strike: a faerie tale

September 8, 2011
By WhiteWidow GOLD, Bakersfield, California
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WhiteWidow GOLD, Bakersfield, California
14 articles 3 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is not fair because no one plays fair and survives.


Author's note: This a sequel; check out the first. This second book took me one month during a summer vacation to complete. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this one.

The author's comments:
I hate writing the first chapter---always. And I never like how the first chapter turns out---never.

I SILENCED THE BUZZ OF MY PHONE AND CHECKED MY CALENDAR. Today was Monday, which meant I had tennis tryouts. I had been practicing all summer, including all day yesterday.
Everyone was still asleep, so I went to take a quick shower with the extra time I had. The burn on my hand was fading away all summer; today I could barely make out the outline. I made a mental note of asking Arial about it when I had the chance. I was on my way to my mirror when someone popped up in front of me, making me yelp and jump back.
Jake smirked. "Good morning sunshine." Jake Robins was my best friend turned boyfriend. When I had gotten my powers through the acquiring of Crystalus--a meteor that went from a marble to boulder in the time span of a few hours--Jake had done it with me.
Now, he could do the following: turn invisible, teleport to wherever he wanted, had super strength, can heal himself, and can read minds. I, on the other hand: was able to create a transparent shield, had super strength, fly, had extraordinary hearing and, read minds. The one glitch was that Jake and I couldn't read each others mind anymore. We could never figure out why.
"You have to stop doing that," I said, pushing him onto my bed. He didn't let himself hit the bed since he would have broken it. He looked like your average fifteen-year-old junior, but looks can be deceiving.
"Oh come on. Aren't you ready yet?"
"No, I still have to do my hair," I said sarcastically. There was absolutely nothing
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to do with my hair. It was long and light brown. Not to mention perfectly straight--or flat. Nothing I did to it would change it. How ordinary considering how extraordinary I was.
"Anyway, aren't you excited?"
I sat down at my mirror and began to put a little bit of eyeliner. "About what?" It was our third week of junior year. Almost nothing had changed at all--besides the obvious. The only difference was that Jake and I grew two inches taller--we measured. Jake was still three inches taller than me, not to mention ten days older. But I was still the shortest and youngest of the group. Then Jake was the third shortest; Josh--my brother in all senses except blood--was the oldest and tallest. And the most annoying.
"The tryouts. I'll be there to cheer you on. Just make sure you don't break the racket," he laughed.
I rolled my eyes. "Ha ha. Just be ready for your tryouts," I shot back. Jake had his football tryouts the day after mine. We had decided to join sports teams this year, a little couple thing we were trying.
"Ha, you're so hilarious. How long do you take exactly?" My clock said it was almost time for breakfast, and I could hear my mom head to the kitchen; maybe the alarm on my phone was set wrong.
"Just give me five minutes then knock on the door," I said quickly and kissed him. Jake being in my room unauthorized was illegal, so being caught here wouldn't be good.
"See ya in a bit," he said before popping away. When he would disappear, you could hear a faint pop; I thought it was cute.
I raided my closet to find anything; pink blouse, blue jeans… some sneakers. I double checked my duffle bag containing all my tennis stuff: racket, some spare tennis balls, fitness shorts and shoes, female products, and my permission slip.
When I gathered all my things, I made my way down to the kitchen. My mom and Josh were already there, eating delicious-smelling bacon. Mommy--a.k.a. Sandra Santali--raised her eyebrows when she noticed the full backpack and large duffel bag in my hands.
"Amy, isn't that heavy for you?" she asked. Before my… transformation, I wasn't very strong. I mean, I weighed only a hundred and five pounds--I had gained three pounds in 'muscle' in the last four weeks--so it was noticeable how small I am.
"No. I mean, I worked out this summer," I said simply. She shrugged as I set my stuff by the door and took a seat at the kitchen table.
“So, are you ready for your tryouts?" Josh smirked. I took some bacon from the plate in the middle. There was so much since my dad, Frank Santali, wasn't here. Ever since his promotion back in May, he leaves early in the morning and got home around midday.
"Of course." I took a big bite of bacon when there was a knock on the front door. "I'll get it," I said as I almost flew across the living room; couldn't let Mom see that.
I opened the door to find Jake, along with Liz Martins. Her brown eyes and almond face (she'd gotten tan over the summer) looked exhausted, like she didn't sleep well, which was unusual for her. But her brown hair looked beautiful; her full figure made her look like a real junior… maybe even a senior. She was the third tallest and oldest of our four-people group. Liz completed our group of friends as our concerned
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worrier. Of course she was also my best girlfriend and we were in total sync.
She yawned. "Hey Amy, ready to go?"
"Sure. Josh, Jake and Liz are here," I said as I grabbed my stuff. They were big and were a hassle.
"Here, give me the duffel," Jake said as he took the bag. We said our goodbyes and headed to school. Lincoln High School was close enough to walk to but not far enough to have bus transportation near our housing district. Jake and Liz lived relatively close so we were always within walking distance of each other.
"Has your burn faded off?" Jake asked me quietly. We walked behind Josh and Liz, who were talking animatedly about some class, the nerds. I held out my hand and showed it to him. He showed me his left hand, which had nothing on it.
"Yours is gone? Since when?"
"On Saturday it was completely gone. What does it mean?"
I scoffed and rolled my eyes at him. "Like I know. We'll head to Alloid's place and ask him about it after my tryouts. I'm sure it's nothing serious." Positively… unsure.
Alloid was an alien shape-shifter who crash landed in front of our tree house he now occupies. He was approximately our age in his celestial years. It was a little disturbing, meeting an alien and such. We befriended him once we realized he meant us no harm. Alloid also had introduced to us the Crystalus that had to be acquired, which led to me and Jake's specialties.
As we reached the school, passing by the jock-brained football players, we headed to our usual spot. 'Our' tree was in the center of the quad area so we had a view of the whole school. Whenever there was a fight going down, we always had front row seats.
When we arrived, we found someone was already occupying it. A girl, sophomore by the looks of it--though she seemed bigger, she was taller than Liz and I--was reading a school map. Her shoulder length brown hair swung left to right as she looked at certain buildings. Her skin was russet colored, perhaps a little lighter than that. She must've been Native American… or of Asian descent.
"I'm sorry," she said in a quiet soprano voice. "Is this your spot?" She wrinkled her nose and her eyes watered, as if she'd eaten something sour. She took a step back, seeming to get a little defensive.
Jake started. "Actually--"
"Yeah, but… do you need help finding something?" I cut across. Her concerned expression softened a little. Her dark eyes showed her appreciation for the friendly gesture. She wrinkled her nose again when I stepped closer.
"I was just trying to memorize the map. This school's pretty big." She added a smile.
I returned it as brightly as I could. "I'm Amy Santali. This is Jake Robins, my brother Josh, and Liz Martins," I said, pointing everyone out. "Are you by any chance a sophomore?"
"Junior, actually. I'm Roxanne. I just moved here from Portland," she replied. She started to sound more confident. I hadn't realized how soft her voice was before; now she sounded a bit deeper, slightly older.
"Well, we're juniors too," Josh said, slightly overenthusiastic. "Maybe we can
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show you around?" The way he looked at her… I was almost stunned by the sudden interest in his eyes. What shocked me a little more was the way her smile lingered on Josh in return.
"I would greatly appreciate it. I don't know anyone in town."
"You do now," Liz said cheerfully. She stepped forward, putting herself just between Josh and Roxanne. "Where's your next class?" The bell rang before she got to answer.
"Don't worry," I assured Roxanne. "We'll help you find your way."
"Oh, you don't have to go through any trouble. I wouldn't want you to be late for class," she said humbly. It was impossible to believe how polite she was.
"I'll show her around," Josh piped up. "You guys go on ahead. We'll meet at lunch." He then led her away towards one of the science buildings. They walked very close to each other. Jake, Liz and I just stared after them.
"No way," said Liz. Jake and I smiled at each other.
"That's so cute!" I squealed.
Jake chuckled. "Our little Joshie's growing up." I had barely noticed Liz was still watching them walk away. She had an odd expression I couldn't read, but I didn't want to intrude her mind.
"Liz, are you okay?" Jake asked.
Liz seemed to snap back home. "Yeah. I'm fine," she said.
I couldn't resist.
--the hell?! She's just the new girl "I'll see you later." She walked in the opposite direction and then realized her class was the other way and turned around. Jake and I just watched Liz walk away, though, she looked more like she was stomping.
"Are you serious?" Jake said aloud. He must've heard her too.
I could only just nod my head. "I would have never thought of that ever happening. Let's just get to class." Jake and I had all our classes together… again. We had said that we would make sure we had at least two classes together this year. Someone was obviously listening.
For first period, we had Chemistry. Lab Bio had been easy peasy--this was just impossible. With our strength, I had broken a beaker by holding it too hard while Jake had broken a test tube with two fingers. I never had butterfingers but I seemed to have found them in the lab. Thankfully, today we just took notes.
"Did you know Liz ever liked Josh?" Jake whispered. The teacher, Mr. Carlson, was lecturing about a new topic, but I had no interest.
"Not until today, I didn't. Maybe it's just recent."
"What does Josh think?"
"I'm trying not to make it a habit to eavesdrop into people's minds," I whispered back. "Didn't you hear anything?"
He smirked at me. "Nope. I didn't have to. They showed what they were thinking."
I sighed in agreement. Thirty minutes had passed and all we had on our papers was our name. I made a note to get actual notes out of the textbook (or Liz); time was passing way too fast.
Since we had behaved so well (an oddity with basketball players in the class), Mr. Carlson let us have twenty minutes free-time as long as we weren't too loud; he was
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suddenly engrossed by his computer screen. People moved to sit with their friends. Jake and I stayed put and relaxed.
"So…," Jake said, breaking our own little silence. The class was loud but not loud enough to have the teacher revoke his gift.
"So…what?"
"You're not nervous?" I had not thought of that. The tryouts were only a couple of hours away; some last year players were doing it again--and they were experienced (and good). Butterflies were hatching in my stomach just thinking about it.
"I wasn't until you mentioned it."
"Oops."
I sighed. I know I had practiced hard enough over the summer, every day and all day. I played against the house or my wall. I learned all the rules. I even had my own signature swing. "So," I said, "you're not nervous?" He turned a little pink; I smirked because I always thought it was cute.
"Not at all," he said.
I scoffed at his false bravado. "Of course you're not. You're a rock."
It was so easy to be with Jake. He seemed so… perfect for me. I sometimes could never believe I was with him, his girlfriend; {sigh} I loved thinking it. Jake seemed to feel the same way, as we had discussed during some nights. We had wanted each other for a long time, it seemed like we never thought that we would ever come to be. Yet here we were.
The bell rang, making me jump; Jake smirked. As softly as I could, I punched him in the shoulder.
We laughed. The measures we took to remain unnoticed. Had I punched him with just a little more force, it would have sounded like a small explosion--seriously.
We slowly made our way through the crowd. And I mean slowly. We had to make sure we didn't bump someone hard enough to break their shoulders (Josh and Liz had sore arms for a month). But when the warning bell rang and less people were around, we were able to speed to our classes. Our second period was Trigonometry. {gag}
The teacher's name was Mrs. Trevors. She usually gave us a worksheet and made us get our notes from the book--she didn't feel like lecturing at all. It was so beyond boredom that it made watching grass grow exciting.
Jake and I quietly did our work; it was the only class we struggled with. For every question, I had to consult the book and I still didn't understand the concept. Jake wasn't much help either. He seemed to get negative numbers when they should be positive and vice versa. I just got answers that didn't make as much sense as the problem itself.
After that grueling hour, we had coed P.E. next. This class seemed to be my favorite this year. For once, Jake and I were the top of the class with the fastest running time, most sit-ups and push-ups and great physical shape. Mondays we had to run a mile--the equivalent of four laps around the track.
"Ah, the mile," Jake mused during warm-ups. "It never gets old."
"Just make sure to keep the same pace," I warned. We would go faster than everyone else but not too fast it looked like we were on steroids. The teacher, Mr. Chavez, was very impressed with us. He always encouraged us to join his track team.
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"Thanks, but I prefer tennis/football" was always our reply.
This week the girls ran first. I kept my lead with the girls panting behind me. I occasionally stopped, making it look I was tired. Then I sped up when I was almost finished. I was always entertained when it was the guys' turn. The other boys ran their lungs out just to keep a foot behind Jake. He would smile at me when he passed by. As I watched him, a girl came to sit next to me.
"I hear you're going out with Jake Robins," she said. She was taller than me with blonde hair and gray eyes. I noticed she was a sophomore, but she also looked like a model.
"Yeah." I never took my eyes off Jake. From across the field it looked like he was taunting the guys behind him. Mean.
"Were you guys friends before you hooked up?"
"Best friends." I glanced at her; she was watching Jake also.
I just had to peek: Wow, he's so hot
{grrrr}
“How is it going?"
"What's with the sudden interest?" I asked a little too harshly.
Her eyes widened a little. "Just curious," she muttered as she got up and walked away to her group of friends. I turned back to Jake… but couldn't help overhear what they were saying.
"So?" a brunette asked with a hint of disgust in her voice. My eyes flickered in their direction immediately.
"I didn't know she was so catty," replied the girl who'd talked to me. The brunette scowled in my direction, I barely had looked away so she wouldn't notice my glare.
"I don't think they'll last that long. I mean, she really isn't that pretty," said another blonde girl in the circle. "He'll probably dump her soon."
"What, so you could have sloppy seconds?" replied one of the other brunettes. They all started laughing while the girl that hated me scowled at them playfully. It took all the restraint I had not to go over there and punch her face through to the back of her skull. Apparently, the brunette had a crush on Jake since the beginning of this year; she'd noticed the growth--and hotness--spurt. I was surprised I barely noticed this now. Maybe I hadn‟t been paying attention. Or maybe because Jake was pretty much the show-off in class, it was hard for the other girls to not notice.
I barely realized I had clenched my fists. I flexed them, then my knuckles cracked. Damn. The sound made it soo tempting. I took a deep breath as Jake came back, the first one done.
"Hey--what's wrong?" He sat down on the grass next to me. He was perfect, not one bead of sweat on his perfect face. I whined softly. I didn't really consider myself in his league. He really didn't see it that way, I had assumed; I never voiced these concerns aloud.
"Nothing important."
His head suddenly went up. I looked up too, just to see he was looking at the group of girls. I sighed again. I didn't have to hear to know what they were thinking.
"You heard them, didn't you?" His face became serious as he looked at my sad expression.
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Then he laughed at me. "I don't know why your getting upset. They're just a bunch of dumb sophomores and freshmen. You don't have to listen to every word they say."
I rolled my eyes and threw some grass at him. "Yeah… but they're still hard to ignore." He put his arm around me; the girls scoffed extra loudly.
When the last boy had come in, we headed to the locker rooms. I went with the girls to the left door, being jostled from behind. I turned to see the brunette stalk away. After I had changed, I went to my locker to see the brunette and the blonde standing beside it. I took a deep breath and put on the most innocent face I could muster.
"Hi," I said pleasantly. They kindly stepped aside so I could get through, though I knew kindness was far from their minds.
"So… you and Jake Robins, huh?" asked the brunette. So much for subtlety. I put away my gym clothes and shoes, my back to them.
"Yep." I locked my locker and began organizing my backpack.
"How long have you known each other?" she asked with false curiosity.
"Since kindergarten."
Her mental tone was confused and shocked. They hadn't known that we were so close, so they now knew it was going to be difficult to break us up. I wanted to laugh in their faces. I turned and grabbed my backpack. They were blocking my path again. As stupid as it sounded, they wanted to fight me (unbelievable). Again, I tried not to laugh; and it took all I had not to push them through the lockers.
"Excuse me, please," I said as politely as I could. They evilly insulted me in their minds and I was getting more upset at their lack of word choice.
The blond stepped aside but the brunette kept her ground. "Are you in a hurry?" she asked. I could hear the hint of double meaning.
"Well, I want to go to lunch," I replied innocently.
Her face became a little serious. "Is he waiting for you?" she asked not bothering to hide her snide.
I rolled my eyes. "Of course. I mean, he is my boyfriend." I would have broken her shoulder had she not quickly stepped out of the way, a worried expression spread on her face instantly.
Perfect.

