My entry for the writing contest last year. Didn't get picked, but I thought I'd put it up here anyways...

It took forever to get Dylan onto the roof. There wasn't a ladder to the top of the house, so he had to try to jump to get up. After watching him fall flat on his face about fifteen times, I was ready to call it quits right then and there.

Be patient, Max, the Voice inside my head said. Help him up. You were made to compliment each other.

What does that even mean? I asked in frustration.

When I received no answer, I decided to take matters into my own hands…or wings, depending on how you look at it. Flying down toward my winged compadre, I gave him a boost.

"Thanks," he said sheepishly.

Shrugging, I said, "No big deal, as long as I don't have to do it again. Now what you're going to want to do is not think about flying at all. Instinct should take over. It's supposed to be natural for us 'cause it's in our DNA. So just don't think about it, okay?"

"No thinking. Got it," he said, nodding his head. "Now, how am I-"

I pushed him. I got a little worried when his wings didn't snap open right away, but they opened when he was about ten feet off the ground. He sped away, parallel to the earth, and went right over the cliff.

Shoot! I thought, speeding off in the direction that Dylan had just flown. It didn't take long to catch up, but he started to freak out the second he saw me approach.

"What should I do? How am I going to land? I'm falling! Max, help me!" he yelped, losing altitude quickly.

"Flap your wings, Dylan!" I called.

He was in free fall and his wings were totally tucked around him.

Max, the Voice said in a warning tone.

I know, I'm going, I told it, diving downward to go catch Dylan. The diving was the easy part. Catching and keeping him in the air? Yeah, not so much.

Being a mutant bird kid has its perks. With my feet planted firmly on the ground, I can carry a ton of weight. That was a heck of a lot harder to do while flying.

Holding him up around his torso, I was able to get us a little bit higher. "Dylan, I'm really going to need you to fly yourself," I told him, struggling to keep aloft.

"I don't think I can," he said.

"You've got to. Look, do you want us both to go down?" I asked him.


"Then when I let go, you're going to flap your wings as hard as you can, and then follow me to that ledge over there, okay?" I said in a semi-calm voice.

I didn't wait for a response. Looking down, I saw that Dylan was flying back toward me, so I headed toward the ledge.

"That was…interesting," he summed up when he arrived, sitting down next to me.

"We're just getting started, newbie."