She felt the strain in her pectorals, the pull of every muscle in her back as she spread to her full span. Her blood pulsed to the extremities, leaving her lightheaded to the point of fainting. Her breath quickened, and the dizziness took over, but this time Deb ignored her doctor’s advice, giving her wings a gentle flap, just to feel the air around them.

Deb closed her eyes and when she opened them again, she was on her knees. Had she blacked out for a second?

Todd Rodgers stood over her. His face twisted with concern and she heard a voice in her ear.

“Ma’am, I’m a medic. Please don’t get up until we can be sure of your vitals. Help is on the way.”

But that voice seemed secondary. There was Todd Rodgers himself, his warm hand reaching out to her like some kind of revivalist preacher. It was almost as if he said to her, “Rise up, you are cleansed.” She could feel herself lighten, almost lift off the ground. She willed her useless legs to stand so that she might meet him, full and open and ready. Who said her human heart wasn’t strong enough to sustain her? As Todd Rodgers had shown time and again, the heart could do anything.