The author's comments:
I'm rarely satisfied with the second chapter too. I CAN USE A BIT OF CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM PLEASE!!!

I QUICKLY MADE MY WAY TO THE GATES WHERE JAKE STOOD, LEANING AGAINST THE BARS, WAITING. He smiled when he saw me, then he frowned as he noticed my angry expression.
"What's--?"
"Do you really have to ask?" He looked taken aback at my sudden outburst. "Sorry," I sighed. "It's those girls again. I swear I thought I was going to have an aneurysm trying to keep from killing them all." As we started walking to the cafeteria, Jake for some reason, laughed at what I'd said.
"What's so funny?" I asked a little loudly. I honestly did not find what would be. He chuckled. "Never thought I'd be worth fighting over," he replied. I punched him; people immediately looked up at the sky at the loud boom that occurred.
"Get over yourself," I muttered. "You don't realize how hot you've become over summer, haven't you?" I admitted sadly. It was disheartening, and a blow to my self-esteem.
Jake laughed again. "Sheesh. You like me too much," he replied. "You won't believe what the guys were--and are--thinking about you. I wanted--and want--to hurt every single one of them." He punched his palm threateningly, only to look adorable.
"Ah, sweet," I cooed as I floated up quickly to give him a peck on the lips.
He sighed. "Do we have to get lunch or can we go behind a building or something?" he said as we arrived at the very long lunch line.
I laughed. "You're crazy. I don't know about you but I'm starving." We got our pizzas and headed to our usual spot. When we reached the quad, we found Liz and Josh sitting under the tree with their lunches. I was a little surprised Josh hadn't brought Roxanne. They were eating quietly; no talking, which was unusual. We said our hi's as Jake and I sat down with them.
"Have you seen Roxanne?" Josh asked. He constantly kept looking around for her. Liz sulked beside him.
"No. Why?" I resisted the urge to peek into his head. He blushed quickly. Liz continued to pout.
"No reason. I just wanted to make sure she found her classes okay, that's all," he answered innocently. All I saw in his head was Roxanne, and the newness. Liz was thinking of Roxanne too, but not in a nice way. We ate in silence; Josh was still on lookout and Liz was super quiet. Lunch today wasn't a good lunch.
Jake and I had U.S. History for fourth period. We sat in the back where we had the most privacy. Fourth period was the most disruptive and my second favorite class. Almost every day we watched a movie. Of course, it always related to history, but they were still entertaining.
And, as you must know, when the class is watching a video, they turn off the lights.
For fifth period, we had English. Today we had to write an essay or short story about our favorite something. Jake wrote an essay about his dream car. I wrote a short adventure story about Jake, though names were changed.
When everyone had turned in their works, we had forty minutes left so we started a film about a book we had just read last week. Jake and I leaned against each other on the desk and took a nap just as everyone followed the same suit. We had been
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really asleep when the bell rang, so mine and Jake's head shot up instantly to the amusement of those sitting close to us.
"Man, I feel exhausted," he yawned as we walked out of class.
"Same here," I replied. "I just hope I have enough energy left for the tryouts."
"Don't worry. We can sleep in sixth."
Because we no longer had Spanish, we had to fill a period with something; only in our senior year could we have a free period. We had decided on Study Hall for sixth--again; the counselors didn't mind. Liz and Josh didn't have a class at all with us this year, which was fine with me.
We found seats in the back and slumped on our desks. The teacher didn't mind. No one bothered us.
I opened my eyes but closed them instantly; the light that seemed to come from every direction blinded me. The light seemed to stay in my eyesight; in my peripheral vision, I could only see pitch black. I blinked a couple of times, but it was difficult to get used to the brightness. When I was able to open them again, I noticed someone standing in front of me… a girl by the looks of her silhouette. She was walking towards me as I realized it was Roxanne. She wore black clothing like she did at school. Her face was vacant, no expression. Then the light flashed brighter, making me turn away, then it faded back as my eyes readjusted.
Roxanne was gone. Instead, what stood in front of me was a huge black wolf. It came above my waist, its teeth reminded me of Ezekiel's fangs, except its mouth was full of them. The fur stood up, making it seem bigger, more vicious. Its mouth was open, salivating. The black eyes…Roxanne's eyes stared at me with anger… or hunger.
I couldn't move, couldn't move or feel my body. I felt frozen with fear. I couldn't believe this was Roxanne. She crouched slowly; I knew what was coming next yet I stayed where I was.
She lunged--I jumped up violently--my eyes flashed open--the bell rang… simultaneously.
"Whoa. You okay?" Jake and I had been leaning on each other over the desk. He must have been sleeping until the bell and I woke him.
"I'm fine," I said. I was fully awake now, thanks to that dream. I wasn't sure what it meant or what the wolf represented, if there was even a hidden message. It was difficult to shrug off as we filed out of the classroom, going towards the tennis courts instead of the gate exits. Jake waited for me as I quickly changed in the girls restroom. When I had come out, he raised his eyebrows at my exposed legs, which were tanner and slightly toned.
Jake and I walked hand in hand as we made our way across campus. The coach, Miss. Johansson, greeted us at the gate. She looked like she was in great shape; her blond hair in a ponytail pulled through her hat, made her look sporty. She had the body of a runway model; long legs and thin figure.
"Name, grade and permission slip please," she said, looking at her clipboard as she spoke.
"Amy Santali. I'm a junior," I answered, handing her my form. She checked the slip then marked something on her paper then looked up to notice Jake standing next to me.
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"Son, this is the girls season."
Jake turned red quickly; I stifled a giggle. "I'm not trying out," he said quietly.
Miss. Johansson just laughed. "Only kidding. Spectators on the other side of the fence please," she chuckled. She walked away to greet other girls.
"Ha ha," he muttered sarcastically to her back. "It's not that funny, Amy," he snapped. I was still laughing at his red face.
I kissed him quickly. "'Spectators on the other side of the fence please,'" I mimicked. He rolled his eyes as he walked away. I headed over to where the girls were stretching. I simply took out my racket and leaned against the fence, waiting for the tryouts to officially begin. A mousy-looking freshman, who was stretching her legs with a pained expression on the ground looked up at me.
"You're not warming up?" she asked incredulously.
I shrugged and shook my head. I didn't need to.
She raised her eyebrows and resumed her exercise. A whistle blew as Miss Johansson beckoned for us to gather around her.
"Good afternoon. I'm Miss Johansson, you can call me Miss Jo for short. I will be your coach for this season and hope you all play one-ten all the way. I--" she stopped; a girl had raised her hand. "Yes?" she asked.
"What does… 'one ten' mean?" she asked timidly. I realized it was Maria Moreno. She had been in my biology class last year, and was very smart, though very shy.
"It means I want you all to play one hundred and ten percent in every game, Miss Moreno," she replied. "I appreciate your eagerness to learn," she added with a smile. Maria blushed quickly. I was going to like Miss Jo.
She continued. "I want freshmen and sophomores up first, you'll make up the junior varsity--unless you're really good. Juniors and seniors are going to be varsity--or junior varsity if you're… not so good." Perfect. Varsity.
She paired us up according to whoever was standing next to us. The freshmen were okay, the sophomores only slightly better. Miss Jo was constantly checking things off of a long list she had. After they had finished, Miss Jo said she would post the junior varsity list on the Student Government (or Stud-Gov, as we called it) center window, same with varsity. Then it was our turn. Luckily, I was paired with Maria, and we went first. I was to serve, which was a huge advantage for me. Maria wasn't doing so well, but I didn't go easy on her. When we finished, we were able to leave.
"Good job, Amy," Maria congratulated.
"You too," I replied politely. I gathered my stuff quickly. Jake was waiting by the entrance. He tried his best, but we both could not ignore all the girls glancing at him in awe and at me in envy.
"I told you," I said as he took my hand. We were walking away but I still felt everyone's eyes on us.
"You're over exaggerating," he scoffed. "They're just jealous and you know it." I nudged into him. We stopped at the girls bathroom so I could change. Then we headed towards the gates exiting the school.
"Do you still want to go to Alloid's place?" I asked as we crossed the parking lot. We both looked at our burns; mine was barely noticeable then. I didn't expect anything wrong since I felt fine and none of our abilities were fading away either.
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He shrugged. "I'm in no hurry. Want to just walk around instead?" We were still holding hands. Jake was still carrying my duffel after refusing to just let me carry the damn thing myself.
"I'd rather fly," I replied. I hadn't been able to use most of my abilities all summer. I had the feeling that if I didn't use them I'd lose them.
"Why don't we?"
I prodded him in the ribs with my elbow. "You know we can't. People would see us."
"People would see us in daylight," he said. "But what about at night?"
I raised an eyebrow. "What about airplanes?"
He rolled his eyes at me as we crossed the street. "We don't have to go hundreds of feet in the air," he countered.
"What if my parents catch us leaving or notice I'm not home?" He was quiet for a moment. I wasn't sure what put him in the mood to debate, but he looked cute when he was thinking hard.
"I could come and take you somewhere else to fly."
"But you make noise when you disappear. What if my parents hear you?"
He blinked. "I make noise?"
I nodded. "A little popping sound." I popped my lips.
Jake raised his eyebrows. "Why didn't you tell me?"
I shrugged. "I thought you knew." We were on Main Street, walking by Radio Shack and Payless.
"So, you want to fly tonight?"
I sighed in pretend irritation. "If you really want to, we'll fly tonight."
"Yes," he exclaimed. After about thirty minutes of walking I asked Jake to take me home. I was tired enough as it was, what with the suffocation in order to be in my room. We fell onto my bed, laughing, when--
I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. "Shh! Someone's coming. Leave now!" I hissed to Jake.
"I don't hear anything," he replied, looking at the door, confused.
I made him stand up. "But I do. Hurry." He kissed me goodbye, then he disappeared with a cute pop. I softly glided to my bed and pretended to have been lying there the whole time when there was a knock on my door.
"Amy?" It was Daddy Dearest, Mr. Frank Santali. "Are you in there?" Knowing he would never barge into my room, I drifted to the door and opened it. My dad must've changed when he got home, wearing a T-shirt and jeans. A cap hid his messy brown hair. It felt like I hadn't seen him in a very long time.
"What's up, Pop?"
"Have you seen my glasses? I can't find them anywhere," he asked; he was nearsighted. Josh got that from him, but he doesn't ever where his glasses; I think he lost them but doesn't want to tell anyone--mainly the parents who paid for them.
"Nope. Haven't seen them."
He turned to leave when he stopped and turned around. "What are you planning for tonight?"
I thought for a moment. "Uh, I was planning to go out with Jake tonight--if it's okay," I answered. He frowned a little at my response. "Something going on tonight?"
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"I was just wondering if you wanted to see that new adventure movie tonight, but I see you already have plans--"
"Well, I could still go with you. I mean--"
"No, no. It's alright, you go on ahead. I know you kids need to do homework or something." He walked down to the kitchen as I shut the door. Jake was sitting on my bed; apparently, he hadn't left.
"Why did you tell your dad no?"
I leaned against the door. "I didn't say no. He wouldn't let me say yes," I sighed. We were quiet for a couple of minutes. For no apparent reason, an image of a black wolf flashed in mind; I jumped a little. Jake didn't seem to notice.
"You should have insisted," he said. "I mean you're a lot stubborn than you give yourself credit for," he chuckled. "At least you used to be," he said under his breath. I wasn't supposed to be able to hear that, but I did.
"What do you mean I used to be?" When I wanted to be, I could be as stubborn as a mule, then I would get my way. It worked 98% of the time, practically a guarantee. He looked up, a little shocked expression across his face.
I rolled my eyes and pointed at my ears.
Jake rubbed the back of his neck like he always did when he was embarrassed. "I don't know. It's just that… ever since what happened in May… you seemed… I don't know. You seem to always be on your guard, you know? Like you expect someone to attack you any second of the day," he said awkwardly. I went to look out the window so he could continue; I couldn„t look at him whenever we hit something serious. "I guess you never noticed but whenever we walk out around town… you always look over your shoulder every once in a while." He remained quiet for a minute or so. Had I started to go subconsciously paranoid?
Jake walked over to stand behind me. He wrapped his arms around me as I rested my head on his shoulder.
"I know that was rough," he said softly. "I never pointed any of those things out before because… I didn't want you to think you were going insane."
I closed my eyes as he stroked my hair. "Oh, Jake," I sighed. He was too good for me. Sometimes I felt like I didn't deserve him.
I didn't think I was crazy, but I had no idea the events in May had affected me so. Being bitten by a vampire and then later being stabbed by him isn't an everyday occurrence, but I had just shrugged them off as if they weren't a big deal. I had other things to worry about at the time. I guess I was having a delayed reaction or something.
"What about you?" I turned around so I could rest my head against his chest. He held me and continued to run his fingers through my hair.
Jake chuckled. "What about me? I was only on the sidelines," he said simply. I wanted to ask how did those things happen. What did he see exactly? Wasn't it supposed to be horrible watching someone be stabbed? Especially when that was someone you cared about? I was so close to bringing those things up, but I know I would just start feeling bad.
"Why don't you take a nap? You look awful," he chuckled quietly.
I glanced a the clock, it was six o'clock. We walked to my bed so I could lay down. Jake laid next to me and held me in his arms; we usually did this every night.
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Pretty soon we both fell asleep.

