This is an excerpt from Jewels and Feathers, done by Claire Stewart a student at Clear Fork Middle School
“So you have no idea where you’re from?” Sam asked, leaning forward in her seat. The headache that this whole situation had given her certainly was making questioning her guest a lot more difficult, and the ibuprofen didn’t seem to be helping.
“I…I don’t. I’ve been trying to pick my brain for the past twenty minutes, trying to think of anything I could tell you, but I promise, that’s all I’ve got,” Aris replied, gritting his teeth and glancing at the floor, clutching the warm mug of tea sitting in his lap a little tighter. His long, amber-red hair was draped all over his arms and back like a curtain, reaching all the way down to his knees when he was standing upright.
“I don’t know how to help you if you can’t remember where you came from or how you got here…”
He bit his lip and swiped a strand of hair out of his vibrant, magenta-colored eyes.
“All I can remember is my name, and that I’ve got these dumb wings on my back,” he explained, motioning backwards to his wings, which she still couldn’t believe were actually real.
From being a med student before crap had hit the fan with her now ex-fiance, she could see that they sprouted near his shoulder blades, and might’ve been attached to the scapula itself, but she couldn’t really tell. And they definitely could let him fly, she knew that; everyone always drew winged people with dinky, unrealistically small wings, but judging by how each wing alone spanned out as long as his arm and the lowest feathers reached his lower back, they were the real deal. It was hard to process…
“You know how to use ‘em?” Sam inquired, tilting her head to the side and taking a sip of the chamomile tea in her coffee mug.
“Yeah, I do. I think that’s how I got here, actually, now that I’m racking my brain. I mean, maybe. Everything’s fuzzy…” Aris said.
“Hm…ever heard of amnesia?” she said, standing up from her chair to grab another spoonful of sugar to put in her tea; ugh, she should’ve bought the higher quality teabags…
“Uh…shoot, that rings a bell, but I just can’t quite put my finger on it,” he mumbled, running a hand through his hair and tilting the mug to his lips again. “This is really good, what is it?”
“Chamomile tea. And it’s a type of memory loss due to either brain injury, fatigue, shock, or illness, and sometimes even repression. Judging by the gash in the side of your head that was frighteningly close to your hippocampus, you probably lost your memory due to hitting your head,” she stated, tapping on the side of her head. “It’s right around here. The hippocampus controls your memory banks, and if it gets damaged, it can cause you to have amnesia and forget things entirely.
She watched Aris jump in his seat, almost spilling his drink onto his crossed legs, which wouldn’t have been good, considering the fact that he was wearing shorts. He curled his wings around his arms, the mahogany, ivory, and coffee-colored feathers contrasting his pale, freckle-littered skin.
“Crap…if I can’t even remember what amnesia is itself…does that mean I’ve got it pretty bad?” he asked.
“It’s…very likely…” Sam sighed, stirring sugar into her tea and using it as an excuse to look away. “But if you can remember what your name is and how to use those wings of yours, then it’s possible that you might be able to recover your memories, especially since your anatomy is a bit of a…how do I put this…special case.”
He downcast his eyes.
“That’s the thing…I just know my name and that I can fly. That’s it. I-I don’t know what kind of person I am or what my personality is supposed to be like…I can’t remember anything about myself but my name.”
She bit down on her tongue so hard that she was surprised it didn’t snap off into her mouth like a carrot.
“Aris. Do you know who your parents are? Or what your birthday is? Or even a random license plate number? Anything?” she said.
“Nope, nope, and nope, none of that…I don’t know who I am. My name’s Aris. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got,” he said.
She asked: “You know what that means, then?”
“You get to start over. You don’t have to know who you are, just who you want to be, now. You get a clean slate, a do-over. You get to wipe away your past like an eraser on a chalkboard. You don’t have any ties; you’re free,” Sam explained, taking the spoon out of her tea and laying it down on the counter before quietly adding, “You don’t know how many people would go through the darkest depths of Hades to get to have that…and let me tell you, if I could switch places with you because of all the crap my yellow-bellied, two-faced, dirtbag, so-called fiance put me through, I’d trade you for your amnesia in a heartbeat.”