Sneaking out was Aleid’s idea. A common occurrence once Avinnia began to grow feathers. Aleid was a few years older than her Weird sister, but she had adored the girl from the day she was born. She found nothing wrong with her sister having feathers and she did not understand why her parents were so concerned. Sneaking Avi out of her bedroom was easy for the older girl once their parents retired to their bed chamber.
Aleid tugged on her little sister’s hand as she pulled her out through the door to the back garden. The wildflowers native to Iceland populated the garden. They were in full bloom and well taken care of by the family gardener. She let go of her sister’s hand and moved further outside. She spun around, the moonlight glinting off of her fair hair. She looked back over at her sister, stopping and smiling at the sight of the younger Elon girl.
Avi had already been growing feathers for over a year, many patches covered her arms and body beneath the dresses that their parents forced her to wear. She moved, awkwardly in them, the fabric bending and pushing the feathers in directes they were not meant to turn. To add to their parents horror, her once golden hair had begun to turn bright blue. Avi stared over at her big sister, concern showing through her eyes. If they were caught she would be the one in trouble.
“Ma and Pa are asleep by now, Avi,” Aleid said in a hushed whisper and reached out her hand towards the small girl. “Dance with me.”
She caught her sister’s hand and snatched up the other. They began to spin, the moonlight glowing down on them. The moon seemed to make everything about Avi’s weird more evident. Aleid noticed that her sister’s hair had begun to layer itself, and the layers almost looked like feathers. Their parents would not like that but it only excited her
“You look so pretty, Avi!” she shouted with a smile spreading across her lips.
“Only you think so, Aleid,” was Avi’s timid response.
“Of course I think you are, you are my sister!” she spoke louder with a giggle. “You will always be my sister.”
The nights out in the garden were short lived. Only a few months of these went by before their parents discovered them. Avinnia’s continuing changes led them to lock her door at night, leaving Aleid unable to get inside. They developed a new game after this.
Aleid sat in front of the door to her sister’s room and slipped a paper under the door. Giggling soon told her that Avi like the drawing. A paper was slipped back beneath the door and she picked it up. She looked it over and began to laugh herself.
“Oh, sister, I do not think Pa is this fat,” she spoke through the wooden door.
Before Avi got the chance to respond, Aleid was pulled to her feet, as a man cleared his throat. She let out a gasp and looked up at the angry face of their father.
“Aleid, what are you doing out of bed at this hour?” Ewald Elon was indeed a large man, he was stout around the middle, and over twice the height of his eldest daughter. “One day you will take over for your mother and I. You can not be sneaking around every night and skipping your lessons.
“Pa,” Avi began to speak through her door, worry in her voice.
“Not another word out of you, Avinnia,” he snapped and slapped his hand against the door to silence her. “It is time for bed,” he returned to saying to Aleid. “I do not want to catch you out of bed one more time, or there will be serious consequences for your sister.”
When he let her arm go, Aleid quickly moved back from the door. She glanced over at it, concerned that her sister was going to get punished but she knew it would be worse if she did not obey. She hurried off for her bedroom down the hall.
As the years went by, Avinnia’s condition worsened and the less she saw her sister. Lessons were given to Aleid to keep her busy throughout the day and too tired at night. Avi’s lessons had stopped when her arms had begun to change into wings. Almost no one came into her room after that began. Food was brought to her, her window was sealed, and she had to bathe in cold water. So, when her door unlocked, one late evening, it came as quite a surprise to her when her sister walked in.
“Aleid!” she shouted as she hurried across the room to greet her sister. She was going to hug her but Aleid’s hands lifted to stop her. “It has been so many months since I have seen you. May I hug you?”
Aleid did not speak at first, her eyes hardened and cold, the same eyes that her parents had went they looked at her. “I am not here for a hug, Avinnia,” she began, her voice steady and without feeling. “I will be seventeen soon and I do not have time for your silly games. I have come to see you because of the relationship that we once had.”
“What are you talking about, Aleid?” Avi asked as she was confused by the words coming out of her sister’s lips. “We are sisters.”
“WE are not sisters,” she added almost as quickly as Avi had said they were. “You are something that happened to be mistakenly born from my mother.”
Avinnia stepped back from her sister, unable to believe what she was hearing. Aleid had always loved her feathers. What could possibly be making her say such awful words? She crossed the room back over to her bed. “How can you say that?”
“It is the truth that I now understand. It may have taken time, but I finally understand the abomination that you are. Now, let me speak what I have come here to say. Mother and Father grow tired of tending to something like you. It is putting a great strain on them, keeping you secret, and keeping you alive.”
Avi listened in silence. Each word left new tears in her eyes.
“They will not continue to put up with it much longer. Your… transformation, let us call it that, is a disgrace upon the Elon name. If word of what you are ever got out out status and business would be in jeopardy. I have heard them speaking of what to do with you and that is why I am here. When I was naive we were close. So, I am here to warn you. Your recent escape attempt has left them with no choice. On the eve of your next birthday, you will die.”
Fear left Avi paralyzed. She did not know what to say. She did not know how to react. Her parents wanted her dead? They were going to kill her? Not only that but Aleid spoke to her with hate and disgust. What was she going to do?
“I thought, for our past, you should know. Perhaps you will be able to persuade them or perhaps you will be able to plan a better escape. I do not want to know, and beyond this conversation I do not care. This is the last I plan for us to see each other.”
Aleid was beginning to leave. She had turned around and moved to the door.
“Sister, please, wait,” Avinnia whispered. Her cheeks were now damp from the tears. “Please, hug me,” she said as she began towards her sister.
No hug came. No response and no more words. Aleid stepped out the door. When Avi reached it, the door was shut, and it was locked once more.