Skydiving Without a Parachute
Sarahlhyn put a colorful paw on the doorknob and opened
the front door.
"We're going to the Ray, now!" Kayla called
into the house.
Kascata looked up from what she had been doing
in the dining room, a shocked look on her blue, equine face. "What? But Sarah,
you look so pretty rainbow-colored."
The Zafara looked at her Peophin sister with
wide, horrified eyes, then she was out the door, saying, "Let's go. Now."
Kayla smiled and shook her head at Sarah's retreating
back. Kas winked at her owner, then went back to her work with Cloak, her ghoti,
hovering over her shoulder.
* * *
Just as Valley_1112 was emerging out of the
kitchen, her new sponderolas in vase of water until she could get them planted,
she heard the front door open and looked up in time to step back, out of the
way of a blur of white and gold. Artemis, her feepit, squeaked in surprise as
she jumped backwards to the safety behind Val's yellow legs to avoid being run
over. The door at the very end of the hall, the door to Sarah's room, was opened
quickly and slammed shut, but not before Val could see that the figure was mostly
white with large, feathery wings, and a strange gold hoop hovering over her
head. Kayla had just shut the front door with a look of suppressed amusement
on her face.
It didn't take long for the solemn Ixi to deduce
what had happened. "Am I correct in assuming that the white figure that just
ran past is Sarah, no longer multihued due to the waywardness of the Laboratory
That caused Kayla to laugh out loud, no longer
stifling her glee. "Yeah. She's been painted Christmas, of all things. You'd
think she'd be glad she's not something worse, like mutant or something. She
wanted to get home so bad that she tried flying but ended up crashing pretty
bad. Wouldn't even let me take her to the healing faerie before we came home."
Val looked politely confused until Kayla realized
what she didn't understand. "Christmas is that holiday we celebrated last winter.
Sarah now looks like an angel, but the problem with that is that angels are
beings of perfect goodness, kindness, and innocence. Not exactly the impression
Sarah was going for. I think she looks great, but then, who am I?" Kayla was
being sarcastic, of course.
Val smiled ever so slightly, which, for her,
was laughing out loud. She went down the hall, Artemis gamboling around her
hooves, but never tripping her up, to her own chambers.
* * *
Once in the safety of her own room, Sarah looked
down at herself again and groaned. Her fur, at first mostly blue with yellow
around the lower half of her face and down onto her stomach, then it had been
turned multi-colored when the Ray had zapped her rainbow, but now it was mostly
pristine white, the patch a gleaming gold. The spots on the ends of her ears,
the fan on her tail and her spines were all a matching gold. The white, feathery
wings that now grew from her back were huge and magnificent, if a little ruffled
from her midair tumble. The Ray, to accommodate her new appendages, had changed,
slightly, the dark blue T-shirt she always wore, though her khaki cargo pants
and sturdy hiking boots remained unchanged. Sarah looked up and could see, hovering
at the very edge of her vision, the golden halo.
Han_Rosie, actually named Tumbles by the petpet
Lab Ray, was a pile of soot currently and could only watch her owner as she
looked at herself, thinking that of all the colors a Zafara could be, the Ray
had to make her look like an angel?
With a sigh, she reached up and pulled the ring
down and opened her paw to look at it. It held still for only a second when
it lifted from her paw and glided back to above her head.
"What the-?!" She reached up again, with both
paws, and pulled the halo down, keeping a good hold of it. When it made no attempt
to escape, Sarah disregarded it and tossed it away onto a blue bean bag, but
it never made it. Instead, it stopped in mid-flight and soared back to its airspace
above Sarah's head.
With a growl of annoyance, she was forced to
ignore the thing. "That is going to get really irritating."