The author's comments:
Any suggestions on how I could've made the last few scenes more... actiony??

I WAS WALKING PAST A MERRY-GO-ROUND AND A SWING SET. It all seemed strangely familiar, like another life I'd had… or something I'd forgotten… I don't know. The trees grew in a circle around three different sets of slides, and there was a drinking fountain. I remembered sliding down the yellow one in the middle, and even trying to go backward up the twirling slide… distant memories. I realized it was Memorial park, the park a few blocks from my house. I walked by it every day on my way to school.
Some houses were in the direction I was going: I was walking home. It was growing dark… or light? No, it felt more like it was evening. I continued walking home, whatever.
Suddenly I heard a growl behind me, loud and dark like the night. I turned around to find a pair of black eyes look back at me. I immediately thought it was a stray dog.
"Shoo!" I said, though I spoke with an adult male voice. It was a voice I knew, but I wasn't sure who I was supposed to be. The dog growled again, except it sounded angry.
"Go on! Scram!" I shouted. I recognized the voice immediately then. I was Dad. The dog stepped forward from the shadows into the lamppost light.
It was the black wolf with Roxanne's eyes. I still wasn't sure if it really was Roxanne. Either way the wolf slowly came closer, baring its teeth. I quickly looked around to see if anyone was nearby, someone who could help. A family was barbecuing from a long distance, the children playing beside the picnic table. They didn't notice me or the wolf.
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Something in its posture told me it was ready to attack; front paws stretched out, his head lowered for the pounce. I quickly looked around me for a branch or something that would help me defend myself, and couldn't find anything. But when I looked back, the wolf was already in the air, coming straight at me.
I jolted awake, sitting up too quickly that my head spun for a bit. There was a thump beside the bed and some scrambling. For a moment, I thought the wolf's silhouette would spring up from beside the bed into view, but it was only Jake.
"What? What's wrong?" he asked coming to sit next to me. I continued to take deep breaths until I was slightly calmer. I didn't know I was out of breath. Had I been holding it?
"I-It's… nothing," I replied with a shaky voice. I got up with trembling legs to turn on the light; it was already night, the clock said seven-thirty. Jake was sitting on my bed, rubbing his eyes.
"It's not nothing when you throw me off the bed like that," he said. I sighed as I looked in the mirror. Ugh. I looked like the living dead. There were dark circles under my eyes. I was pale… but, then again, I was always pale, though I thought I had tanned during the summer. It seemed to have disappeared while I was asleep?
I shook my head. "It's not a big deal."
He scoffed at me. I knew instantly he was going to dwell on this till I gave in. "Clearly there is something wrong." Jake gave me a hard look I tried to fight but I simply couldn't match him now. I went to sit beside him and told him the two dreams I had. I didn't tell him my suspicion about Roxanne because it sounded too insane.
"Whoa," he said when I had finished. "Wasn't this the same thing with Charlie?" I wasn't thinking about Charlie/Ezekiel at all.
"What's this got to do with him?"
He stood up and began pacing. "Didn't you have a dream about him attacking you? You told me about it, remember?" I nodded, understanding. I had dreamt that the night before it actually happened, but I had only figured that was because I was a little worried then. "You're your dad in your dreams, right?" he continued as he paced.
"Only in this one I was. The other time I'm sure I was myself."
"Did your dad go to the movies today? Tonight?"
I suddenly realized what he was saying. But there aren't wolves here…are there?
"No way. I mean, you can't possibly think what I saw was actually happening." The idea sounded outlandish to be true… completely impossible.
"What about that dream about Charlie? That happened, right?" he countered.
I could find no argument there. "I'm sure that was only a coincidence or something…. I didn't see you in the dream but you were still there," I replied. In the dream I had been completely alone. When it actually happened for real, Jake had been there to save me… sort of.
"The future can change, can't it?" He stopped pacing then, eyebrows still furrowed in thought. Someone was running up the stairs.
"Jake, hide!" I hissed as he disappeared.
Josh burst through my door. "Dad's in the hospital--we need to go now! Meet down stairs in two minutes--hurry!" he said, shutting the door behind him just as suddenly as he'd entered.
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I was frozen for a few seconds. What had happened to him? Was he really attacked? That couldn't be… it shouldn't be.
"Amy, hurry!" Jake hissed, reappearing at my side. "I'll meet you at the hospital later, okay?" He kissed my cheek then disappeared. I quickly got my shoes and ran swiftly down the stairs, all in a daze.
"Hurry, Amy," said Mom, ushering me through the door. Josh was already in the passenger seat. I slid into the seat behind her as she got in behind the wheel. We peeled out of the driveway and sped into town.
“What happened?" Josh asked. I had noticed my mom's eyes were puffy from crying. I felt a pit in my stomach for what I was about to hear; I stayed out of her mind for she was thinking of the call she'd received on her cell phone just a while ago.
"Your dad was attacked, but… they couldn't figure by what. Some kind of… wild animal…?" She was looking away from us, eyes on the road now. Before, she was carefree and almost never paid attention to her driving. The trepidation was all over her face. Her brown eyes no longer joyful.
The car ride was somehow worst for me. My head was swimming the whole way, my body aching horribly all over. I was afraid I was going to pass out; the air had a heavy, metallic smell to it that made it harder to breathe. I glanced at my mom and Josh; other than looking scared they seemed fine. Why did I feel so sick? Was I simply worried… or was this another thing concerning my being faerie?
When we got to the hospital, my mom was getting more anxious just trying to find legal parking while I was fighting the urge to slip into unconsciousness. After we did find a space, I rushed out of the car and backed away from it, breathing in the fresh air. My worry was growing as my symptoms went away; I made a mental note to ask Alloid or Arial about this. We ran to the hospital entrance; I ran slower to keep pace with Mom and Josh.
"Frank Santali?" she panted to the nurse. The unaffected blond nurse typed something on the computer.
"Are you Sandra Santali, his wife?" she asked calmly. My mom nodded. "Room ten oh two, emergency center." She pointed to the hallway right of us. As we sped through the hall, avoiding doctors and patients, tears were already running down Sandra's face. None of us had ever landed in the hospital before. When we found the room, a doctor was coming out and we'd nearly ran into him. He stopped us.
"Dr. Reyes," he introduced himself. "Are you the family?" he asked. We all nodded. "It appears your husband was attacked by some wild animal. They had to sedate him for he was in too much pain, his injuries were very severe. The paramedics had asked the people who found him if they saw what happened. They all said it was a black wolf, but it was bigger than any they had seen." I tried to look through the windows to get a glimpse of Dad but the blinds were drawn.
"Is he going to be okay?" Mom asked quietly.
"He'll be fine. He's scratched up pretty badly and there are teeth marks all over his left arm, which is broken. We weren't sure what attacked him. We had an expert from the police station called in. He'd said the bites were indeed wolf marks, he assumed it was from a kind of wolf in the northern states.
"We're gonna have to keep him awhile. He's lost a lot of blood and needed two blood transfusions. You may see him, if you wish, but keep in mind he's heavily
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sedated. I'm sorry." He stepped aside so we could walk in. It was horrific.
His arm was in a cast, but the other was covered in deep cuts where red showed through the bandages. His face wasn't any better. There was a long scar that ran down across his right eye and deep gashes on his cheeks and across his neck. Every part of skin we could see was swollen, bruised or cut grotesquely. The rest of him, thankfully, was under the hospital blankets. I couldn't bear to see anymore. To see something so horrible happen to someone you love….
Mom had started crying and Josh leaned against the wall. His eyes were watering up along with mine. I walked out and slumped down beside the wall. My head resting on my knees. I sobbed quietly.
This couldn't have happened. If I had just gone with him, I might've been able to protect him. He wouldn't have been mauled by a wolf and we wouldn't be scared like this. I felt horribly responsible… again. The same feelings from May had come back, intensifying now. This time someone I cared about could've… died, and I hadn't been there. I heard footsteps coming my way.
"Amy?" asked Liz. I didn't look up.
"I'll take her, you help Mrs. Santali and Josh," Jake said. I heard Liz's gasp in between my mom's sobs. Jake sat next to me and held me in his arms. I cried quietly into his shoulders. He held me and stroked my hair again.
"It'll be okay," he said softly. "He'll be okay."
No thanks to me I thought. I would've started telling Jake to take me away from here, but I didn't want to leave. I sat there quietly, thinking. There had been other people there, at the park, when it happened.
The wolf, however, only went for my dad. If it was really hungry, wouldn't it have attacked the larger group of people? But then I remembered there had been children there. Then they would have suffered an attack, they would be in that hospital bed. But considering the size of the wolf, the little children would have been killed. But if I had gone with Dad and the wolf attacked them… I would've been able to protect them as well. I sobbed a little harder.
"Come on, I'll take you home," he said. I didn't protest. He helped me up, I continued to lean on him. He told my mom he was taking me home then led me out the hospital. I got off of him and simply held his hand. I turned away from him, I didn't want him to see me cry--as usual. It was dark outside, stars sparkled down from the sky. A full moon cast a dim glow in the street. It got darker as the moon hid behind a cloud quickly.
"What if the wolf is still around?" Jake asked. I hadn't thought of that. We were approaching the same park. I wanted to find the wolf, I wanted to make sure it wouldn't attack anyone else.
"Let's check it out," I said quietly.
Jake looked at me, a surprised expression on his face. "I think you'd better rest, Amy. Don't--"
I shook my head. "I just want to know where it is. If you and I find it, we might be able to stop it from hurting someone else," I said, voice trembling slightly. I guess I wanted to take matters into my own hands. Or revenge… neither of which felt good.
We walked into the park, I was leading Jake through the place I saw in my head. We were passing the merry-go-round… and the swing set.
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The slides were coming up when Jake suddenly steered me away and coughed, "Why don't we check over there." He pointed away from the slides, towards the tables. He was trying to avoid the slides.
"What?" I asked. I let go of his hand and tried to turn around but Jake blocked my path. He held my shoulders with his viselike grip.
"Jake, what is it?" Whatever it was, I was sure I would be able to handle whatever he was so concerned about. I immediately thought of the scratches and all the blood he'd lost. I gulped as I imagined small pools of my father's blood on the grass.
"Really. I think we should look over--" he stopped. He was looking over my shoulder. I turned around to see a girl sitting on a bench. Roxanne looked like she was crying. I wormed out of his grip and we walked over to her.
Roxanne looked up at us as we got closer, fear in those black eyes. She immediately got up off the bench and backed away from us.
"Stay away from me!" she yelled. "You're not safe around me. Go away!" I held up my hands like a cop and walked slowly towards her. Jake was close beside me.
"It's okay. We're not going to hurt you," I said softly.
She looked unconvinced as she continued to back away. "Get away!"
Then she turned and ran away with amazing speed.
We followed her easily. She was running to the almond tree orchard. I knew we weren't going to be able to catch her unless we cornered her. I jumped and flew over Roxanne as she looked back at Jake. I landed in front of her as she came to a quick halt. She looked at us with a confused look on her face.
"Who are you?" she asked, astounded at how we were able to keep up with her.
"Never mind us," I said a little harshly. "What are you exactly?"
She just shook her head, eyes wide open in what appeared to be fear and curiosity about me and Jake. "Leave! You're not safe around me! I don't want to hurt you!" she shouted.
"Can you turn into a wolf?" I asked to her shock. Even Jake raised his eyebrows.
Roxanne was absolutely panicking like crazy. "I can't control myself! Leave now! I might--" she stopped and looked up at the sky in horror. Jake and I followed her gaze to see the moon come out from behind a cloud.
A piercing scream made us turn back to Roxanne. She was on her knees, trembling intensely. Jake and I were rushing toward her when she threw her head back. The skin from her face had fallen away, revealing fur and a snout.
The skin on her arms melted off too, and her fingers grew back into her hand, fur covering them quickly. Her hair shot back into her skull to show fuzzy black ears and more black fur growing rapidly. Roxanne was screaming the whole time, until her voice changed to a piercing howl. I stopped running to her when a wolf body caused the clothes to shred away.
I no longer knew what to do. The three of us stood there for what felt like years but were really seconds before what happened next.
The wolf lunged at me, in the air with one jump, just as Jake materialized in front of me and punched the wolf in the chest. She flew at least fifty feet away from us. I
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didn't see her hit the ground for Jake had pulled me into the suffocating hole. I found myself on my knees, gasping for breath with Jake.
"What… did you… do?" I panted. He stood up as I continued to inhale deeply.
"Well, in case… you didn't notice," he huffed, "a fricking werewolf was about… about to attack you." I staggered to my feet. Jake had his hands on his hips and also breathed heavily, looking at me disapprovingly.
"You know she had no control," I said before I ran out of air. "She might attack… someone else." I continued to gasp for breath; my lungs hadn't been prepared for the teleportation. I sat on the bed, feeling a little lightheaded from standing.
"I'm not trying to sound negative or anything," Jake began, "but I don't think you'll be able to stop her." I looked up at him, pure confusion all over my face.
"What?" I asked incredulously. "I probably would have been able to take her if you hadn't stepped in."
"I don't mean that. If it came down to… well, killing her, I know you won't be able to do it. I know I wouldn't. She's a psychotic animal who kills… but I guess she's still human."
I stood up to his face, ignoring my confusion about why we would have to kill her at all. "I know you were there, Jake. Are you blind? You saw with your own eyes she can't control that!" It was true. We couldn't just send her somewhere else to kill. She was almost like our responsibility. I walked away towards the mirror then turned back to him before he could speak.
"Do you really think I'm going to let her terrorize our town? Let her hurt other innocent people because of her affliction?"
Jake looked at me in defeat.

