Charlotte almost staggers as a familiar pain in her lower back flares up. She can't grab it to try to ease the pain; she's in the middle of her last song on stage for the night. She's used to the bright spotlights and the sounds of the band and cheering crowd accompanying her own voice singing, but she still isn't quite used to the pain in her lower back flaring up in the middle of a concert. The pains are usually at their worst when she gets up first thing in the morning. She also doesn't want to risk bad publicity from the French media if she fell on stage or just walked off unexpectedly. Concentrate! she keeps having to tell herself.
As soon as she opens the door to the backstage corridor, her boyfriend, Francis, rushes to meet her with roses, her favourite sparkling grape drink and two martini glasses. She doesn't drink, but she likes to use the glasses for an air of class and sophistication. "You were amazing tonight!" He says softly as he pulls her into a lingering embrace.
"Thank you," she replies; letting him just hold her for a while.
"I've made reservations for us at the Andromeda in half an hour," Francis says as he lets her go.
At the mention of her favourite Greek restaurant, Charlotte would normally have jumped at the chance to go. She particularly loved the skylight roof.
"I'm really sorry, but not tonight, Francis. I'm just exhausted. I'm sorry. Could we do it another night?"
"Really?! Do you have any idea how hard it was to get reservations there in the first place?" He sighs his exasperation. "All right. It'll be hard to get a reservation there again, but at least I get a fifty percent refund if I call and cancel within half an hour of the reservation time. Are you sure you don't want to change your mind? Once I've cancelled, it's gone."
"I'm sorry, Francis, I really am. I've just had such a full-on week, I just want to rest. I don't know what it is, this tour has just really drained me." She replies, rolling her shoulders and stretching her neck.
"Well, okay. You're the celebrity," he says, half exasperated, half defeated.
"Thank you, babe," she says with a slight laugh. "I knew you'd understand."
"Yea, well, someone's gotta take care of you. You don't, and heaven knows your managers don't!"
As he says this, one of her managers, Tim, turns the corner. With a quick disapproving glance at Francis, he approaches Charlotte.
"Excellent job, tonight, Lottie. A full house! You're like candy to these people, they LOVE you!!"
"Thanks Tim," she says with a tired smile.
Another disapproving glance at Francis and Tim continues down the corridor. Charlotte and Francis laugh as he disappears 'round the corner.
"Well, I'm gonna go cancel those reservations. You sure you don't wanna change your mind? Last chance?"
"Yea, I'm sure. Sorry, babe."
"Okay," he says, defeated. "I'll be waiting in the car," he says; planting a kiss on Charlotte's forehead.
"Okay, I won't be too long," she replies; stepping back and opening the door to her dressing room.
She rarely lets anyone in her dressing room, even Francis. It's her sanctuary to relax and unwind after a hard concert. Drained, she turns on the light. Turning back to face the room, she almost screams from fright. A bouquet of perfect white roses and a single pure white feather are neatly placed right in the middle of the vanity. Not seeing any note, she assumes they're from Francis. I can't believe he remembered I love white birds! He still shouldn't have come in here without asking me or telling me, first! she thinks to herself. Picking them up, she puts them to her nose to smell them.
Suddenly a flash of white disappears past the window. Jumping, Charlotte runs to the window to see what it was. That one can't have been just my imagination or a trick of the eyes! Realising it was a bad idea to leave the window open in the first place, she throws the window right open. "Francis?" She calls. "If that's you, this isn't funny!!" After a few seconds, she shudders and closes the window. "Ugh, I HATE stalkers!" She mumbles, closing the half-open curtains. Even though it unsettles her quite considerably, she decides not to look further into it. It was just a first-time thing, after all.
Walking back to the vanity, she hears a beautiful, haunting song. It's clearly a male voice, but not quite a voice at all. There are no lyrics. It's the most beautiful thing she's ever heard. It puts her into a trance-like state and she closes her eyes to more fully enjoy the music. If only Francis could sing like that. Suddenly her eyes jerk open as she feels an uneven surface suddenly appear beneath her feet. She's standing on the grass right outside her dressing-room window.
"Okay, what the heck is going on?" She says out loud, not really expecting an answer. The song continues, and after a few seconds without any reply, she re-enters her trance-like state and closes her eyes again. Then she feels something soft grab her firmly but softly by the hips and lift her off the ground.
Panicking, she turns around to see who (or what) her captor is. It's what looks like a giant bird that looks exactly like a falcon. It's pure white. Charlotte notices that it's singing. Not words, but a beautiful, haunting song unlike any song she'd ever heard before. The falcon doesn't look at her, but straight ahead. Somehow, her panic subsides. She looks up at the falcon again, cocking her head like a curious bird as she does so. It has the softest touch and the most elegant, serene face. She suddenly remembers the same face from a dream when she was a girl, but it somehow looked younger. She also remembers that her lower back pain started after she saw the face.
