Feather's First Change


“I’m home.” I listen for her familiar greeting.

Welcome home, Feather. How was your day? But the silence pulses through our small cabin.

“Grandma?” I toss my bookbag on the chair—homework can wait—and walk into the kitchen.

The smell of something burning and the sound of the oven buzzer greet me. Opening the oven door, I find black cookies. They must have baked for an hour.

“Grandma?”

No answer.

A thump in the backyard, and then heavy footsteps traipse across the porch. My feet freeze to the floor. The door slams open and a man stoops and squeezes himself into our tiny kitchen. A crossbow in his hand.

“What did you do to my grandmother?”

Snarling, he points the bow at me.

Something breaks inside me, and I race to the front door and out into our front yard.

A bolt flies past me. Why is this guy trying to kill me?

I hear his feet pounding behind me, closer and closer, but I don’t dare look. He grabs the back of my shirt. I scream.

He yanks me back, and I feel my limbs tearing, bones crunching. A rush of cold followed by a wave of heat—everything fades. Needles of pain prick my skin, and my lungs burn. What’s happening to me?

Screaming, clawing, kicking, squirming, I stretch my arms, trying to break away from him, but my clothes trap me. I crawl my way out and wiggle out of his clasp. His hands close over my body, but I claw his face.

Spreading my wings, I climb into the sky. I am free, wild, alive.

I am a hawk.

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