The author's comments:
I have to copy-and-paste this from a PDF file I made. Why can't we upload PDF files? It's not difficult to make one. If random numbers appear in between words and sentences, I apologize.

MAN MAULED BY WOLF IN MEMORIAL PARK
Yesterday, thirty-four-year-old Frank Santali, father of Josh and Amy Santali, juniors here at Lincoln High School, was mauled by a wolf. He is currently in critical condition. Investigators have found no evidence in or near Memorial park, where the incident had occurred, to see that it was truly caused by a wolf.
Wolves being seen around this town is a rare occasion, especially being attacked by one. But animal experts have concluded that the teeth and claw marks have been made by what was recognized as a timber wolf, the type that can be found in the northern states. The only difference is that the bite marks left on the victim are larger than an average adult wolf's bite. There is no evidence that the wolf is still around town. But police have strongly advised--

I couldn't read anymore. The fact that everyone was talking about it was enough. I had never expected it to have appeared in our own school newspaper after seeing the headlines and news reports repeating the accident. But as I sat in the quad during lunch the next day, I shouldn't have been surprised.
All day I've heard nothing except "I'm sorry about your dad" or "He'll be okay right?" and "At least he's still alive" was one I received from jocks and brain dead potheads who didn't even know me. Josh didn't want to come to school so I had to endure the day of sympathy alone. Liz helped with the explanations and Jake shoved the idiots away from me.
The teachers didn't ask me questions or assign a lot of work as to give me peace, which was grateful. After last night, I wasn't sure if I was alive enough to do much. The girls from P.E. laid off my case. They thought it would be going too far as to giving me hard time about Jake at the moment.
Lunch was the best part of the day for me. We thankfully ate quietly, at least Liz and Jake did; I never ate when I was upset. I simply looked around till I became aware that I was actually looking for Roxanne. I realized I shouldn't be expecting her at school. She probably didn't want to risk the chance of running into me and Jake.
Jake and I never told Liz or Josh about our little run in with Roxanne. The last thing they needed to worry about was a werewolf on the loose.
My worries were starting to make me feel like crying--which was something I definitely didn't want to do.
I mumbled something about the bathroom as I got up and walked away from Liz and Jake. I headed to the bathroom as I my phone buzzed in my pocket. I didn't risk answering it then, a security guard was passing by. As soon as I went into a stall, I checked my phone. I had received a message from Alloid. 'U need 2 come ASAP! Very important -Alloid.'
I had an idea what this would be about. I had no time to dwell on that for the bell rang. I made my way to the tree but it was deserted.
They probably went to class
As I stressfully made my way through the hall, more people noticed me. I carefully shoved through crowd after crowd; I felt like I was in a rush. It was probably my irrational irritation; my emotions were on the fritz. Jake was waiting for me outside the door to history, carrying my backpack.
"Where've you been?" he asked. "I just got--"
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"A text from Alloid, I know. I got one too," I said as we walked into class. We were continuing the film from yesterday. Yesterday… it never seemed to have left my mind, and if it did, it simply clawed its way back. Jake and I made our way through the dark classroom to a pair of lone seats in the back.
"Should we go right after school?" Jake whispered when the film began.
"What about your tryouts?" I replied. I suddenly remembered the results of my tryouts were posted today.
"Oh, yeah. Well, I'll just make sure I'm first," he answered. "Did you see if you--"
"Shhhh!" said a student in front of us. He thought he had silenced us and continued watching the film, satisfied.
"Go suck an egg!" I hissed into his ear. He scowled at me and quickly moved up a seat. I leaned back in my chair as Jake had raised his eyebrows at me.
"What?"
"Are you okay?"
"I'm peachy keen, Jake. Peachy keen."

History wasn't so bad afterwards. I simply took a nap while everyone else tried to watch the film. English went sort of the same way. We watched a movie on Shakespeare though we had covered the subject in 9th grade. All through class, however, Jake didn't strike up conversation; 'Don't bother me or feel my wrath' was probably written across my forehead.
It was bad enough I had to continue to endure everyone's pity, but it just added more to the fact that Roxanne was still around. I didn't want to hurt her but what else was there? If she hurts another person, I would automatically feel responsible. Jake and I knew what she was and were probably the only ones who would be able to stop her--I don't have a gun with silver bullets. If Josh knew what we were thinking of doing…. Josh.
Oh no.
He likes Roxanne. Roxanne probably likes him back. If they ever made contact… who knows what would happen, how dangerously close they would become. Josh was in serious danger just knowing her. Thankfully she wasn't around him. But I wasn't sure how long that would last.
Jake and I entered study hall quietly. He still hadn't spoken up. As we took out our work he didn't even glance my way. I was starting to think he was scared of me.
"Jake?"
He jumped a little. "Yeah?" he said, eyes on his paper. I sighed, a little frustrated about his nervousness around me.
"Why aren't you talking to me?"
"I'm afraid you'll bite my head off." I smirked. "You seem stressed about a lot of things," he mused. "I'm just worried you'll blow up or something."
"I'm sure you'd survive. Did you bring your stuff?" I asked. Jake looked confused.
"What stuff?"
I rolled my eyes. "Your football stuff?" He looked down at the floor to see only
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his back pack. Then he comically slapped his forehead; it sounded a bit louder than normal but no one noticed.
"Crap. I'll have to pop home and get them."
The hour flew by as we gradually made our way to conversation. We talked about what we heard around school, kept away about the touchy issues. Josh didn't come… and Liz would have to walk home alone. I told Jake. Other than pestering me about stressing, he understood. We greeted her at our usual spot.
"Liz," I said. "Jake's gonna take you home."
She raised her eyebrows at me, confused. "Why?"
"Do you really have to ask?" Jake broke in. We led her to the back of a classroom. She and Jake were about to leave.
"Wait! Why do I have to home like this? I can walk you know," she exclaimed. Jake and I couldn't help but roll our eyes at her.
"Liz, are you serious? That wolf is out there," I said firmly. "Jake and I are simply taking some safety precautions."
She looked unconvinced. "I know you too well, Amy Santali," she began. "But I can't help but feel that you're blaming yourself for this. You need--"
"What I need is for you to be safe," I cut in. "So quit arguing and go home." Jake took her hand and disappeared before she could argue.
As I waited, I couldn't help but think about what Liz had said. She was right, I was blaming myself for everything. I hated how everyone could read me like a book. If this was a couple of months ago, I would've agreed. These things would've been out of my control.
But this wasn't a couple of months ago. And I do have some control over these things. Even if this wasn't my fault--I realized it's not--I still felt some responsibility to help put things right.
Jake popped up with his duffel bag, smiling. I couldn't admit that I didn't feel nervous as Jake first lead me to the Stud-Gov center. There was the Junior Varsity list followed by a list labeled:
LHS GIRLS VARSITY TENNIS TEAM
Noreen Ahmed
Yessica Espinoza
Melissa Gonzalez
Helen Herrera
Diana Martinez
Carmen Millan
Marlin Morales
Elizabeth Nuñez
Gennylyn Pantoja
Amy Santali

