Alison's and Sabrina's.
And they lived happily ever after. The end.
I turned and walked away, away from my joyful family, the town, the only life I knew. Because I no longer had a part in their story. Everyone else had gotten everything they ever wanted. I had become an extraneous part, a reminder that not everyone was happy with the ending.
I kicked a pebble with my toe. It bounced to the side and rolled off the path. I scowled at it and trudged on. I refused to fill the roll of the lonely one, the old bachelor in town. No, I was off to seek my own adventures and to forget the girl my brother had married.
Suddenly everything darkened like the sun had disappeared behind a cloud. I shivered, the hairs on my chest standing on end. I rubbed at my chest hairs, trying to get them back to their dark, curly selves. But then something grabbed my shoulders and my feet were swinging in the air. Sharp pricks dug into my skin. I glanced up and received a face full of black feathers. What in the world--
My thoughts were drowned by a screech so loud it vibrated through me. I shut my eyes, afraid I would fall, certain that the only thing worse than falling from so high would be watching myself fall, the ground rushing up to me. I clenched my eyes tighter. I tried to reach up to grasp the bird's legs, but because of the way the bird clenched me my arms wouldn't move. One slip and I was a gonner.
And then it happened. The bird opened its claws and I fell. Much to my dismay, I couldn't keep my eyes closed. I watched as the ground rushed toward me. I started twisting in the air, my feet no longer below me but to my side. Then I was upside down, and the land was my sky. I finally found the power to close my eyes.
My legs were suddenly jerked so hard I was sure they had both been dislocated. I peeked and found that the bird had caught me again. It tilted its head down and peered at me, made a clucking sound, and seemed to smile. Which is ridiculous, because birds don't smile.
Then it let go again. I opened my mouth to scream but landed on my head while my mouth was still mostly closed. It hadn't hurt nearly as much as I'd thought it would. I must have only been a few inches off the ground.
I rolled over to my stomach, but one of the giant claws closed around my waist, pinning me to the ground. I looked up and found the bird tilting its head and staring at me with one of its eyes. It snapped its beak, but the straightened up, ruffling its feathers and looking around, as though settling in to wait for something, or someone. I pulled myself forward on my elbows, but the claw tightened more. There was no escape.