Before she let herself take her customary after-Ray
nap, since it was always a draining experience, Sarah dutifully went to one
of the corners in her room where she was keeping a running tally of the Ray
effects. Her bedroom, bathroom and weight room were all built of stone, so she
didn't have any qualms about writing on the wall in chalk. Actually, her cousin,
Reno390, had given her the idea of writing on her wall. Chalking up the date
and her change to Christmas, she then let herself fall onto the nearest pile
of bean bags, pillows and rugs, which made up most of the furniture of her room.
"Ow! Owowow!" Forgetting about her new wings,
she had fallen on top of them in a rather painful manner. Rolling over onto
her side to prevent the same thing from happening again, she couldn't help but
say to herself, "I'm gonna need help with these things."
She didn't have time to think of anything else
because sleep came irresistibly in seconds.
* * *
"Okay, Apollo, what do you think of this?" Helamaneo
asked his feepit, sliding a sheet of paper over to him. The green Eyrie watched
as Apollo read the scrawl that was Helam's handwriting, waiting for the verdict.
Apollo put a paw down on a sentence and stuck his tongue out.
"What's wrong with it?" Helam asked, pulling
the sheet closer to himself so that he could see where Apollo was pointing.
The feepit came closer and put his paw back on the offending sentence, but more
specifically a section of words. "Oh, I see what you mean. Do you think I should-"
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Come in!" he called automatically.
The door opened and Helam swiveled around to
see who was coming in the door.
"Sarah?!" he exclaimed, very surprised. Of course
he knew Sarah had been going to the Lab Ray, but it didn't keep him from being
surprised every time she came home something new.
She shrugged her shoulders, obviously unhappy
with the change.
Helam knew very well that if he were Kas, or
even Sarah, at the moment, he could take the opportunity to make fun of Sarah,
but that's not the way he was.
"You look good, Sarah," he said, nodding. "The
wings suit you."
"Actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you
about. I'm having trouble with these things, and I was wondering if you could
teach me how to fly." Though the words seemed easy enough to say, they were
strangely difficult and came out in a tumble.
Sarah and Helam were the most opposite residents
in the house; he was quiet and secluded himself while she was daring and outgoing.
She would often challenge him to wrestling matches when he would much rather
be by himself. To put it shortly, Sarah got on Helam's nerves.
But once again, he didn't make a big deal about
it, knowing that it was hard enough for her as it was.
"Okay. Let's go talk to Kayla, then we'll find
someplace for flight practice."
"Faerieland?" Sarah asked.
"No," he answered. "Too much air traffic. The
Lost Desert has some killer thermals, though."
Sarah looked confused, asking, "What's a thermal?"
Helam laughed and explained, "I forget sometimes
how big a difference there is between a flying pet and a grounded pet. A thermal
is a rising column of hot air. If you catch one of those under your wings, you
can soar to the bottom of clouds without working your wings too hard. The sand
in the Lost Desert radiates a lot of heat from the sun."
All this was said as they went to the library,
just a door down from Helam's room. Inside, they found Kayla sitting on Sophie's
rocking chair, a book in hand.
"Kayla," Sarah started. "Can Helam and I… go
Kayla looked up, slightly surprised. "Sure.
Val or Kas can be the active pet for a while. Where're you going?"
"Lost Desert," Helam replied.
Kayla nodded and went back to her book, saying,
"While you're there, can you spin the fruit machine for me?"
As soon as they stepped out the front door,
Helam announced, "First lesson: take off…"
* * *
The muscles around her shoulder blades were
aching, begging for relief, as she had to pump her wings constantly to stay
"Helam! How much farther? This is killing me!"
He looked back at his sister where she was struggling
above the foreboding trees of the Haunted Woods. "Hold on, Sarah! Just a little
The sinister forest gave way, rather abruptly
to the gleaming golden sand of the Lost Desert. Suddenly, Sarah saw Helam stop
flapping, spread his wings wide, and he seemed to be lifted up on an invisible
column that he circled inside.
"Follow me!" he shouted down to her from where
he had already climbed.
