Rounding out Akaiame’s ensemble. Although, apparently she’s going shopping tomorrow. Now that will be a challenge to write: some of my clothes are thirty years old…
Someone yelling from six stories below, down on the ground, shook her out of her reverie and back into the present. She leaned over the edge of the roof to see who it was. Oh: Nike’s friend, Nozh.
“What?” She yelled back.
“We need you down here!”
“Whatever,” she muttered, giving him a small wave. She turned and made her way to the stairwell. Round and down, round and down.
Walking out front of the building, she was surprised to see a small crowd had gathered. After a week, she thought she knew most everyone at the Factory, so who was the girl and what was she carrying?
“Akkie,” Fire said, having taken the liberty of mangling her name in payment of her yakking on him, “this is my friend from Old Home, Ice.”
“Girlfriend, you mean!” Nozh called. Everyone laughed. Except Ice and Fire, so that must be true, she thought. Akaiame walked over to the girl and put her hand out.
“Nice to meet you,” she tried.
Ice was not much over five feet with pale hair pulled back in a bun at the base of her neck. She wore glasses – wire frame – the first Akaiame had seen. A faded rose blouse and a skirt that had once been black but was now grey like their wings. Her cheeks were still red from Nozh’s teasing. She shifted the metal object into her left hand and took Akaiame’s.
She noticed the girl looking at the dirty woolen shift she was wearing.
“Snaran says she’s taking me shopping tomorrow. Sorry.”
“No, no! Not at all! I guess the rumors were true…”
Again. Looks as if I’m stuck being the freak.
“You mean these?”
Akaiame flexed her wings, half again as big as anyone else’s, tossing the wind about them.
“Wow! And such control already!” Ice fangirled. “I can’t wait to tell everyone at Home!”
“Rather you didn’t…” Akaiame muttered. “Was that all?”
Ice looked mortified.
“Eeek! No! I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Here!”
She pushed the metal thing she’d been carrying just under Akaiame’s nose. The fact that it was burning hot made her head snap backwards. She took a few steps away.
“What is that?!” She demanded.
“Sorry! Sorry! I’m totally messing this up! I…”
Fire came over and put his right hand onto the small girl’s left arm.
“You’re making a scene, again!” He muttered, holding up what looked like tongs. “Just open it!”
“Sorry!” Another tiny whisper. Akaiame was surprised to feel a tinge of jealousy in her heart.
Ice knelt and placed the object onto the ground. After twisting a few wingnuts, she split it open. A mold of some kind…
Fire bent over and grabbed with the tongs. He came up with a golden halo that was hot enough to steam in the waning day.
“This is yours,” he said to Akaiame.
“Er. Well…” She didn’t know what to do. This didn’t seem to be a formal ceremony, but the others were still and quiet.
“How does… that is… what do I…”
“Just put it on her,” Nozh yelled. “I wanna go eat!”
“New Feather Akaiame,” Fire moved the tongs somewhere over her head. “You are now Charcoal Feather Akaiame.”
He withdrew the now-empty tongs.
Was it… up there? She wondered.
Looking up, she of course could see nothing. She tilted her head back…
“What?” She demanded.
“With… with one known exception,” the older teen, Szikra, said, “you’re acting just as we all first did! You can look in a mirror later!”
Her hands came up –
“Better not!” He continued. “It’ll be hot for another hour or so! See ya’!”
He wandered off, triggering the breakup of their little gathering. Before she left with Fire, Akaiame thanked Ice. After, she looked this way and that.
“Looking for someone in particular?” Nozh had been leaning in a shadow against a partly fallen brick building.
She tried not to glare at him.
Nozh shook his head and gave a smile. Then he pointed up and past her right shoulder. She turned to follow his gesture.
A large figure sat in an open window frame on the fourth floor. There was a faint glow from his cigarette. That glow moved from his face and shook back and forth as he waved at her.
Akaiame smiled. She waved back.