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Blood Feathers

It was one of those uncomfortable moments where no one wanted to speak, no one wanted to make eye contact. They could feel the awful tension in the air, taste it in their mouths.

Omari trembled in the doorway, and in the taught silence she heard her extraordinarily long blond hair tickling against the floor, and her soft wings brushing against the doorway. She stared down at her feet, her eyes moving past the hunk of plastic in her hands, refusing to focus on the bright pink “plus” sign.

“Get back in the car,” Noah said quietly. His soft voice held a sharp edge, a knife blade buried in a pile of feathers. The words were a command. In the entire year she’d known him, Omari had never heard him so sound so desperately serious.

“No,” Omari said without looking up, without focusing her eyes. She studied the blue floral pattern on the white bathroom tiles, memorized the details in her toenails. Anything was better than looking up to meet Noah’s eyes.

“Now,” he said again, the knife blade edging closer to the surface.

“No.” She sharpened the steel in her own voice and snapped her eyes up to meet his.

She couldn’t read his face, barely recognized it as his. Noah was an emergency room doctor. Calm. Collected. Always. Standing in front of her, he looked like a slowly erupting volcano, the surface of his face moving and cracking. Unstable. His long brown hair was escaping from its usual ponytail in wild tendrils, and sweat dripped down his face in slowly moving beads, like steam was erupting from the bubbling pores embedded in his skin. His blue eyes were wide, bulging from the corners of his eyelids underneath his crooked wire-rimmed glasses. His plain green t-shirt was escaping from his frayed jeans, and his feet tapped restlessly in his dirty hiking boots, as though his entire body and the clothes adorning it were squirming and moving with his unsettled energy.

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