Michael stood at the peak of the garage roof, with one bare foot planted firmly on either side. He could see all the way down past Pap’s backyard and the cherry trees, past the creek to where the cornfields stretched out in all directions as far as he could see. A clump of dark clouds loomed in the distance. It looked like it was going to storm before long.
Michael took a deep breath and flexed his wings. He felt strong. He had been working very hard for the last few weeks, trying to get in shape so he would be ready for this day.
He tilted his head back and let the summer sun warm his face. He smiled. A light breeze began to blow. Michael sniffed at it. He was nervous at first, until he realized it was blowing in the right direction.
He closed his eyes and remembered how Vince–his older brother–had tried to jump from the garage roof to the roof of the house the summer before. Nobody was expecting him to do such a crazy thing, but Vince was like that sometimes. Michael and Vince and Vince’s friend Rudy had been sitting on the roof, telling jokes and seeing who throw walnuts the farthest. Suddenly Vince stood up, got a running start and leaped into the open space between the buildings.
At first Michael though he was actually going to make it, but then he realized there was no way. Vince was going to fall short. Michael winced as Vince caught the edge of the steep roof with his fingertips and slid down the side of the house, scraping the entire front of his body. Vince still had scars from those brush burns to this day.
Michael took a few steps back. He was ready. He raised his wings and took a few running steps. He reached the edge of the roof and leaped into space. He was airborne–what a great feeling. He didn’t even need to flap his wings as the breeze caught them. He soared, with his eyes closed, and then he was falling.
He opened his eyes. The last thing he saw before he landed on the pile of boxes he’d had the good sense to lay out ahead of time was Gram. She stood next to the boxes, with her hands on her hips.
Gram stood over him now, glaring, as he tried to untangle his wings. One of them had come loose.
“I don’t know what that contraption is on your back, but if those are my good sheets I’m going to skin you alive.”
Michael didn’t say anything. They were the good sheets. He suddenly wished he could fly away.
William I. Lengeman III is a freelance journalist who dabbles in fiction.