"Congratulations super star," said Jake as he picked me up and spun me. I involuntarily squealed with joy.
We became serious when we saw all the other guys trying out on the field. They were huge. NFL players didn't seem to stand a chance against these guys.
"Go easy on them, Jake." He merely smirked as he kissed me--very intensely. I assumed he was putting on a show for the guys; I wrapped my arms around him.
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"Wish me luck," he said as he jogged to the coach. I walked to the stadium and sat at the bench. The people already there looked at me until I turned to look at them; they all immediately paid their attention to the practice.
The coach made everyone run a mile around the track. Jake looked to me and smiled; he was practically on the team already. He stayed in front, letting guys huff alongside him. Next they had to do push-ups, sit-ups, followed by throws, kicks, and catches. During those moments, when Jake was on the other side of the field, Roxanne was on my mind. When I thought of her, I remembered last night… I thought of Josh getting close to her…. By the end of the practice, all the guys walked off the field in ache and pain--except Jake.
The walk home was long. I didn't like it for I was compressed by my thoughts of what was to come. Jake was talking about the tryouts… or something guy-related, I nodded at the right times though I wasn't sure what he was saying. Roxanne--or the vicious werewolf she became--was always on my mind.
"Amy? Are you listening?" Jake asked, sending my thoughts on a whirlwind. It took a while to catch up. We were already outside my house.
"Yep."
"What did I just say?" He raised an eyebrow.
I thought for a moment. "You were saying… how easy tryouts were?" I guessed. Jake laughed at me as I blushed quickly.
"I stopped talking about the tryouts two streets ago, while you were spaced out, I guess. I was wondering if you wanted me to come inside with you."
"For what?"
He rolled his eyes at me. "I think it's a bad idea to leave you all alone with your thoughts."
"Fine," I sighed as I opened the door.
Mom was washing dishes. "How was school?"
"It was fine." I tossed my backpack to the bottom of the stairs. "Where's Josh?"
She began putting dishes in the cabinets. "He went out," she answered. I should have told Liz to call Josh to not go out and about at the moment.
"With Liz?" Jake asked.
"No. A girl came over and asked for Josh. I figured Josh would like the company instead of staying home all day. He told me about her just moving here. I think her name was… Roseanne or--"
I gulped. "Roxanne?" She nodded, not comprehending my shocked expression.
"We're gonna go upstairs and uh… do homework. We have lots," Jake said, pulling me towards the stairs. I couldn't believe it. Of all the people for Josh to kick it with… a fricking werewolf? But he didn't know. He didn't know. I just couldn't move, couldn't think. Roxanne… werewolf… Josh… together… most likely alone.
"Amy? Snap out of it!" Jake was shaking me by the shoulders.
"Cut it out. I got it!" I shoved myself out of his hold. "Where could they be? Where would they go? They can't have gone far." I probably said more, but it all tumbled out at once. Jake was looking at me like I'd gone crazy. I was officially freaking out, something that wasn't a normal thing for me.
"Calm down. We'll be able to look for them if you fly us over town. I'll keep us invisible so no one will see us," he said, slowly so I could understand. I was just glad someone was using their brain.
Jake turned us invisible and I flew us out the window. We soared over town and the school, no sign of Josh or Roxanne anywhere; the streets were full of kids walking home or around. We passed over the grapevines and the almond tree orchards west of town--no Josh or Roxanne. It felt like hours as we rushed all over town; the sun was starting to set. We were nearing the orchard where we first caught up with Roxanne the other night.
"Look!" Jake was wildly pointing down. There they were, Roxanne talking with Josh, sitting in the grass in the shade of one of the wild almond trees. We became visible and landed in front of them as they quickly stood up, confusion on their faces.
"Amy! What the hell are you doing? What's going on?" Josh asked, stepping in front of Roxanne.
"Josh, get away from her! She's dangerous!" I walked over to them when Roxanne stepped out from behind Josh. A look of pure venom in her eyes, though her response took me by complete surprise.
Her face crumbled.
"Why don't you like me? Josh likes me. Why do you hate me for who I am?!" she demanded. I was stunned for a minute.
"Who?! Who you are?!" Jake replied in disbelief. "More like what you are! Josh, step away from her before she hurts you next!"
"What are you talking about?" He looked at us like we were insane.
I sighed. "She's a werewolf, Josh. She was the wolf who attacked Dad last night. She then tried to attack me and Jake after we left the hospital." He seemed to understand at once and started to back away, looking at Roxanne the way he'd looked at me when I'd told him what I was; I knew it had to hurt. Roxanne turned to him as he stepped away from her.
"You can't believe her, can you, Josh?" she asked softly. "You said so yourself she was slowly going crazy. You told me she had lied to you before. Why should this be any different?" Josh stopped and looked from me to Roxanne, confusion seeping into his brain.
I stepped forward. "Don't believe her, Josh. Jake and I've seen her turn into a werewolf. She can't control it--"
"She's lying, Josh!" she roared over me. "All she cares about is herself. Why do you think she can lie to you so easily? She never puts you first." She slowly moved closer to him, everything seemed to darken with each step she took. Roxanne looked like she was trembling.
"Josh," I pleaded, "get away from her. I don't want you to get hurt. She will--" I stopped and looked up at the sky. We all did as it became night in less than a minute. Clouds were already gathering, and we all watched as a gust of wind blew through the orchard and the clouds moved to reveal a bright, full moon.
Roxanne began to scream, drawing our eyes back to her. She transformed quicker than before. Already in the air--already a wolf--she was heading towards Josh, the closest one to her.
"No!" I yelled as I shoved Josh out of the way. Her black eyes burned into mine as she was almost on me.

ON IMPACT, I VIOLENTLY JOLTED AWAKE, A BELL SOUNDING MADDENINGLY IN MY EARS. I'd been slumped over a desk, Jake sitting next to me. Students were filing out of the classroom. The lights turned on as I glanced at the clock.

We were still in fourth period History. And I had been dreaming.

"Are you alright?" Jake asked as I shakily stood up from my desk. I only nodded as he put his arm around my waist, probably afraid I was going to faint or something.

"Did you have another dream?" he asked quietly. I nodded and began telling him everything I saw. I emphasized the fact I had been worrying about Josh getting close to Roxanne when I got to the part where we found them in the orchard.

"I'm scared, Jake," I said when I finished. "What if this does happen today?"


He held me closer. "Go to the office and tell them you're sick so you can go home to Josh. I'll come right after you." He kissed me on the forehead. "I'll wait for you in your room." He headed to class as I headed to the Administration office.

I stopped halfway, ignoring the students that passed me by. If Mom came to get me, she'd have to leave the house. Josh would be alone, Roxanne would make her move. I needed to intercept her, if what I saw was going to happen. I needed Mom to stay with Josh. If she were attacked--God forbid that ever happen--Roxanne would know I was going to come after her no matter what.

Instead, I went to the bathroom, to wait for everyone to be inside. I sent Jake a text to meet me near the parking lot, behind the history building immediately. I waited there for five excruciating minutes when Jake appeared next to me.

"We need to go to my house. Now." He understood perfectly and made us invisible as I flew us into the air, ignoring Jake's grip at the sudden speed. I turned to the sidewalk below in time to find Roxanne, waking nonchalantly to my house.

"I'm gonna grab her. Take us to the orchard. Can you turn her invisible on contact?" I asked quickly. He nodded as I zoomed down to her. We landed behind her, grabbed her arms with our free hands as Jake teleported us to the orchard. She squirmed her way out of our hands the moment we arrived

She looked wildly around her before turning to us. "What are you doing? Why did you bring me here?"

"You were going to see Josh, Roxanne," I said firmly. She looked taken aback at my knowledge. "I want to know why."

"How did you--?"

"Never mind how she knows," Jake broke in. "What were you planning to do with Josh?"

Roxanne looked at us with fear. "I-I just wanted someone to talk to," she said quietly. She started crying on the spot. "Josh seemed to understand me. He was the only one nice to me. Your friend Liz didn't like me--"

"Cut the sob story crap, please," I cut in. She widened her eyes at me. "Why did you leave Oregon? Not enough to eat up north? Thought you could catch a good southern meal? Were you a part of some pack?"

"No, no, and yes. But first answer me a question," she said. I was startled at her calm response. Her eyes had become darker than usual.

"Shoot."

"Are you a vampire?"

I felt the blood escape my face. How could she assume I was a vampire? How could she even ask if I was a vampire? We were outside. It was daylight.

It took a while to unscramble my brain. "No. I'm not. Jake isn't one either."

Roxanne thought for a minute, frowning. "Do you know one?"

"We killed one in May," Jake answered for me. I gawked at him; he shrugged at me. "Technically. So, you missed him."

"Then why does she smell like one?"

I was about to tell hr she was insane… then, all late, it hit me. "Do you smell a vampire's… venom ?" She nodded. "Then it's me. I was bitten by a vampire." She stumbled back in shock. "Don't worry--I'm not one. His venom… it didn't work on me."

Roxanne gave me a searching look, trying to see if I was lying. "How could it not work on you? It's vampire venom."

"I'm not going to tell the whole story--too long, but, in summary, I'm half-faerie. He wasn't a strong vampire yet so his venom wasn't strong enough to change me." She seemed to have been convinced, if just barely. "Can you answer me a question?"

She shrugged. "Yeah."

I thought of the most important one that came to mind. "Why did you come?"

She thought for a minute. "It's a long story," she warned.

I looked at my watch-- two o'clock. "We've got plenty of time," I replied. Roxanne motioned for us to follow her to the shade; Jake leaned against the tree, she and I sat down. It was the first week of September but the heat was still kicking around.

"My pack leader had sensed a vampire around our city. There were reported murders, and the clues were easy to spot. Disappearances, perfect homicides, no evidence left on the victims. We started searching for… it this past winter. It's almost common knowledge that the only true enemy of a werewolf is a vampire. So we followed their scent until we were out of state. I volunteered to follow him. I'm staying with friends out of town.

"When I caught up with him, I realized he was only a ghost--impossible as that sounds. It seemed he couldn't survive without a body, and he steadily moved south. He flitted in and out of people… I guess looking for someone in particular."

I read her mind; she was telling the truth.

"How long have you been following him exactly?" I asked.

"It was in… mid May, I think, when I lost him. Why?"

I understood then. "He'd been looking for his grandson--to a number of degrees. He wanted to rule the world I guess--however lame that sounds--but he had to… kill a faerie." I didn't want to mention Altorania; she had no business in knowing of its existence.

"Why did he have to kill a faerie?" Roxanne asked, a little confused.

"Because faerie blood kills a vampire," I answered, remembering what Arial had told me. "Jake stabbed him with my faerie blood, which killed the… vampire ghost, but not his great-great….great grandson."

She analyzed this for a few minutes. "So… he's gone?"

Jake and I nodded. "Then I have to go home and tell them," she said, smiling and sounding relieved.

"Is it alright if I ask a couple more questions?" I asked. I checked my watch again.

"I guess it's only fair."

"Can you really not control your… affliction?" I asked awkwardly.

She thought deeply about the question. "When the moon is full, I can't control myself. I'm not as… mature yet. The transformation occurs naturally then. But I can change whenever I want to, and I have a hold over myself. I never change during the day, only when I was traveling over the mountains; even then it was dangerous, because of hunters. But with so many people around, I didn't want to risk…."

"Amy…" she said, looking down ashamed. "I am truly sorry about what I did to your dad. I couldn't fight myself at the full moon. Please… forgive me." Tears swam in her eyes then fell to the ground.

I thought long and hard. "I forgive you," I said softly. "But I think it'd be a good idea if you left. You don't seem to have much reason to stay here anymore. And I don't want this to happen again."

Roxanne nodded in agreement. "I just want to say you're a good person."

Jake raised an eyebrow as he asked, "Did Liz really not like you?"

She shook her head. "I had English with her. I knew she didn't like me because when I had asked her for a pencil, she said 'why don't you ask Josh'," she imitated Liz very convincingly. "I wasn't sure what she meant, but I stayed away from her." She sighed. "I guess I'll see ya around." She looked at us; their was a guilty look in her eyes.

Roxanne then ran away with her perfect speed till she became a small blur and disappeared into the orchard. Jake and I stood there for a couple of seconds.

"That was interesting," I said leaning on Jake. "I really think she was nice."

"Yeah, she was alright, I guess," he replied. "If she wasn't a werewolf, we could've been good friends."

"Except Liz." I sighed. "First vampires, now werewolves. I wouldn't be surprised if the Abominable Snowman showed up next."

"With us, it's possible."

We leaned against a tree for a while, reveling at what had been settled. There would be no more attacks after my dad's. He was still in the hospital but was recuperating quickly and will soon be his old self. My family and friends--and the town--would be safe again.

Jake suddenly twitched violently, making me jump. His arms loosened around me.

"Jake?" I asked as he slipped to the ground. "Jake?!" I shook him; he wouldn't open his eyes. "Jake! Wake up!" I turned him over on his back. I was about to check for a pulse when I looked at his neck.

A gray dart with a barcode number. I pulled it out, hoping its poison or whatever would stop spreading. I dropped it instantly; it burned my hand. I was about to put up a shield when I felt a sharp sting in my arm. I slipped into unconsciousness with amazing speed.


My head was swimming when I became aware of my surroundings. I felt like I was moving, like I was in a car. I was resting against someone. I tried to open my eyes but they wouldn't obey. Instead, I focused on my other senses. It was boy I was leaning on: Jake. I felt his familiar arm around my waist, my head against his shoulder. He was breathing fast. Was he scared? Nervous?

