The rain dripped off his wings, but he felt nothing
It was patrol night. Tuesday. A little extra time on his hands, and there was nothing better to do
. Into the streets he went. The streets of his people. There was no particular reason these were his people
other than the fact that he declared them to be.
A small bakery shop. The exchange of a few crumpled bills. The taste of a small pastry on his lips and the steam of a hot coffee on his glasses
A few blocks on, the pastry was gone, the cup was tossed, and there was no longer any water vapor
blocking his view. Sounds began to flood in from all directions. There was something about these patrols that made him feel truly alive. Every light seemed more vibrant. Even the passersby seemed to be giving off a warmth he could actually feel
Time would fly by and he would wonder where the night went
. Nights in the city energized him more than sleep. Two hours a night, that's about all he got now.
This had become his second job. His second life
. Daylight memories passed through his head like dreams. He was no longer awake during his normal life. Those hours faded into an identity that was no longer his
. Even the occasional bite to eat
on the streets gave him little satisfaction.
It seemed to be the street itself.
He could feel his body melting into the city sometimes. The crowds, the cars, the lights - whirling about him in a blur, yet snapping into sharp focus whenever he needed them to. In the moments when adrenaline shot through his body, he could feel time stop, he could feel himself being lifted
by a force behind him, a force he could never muster in daylight.
During those brief periods, his mind would burn
and his body would move among the pedestrians and bystanders as if they barely existed. He could accomplish anything, as long as he was focused. And when the adrenaline rush faded, time would resume, and the world would return
to normal. But he would be gone. On to the next leg of his patrol.What was left in his wake
no longer mattered. In those moments of focus, there was nothing else in the universe. But when he moved on, what remained was for the bystanders to pick up. He knew they would be able to
do it. That was the way of things.
They all walked different roads that only crossed in rare instances
. His road came with his gift, and was barely a part of material existence. He watched over his people, but they never saw him - perhaps from time to time when he purchased something, but he would never be recognized. And the things he did when activated would be over so quickly that they appeared to be accidents of nature.
A car swerves into a fire hydrant, barely missing a group of shoppers.
A man falls off a fire escape and lands on a heap of garbage bags.
Another man slips on the wet sidewalk and is taken to hospital where he is arrested.
These were all his people. Even the ones going to jail. There would be a road of redemption for them, but that was not something he'd walk
. When he passed by, his wake would be the catalyst for the next stage of their lives, if that's what fate had in store for them
He would appear on rooftops sometimes, not quite sure how he got there, watching the city below him. He had been to the doctor a few times, worried about his sporadic blackouts, but they barely affected his life, so he stopped going
.Sometimes he could feel himself falling
from those rooftops, but in those moments, his thoughts would usually be so focused on something below him that he would quickly forget what he had just been doing
. And when time started again, it would be on to the next thing, the previous events of the evening left like just another coffee cup in a streetside wastebasket
The blur of the lights, looking over the heads of the other pedestrians, the patrols that took him to more parts of the city than he could logically explain. He was past logic now. It didn't matter anymore
. He was doing what he wanted to do - he was living. Maybe he had been dead before but never realized it
, but he was truly living now.
The ghost of his body still went like clockwork to his day job, made the usual pleasantries to his coworkers. But those hours disappeared when evening came, when he was truly awake and truly alive. Everyone saw him during the day, but few took notice at night
- mostly when he made a few purchases at the bake shops.
No, he did not know he had wings. Neither did anybody else
who saw him. But he had wings nonetheless. And when it rained, the water droplets would run down the feathers and leave a trail behind him, but you could never tell them apart from any other
And when he flew, nobody could see him. Even he would not realize what he was doing, because in those moments, noticing the rest of the world was not his mission nor his assignment
. All he knew was that he would be tired when it was time
to go home, when he would get two hours of sleep before getting up for his commute
to the office.It was nothing new