"Who or what are you?" She finally dares to say. The falcon looks down at her but doesn't reply. "I asked you a question!" Charlotte growls when the falcon looks away again. "You kidnapped me, the least you could do is tell me who or what you are!" She continues. The falcon just motions forward with it's head to a mountain top. Wow! How fast have we been flying?!
As they get closer, the falcon gently sets her down on a soft grass patch on the very top of the mountain. Slowly gaining her bearings, she looks around. She suddenly realises she's not cold. She looks down at herself and sees she's wearing the most beautiful pure white coat she's ever seen. It feels like it's made from the softest feathers from the softest birds on earth.
"How did y. . ," she starts to say as she turns to look for the falcon. She stops mid-sentence as she stares, speechless, as the falcon slowly shrinks and forms into a man wearing a similar coat, but longer, slightly trailing on the ground. The gorgeous gigantic wings are the only things that remain that give any hint of the bird he had just been.
"What are you?" Charlotte breathes. He fixes her with the most beautiful, piercing blue eyes she has ever seen. "I'm sorry," he finally says. "I'm the last of a race of winged, sky-dwelling sirens. We can change into different birds. I've seen you from my home here since I was young. The first time I heard you sing it was like I was under a spell. I brought you up here. You probably don't remember. I hope you don't mind, I've been following you on your concert tour. After hearing you sing again tonight I had to bring you up here again."
"What's going on?!! You fly me up here to the top of a mountain within a matter of minutes! At first I thought you were some kind of bizarre giant falcon, then I watched you morph into a man with wings!! How did you think I'd react to that?! What do you want from me?!"
After a few minutes of stunned silence, trying to soak it all in, Charlotte finally calms down and speaks again. "It's beautiful here. I do remember when you brought me up here when I was a girl. You didn't know how to carry me properly and I've had lower back problems ever since. I always wondered what had happened." She moves closer to him to get a better look.
"Yes. But that's not the only reason I brought you up here. Do you remember much about your childhood?" He replies.
"Actually I don't remember anything at all 'til I was about eight. Every time I asked my parents they just told me it was normal."
"Well, if you want to know why you don't remember anything about living with humans before you were eight years old, just look behind you," he says with an expectant smile.
Charlotte looks behind her and sees her own set of wings! "Aaaaaaggghh!!" The same pure white, but smaller. Just big enough to reach to the ground when pointed down. Just as small as her. Unable to do anything but scream and stare at her new wings with a dropped jaw, the falcon-man explains things further.
"We were betrothed. Your parents were the king and queen. My mother and father were the king's advisors. They were killed in a terrible war between the rebels and those who were loyal to the monarchy and a peaceful rule. There were a few of us that survived and went into hiding. They all took care of me. After a few months, I heard you singing. It was as if your voice was carried on the wind just for me. That was when I brought you here the first time. My parents left me a message that I'd hear your voice clear and sweet, as if it was only meant for my ears, when you were ready to return. I heard you singing tonight and even dared to join in the back of the crowd. So I knew it was time to bring the daughter of the king and queen home."
"What?!! You've known me and watched me all my life?! Why didn't you show yourself to me and tell me all this earlier?! I always wondered why I felt so out of place in life, living with humans. My parents always ignored me when I told them that every time I dreamed I was flying, it was extremely vivid; more like a memory. The only memory I've been able to dig up from my past as a child was a name and a little boy's face. . . "
"Christian?!" Charlotte gasps.
"Little Lottie." Christian, the falcon-man smiles. He pulls her into a warm embrace and holds her for a few seconds longer than usual. Charlotte pulls away, suddenly alert.
"Francis!! He's waiting for me back at the theatre!! How long have we been here?!!"
"Of course. We'll see to him first. Then I must re-introduce you to your kingdom." He takes her by the hand and lifts off the ground, pulling her with him. She falters a little at first, and Christian kindly says, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it." Leading her by the hand, Christian teaches Charlotte how to fly again and returns the princess to her rightful home and throne.
Francis looks at his watch again. Charlotte's taking an awful long time just to get changed he thinks. He walks back into the backstage door and heads down the corridor to her dressing room. After knocking on the door and not hearing an answer, he opens the door. Through the window he can hear the most beautiful, haunting song he's ever heard. No lyrics, but there's two distinct voices; one male, one female. He closes his eyes to better appreciate the music. When he opens them again, he looks around, startled and can't remember where he is or why he's there. Mysteriously figuring out the way to get out of the building, he goes back to his car. On the bonnet is a single, perfect, pure white feather.
Hi all! This is just me having a bit of fun. Any helpful suggestions or even requests or suggestions for other stories etc would be greatly appreciated. If you really like it, let me know; I will write more. I hope you enjoy it! :)