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By: Alicia Chen

Elise lived in a small house in square ten. Everybody belonged either to a square or lived in the glorious capital. Sometimes, people in the squares would starve to death when the people of the capital gorged themselves with food.

There were 11 squares in total, and each square oversaw one thing. Square one was factories, square two was lumber, square three was nuclear weapons development, four was agriculture, five was fishing, six was farming, seven was machinery, eight was cotton, nine was graphite, ten was leather, and eleven was coal. The wealthiest square was number one, and the poorest was eleven.

Elise would occasionally go hunting, but usually her family could manage. They sold milk for bread and oil at the local market and could often afford to buy good bread.

She loved telling stories. Since there wasn’t really anything fun to do in square ten, Elise spent most of her time telling stories to little kids. Her favorite one was a story about how many years ago, there was the human tribe and the goddess tribe. The humans would provide offerings to the goddess tribe, and in return the goddesses would help to humans by raining luck down on them and helping their crops grow better.

Elise lived a normal life for someone in square ten, until one day, a terrible itching began on her back. She looked at the mirror and found several rashes on both sides of her shoulder blades. Over the weeks, the itching only got worse. One day when Elise was examining her back, she saw a little lump of flesh rising from where the rashes were.

Her parents took her to the doctor, but they couldn’t tell what it was. Every day, the lump rose higher, and eventually feathers started growing on those lumps and formed wings. Elise was terrified. If you don’t know yet, not very many children grow wings.

She ran over and asked her brother, “Hawthorne, what’s going on? I think I’ve grown wings!”

“Elise, I really don’t know. Even the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong, and I’ve never seen anything like this, ever.”

Elise felt sullen and confused. What could be happening to her? Was she about to go crazy? But suddenly a thought came to her. For her whole life, she had been hearing a voice inside her head. It would often give her advice when she was stuck. The voice had always been there, and Elise just thought that it was her Imagination. She put one and one together.

Elise tried reaching deep inside her mind, to find that voice. She thought, “O mysterious voice that’s been in my head forever, do you know anything about what’s happening to me? Because I could REALLY use some help now.”

To her shock, the voice spoke. “Hello, Elise. You must be wondering why you have grown wings, and you come to me. I do know what’s happening, in fact, I am the cause of what’s happening. I’m from the goddess tribe, and my name is Arieis. I was locked into your body when the entire goddess tribe died out. The others of my kind are locked inside inanimate objects. I need your help, Elise. I can see what the future holds, and destruction will dawn on all the people of square ten.”

“Tell me. How do I prevent this?”

“You need to collect seven crystals of different colors and slide them into the jade disk decoration you found in the woods. That will bring the entire goddess tribe back to existence, and we will help stop the disaster. This is not for mere humans to handle.”

“Okay. You might as well tell me what’s going on with my WINGS?”

“Oh, those. They’ll grow in, and you’ll be able to fly. But when I’m out of your body, those pretty wings will disintegrate. By the way, I’m the leader of the goddesses.”

Elise was in some sort of shock. But she did what the goddess had told her, fearing the safety of her family, and the ones she loved.

Over the course of a year, Elise had found all the crystals. They were surprisingly easy to find. They were often wedged between rocks, or high in the trees. She actually found one in a fish’s stomach.

She slid them into the jade disk, and it started to glow. Elise was grateful that she didn’t do this in her bedroom because the ground also started to shake a bit. Then, odd things like rocks, blades of grass, and even clouds started materializing into goddesses. The seven crystals in the jade disk also turned into goddesses. Within moments, she was surrounded by them. By this point, everyone in square ten was looking. They were huge, and very intimidating. The largest one with curly blue hair, and a flowing dress came forward to address Elise.

“You’ve done well, Elise. Now, it’s about to start. Please, lead everyone into their houses. The most you humans can do is to keep your distance and stay in your houses as much as possible. Leave the rest to us.”

Just as Elise made it into her house, huddled with her family, the night turned blindingly white, and the black stars gathered to make a jagged face in the sky.

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