Chapter 6, Part 2
Cassie was tired of travelling. The car smelled like the hamburgers they had picked up thirty miles back and Dr. Braxton insisted on listening to classical music. Luke apparently was feeling the same. He twisted around in the front seat to face her.
“Hey, if we complain loud enough he might change the music.”
“No, I will not,” Braxton cut in. Cassie half-smiled at Luke’s crestfallen expression.
“Oh come on! Cassie what do you like listening to?”
Cassie shrugged. “They always played country at the stables. I like it.”
“Me too!” Luke high fived her. “How long did you work at the stables?”
“Almost two years.”
“Are you a professional jockey, or what?”
Cassie laughed. “Definitely not. I just cleaned stalls and tack. They did let me ride a few times. It was better than flying.”
“Better than flying? I think flying would be pretty sweet.”
“Well, I guess I felt like I was flying, without all the falling and fear of people seeing.”
“Makes sense. If it makes you feel any better, you won’t have to worry about people freaking out where we’re going.”
“Maybe at first you will,” Braxton warned. “We’ve never seen anyone with wings.”
“OK, but I have magic hands and Josh can almost outrun sound, so wings are almost normal.”
“Never thought I’d hear that human wings are normal,” Cassie said.
“I like your wings,” Abby broke in loyally.
“I think they’re pretty cool,” Luke agreed with a wink at Abby. Cassie just shook her head. She didn’t understand why Luke insisted on thinking their “powers” were something cool or good. It was a curse preventing them from a normal life.
“So where are you from, Luke?” she asked to change the subject.
“Georgia. My dad was a doctor and my mom was a nurse. They both got picked to be part of the medical crew on Novum. They didn’t have me until after they got back to Earth,” Luke said. “What about you?”
“I’ve always lived in Texas. My dad was a fighter pilot. My mom went with him to Novum. I wasn’t born until a few years after they got back. We were in San Antonio when I found out about…my wings and I ran away not long after,” Cassie said, surprised that it felt OK to talk about her past. “You have any siblings?”
Luke shook his head. “No. I was supposed to, but my mom miscarried twice. It was pretty rough. You?”
“Not besides them.” Cassie poked Abby who giggled and poked her back.
“How much longer?” Abby shyly asked.
Luke turned to check the mileage signs on the side of the road.
“We’re almost at the border and then only another two hours,” he said.
Abby flopped back into her seat with a sigh. “We’ve been driving forever!”
“I won’t argue that,” Luke grinned. “Hey, you know what would make it go faster?”
“If we had different music.”
Dr. Braxton threw his hands into the air.
“Fine! Plug in your excuse for music.” But he didn’t sound too upset.
Luke grinned and fished a slim music player from his pocket and linked it to the car’s stereo.
“OK, what do you want to listen to, Abby?”
Abby shrugged. “I don’t really know music,” she admitted.
“That’s OK. We can experiment and figure out some good songs.” Luke skimmed his finger down the never-ending list of songs on the player. “Oh, hang on! The state border sign is coming up. You have to jump when you cross over.”
Abby jumped as high as her seatbelt would allow as they passed the sign that welcomed them to the Land of Enchantment. Luke comically joined in, earning an uproarious giggle from Abby. Cassie laughed.
“What does jumping do?”
“I don’t know. It’s some tradition thing we always did on family car trips,” Luke said. “How about this – it’s good luck.”
“Sounds good. We could probably use some luck,” Cassie said.