Haven’t got much to say about this one, other than it’s way….way…WAY late. Uh, yeah. Sorry about that, folks. As I am loosing some motivation for this story, I’ll probably drop it and write some other stuff before I work on this one again. This one does leave at an awkward place, but here’s to hoping it’s satisfactory. Anyways, as always, criticism, suggestions, comments, and concerns are greatly appreciated!
Ptero had his concerns, always had, always would. Profit had always placed in the center, above survival, personal gain, and family ties, and he knew that his younger sister had adapted the same mindset, something he wasn’t proud to say that he’d contributed to. But times had changed. He had changed. It had been a slow change, spanning over many years, a change that he hadn’t even noticed until he was presented with a choice; turn a teenage angel and his hatchling over to his notoriously inhumane employer for a huge profit, or let them go and face the man with a failed hunt.
He chose the latter.
He wasn’t quite sure what caused the change, or when it began, but at some point, his focus had shifted. Profit wasn’t as important anymore, not when it wrought such destruction.
He’d become a hunter a little over five years before, shortly after leaving the house he grew up in (house, but not a home. That place could never be a home), and mastered the profession at the top of his class. He was flooded with offers from various firms at multiple settlements, and was free to choose from any one of the branches in the business. At the time, business was all it was. A messy business, but just as honest as any other field.
And messy it was. Many hunters didn’t come back from a hunt, having fallen victim to an angel’s voice, while many more came back permanently disabled. He himself had come back a numerous amount of times empty-handed, with nothing but serious injury to show for. Even more messy, however, were the Farms. There were very few of them, but the firms that ran them made nearly triple the money of any non-Farming firm. He had only been into a Farm twice, both times as punishment for small failures, and he made it a point to never go again.
“So. What’s the plan?” Amal plopped down on the ground next to him, her voice low. She leaned her back against the trunk of the dying tree Ptero sat under and dropped her rifle and bag down beside her.
“Plan?” He tossed back, watching Kace, who had moved to sit at the side of the fire ring to tend to his brother’s wings, well out of hearing range.
“You better be pulling my leg, asshole. No one dives into this kind of operation without a plan,” she hissed. Ptero felt a spark of uneasiness jolt through his gut.
“And what kind of…operation is this?”
“My god, Ptero,” she groaned, running a hand through her hair. “You’ve got two angels here, one a hatchling, and you’re telling me you don’t have a plan to bring them in? Do you know how much a Farm would pay for those two?”
Amal hadn’t even gotten halfway through her accusation before the blood drained from Ptero’s face, his gut twisting painfully. He took a deep, shaky breath, clenching his fists.
“Amal. If you ever suggest something like that again, I will kill you,” he snarled, refusing to look at his sister. He’d been afraid of this, that she would turn out no different than he had been, and he was just as angry with himself as he was with her. He shouldn’t have left.
“What the f-”
“Have you ever been in one of those…those Farms?!” He spit out, cutting her off.
“Well, yeah, but-”
“There’s no ‘but’ about it, Amal! It’s inhumane, it’s all inhumane.”
“Have you forgotten how dangerous they are? They’re mo-”
“They’re human beings!” He rose, anger bubbling in his gut.
“Let me talk, damn it!” She barked, over him, jumping to her feet, “They kill humans, steal what little livestock we have left, and invade our territory. They’re monsters, animals! Just look at him,” she said, breathlessly pointing at Kace, whose wings were curled around Lukas, shooting milk curdling glares at the two humans, “baring his teeth like a common dog.”
“Ptero…” the teen in question growled in warning, causing the older man to sigh, frustrated.
“Don’t worry about it, Kace. My sister is only having a little difficulty understanding what should be common human decency,” Ptero spat without looking at the angel.
“I’m the one having trouble understanding?”
“Humans force angels out to edge of the forest where food is scarce, shoot and more than often kill them on sight when they try to come close to find food, attack their villages, and then proceed to kill them and cut out their wings, or drag them back so they can be thrown in those godforsaken Farms!” By this time, his voice has risen to a shout, and he felt his body thrumming with fresh rage. The woods fell silent around them, his last words hanging in the air. “…doesn’t that seem a little unjust?” He finished quietly.
There was a period of stunned silence before Kace hesitantly spoke up, not moving his hands from where they were covering Lukas’s ears.