For a moment I was unsure of what I was even looking at, but soon realized that I beheld wings on this child’s back. At first glance it appeared as a smooth, felt black mass, tucked down flush along her back and down past, as though neither water nor air could pass between any of the feathers- each perfectly flush with the others. Slowly, as though requiring a greatly painful effort, the wings separated from her back with a seemingly involuntary trembling, twitching motion. She reached back, and with one wing in each hand, lifted them up to an unexpectedly larger wingspan, perhaps nearly four cubits across. The wings appeared nearly dead of their own accord to raise themselves.
The inner feathers slightly lightened in color, dark grey edged with silver. Unlike the exterior, the inner portions of her wings were much more disheveled and damaged; how one would imagine the shredded wings of an avian that had lost the battle with a much larger prey.
I couldn’t help but instinctively reach out and touch what had long been only a thing of fairytale and folklore. I’d heard a great many fantastical tales and seen many things, but never had I believed in- much less seen- a winged being that was neither bird nor angel, though the wings resembled an uncanny mix of both. I found myself mindlessly running my hand over the soft, varying textures, almost mesmerized by how surreal it seemed. I realized I ought not to make her feel uncomfortable, and as I went to right my composure, saw what made my heart sink in my chest.