My eyes blinked open just slightly. It was dark; I guessed it was night. I tried to lift my head, I probably I didn't move at all because Jake didn't notice anything. I felt so tired; my insides ached, and I felt dizzy. My throat burned when I breathed. I smelled the same heavy metallic smell from the hospital ride… how long ago? I wasn't sure anymore as I slipped back into the darkness--

Only to jerk awake again, eyes wide open. I whimpered slightly at my sudden movement. Jake twitched ferociously, making me to move again and a dull throbbing ache to go through me. I whimpered again.

"Amy?" he said, sounding confused. I tried to sit up straight but every muscle ached when I tried. I moaned a little less. Jake moved me a little so I sat up straighter.

"I don't feel good, Jake," I mumbled. My voice felt like I had nails coming out of it instead of words, scraping their way up my throat. Jake held me, stroking my hair. I tried to look out the window. Hours? Or was it days? There was no way to tell the difference.

"What time is it?" I said softly.

"I don't know, they took our phones," he replied quietly.

"'They'?"

"Don't try to talk now. Just--"

"I want to know," I whispered when I'd actually tried to raise my voice.

He sighed. "I don't know who they are. I woke up in the car." He sounded automatic. I sighed then moaned again; it burned inhaling the air.

"Are you in pain?" he asked. I could hear the anxiety in his voice.

I just nodded, my neck feeling stiff and sore. He started running his fingers through my hair. We sat there for what seemed like hours. Where were they taking us? Were our families looking for us, this very moment?

"We're here," said a voice from the front.

The car stopped.

We had arrived.

THE CAR DOOR OPENED, LETTING IN A FRESH BREEZE TO ENGULF ME. A man was holding the door open as Jake helped me out of the car. I staggered at my step, Jake caught me and supported me. The man motioned for us to move but we almost tripped over my feet.

I felt a bit better with the fresh air in me. I floated a couple inches off the ground, my legs trembled a little; it was easier to fly than walk. Jake put his arm around my waist and guided me forward. I still felt a bit exhausted--nauseated--and focused all my little energy on staying off the ground. I rested my head on Jake's shoulder.

We were coming up to a building in the middle of the mountains. At least that's what the big silhouettes looked like. I wasn't sure if it was late at night or early in the morning; it all felt the same. There weren't any stars or as moon. Only a big, white building illuminated our way. Few windows had light flowing through them.

"Jake, where are we?" I asked softly. My throat stung a little.

"Where are we, sir?" he asked the man walking next to his left side.

He was watching me float along before he answered. "I can't tell you that but we do work for the U.S. government… if it makes you feel better," he said to me. That didn't reassure me at all.

I felt someone walking next to me but I couldn't turn to look at him for as we neared the building, my symptoms returned, only stronger and I lost most of my senses.

"Quick! Get her on a stretcher!" I heard a man say, sounding so far…. People scuffled around but they sounded far away. I inhaled too deeply, and nails fell down my throat. I felt Jake let me go as I was lowered onto a soft cot-like bed, then later, my stomach shifting indicated we were probably in an elevator for a while. I felt I was being pushed by the so-called stretcher I was supposed to be on. I felt Jake hold my hand the whole way. The air was becoming fresher as my senses got more sharper. I still couldn't open my eyes or even move comfortably as we slowed down to a stop.

"Put her there. We'll be right back," said the male voice from earlier. I felt Jake scoop me into his arms and carefully put me on a soft bed. Feeling the clean air in my lungs, I opened my eyes to see Jake get a chair.

"What time is it?" I said, sitting up too quickly. My head twirled as I shook away the dizziness.

"You shouldn't sit up like that, you know. You'll give yourself brain damage."

"Ha ha," I muttered as I sat up. "Seriously, where are we? Who are these people?" My stupid watch wasn't working; I'd had it since 9th grade. I looked around the room. It looked like a hospital patient's room. The walls were painted a light pink with little flower patterns. There was glass door leading one way and a regular door leading to a hallway where people bustled by. And one more door was opposite the bed.

"I'll go scope it out. You stay here," he said. I moved to follow him, but he gave me a serious look. "Seriously."

"Fine." I got up to open the curtains, revealing the glass door. It seemed there were mountains all around. They rolled over each other in to the distance. My stomach dropped. Our parents were probably worried sick about me and Jake.

"It's eleven forty," Jake said as he returned.

I shook my head. "Jake, where are our phones?"

"I don't know. It wasn't in my pocket when I woke up." The automatic tone returned. I walked to the door almost crashing into someone in a lab coat. The man grabbed me by the shoulders.

"Hey--!"

"You need to lie down, Miss," he said. I put up my arms and tried to blast him away from me--but nothing happened. I only struggled against him as Jake came up and pushed him off of me. Jake obviously still had his strength… why didn't I?

I stepped behind Jake, fearful of my sudden weakness. The man had graying brown hair though he wasn't that old, I figured mid-thirties or early forties. Light crow's feet around the brown eyes, and he was a taller than we were.

"Who are you?" Jake asked fiercely.

The man straightened up his lab coat. "I'm Dr. Hewitt. I'm just going to take a look at your friend," he said stepping closer as Jake and I backed away.

"Nothing's wrong with me," I said as loudly as I could.


"No, nothing is wrong with you but you're not normal. Tell me," he said, leaning against the wall casually, "were you sick in the car? Motion sickness doesn't count." I saw no harm in answering that question.

"Y-yes, I was."

Dr. Hewitt nodded comprehendingly. "It seems you get sick whenever you are near a lot of iron, like in the lobby, which means you are or part faerie," he said firmly. I felt my mouth open in shock. How did he know? Nobody knew.

"How do you know that?" I asked obviously.

"Do you remember when you were attacked by two men in an alley?" he asked. "There was a witness across the street who saw what happened and called the local police. He said a girl tried to push the man away when something purple came out of her hands and threw the man against the wall. Was that not what happened?"

It took me a moment to speak. "Why… why are we here?"

The doctor stood up straight. "After that incident occurred, we realized someone abnormal was there. We needed to help them if they were young, like you. It took most of our resources to find you, the process was… long, but worth it. We're trying to help people who are… shall we say more gifted than others. Trust me, Amy, you are not the only faerie I know. There are millions of people all over this country alone--different, like you, and we try to help them find a way to live among a common society.

"For example, I'm trying to cure the sickness associated with faeries and iron, since it's such an inconvenience. I only have two with me, you and one other. I need to see who reacts how in order to perfect the cure." I felt like I was in an X-Men movie, or some alien abduction story. Any minute I expected him to pull out a syringe and a cavity probe.

"What if I don't want to stay here?" I asked.

"Well, until I find another faerie girl, you have no choice. Your friend here can't leave either. Are you faerie too?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.

"You didn't see me collapsing in the lobby, did you? No offense," Jake added, nodding towards me.

"Well, I think we should rest. There is a button to call room service if there is anything you need--"

"Can we have our phones?" I asked quickly. I felt I needed one.

Dr. Hewitt smiled. "Cute. Lights out whenever you like as long as you're quiet." He left, closing the door behind him. I made my way to the bed and sat down before I fell. I put my head in my hands and analyzed the facts.

Jake and I had been kidnapped. People already wanted to study me. I felt like a total freak. We had no contact with our families, and they had no idea where we were--neither did we, for that matter. How stupid was I to think I was safe. I doubted it would all stop here. It was like my life was turning into a comic book.

Jake sat with me and I leaned on him. One more fact hit me: Jake still had his strength, why not his ability to get us out of here?

"Jake?"

"Huh? What?"

"Why aren't you getting us out of here?"

There was a long pause. "What would be the point? If we go home, they'll just catch us again, won't they?"

I sat up and looked at him, pure disbelief all over my face. "We don't have to go home, Jake. I just want to get away from here!" I stood up full of anger at his indifference. "I don't want to be poked and prodded like some freak animal!" I went to the door and pulled with all my might--all one hundred and five pounds; it was locked. I pulled again and banged and kicked the door furiously.

Jake pulled me away and covered my mouth with his hand as I struggled against him. He pinned my arms under one of his, wrapping it around my small waist completely. What was he doing? Why was he trying to shut me up? What was wrong with him?

His voice was different. "Stop it! Stop it, right now, please!"

The person holding me was not Jake.



A FRESH BREEZE WOKE ME UP. I was lying next to a tree, something cold near my head. I felt the ground and found some type of metal tube-like dart thing. Had I fallen asleep outside? Why was I here?

I got up quickly and looked around, dizzy and nervous. I was still in the orchard, and it was immensely dark out here. I didn't see her form anywhere hidden in the shadows of the surrounding trees.

Amy must be home I thought. But then why would she leave me here? That would be one very mean prank--totally not uncommon. Figuring she'd be waiting for me there--just about dying of laughter--I went to her room.

Right when I popped in, I heard a girl gasp. I found Liz, catching her breath near Amy's desk and mirror.

"Jake, where the hell have you been?" she asked. "Where's Amy?"

I blinked. "She's not here? What time is it?" I looked up at the clock, which said it was one in the morning. She would've gone unseen for approximately nine hours; where could she possibly be?

"What happened? Were you with her?" Liz hounded. I quickly told her where we'd been--not including Roxanne's being a werewolf, or Roxanne at all. I told her about waking up there just minutes ago with no Amy in sight.

"So you don't know--" she stopped for I'd turned invisible because someone was coming.

Josh burst through the door. “Liz, who are you talking to?" I reappeared. "Where's Amy?" he directed to me. I repeated what I had just said to Liz.

He sat down on her bed. "Our moms and Liz's dad are out looking for her. Dad already knows but he still can't leave the hospital." Liz sat next to him. "The police won't search unless she's been missing for more than twenty-four hours. Liz and I are here in case you or her were to come back."

Something told me she wouldn't be back so soon.



I HELD STILL SO HE WOULD LET ME GO, BREATHING RAPIDLY IN PANIC. I backed away from him when he released me. He was about my age, light reddish brown hair, muscular, and was looking at me with concern. It was scary how much he resembled Jake.

"Please. Don't develop the habit of screaming like that. They might come and sedate you--and it's not cool." He stepped closer as I stepped back, bumping against the wall. He then backed away, holding his hands up in front of him. "I won't hurt you. I promise. You don't have to be scared."

"Oh, right. So I should just trust total strangers? I don't think so."

"Come on. I'm the other faerie. They said if I helped them I--"

"Where's Jake?" I interrupted loudly. He could've been Robert Pattinson for all I cared. I just wanted to know where--

He raised an eyebrow. "Your boyfriend?" I nodded, ignoring his scoff. "We left him in the field. They only wanted you. They made me come along to help; you wouldn't have agreed to come voluntarily, would you?" he said chuckling, though his smile faltered when I wasn't laughing. I was just kidnapped, taken away from the people I loved and all he could do was try to cheer me up?

"You keep saying they. Who are these people? What exactly goes on here?" I was still a distance away from him, though he put his hands down.

He shrugged. "Dr. Hewitt just explained it. He found a cure for the iron sickness, but only for guys, I guess. He's still not sure with will work on a girl," he answered seriously. "My name's Mark by the way." He stepped closer as I pressed into the wall, wishing I could go through it.

"You shouldn't be scared of me. I didn't hurt you, did I? You're perfectly fine, right?"
I couldn't help but scoff at him. "I'm perfectly fine, am I? I was just abducted by some freak doctor, taken away from the people I care about! How can you call that being perfectly fine?" It took all the restraint I had not to yell in his face, maybe even hit him.

Mark had taken a step back. "How do you think I got here?" he asked. "I was brought here almost the same way. At least you had someone with you; I was all alone when they had taken me." He sat down at the bed, putting his head in his hands.

I cautiously stepped toward him. Were there others? Like… us?

"When?"

"About six months ago. I would have been able to go back home if I hadn't tried to escape so many times. Because of me, they rebuilt the lobby with as much iron as possible and fixed most of the rooms so that no one could use their powers. They only let me use mine, for now."

So I wasn't the only one. There were others like me and who weren't like me stuck in this place.

"Did they take others this way?"

"Yeah. And in some ways… even worse."

There was a knock on the door. I jumped as Dr. Hewitt stepped in again. "You can go to your room now, Mark. Let Miss Santali rest," he said, holding the door open. Mark and I both stood up, he left as Dr. Hewitt shut the door behind him, stepping into the room. I had backed away to stand behind the bed.

He just smiled. "You should know by now there is nothing to fear," he said. "Breakfast is at eight thirty. I'll have someone show you around the place in the morning. Good night." Dr. Hewitt turned, and left.

I didn't know what to think. I was being held here against my will; my parents had no clue where I was; was Jake okay? I thought the worst was over with Roxanne. How bad can things get?

These people supposedly weren't going to hurt me… then why did they have to take me away? I could live without a car. I could just fly places with Jake. Jake. Just thinking him about him hurt… when I tried not to think of him, I thought of Josh… Liz… Mom, Dad in the hospital (did he know?)… even Alloid and Arial.

