As the big Blond chided Daecon over his P.A. speaker, he started driving slowly across the parking lot until he had the push bar of his truck right up against the front bumper of the Boxster. As soon as the two vehicles touched, the two in the back of the truck jumped out with their weapons and the guy in the passenger seat got out with a shotgun, and they all started walking toward the car. Daecon started to open the door, but the big one with the chain swung it hard against the door and forced it closed again. The one with the shotgun had it pointed directly at Daecon’s head.
“Ah! Ah! Ah! Oh no you don’t!”, said Blondie over the PA system. “You’re gonna stay right there in that pretty little car where you can’t hurt anyone with your fancy fairy moves.”
With that, he put the truck in gear and started pushing the Boxster. Daecon heard the sickening sound of the plastic bumper and hood buckling, and the Boxster started to move. Daecon pushed on the brake as hard as he could, but it was no use. The big Dodge didn’t even struggle as it started pushing the little sports car across the parking lot.
The three guys that had jumped out of the truck walked along side the Boxster, and the shotgun was still pointed at Daecon's head. He looked in the rearview mirror and saw nothing but the guardrail, the temporary repair to the hole in it, and blue sky behind it. He started panicking as he realized what Blondie was doing: He was going to push the Boxster over the cliff with Daecon inside it!
Almost as if he had read Daecon’s mind, Blondie came over the PA speaker again.
“You know, Fruit Boy, if you would have just let us beat you up a little bit this day would have gone a lot better for you. We might have just cut your dick off and let you live like the woman you want to be. But no, you had to go and be a hero and hurt my buddies, then you had to make me chase you all over this God-damned mountain. Now you’re going to die.”
The diesel engine started howling, smoke started pouring out of the smokestacks, and the Boxster started picking up speed heading for the barrier. Soon enough, Daecon heard a crunching sound as the back end of the car hit a concrete berm just before the barrier. The car stopped moving backward as the barrier resisted it, and the rear tires of the truck started spinning. For a moment Daecon was relieved.
“Oops, silly me, I forgot to put it in four wheel drive”, Blondie said over the loudspeaker. The engine died down to idle, the wheels stopped spinning, and Daecon could hear some clunking coming from under the truck as the transfer case was engaged. Sure enough the diesel revved up and the truck started pushing again. This time the push was relentless, and Daecon could hear things popping and breaking in the Boxster as the berm resisted it. Suddenly the car’s axle hopped the berm and the truck effortlessly pushed the car toward the cliff edge, through the temporary repair in the guard rail... and stopped. It started slowly backing up.
The big Dodge stopped about 50 metres from the Boxster, which was right on the edge of the cliff. As Daecon was starting to think that maybe they had had a change of heart, Blondie came over the PA one more time.
“Goodbye, Fruit Boy! See you in hell!”
With that the big diesel started screaming and belching thick black smoke. As it started barrelling towards him, Daecon had just enough time for one last desperate act.
“If I’m going to hell, then you’re coming with me, you son of a bitch!” he yelled, as he put the shifter into reverse, cut the steering wheel hard to the right, and revved the engine. The big Dodge was roaring toward him now, and just before it made contact, Daecon dumped the clutch and sent the Boxster flying backward and over the cliff. Because he had the wheels cut the car swerved out of the way of the Dodge, which never made contact, and as Daecon was going over the edge he saw a look of sheer terror in Blondie’s face as he realized what was happening.
Blondie had anticipated hitting the car and forcing it over the cliff, but Daecon’s last act took away the only barrier between the Dodge and the abyss. With nothing to resist it and the momentum of 5,000 kilograms worth of chrome, rubber, and testosterone, Blondie and the Dodge followed Daecon over the edge. As the two vehicles soared into the blue sky Daecon felt a brief wave of satisfaction as he saw Blondie’s dawning comprehension of what had just happened, and also what was about to happen. That satisfaction was short lived, however, as Daecon started experiencing weightlessness and the reality of his own situation set in:
He, too, was about to die.
