Chapter 3: Derek

He didn’t know what’d gone wrong or where exactly he was. All he knew was that he was certainly fucked.

He was on the ground, and he’d been here for some time. His body hurt and his head pulsated from a bad hangover, so he kept his eyes closed. He did hear waves pulling in and out near him. Birds cawed at each other above. And he had the strangest, grittiest taste in his mouth. Like sand. Salty, wet sand. Tasted like shit.

He coughed, and realized the taste was actually sand. He was eating sand.

He spat it out and tried rolling over. Something was on his back, preventing him from getting comfortable.

A wave of water slammed into him. He choked on the salt and the threat of drowning and fumbled for dryer land.

When he opened his burning eyes, he had two answers before him.

He was either:

  1. Actually still asleep, just kidding, or
  2. Certainly more fucked than he thought

He awoke to water. Waves painted in rainbows from a setting or rising Sun. It reached the horizon line and kept going. Like, it merged with the sky and pooled around this strip of white sand he was stranded on. It was flooding the world.

He’d never, ever seen so much water before. It was vast and looked empty yet was full of ripples and waves that moved with the wind. It was powerful and peaceful at the same time, like a sleeping creature able to kill you in one gulp.

He checked behind him. Attached to his back was a pair of wings, heavier than they seemed and striped with muddy brown and white feathers. The insides were paler while the back feathers were nearly black. Some of the larger feathers were missing. His tail feathers were bent.

His clothes, a black shirt with tight pants, were in tatters across his sore body. His hair, matching the colors of his wings, reached down his back in mats. It looked like he’d been mauled and had barely survived.

“Fuck,” he said. “What happened to me?”

He actually needed someone to answer that for him, because he had absolutely nothing in his brain. No name, no goal, no memories of what’d happened prior to get him here. He was just here, and really needed to pee.

“Oh, my goodness!”

Two figures were standing down the strip of sand, watching him. The taller one wore a cape while the smaller one wore a pink dress with bows in her hair. He could tell that they were obviously rich and were probably blood-related in some way, like siblings or cousins. They wore complementary clothes of jewels and gold and had the same worried lines creasing their eyes. They looked mature for their ages. 

“Pray tell us,” said the little girl, “Do you need help?”

“Cellena, don’t get near her,” the older boy warned. “You don’t know what will happen.”

“But she’s hurt.”

“But you don’t—Cellena, listen to me!” the boy shouted, but the girl was already running towards him.

Was “he” a “she” now? Based on the cock and balls hanging between his legs, he figured he was a “he,” but who knew, and who cared? He went along with it, his head becoming fuzzier. “Hey,” he greeted. “Uh, where the fuck am I?”

The two siblings paused a few feet away from him. The boy kept looking at his wings, the girl at his body, specifically the parts that hurt most. He didn’t like that, their staring. 

“Hey,” he said again, trying to stand up with his wings, “can you, like, help me or—?”

His knee cracked. His vision spotted. Standing was way harder than he expected. Falling was so much easier.

He fainted in the endless water, drowning for the second time that day.

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