Dressed only in some butterfly print boxer shorts and holding his long red hair to one side, Kami stared at himself in the mirror, trying to see the bulge on his back better but struggling to find the right angle. It was a few days before his thirteenth birthday and the large vertical swelling around his spine was a sign he was going to change. Change into what, he couldn’t say as the possibilities were almost endless. He shuddered at the thought of becoming one of those things, hoping he was just in need of spinal surgery or something equally more mundane. The growth was painful, it was possible it was just a medical condition. He could still hope. Anything was better than becoming a monster.
“Ukyou!” His mother called up to him, the second time this morning. “If you don’t come down for breakfast, you’re going to school hungry!”
“Five minutes!” Kami pleaded, rushing to get dressed as fast as he could. He’d been staring at the growth too long and it wasn’t like it was going anywhere. He’d had the thing for weeks already.
He hurried downstairs in his school uniform, just a kid like any other. The only remarkable thing about him was the length of his hair, which went down past his hips. This was the crucial year, every creature revealed itself around their thirteenth birthday. He wasn’t one of them, he wasn’t. Why then was he so scared to see a doctor?
Breakfast was eaten in a hurry but he left on time to catch the train to school. He stood up for the journey, pretending he was leaving spaces for the more vulnerable when asked by his friends, though really his back ached whenever he leant against the bugle. It was getting worse by the day. Soon he would transform.
Feeling nauseas Kami wondered what the bulge could be. Wings were his first thought, he had always longed to fly, but knowing his luck it was scales or something just as grotesque. He shuddered at the thought, reassuring his concerned friend that there was nothing wrong. Everything was falling apart, his happy childhood dissolving into a tragic future. His parents would be devastated, he hoped he would be given the chance to say goodbye. How much longer did he have left anyway?
As it turned out it was only a few hours before he let out a scream in class, the bulge in his back feeling like it was ripping open. He fainted from the pain, unsure of what happened next but someone must have helped him to the nurse’s office, for this was where he woke up feeling alone and confused.
He sat up, finding the pain was gone now. He felt as light as a feather, as if he really could fly now, or perhaps he had simply died and this was the weight of his soul without a body? Across the room was his classmate, now sporting a pair of beautiful crimson wings. She looked as lost and scared as he felt and that was when he remembered her birthday was only the day before his own. Almost thirteen, just like himself.
“They think your transformation triggered mine, seeing as we’re Kin.” She explained to him. It was then he thought to look in a mirror, gasping as the sapphire blue and black wings he now wore. No, not wore, had grown. He was Other-Kin, no longer human, no longer a young boy with many friends.
“Ukyou! You’re awake!” His mother gasped as she entered the room. She rushed to his side, trying to hug him but struggling with the wings. “I was so worried. Are you feeling all right?”
“I’m a monster!” Kami gasped as he began to cry in his mother’s arms. He sobbed long and hard, clinging on to what he felt were his last moments of maternal affection. He had been a lucky one, his mother had bothered to come and see him. Perhaps his mother was more sympathetic than most, she had a brother just like him. As sympathetic as she was, he had been sent to a boarding school filled with Other-Kin, some even just like him. His parents had kept in contact, his mother visiting from time to time but never with his father. He was a monster but at least he was a relatively attractive one. In the coming years he’d meet many who’s forms were it worse than his own.