Almost immediately after the vehicles started falling Daecon could feel himself slipping out of the Porsche. He didn’t know why, but for some reason he felt that he’d be better off outside of it – certainly it was not going to protect him when impact with the ground below finally came. He gave a shove with his legs and he was out of the car, free falling. At first he stayed beside the vehicles, but as wind resistance started slowing him down the much heavier vehicles plunged further on ahead of him.
He struggled to orient himself as he was falling. With nothing to hold onto or push from this proved to be very difficult, but he soon managed to arrange himself so that he was face down and looking at the rapidly approaching valley floor. As the air rushed around his body the aerodynamics forced him further from the vehicles and the cliff face. A loud crunching sound below indicated that one of the vehicles had struck the side of the cliff, and Daecon felt sick to his stomach as he saw the Dodge bounce off the rocks, cab flattened, and it started tumbling violently in the air. By the looks of how that cab was smashed in, Blondie’s journey into eternity was already over.
His heart racing, Daecon closed his eyes. He knew the end was coming, but he did not want to watch it approach so he kept his eyes closed tightly as he fell. He was trying to force himself to relive fond memories of his past, but as he was doing so, he realized that he didn’t really have many fond memories. He had been an orphan, and this combined with his unique looks and quiet nature made him the target of bullies right through high school.
His looks: His long hair was dyed a pale blue, but its natural colour was as white as snow, as it had been his entire life. Even his eyebrows, eye lashes, and the small amount of hairs elsewhere on his body were pure white. His skin was a dark caramel colour and his ears came to subtle points, almost like a dog’s but much shorter. His smile featured pronounced canine teeth - not quite flangs, but much larger than normal.
Perhaps oddest of all, and certainly the most striking of his features were his eyes. They were mismatched in colour. Even the fact that they were differently coloured wasn’t their most unusual trait though: the left one was a beautiful ice blue colour, the right one a bright cobalt blue, but the outer rings of the irises were a bright red which faded toward the center. This gave the eyes the appearance of changing colours. If his pupils were dilated, as in low light, the eyes would appear red, but if they were contracted as in bright light the eyes would appear as two different shades of purple.
Nobody knew where these properties came from because his parents were unknown, but they made him different, and being different from other children in an orphanage was a sure way to be bullied.
These physical traits that made him the subject of so much bullying through school ironically made him extremely successful on the dating scene as he grew older and went to college. The things children picked on him for when he was younger seemed to make him irresistible to others as an adult. Through his later teen years his previously tall and lean body filled out and became very muscular, and his “freaky” looks became “exotic”.
Much to the disappointment of the girls he was not interested in them at all. He figured out very early that he was gay, and his unique looks made him even more popular in the gay crowd.
It didn’t hurt that he was extremely tech savvy and had made a fortune in cryptocurrency by setting his computers to work “mining”. When he had first started out, back in middle school, mining was very easy and produced plenty of digital “coins”, but they were almost worthless at the time so he just let his computers hum away in the background, eventually amassing several hundred thousand of these virtual coins before so many others joined the mining craze that it was no longer productive and he unplugged the machines and dismantled them for parts.
Because these digital coins that he held had little value he had almost forgotten about them. Then one day he stumbled across the hard drive out of one of those computers and plugged it in to see what was on it. He found his old digital “wallet” and rediscovered the coins. A brief check on the internet revealed that his “coins” were now worth several billion dollars. He was an instant billionaire, so he dropped out of college and had been living a life of luxury and excess ever since.
Of course, as he was falling he was not thinking about any of that. He could only think about flying. For as long as he could remember he would dream about flying. He’d watch the birds and wish he could sprout a pair of wings and join them, and in those dreams he would do just that, soaring effortlessly through the air.
It had always seemed so real, so much so that he would be disappointed when he woke back to reality and realized he had been dreaming the whole thing. These dreams were returning to him now, ironically at the very time when he really wished he could fly. With his eyes closed it almost felt as though he WAS flying, but of course he really was just falling, waiting for the inevitable end.