I knew only one person I could barely maybe possibly trust and that was Mark, but I still wasn't so sure. He was here for the same reason I was. He knew what was going on… and I had no one. As exhaustion washed over me, tears flooded my eyes. I cried till I fell asleep.



I WOKE UP GROGGILY. Where was I? This wasn't my room; the walls were blue… oh.
Then I remembered why I was here. Josh, Liz and I had spent the night here. Liz was sleeping on the bed, I was slumped over Amy's desk, and Josh was sleeping on the window seat. He had been waiting for Amy to fly in or see her walk by on the sidewalk.

I heard dishes clattering below; Mrs. Santali was probably cooking breakfast. I glanced at the clock which said we should've been at school a little over two hours ago. I assumed our parents had called the school to let us stay home.

Footsteps could be heard downstairs coming up. Mrs. Santali opened the door a crack. She looked like she hadn't slept at all; her eyes were red and puffy (from crying), her hands trembled slightly as she held the doorknob (from uncertainty).

"I made some breakfast if you're hungry," she said, her voice a little shaky. She glanced at Liz and Josh. "I'll wait till they wake up but you can come eat downstairs if you like." She closed the door and left. I didn't want to leave her by herself in the kitchen, so I followed after her; it was bad enough that her husband couldn't be home.

I WOKE UP IMMEDIATELY WHEN THERE WAS A KNOCK ON MY DOOR. I figured it was Mom; why hadn't my alarm gone off? Was I late for school again? I reached out to grab my phone off my night stand, but I felt only air. My eyes blinked open.

I wasn't home; I was in this hospital-like room, I was still at this place. No mom to wake me up, no Jake, Josh or Liz to walk to school with. The knocks came again followed by an unknown girl's voice.

"Amy Santali?" She said my last name wrong. "I'm Bree James. I'm, uh, supposed to show you around. Are you awake?" I opened the door to find a brown-haired girl smiling nervously at me. Bree was small and thin like me, only a little taller. Her smiled faltered when she saw me; I was pretty sure I looked horrible, but what did it matter?

"You're going to show me around?"

She nodded. "Would you like me to bring you some clothes?" she asked, sizing me up with her eyes. I wasn't sure if this was the formal greeting as it felt a little intimidating.

"I guess," I replied in a monotone.

"I'll be back in a couple of minutes," she said, practically skipping away. I went back into my room and opened the door opposite my bed. It was a small plain bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower.

Bree came back with blue jeans and a pink shirt. "I hope you don't mind borrowing my clothes, do you?" she asked timidly. Her head felt like it could've shattered at its own fragility. I shook my head. "I'll wait out here," she said sitting on the bed.

The shower only calmed me physically. It was soothing in a way, but I didn't want to get used to it. When I finished, I checked myself in the mirror out of habit. I looked dead, with pale skin and dark circles around my eyes. I also didn't have an expression; the smile I tried looked scary. When I stepped out, Bree--who'd been sitting on the bed, waiting--looked me up and down again.

"Oh, good. They fit you. I should explain a couple of things before we have breakfast," she said. Bree patted the bed next to her for me to sit with her; I sat in the chair.
She didn't mind, but she showed a quick flash of disappointment immediately hidden behind a smile. "Okay, well. The mornings start out with an eight o'clock wake up call by a buddy. I'm yours since you're new here. Breakfast is served at eight thirty. The 'research programs'--as they call it--start when you want it to. They're four hours long, and you get to decide if you want them in the morning or afternoons. For example, I have a morning program so--"

"Can I ask why you're here?" I interrupted.

She looked slightly fazed. "I-I was assigned to you as your--"

"No, I mean…." It was pointless asking; if she thought about it, I would know it. But she didn't know that, and she didn't mind telling me. "I mean, why are you in this place?" I asked. "If you don't want to tell me I totally understand--"

"No it's okay," she interrupted politely. "It's just…. I was in an explosion at my father's work when I was, like, five, so I don't remember much. But when I turned seven, I started having these strange abilities. I was able to burst into flames, and move things with my mind. It was fun at first with the whole moving things around with my mind thing," she smiled as she reminisced. "I use to make my little brother's army men fight like crazy.

"It was great… until my other ability kicked in. My parents made me not do what I can do in public. They never told me why and… I didn't get it, so would get angry. Next thing I knew, they were backing away from me, scared to even look at me since well… I was on fire. After that, they were extremely careful not to upset me."

She sighed. "When I had more control, things got better, almost like the old days. Then one day," she started to frown, "… on my way home from school… someone put a bag over my head and… brought me here."

They stole her away too.

"Can I ask why you're here?" She shook her head quickly. "Again… if you don't--"

"It's okay," I assured her, thinking. "Um… it's a lot to explain, but…. Basically, since my mom was a faerie, I'm only half, which--"

"You're the other faerie?"

I blinked. "You've… heard of me?"

"Everyone's been talking about you, in a sense. These people have been looking for faeries for years. They found only Mark a couple months ago; do you know him?" she asked.
Somebody who impersonates your boyfriend isn't that easy to forget.

"Yeah, I met him."

"Well, they found a cure for the whole metal sickness thing, but they weren't sure if it would work on a girl faerie. I guess your physiological build-up is different or something. At least that's what Mark told me." A bell similar to my school bell rang, making me jump up in my seat. "Breakfast." Bree stood up and led me out the door. The hallway was mostly empty. A couple of people roughly my age walked in front of us and behind us.

"Your room number is two-seventeen, remember that," said Bree. The hall led to a huge version of a school cafeteria. One side had lunch lines with a variety of foods; kids moved along those lines slowly. I guessed the age range was from ten to seventeen; everyone looked like teenagers or preteens.

What scared me was that everyone looked comfortable, even cheerful here. Some already sitting at the tables chatted normally as if they were at lunch in school, talking about everyday things. They all seemed to know each other as if they grew up together. My hands started to tremble as I grabbed a Styrofoam tray; I didn't want to be here long enough to become like them, leaving their lives behind them to start new ones here. I picked an apple and a box of fruit juice.

Bree glanced at my tray. "You don't seem hungry, do you?"

"You could say that," I mumbled as I followed her to an empty table. I glanced around; no one stood out. We all looked normal with no visible abnormalities, but we all knew we weren't normal at all.

"Can I ask you something?"

Bree scooped up some cereal. "I guess this is the first of many," she replied, smiling.

"Why did… they bring you here? I mean, are you… sick like I am?" I asked awkwardly. Was I sick?

"When I first got here, they explained about people like me and such. They had found out my ability to burst into flames was getting worse. I had accidentally blown up my dad's car--he wasn't inside of course. I'd wanted to sneak it out and panicked when I almost crashed into our house. I don't know how they found out exactly." She continued to eat. I slowly bit my apple.

More questions began popping into my head as I gained energy from my apple and juice, but Bree beat me to it.

"Why were you brought here? Other than the fact you're a faerie," she asked as she opened her orange juice box. I wasn't sure what to explain.

I tried to speak normally, not like a zombie. "I'm half faerie, actually; my dad was human. Um, I got into an altercation with some people… and I had to use my abilities. Apparently, someone had seen us and called the cops, which put me on the radar, I guess." Bree seemed to be taking it in as I took a sip from my juice box.

"Hello, ladies," said a voice behind me. I turned to find Mark with a loaded tray of food as he sat down next to me--right next to me. "So, what's the latest gossip, Bree?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Nothing, Mark. How can you eat so much?"

"How else am I going to maintain all this buffness?" Mark nudged me, but I could only half-smile in return.

The bell rang , making me jump again. It was nine o'clock and everyone was suddenly moving around.

"Amy," said Bree as we got up, "make sure you choose the morning program when they ask you, so you'll be with me. I'll take you to--"

"I'll take her," Mark broke in enthusiastically. Bree gave him a searching look before waving to me as she left. I followed Mark to an exit leading opposite the hallway from which I'd entered the cafeteria. Outside was something like a little park. It was as wide as my school; at the far end, a small building was encircled with oak trees. Most of the kids outside were heading towards the very building. I felt my heartbeat speed up. I was about to be a test subject, be a part of some crazy mad science experiment….

"So, do you have other abilities?" Mark asked.

I shook my head lightly. "Well… mostly I have a lot strength and I can fly. I can't really use them here," I said continuously. I felt abnormal things were on a need-to-know here, or at least they should be, and Mark didn't need to know all about me.

"Wow. Outside this place your probably dangerous," he chuckled. He went on talking about something, abilities or whatever. A pit in my stomach was growing, or maybe it was the lack of breakfast. None of this felt right; I didn't want to get acquainted with the people here, I felt I shouldn't. Bree was extraordinarily nice, and Mark was… well, very friendly, but I couldn't let myself get attached to--

"Why don't you smile or something? You look much better than when you came," he asked, looking down at me. "Things are way better here. No one here will ever a freak, not like back home."

I scoffed. "No one called me a freak back home. I wasn't the only one who was different." I snapped my trap shut a little too late.

"Really? Who else was there?" he asked with sudden curiosity. "Is your boyfriend a faerie too?"

"That really isn't any of your business," I replied lamely, glaring at my shoes. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him smile. What? Was he laughing at me now? The building suddenly seemed so far away.

"You know, when things change, they usually change for the better," he said. "Did he understand you for who you were? Did your parents accept your abnormalities?" he pressed. I could've said yes to the first… but what about the second? I planned to never tell them about me, unless absolutely necessary--as in, the end of the world. Mark misunderstood my hesitation. "I didn't think so. Here, you and I, we're two of a kind. If there are other faeries out in this world, we'd be the first ones cured." Did he really see us as something? I so wished Jake was here so he could beat the crap out of this guy.

"Let's get one thing straight here, Mark," I said. "You and I are nothing. We maybe the only faeries here, but that's it."

He simply chuckled. "Like I said," he stepped closer, standing right over me. "Things change." He leaned in to kiss me. I meant to push him off of me, but instead I blasted him away before he could say anything. I had my abilities again!

Before anyone else heard him smash through a window, I jumped into the air and flew as fast as I could go. I stopped a couple hundred feet and looked around me, trying to see the landscape. I noticed a number of small cities outside the mountain range in the distance. These mountains could be seen miles from my town.

I was in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. I actually laughed.

I immediately zoomed away as fast as I could before anyone could catch me. I was positive they might have someone who can fly too. I looked down and saw nothing but a green blur of the trees below me; I was going with all I had. I just hoped it was enough.

Then, out of nowhere, a black helicopter was behind me, catching up quickly. I flew higher, which wasn't such a brilliant idea. Suddenly feeling light-headed, I dropped in altitude, plunging straight down with the helicopter right behind me. The trees rushed at me as I quickly pulled upward, just when I was about to hit a sequoia. Something was wrong; I heard no explosion behind me. I looked back--and it was still after me.

"Stop now or we'll have to shoot!" came a voice from a speaker. I was nearing the last few mountains. I turned to look, they were nearing me as I slowed down. A sharp pain gripped my shoulder, but most of me was already aching. I closed my eyes for a minute.

I had a sudden inspiration. I wasn't sure if it would work. For one thing, there was a chance it would kill me. But I had no other choice if I truly wanted to go home.

I stopped in midair and turned around.

The helicopter scarcely missed me, it's top propeller just an inch from my face; the whoosh resonated in my ears in slow motion. As it zoomed by, I threw the strongest shield I could come up with at the aircraft, making it to spin out of control.

Before it could gain any balance, I flew downward as fast as I could. I planned to hide amongst the trees, hoping it didn't see me. I stopped and landed on a large tree, glancing up through the branches in time to see the helicopter get back upright. I threw a long shield north, hoping they would think it was me flying in the trees. It worked; the helicopter followed it at high speed. It hadn't seen me. I stayed in the tree for a couple of minutes, catching my breath.

I let myself float down to the floor, leaning against the tree, contemplating that I'd done it; I--

--heard claws scratch lightly on the ground, like an animal or something, along with loud sniffing. The scratches then became light footsteps and panting, like it was out of breath. Someone was coming.



MRS. SANTALI HADN'T LOCKED THE DOOR BEHIND HER AS SHE LEFT. After breakfast she said she was going to visit Mr. Santali before going to the police station; the twenty-four hours were up… and no Amy. I sat on the couch, watching the news.

We had notified the news stations, had to give an interview and everything, and sure enough… they were already announcing an Amber alert with Amy's junior year school picture flashing onto the screen. They described her height and weight, eye and hair color. The news reporter also mentioned where she had last been seen, including my little bit about when I was with her.

Her picture, her smile, burned into my eyes. I turned off the TV and tossed the remote across the sofa. She wouldn't have run away… and no one could've taken her by force…. Nothing was making any sense anymore.

Liz and Josh walked down the stairs looking just as exhausted as Mrs. Santali had. Liz's eyes and nose were pink.

