Written by Derrick Nadeau
You Are Reborn
Rand stared at the black wings bolted to the side of his farmhouse as his mind swarmed with mixed emotions. From the moment his son had been murdered by the monster once attached to the black wings, Rand’s life had become a whirlwind of anger, hatred, and sadness. Rand picked up the ax he had used to remove the wings of his Seraph captive, and his mind swelled with the memory of what it felt like to chop the wings off of the monster that had attacked his family. Each swing of the ax allowing Rand to expel his anger while the sound of the monster’s flesh tearing recharged his hatred for the next swing of the ax. Rand stared down at the blood covered ax and found himself wishing he had been allowed to kill the Seraph instead of being forced to watch the monster that had destroyed his family crawl out of his village, wingless, with two huge, cauterised wounds on his back. Though it seemed unlikely that the Seraph would survive the long journey back to his people, the small possibility that the monster could make it home filled Rand’s heart with bitterness.
Rand tossed the ax back on the ground, disgusted with the weakness of his village elders for letting the Seraph just leave. Rand walked up to one of the wings, grabbed a hold of the crossbow bolt anchoring it to the wall of the farmhouse, and attempted to wrench it free. Rand pulled on the bolt with all his strength while attempting to wiggle the bolt free, but could not get it to move at all. As he tried to force the bolt out, Rand’s hands became sweaty, eventually slipping off the bolt and sending Rand reeling backwards. As he slipped back, Rand tripped on the ax he had tossed on the ground, altering his fall so that he bumped into the wall of his farmhouse, landing between the two black wings. Rand leaned against the wall for a moment, regaining his composure from the fall, when he suddenly began to feel a burning sensation on his back. Rand attempted to push himself off the wall as the burning intensified, but found himself inexplicably paralyzed. Panic began to overtake Rand’s mind, and he let out a scream filled with fear and agony.
Rand’s wife, Meleda, was preparing dinner when she was startled by the sound of her husband’s screaming. Grabbing a nearby kitchen knife, Meleda ran outside to discover her husband writhing on the ground, covered by the black wings of the Seraph, and screaming as though he were being torn apart. Meleda attempted to run to her husband’s side, but was blocked by the flailing wings. Meleda lifted the knife in her hand, and stabbed at the closest wing, which seemed to only cause her husband to let out another agonized scream.
“Rand,” Meleda shouted, hoping her husband would hear her over his own screams. “What is happening? What can I do?”
Rand did not respond, continuing his chorus of pain, and Meleda began to feel panic set into her mind. Desperate to help her husband, Meleda began to stab at the black wings again and again, ignoring her husband’s frantic cries after each stab. After several hacks, one of the wings swung up and hit Meleda square in the chest, knocking her to the ground brutally. Meleda placed her hand on her chest, sore from the impact of the wing, and felt for broken ribs as she tried to catch the breath that had been knocked out of her. Meleda pulled her shirt open slightly, and examined her chest. Meleda was not surprised to see a large, deep black bruise on her chest, but was relieved to see that no bones appeared broken. As she watched a large welt begin to form on he skin, Meleda realized that the screams of her husband had abruptly stopped. Meleda looked up to see rand lying still on the ground, covered by the black wings, his body slowly undulating as his breathing became deep and heavy.
“Rand,” Meleda cried, her voice barely able to produce more than a harsh whisper. “My love, are you hurt? What happened?”
Meleda paused, staring at her husband and praying for his response.
“Rand,” Meleda shouted, “Husband, please answer me! Are you all right?”
Meleda struggled to get to her feet and move to her husband when suddenly, she saw the wings of the Seraph begin to stir. Meleda watched in shock as the wings spread wide and her husband slowly rose to his feet. Horror began to fill Meleda’s heart as she witnessed the sight of her husband standing before her with the black wings of the Seraph somehow attached to Rand’s back.
“Rand,” Meleda whispered, choking as she did. “What has happened to you?”
Rand began to slowly move each wing, testing the strength and flexibility of his new appendages before turning his gaze to his wife. Meleda was startled by the look in her husband’s eyes, a combination of awe and elation.
“My wife,” Rand said, smiling at Meleda. “My love. Look at me. Look at what the gods have given me. Look upon your husband as he has been reborn!”
“Reborn,” Melada whispered. “I-I don’t understand.”
“Neither do I,” Rand laughed. “Not fully. It seems the will of the gods that I should be given this gift of our enemy’s wings. Though the pain was exquisite, I am now truly blessed by the gods.”
“But why,” Meleda asked. “For what purpose?”
“Who am I to guess at the whims of the gods,” Rand replied. “Blessed though I be, I have not been given a glimpse into the will of the gods.”
“This is no small matter,” Meleda stated. “We need to seek the counsel of the elders.”
“Yes, perhaps you are right my love,” Rand responded. “Very well, let us seek the advice of our village elders. I will meet you there my wife. But first, my heart is aching to test out these wings.”
Before Meleda could answer, Rand began to flutter his wings, causing a wind to blow the dirt around. Meleda covered her eyes to block the wind and dirt as her husband began to lift into the air. With a cry of pure joy, Rand launched himself into the sky, leaving his wife behind. Meleda watched her husband fly away, but instead of feeling awe or amazement, found only fear and concern filling her heart.