There are three rules Angel never breaks. Just three, and she came up with them herself.
The first rule is, Only fly at night. There’s a good reason for this: getting caught would be bad. People are assholes, and they don’t like what they don’t understand. A girl with wings? Forget it. They’d lock her up somewhere, do experiments on her. They’d turn her inside out, trying to figure out what she is and where she came from. And if they ever found out she can spit acid…
Yeah, that needs to not happen.
She doesn’t mind so much, she tells herself. While she’d love to feel the sunlight on her wings, she has the moon and the stars, the streetlamps, and the neon signs. She wears dark leather because she likes it, and flies through the cool air with her hair streaming behind her, pretending she’s some kind of superheroine, looking for crime to fight. Except she isn’t really looking for crime to fight, she’s looking for a good time, which sometimes involves racing the cars in the street far below, and sometimes huddling on some family’s roof, hugging her knees to her chest, surreptitiously watching television through their window.
Oh, if she sees someone in trouble she might do something, especially if it’s another girl. She might throw stones at her attackers – from the safety of the shadows, of course.
Which brings us to rule number two, which is, Don’t get caught.
It’s tempting, sometimes, to play pranks on the men who stumble out of bars late at night and pass out on park benches or in doorways. Most of them deserve it. It’s extra-tempting when it’s men she’s seen before, in her bar, pulling wads of wrinkled dollar bills out of their pockets, smoothing them out with sweaty hands, avoiding her eyes as they mumble what they want her to do.
She’d like to straddle them while they’re lying in their own sweat and vomit, with her wings proudly unfurled and her head thrown back. What would she tell them as she relieved them of whatever they had left in their wallets? That she’s some kind of fairy, some kind of sylph in black leather and lace?
It’s too dangerous, though. She could be recognized, and then what? Best-case scenario, she’d be out of a job. Worst-case…
Yeah. Government agents. Scientists with scalpels and syringes.
Not going to happen.
Her third rule is, Love it. That’s it. Just love it. It’s actually the hardest rule to follow because she’s scared all the time, of being seen, of being caught. She has to order make it a rule, has to order herself, love it.
And she does, she does. She has something beautiful and unique. Her. A girl who ran away from home at fifteen, who never finished high school, who strips in bars while men salivate. She’s seen books; she knows what she is. A myth, a marvel. It’s all so stupid, she could cry, and sometimes she does, while she slips through the night on her dragonfly wings, shivering with fear and loving it all the same.
Angel has three rules. Just three, and she hasn’t broken them yet.