Not sure exactly where she was following him,
Sarah flew to where she had seen him rise and, like a hot wave, she could feel
air rising around her. Spreading her wings in surprise, she felt herself lifted,
effortlessly. She looked back up at her brother and noted that he was circling
and so she mimicked him, tipping her body very carefully, until she achieved
the angling that she wanted.
She looked down and was quite startled to see
the earth below falling away from her at a staggering rate. Looking back up,
she found herself meeting Helam where the hot air could carry them no farther.
He was grinning like a fool.
"That, my dear sister, is a thermal," he said
with a mixture of satisfaction and excitement.
Despite the perfect chance to make fun of him
for his expression, the temptation didn't seem so appealing, so instead, Sarah
said with breathless awe, "That was so much better than all the flapping we
had to do to get here!"
He smiled and said, "Look, I know this is gonna
sound stupid, but close your eyes. Just close them and feel the wind."
Once again, the old reaction to be skeptical
didn't feel right, so she did as he said.
Eyes closed, it seemed like all of Sarah's other
senses were jump-started. The warm air slipping through her fur, gliding through
her feathers, buoying her up with effortless ease. The gentle rustle of wings,
both Helam and Sarah's, whispered in her ears. The dry, dusty smell of the desert
was both soothing and electrifying. When she licked her lips to wet them, she
could taste the crisp cleanness of the air so high above the bodies of millions.
When she opened her eyes again to look at Helam,
his face was expectant, waiting for what she would say.
She held her mouth open, trying to find the
right words, until they came to her. "You've been able to do this since the
day you were created. You don't know how lucky you are."
He nodded, a small, content smile on his beak.
"Now I do."
They looked at each other and, for the first
time in their lives, had total understanding.
Then Helam grinned with evil anticipation. "C'mon.
I'll show you how to dive."
Sarah raised an eyebrow, suspicious. "Dive?"
* * *
Val was in the Living Room with Kas, watching
Cloak, Artemis and Apollo playing on the cream rug in front of the brick fireplace.
The twin feepits, though very different in personality, worked almost in tandem
to try and catch Cloak from where she was hovering over their heads, taunting
them by only a few inches. Poor Han_Rosie could do nothing except sit on the
tray they used to move her from place to place and watch with envy.
Kas was chattering away about some unimportant
thing while Val only half listened, offering a noncommittal answer every once
in a while. Just as Kas had started in on her tirade about how much she wanted
to be painted faerie, Val heard the front door open and close, accompanied by
"We're HOOoome!" Sarah called into the house.
Val turned on her straw chair, made more comfortable with a blanket thrown over
it to cover the poking stalks, and saw Helam and Sarah walk past the wide doorway
of the Living Room. Helam was acting surprisingly open and talkative. Likewise,
Sarah wasn't condescending, as was her usual way. Instead, they were talking
animatedly with each other, not even noticing that both Val and Kas were watching
them as they walked past to the stairs.
Just as Val was about to contemplate this change,
Kas looked at her sister and asked, "Sarah's been painted Christmas? Ha!"
"I think the color has gone to her head," Val
said quietly, so quietly that Kas didn't hear her.
* * *
The next day...
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Come in!" Helam said automatically.
The door opened, but he didn't look up right
away, because he wanted to finish the sentence he was writing.
"Hey, Helam," an unfamiliar male voice said.
He looked up in surprise to see a well-built
male Zafara, painted Christmas, leaning against the doorframe, arms folded over
his chest. He was wearing a dark blue T-shirt, khaki cargo pants and brown hiking
Helam's jaw dropped and he managed to stutter
The Zafara that used to be female grinned wryly,
saying, "It'll be 'Lhyn' for now."
Helam stared at his new brother, unable to think
of what to say, until Lhyn broke the silence.
"So, do you want to go skydiving? Without parachutes?"
Author's note: Hope you liked it! Feel free to neomail me with comments,
compliments (*crosses fingers*), and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. This is a true
story, by the way. Sarah was rainbow, then Christmas, then male, but then he
lost his wings to brown. You can see the rest of his changes on his petpage.