist.
“No, I’m not.” I really, really wished I was right now.