I pulled up out of the pool of drugged sleep. The sudden brightness blinded me and I shut my eyes, covering them with my hands.
Numbly, I could feel someone pushing and pulling at my wings, muttering to their partners. I sighed and stretched, finding myself strapped face-down on a table.
Of course, they left my arms next to my face so they wouldn’t be in the way of my wing movement. To annoy the science-geeks, I extended my wings to their full length, surprised that they didn’t bump into a wall with their large span.
“Does she have to do that?” came an annoyed remark from on the floor. Apparently, I had knocked one of them to the floor. How wonderful.
“Zara, don’t do that.” the power in his voice snapped my wings against my bareback. Giving me a smug grin, the geeks began taking notes and examining me again. Slightly annoyed, I looked up at Larson.
“Morning, Zara. You ready to go fly again?” he asked, a glint in his cold blue eyes. Just the sight of his hardened features made my tail twitch unhappily against the cold metal bars.
Always following his instructions, one of his geeks obediently set aside the clipboard and slipped on my Deathwear with slightly trembling hands. Good, be afraid. Be very afraid.
Larson rested in a foldable chair while Geek No. 1 suited me up. The fear was so evident in his movements and smell that I had to resist the urge to growl and extend my tail-barb.
The minute the Deathwear was securely in place, the metal clamps retracted and I slipped off of the table onto my feet. The Geek tossed me my uniform white tank-top and backed away, trembling more noticeably now. I slipped on my tank-top and followed Larson through the door.
He led me through a hallway, waiting room, and another hallway before we came into sight of the elevator. The metal doors slid open quickly upon coming up to it.
Punching a button that didn’t bother lighting up, the doors slid closed and trapped us in the small elevator. I expected the ride to be long, like before, but was surprised when the door opened within seconds and revealed a strange room.
Not even close to the size of the fly-room, it did have a high ceiling. Placed against two walls, were strange machines that some-what resembled treadmiles for someone with wings. Someone like me.
“Um, is this a treadmile for me to fly on?” I asked, eying the large fans meant for blasting air to keep a flier in place with the strain of moving forward.
“Yes, don’t you love it? Now hop on.” Larson commanded with an evil grin, motioning for me to step onto the treadmiles grated fan.
Standing on it, I noticed just how huge it was. Somehow, they had added enough room for me to spread my wings easily and a little more room than that. At the click of a button, large fans raised up to the ceiling to blow air for me to fight against.
Spreading my wings, Larson’s voice sounded in my ear, “Ready? Set? Go.”
The ground beneath me rumbled to life and a powerful gust of air forced me into the air. I flapped uneasily for a moment before catching my balance with the use of my tail and leveling out. Larson must’ve noticed my balance returning for the fan ahead of me began to spin.
Here came the hard part. The wind immediately began pushing me backwards against the wall, which erupted with small spikes to encourage me to continue on. I lost height and the floor also revealed the same spikes. Great.
I leaned forward and beat my wings hard, over and over. I soon gained the middle of the enclosure and the spikes retracted, for now. I sighed briefly in relief but then decided to save my breath. With Larson, I could be forced to fly for a few days.
Over and over I beat my wings, my hair whipping back from my face and probably knotting. Even over the steady roar of wind in my ears, I noticed the machine to my left rumble to life, signaling Makor’s workout time.
“Turn.” Larson ordered, the fan ahead of me suddenly turning and blowing the wind differently, forcing me to turn my wings to the side and bank as if I were turning in the air.
This lasted for a couple of hours. Wind currents changing and coming again, turning, slowing down, speeding up. By the end of the session, I was worn out and felt like I could sleep for a year, or two. This, I suppose, was the point.
The moment I was allowed to land, I fell to my knees panting. My wings creaked as I folded them against my body and the large fans fell into the ground with a resigned thunk. Sure, they were tired from keeping me flying.
Larson, seeing his mission complete, ordered a couple of his muscle men to cart me back to my room. As I left the room, I noticed Makor’s machine returning to the ground and his exhausted form resting against the ground. Sadness jolted through me, thinking that they worked us both so easily and so hard without a second glance or a second thought. How heartless.
Over the shoulder of Mr. SixFootFive, I barely made it to the elevator awake. Once on board, I passed out and barely remember moments of being lowered onto the big cage with a couple of blankets and being set down gently.
My eyes fluttered open as the gate closed, “Wait… Mak?” I muttered, hoping beyond hope that it wasn’t Makor who heard me murmuring like a baby.
“Sorry about this, I’m not Mak.” said a low voice, tinged with some weird emotion. Did the speaker actually care about me? No, that’s not possible around here. I sighed and drifted back into an exhausted slumber.