Excerpt– Wingless by Cydney Lawson

Charlie
            It wasn’t every day that a naked girl landed on my front lawn. And man, did she land. My eyes caught sight of an object slamming hard into the ground only a few feet away from me. Images of meteorites and malfunctioning bombs flashed in my mind as I crouched and cowered.
            I felt my mouth droop open in an embarrassing demonstration of my lack of self-control.Typically, I wasn’t one to stare. But if that day had been of the typical sort, then there wouldn’t have been a reason for me to.
            Her hair was long, like it had never been cut. It was a bit messy, too; it seemed like she’d meant to brush it but had never gotten around to it. I was still for a moment, letting my heart resume its natural rhythm.
            She was crumpled on the grass, a tangled mass of limbs and pale skin and red ribbon. Okay, so she wasn’t actually naked. A long, thick, expensive-looking crimson sash was expertly wrapped around her body, barely covering what needed to be covered. I’d seen newborn babies wear more.
            I couldn’t decide fast enough whether to look away or to help her up. Eventually, she stood on her own. It must have been around those few seconds when logic kicked in. I looked up at the sky and back at the girl.
            She must have been drunk because she wobbled like she was just getting her sea legs.It really wasn’t all that uncommon aside from the near nudity. I lived down the street from the university and sometimes the ‘Walk of Shame’ became the ‘Stumble of Inebriation’.
            Her eyes were closed, and I could have sworn her ears twitched as she spoke.“I should speak English here, yes?”
            Oh, great. Some foreign exchange student had wandered onto my lawn. It was much easier to believe than what I thought I’d just seen. This girl could not have fallen from the sky.
            As pretty as she was, she didn’t have any wings. Also, the lack of trees in my front yard would indicate that she had fallen directly from the sky. I ignored the heavy indent on my lawn where she still stood.
            She spoke again. “Or do you prefer another—”
            “No, English is right,” I said, refusing to be charmed by her accent and still averting my eyes from her all-too-bare body. She spoke with what seemed like an accent, but I wasn’t familiar with it. It was some sort of uneven lilt with an emphasis on enunciation and a lisp of some kind. It sounded graceful, but very fast.
            She must have been completely wrecked; she still hadn’t opened her eyes. Note to self: never join a fraternity.
            Exasperated and realizing that I was becoming increasingly late, I took a few steps toward her. I offered her my cell phone or a big t-shirt. Her face contorted into a confused expression and she stepped out of the concave imprint she’d left.
            Even with her eyes shut, she was definitely in the category of gorgeous. Her hair was strawberry blonde, complementing her naturally blushing cheeks. She hummed a discontented noise, and I suddenly wanted to see her eyes beyond that wavy hair.
            “What’s your name?” I asked her, my gaze flickering to the neighborhood around us. The last thing I needed was my neighbors thinking I’d made friends with the visiting nudist.
            She smiled without showing her teeth; in fact, she smiled without really moving any other features on her face.
            “Tane.” Her voice was a sweet thing, like a lullaby looking for a singer. Tane. That was different. I murmured her name to myself, testing it on my tongue. She nodded. So did I, forgetting that she couldn’t see me. “Thank you, sincerely, for your help.”
            Then she turned and slowly began walking down the street. She was nearly glowing compared to all of the gray-hued houses lining the road.
            I really hoped she knew where she was going. I didn’t want to offer her any of my clothes; I’d never get them back. A couple of Advil and a nice long stay in bed would cure up her hangover. I hoisted my hood over my head, reveling in the shadow it lent to my skin.
            The sweat on my neck reminded me how humid it was, how much summer still hung in the air. I glanced at the spot on the lawn where I’d seen her fall. It hadn’t happened. It wasn’t possible. She would have been dead for sure. I blamed the delusion on the fact that I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet. My stomach purred at the thought of hot caffeine.

She had to have been blind for the assured way she walked away, her eyes still closed. There was nothing left to do but walk away and convince myself that an angel hadn’t just descended from the heavens and landed on my lawn.

For more on Wingless and other Lawson works,

including information on where to purchase,

visit http://www.lastofthefallen.com.

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