His predicament was suddenly brought back into focus as he felt a blinding pain in his back accompanied by a tearing sound. His first thought was that the goober with the shotgun had shot him as he was falling, but he suddenly felt his fall being arrested, almost as though some unknown force had hooked him by the shoulders and was holding him back. He opened his eyes just in time to watch the Porsche and Dodge hit the valley floor and disintegrate into a million pieces, but as for himself, he was no longer falling. He looked to his left and saw what looked like an enormous white wing stretched straight out. A glance to the right revealed another wing. Both wings had streaks of red on them. It looked remarkably like blood, but the wind passing by them seemed to be blowing the red off and leaving clean white feathers behind.
Daecon could not understand what had happened. Perhaps some giant bird had caught him by the back? He looked up but there was no bird above him. He reached around to try to touch the wings and discovered that they were definitely attached to him. But how was this possible? He had always dreamed of this, and those dreams always seemed real, but this was just crazy. Daecon was beginning to think that maybe he had actually hit the valley floor and died, and that he was now an angel. It was the only explanation.
Although he was no longer falling, he was definitely gliding, and in the short span of time that had just passed he had already glided far from the cliff’s edge and was now out over the large lake that filled the valley. He looked down onto the lake and could see the shadows of what looked like two enormous birds soaring side by side. As soon as he realized that this was his own shadow it clicked that there were two.
Daecon whipped his head to the left and was startled to see a huge golden eagle soaring beside him. Huge? No, that is an understatement. This bird was enormous, its body nearly as long as his own, with a wingspan of four metres or more. Daecon then looked above again, thinking that maybe he had somehow missed seeing the other bird that was obviously carrying him. There was still nothing there, so he looked back at the eagle.
The eagle was looking at him as though it was expecting something from him. Daecon and the bird soared side by side in silence for a long moment, neither one of them moving a muscle: The eagle expertly using the air to stay aloft, Daecon not having any idea what he was doing and so not moving either. The eagle just kept on soaring, looking at him impatiently, and then spoke.
“If you’ve quite finished showing off, would you please complete your shift before people see you! Or at least have the sense to cloak yourself!”
When the eagle spoke it scared the hell out of Daecon, so badly that he lost all composure. He screamed and started flailing his arms and legs, trying to push himself away. While doing so the huge white wings went limp, folded backward, and he started dropping again, screaming as he was falling.
The eagle again rolled its eyes, muttered “My God, what an idiot”, and folded its own wings to follow.
As Daecon was falling he was shocked to see the eagle was falling too: Not so much ‘falling’, truthfully, but diving. Daecon was waving his arms and legs wildly, falling out of control in a wide spiral with the white wings trailing uselessly behind him, but the eagle looked to be 100% in control of its descent. The water was getting closer and closer.
The eagle called out “You’re going to want to either complete your shift and start flying or fold those wings before you hit that water, otherwise it’s really going to hurt!”
Daecon was no longer surprised to hear the animal speak, but he had no idea what it was talking about.
“Shift? Fold my wings?”, he shouted at the eagle. “What are you talking about?!? What the hell are you?”
“I am what you are, and you are what I am. And I’m just saying, you’d better do one or the other! You certainly can’t swim like that!”
“But I don’t know how! I can’t...”
Suddenly the giant bird spread its wings back out and seemed to almost stop in mid air. Daecon, who still had no idea what he was doing, continued falling until SPLAT!
He had hit the water so hard that it felt solid. He had the wind knocked out of him and could scarcely move. Thankfully those wings had prevented him from sinking too far at impact, and within moments he was back on the surface, stunned, breathless, and in a lot of pain, but intact. The eagle was lingering overhead, soaring in a tight circle around him only a few feet off the water.
“I told you so”, it said. It almost sounded amused.
Daecon was still gasping for air, but managed to spit out “What the hell are you? What’s happening here?”