Etapalli Going Eastward

By Madeline Heuss

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith so you can finally feel fulfilled. In a world of negativity, the only thing stopping you from achieving your dream is the negativity holding your ankles like anchors. You can’t keep continuously dragging them, so maybe you will follow my lead.

As I run, I can hear the alarms start to go off back in the facility. I push myself to run even faster and watch as the cliff comes into my view. I hear the doors start to open and doubt starts to cloud my judgement. What happens if I don’t make it? I can’t think about that now. I’m so close. I watch as the cliff is merely feet away and then jump, for the first time, I spread my wings. My beautiful tawny-brown wings.

As I hurdle off the cliff towards the great ocean below, they catch the wind and carry me up into the air. My long, dark brown hair carrying in the wind while I soar eastward. Away from the labs, the cells and needles. Away from all my problems and towards a new life. A life where I can have a job, friends, family and most importantly, freedom.

I hear the dozen people running out of the labs and screaming my name. “Etapalli! Get back here! You won’t survive out there. We will find you!”

I don’t listen as I let the sunbeams, streaming through the clouds, hit my pale skin and I rise even further into the wispy the clouds. Once I break through the clouds I laugh as I enjoy the feeling of my soaked clothes and wet hair. My white tank top is dripping, and my pale jean shorts have become blue. I embrace freedom for the first time and listen to the rising and falling of my wings. This is the first time I have ever been able to use them, other than wreaking havoc in the labs.

Admiring my new-found strength, I move even further away. I know I have to be quick. I can’t risk being caught and my small portions won’t hold me over for too long. I sink through the clouds after about half an hour, knowing that I need to find a place to get food. I smile as I get soaked again and scour the land below, searching for a town to stop at.

Not even five minutes later I spot a small town and hope that they have some means of getting food. I let myself free fall for a while, embracing the feeling, and drop down far enough away as to not be seen by anyone. With that, I set off towards the town.

Years of being experimented on and tricked have taught me to be wary of people. You never truly know who someone is, at least until they poke you with a needle without your consent. Then you know exactly who they are.

As I approach the town, I finger the wallet I had taken from one of the lab workers. My bird genetics are lifesaving sometimes. I walk on a sidewalk towards a gas station, relieved to see only one person inside. I walk through the door with the bell chiming and walk over to a section with sandwiches. I grab three of them and walk over to grab a bottle of water. I walk up to the cash register and pick up some protein bars and 5-hour Energy drinks for the journey.

I notice that the teenage boy has a backpack sitting behind him while he rings up my items. I look in the wallet I had taken and see an unexpected amount of money. I could probably buy a cruise ticket with that amount of money, which I soon notice is true. There is a little note tucked into the wallet with notes on a cruise to Hawaii and a flight to Japan. It looks like that lab worker was planning to go on a nice vacation.

I look at the boy and ask, “How much would it take for you to give me that backpack?”

The boy looked confused and looked behind him. He shrugged and said, “Forty dollars so I can get a new one.”

I nod and grab out $45, wanting to give him an extra $5 for his troubles. I quickly grab some more food and drinks for the flight. I wait there while he checks out my items. Feeling a little self-conscious by all the food I’m buying I chew on my lip and look at him. He doesn’t seem to mind at all though.

Once I have paid for the food, I fill my new bag with everything and, saying thank you, walk out of the gas station. The boy nods in acknowledgement and then sits on a chair while scrolling through his phone. I exit the gas station and find a table by a tree next to the library. I sit down and eat my sandwiches contemplating my next move. I think back to the notes in the worker’s wallet. After finishing my food and feeling energized again, I quickly walk into the library.

The librarian looks up in surprise and I walk up to her.

“Are there any computers I could use quickly?”

“Of course there are,” she said cheerfully. “Just to the right!”

Smiling, I thank her, and walk over to the computers. Someone up above must be looking out for me because the last user forgot to sign out. I do a quick search and capture the route into my head. I log out of the computer and wave to the librarian as I leave. I’m assuming she doesn’t see many people working in this town as she waves back sadly. I take a drink of water, place it back into my bag and start running with a mission. I spread my wings, making sure no one is looking, and take off into the air.

I’m not sure if l was made to be a savior or a weapon. If I’m meant to be an angel or a devil, but I’m sure of one thing. I’m not what they make me. Everything I do is my choice. As I head to my new life, I feel content knowing that every decision will be my own.

I rise into the air with a determined look and speed forward on my adventure. I’m not sure what challenges I will face on the way but at the moment, look out Japan because here I come.


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