"Any word?" Josh asked.

"They just announced the Amber alert this morning," I reported. "Your mom left some food for you before she went to the police station." They walked to the kitchen like zombies and quietly began to eat. I continued to sit there, Amy's picture encrypted behind my eyelids.



I STRAIGHTENED UP, READY WITH A SHIELD AS ROXANNE STUMBLED INTO VIEW. Her brown hair was matted with twigs and leaves, which she was beating out with her hand. She wore the same clothes as the ones I saw her with the last time I'd seen her

"Roxanne? What are you doing here?"

"You have to leave. Now. People in army-looking gear are looking for you. They have these huge guns and everything." She'd said everything in one breath.

"How did you find me? Why are you even here?"

She leaned against a tree. "I was sleeping next to a rock when I heard someone say your name. I looked up and saw like… six big guys with guns walk by. I knew you were probably around so I sniffed you out. I had to transform in order to beat them to you."

I heard some footsteps behind us. "They're getting closer." I grabbed her hand and flew us up the tree to the highest branch; I was in no mood to start flying at hyper speed.

"They're almost here," she said quietly. "We can't hide forever, Amy."

"I know, I know, I'm thinking. We might be able to take them together."

"They have guns, and there's only two of us. I doubt we'll be fast enough. Plus, all I'll have is four paws full of claws."

"Well, we'll have to try, won't we?" They were already under us, discussing probable directions I'd have gone. "Ready?"

"Come right after me," whispered Roxanne. She jumped out of the tree. Right as she went down, she'd transformed into the black wolf I'd dreamed about before. I was about to stand and jump when I suddenly felt dizzy. I lost my footing and went straight out into the air. Before I knew it, everything faded to black.

I JOLTED AWAKE AS A DOOR SLAMMED. I'd been dozing off on the couch when Mrs. Santali held the door open, arms loaded with groceries. Liz and Josh came running down the stairs as Mr. Santali walked in. He looked slightly better, but his left arm was in a cast. His scars had faded a little and weren't as noticeable. One that stood out the most was the scar over his right eye. For the first time, I saw sadness on his face. The idea of a homecoming with a missing daughter was heartbreaking.

Had this been a normal day, we would all probably be celebrating Mr. Santali's release from the hospital. Instead, we all sadly greeted each other with a simple nod. Mr. Santali made his way to the couch as I quickly moved; he didn't glance my way. Feeling a bit awkward, I went to help Mrs. Santali in the kitchen.

"How are you?" Mrs. Santali asked as we began putting food away. Liz and Josh were filling Mr. Santali with what was going on in the living room.

"I should be asking you that," I replied guiltily as I put away the milk. She was putting the bread in the breadbox.

"Now, I know she meant a lot to you too," said Mrs. Santali. I froze as I put the carrots in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. She had spoken about Amy in the past tense: meant. "I don't mean to bring your spirits down any more," she continued, "but Frank is a bit upset with you." The rest she had whispered. What? Why?

"Why is he upset with me?" I started to feel irrationally angry. Was he blaming me for this? What the--

"Well… you were with her when…. He's sort of angry that you couldn't protect her." That one burned. But he was right. If he knew about everything, it would sound like he said I can't protect her.

"He has to know I was hit first," I said, my voice shook. "I couldn't do anything--"

"I know, I-I told him that on the way over. He just stayed quiet, he knows what happened. He's just too upset." So… Mr. Santali was going to take it out on me, was he?



MY EYES AUTOMATICALLY BLINKED OPEN. When they readjusted, I was staring up at a white ceiling. I tried to sit up but something held my head down. I tried to lift my hands but something was wrapped around my wrists, ankles, and around my head and stomach. I struggled against them in panic but I couldn't get free. I glanced down as far as I could to see my hands; white leather straps bound my hands to the rails of a chair you would normally see at the dentist.

The door opened, and to my absolute horror, Dr. Hewitt walked in, smiling. "You're up. Now we can get started," he said. He walked to the other side of the room and turned on a small white screen doctors used to view x-rays. He then put up an MRI scan, surely mine. He then turned back to me.

"I was sure you had gotten away from us. But, thankfully, our Chasers got you just before you hit the ground," he said, picking up a small dart. It was the same type of dart that had gotten Jake … and probably me again this morning. "Before we start, I want a few things straightened out. In order for me to get this done, I'm going to need some cooperation or nothing will get finished. Do you understand?" I knew there was no point in arguing; he had complete control and I couldn't do anything about it.

I sighed. "Yes."

He seemed satisfied . "Okay. So, as you know," he got up and walked to where I couldn't see him, "I've already developed a cure for a faerie's iron symptoms, only for a male. I'm sure it might work on a female, but not one hundred percent. There isn't much physiological difference that I can see but…" he came into view holding a syringe, "that's where you come in. I'm going to inject you with it, then walk you over to the lobby, the only place made with pure iron; it's the only exit not including the sky," he smiled. "If you feel perfectly fine, than you're cured. If not… well, we'll start improving so it does, okay?"

I nodded, showing my cooperation.

"Ow!" I exclaimed as he injected it; he hadn't warned me. It didn't hurt like the regular shots, which I was fine with; the needle burned as it entered my skin. I felt its contents flow cool throughout my bloodstream. I winced as the needle continued to burn on its way out.

"Sorry," Dr. Hewitt said. "I forgot it was a metal needle." He threw the needle in a hazardous waste bin and began untying the leather straps.

"Can I ask you a question?"

He reached my wrists after untying my ankles. "You just did," he chuckled.

I ignored that. "Why do I have to be strapped in just to receive one stupid shot?"
He untied my head, waist, then moved on to my other wrist. "In case you struggled against me," he replied. "I have to take precautions--for my sake, at least." I sat up when he had finished. I was in what looked like an MRI scanning room, like at the hospitals, except there was no scanner here.

"But I didn't." I stood up off the bed, stumbling a little as he opened the door. We walked out into the hall.

“I bet you did when you realized you were strapped down, didn't you?"

I didn't reply. We continued to walk down the same hall, turning into a waiting room. Dr. Hewitt stopped me a few feet before we actually entered the room.

"This is the one. I want you to walk out into the center and stand there for a few minutes." I walked out to the center as he had said, ignoring the people waiting there. I stood there for a minute or so, waiting to see if I was going to feel the nausea, the sickness. When it didn't come, I turned to Dr. Hewitt for more instructions.

"Try to do something," he said. I held out my arms, deciding to put a shield around me, but instead an intense pain grip my whole head when I tried. I fell to my knees, mostly out of fear I was going to die. I heard footsteps coming to me as the pain went away as quickly as it had come.

"Amy?" I staggered to my feet. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"I'm okay now. My head hurt like crazy when I tried to cast a shield."

"Well, let's go back to the room and get it out of your system. We should clear it away as we try to perfect it." I looked behind me to see curious faces quickly turn away.

I sat on the dentist-like chair as he injected a needle connected to a thin tube, which was connected to some small machine. From my arm flowed a clear purple liquid, the needle burning me the entire time, and it took a long time. When it was done, I followed Dr. Hewitt to what looked like an observing room. He sat behind his desk and gestured for me to sit in the seat. He typed on the keyboard a few times, then turned to me.

"Tell me your exact symptoms when you're around iron. Not what happened just right now." I thought back to when I was in the car to the hospital.

"I… um, well, I ache all over… faint in and out… uh… I had nausea and could barely move. The air kind of smelled heavy and… metallic," I said as I tried to remember every detail to make sure we got it right. We.

"I see no difference in your symptoms than with Mark's when he arrived," he said thoughtfully. "Your mother was a faerie, I'm guessing?" I nodded. "Did she ever get sick near iron or other metals?"

"Oh, I never met her. My, uh, parents died right after I was born. I was adopted right afterwards.” I bit my tongue immediately.

"Sorry to hear that," he replied sympathetically; he actually meant it, mostly because his mother died when he was young. "I take it your adoptive parents don't know about you."

I shifted in my seat. "No. They don't."

"Well, I think we'll cut it short for today; you were out for most of the time. I'll start working on putting together a couple of test samples and we'll see how they work tomorrow. You're in the morning program listing, so come here at nine o'clock." I nodded as I stood up. I was about to open the door when Dr. Hewitt had one more thing to tell me.

"By the way, Mark's alright."

I paused to be polite. "That's… good to know." I closed the door behind me.

Like I actually cared.

As I walked down the hall, I realized the exit to this building was the lobby which was made of iron. Perfect. I was getting nearer when I decided to hold my breath and try to run through as quickly as possible. When I did--ignoring the stares--I made it outside with only a minor headache. The little yard was empty with only a few people sitting here and there. I guess these people had 'afternoon programs'.

And I was outside with them. When I looked up to the sky I heard a clicking sound behind me. I turned around to find a guard standing outside the lobby door, a large gun in his arms. He was looking right at me through his sunglass, wondering if I was going to take off.
Nice.

I wasn't sure what to think anymore. No, they hadn't hurt me… on purpose, anyway. It was only logical that they would chase me down. It was scary, but I knew I'd have to play by their rules--mostly because I didn't have a choice.

I headed towards the cafeteria since it was the only way I knew how to find my room. Once I was inside, I threw myself onto the bed. It was one o'clock in the afternoon. I had nothing to do; no television, of course no phone, no paper or pencils. I felt I was going to drown in myself.

I thought about my escape this morning. Apparently, I was shot down and brought back, a complete failure as usual. But I had a dream that--if prophetic (please let it be)--would take place if I escaped again… maybe. I wondered what would happen if I left tomorrow, or at night. But how would I get there? Will it take place again like it did in the dream? Was I going to be able escape again? Was Roxanne actually going to be there?

I got tired of thinking of all the possibilities and started dozing off when I heard voices outside my door.

"What the hell, Mark?!" came Bree's voice. They sounded far away, so I sharpened my hearing. "Why did you upset her? She could've been killed!"

"I didn't mean to get her angry and I absolutely did not want to get her killed, Bree," Mark replied. "We were just talking about her boyfriend--"

"At least you know she has a boyfriend," Bree cut in. "I know you like her, Mark. Can't you see she doesn't like you that way? Why do you think she blasted you through a window? I don't think that's flirting."

"Things--"

"Don't say things change because that never works no matter how many times you say it--and it's annoying. She doesn't see you that way so let it go. Look at what you made her do. You're just hurting her."

Mark scoffed. "Hurting her? I'm trying to get her to get used to this place. She won't be able to be happy here unless she has a couple of friends."

"Oh please," Bree retorted. "You want to be more than just friends. How obvious can you get? I bet she sees right through you. I'm going to go see her. She definitely won't want to see you."

"I'm going to see her, whether you like it or not. Don't forget I'm her friend too." I heard their footsteps getting closer. I ran to the bathroom and practiced a few innocent faces. The knocks came as I waited by the door, trying to bring up a smile and failing. I opened to greet Bree… and Mark who was smiling brightly.

"So, how did it go?" Bree asked as they came in. She sat on the bed while Mark remained standing like I did. I wondered where this would go.

"Really? You're not curious about my escape a couple of hours ago?"

Bree blushed as Mark smirked.

"I-I… well…" she stuttered.

"You'll know about it soon enough, Bree," Mark snickered, "since everyone's talking about it. You went further than anyone had since… ever. You beat my distance by miles!"

I sat next to Bree on the bed and… sure enough Mark moved to the chair opposite me… closer to me. I just kept wondering how many others tried to escape?

"You want to go eat? You missed lunch," Mark said.

As we made our way to the cafeteria, Bree was always on my side, making Mark walk behind us. We decided to eat outside.

"So, you chose the morning program," said Mark as we sat down on a huge flat rock beside the forest.

"Pretty much, yeah. Hey, Bree," I said, "how come no one can see this place?"

She thought about it for a minute. "I'm not sure, but my guess is that they have some type of machine that screws up wavelengths and frequencies from satellites, radar and other tracking or satellite-imaging devices, making this place invisible. As for flying above, this I know is true: there's this boy that can create and change weather patterns. So, they have him bring storms nearby here in case any planes or other aircrafts are going to fly over." I was actually impressed by the way she said everything, like it was simple stuff. "I want to be a scientist," she said, blushing slightly.

"Nerd," Mark coughed. A smile escaped my lips when Bree used her spoon to fling applesauce at Mark. As he wiped the sauce off his face, he noticed my smile and smiled some more. I looked away. Perfect.

After lunch, we decided to walk around for the afternoon. Bree and Mark were always on either side of me.

"So, how was your escape this morning?" Bree asked.

"Well… it all started with Mark here," I said, glaring at him. He flushed immediately and looked away. "I was up in the air trying to get the lay of the land, before the helicopter started chasing me. That's when I found out that we're in the Rocky Mountains."

"What?!" Bree whispered. "How did you figure that?"

"I can see these mountains from where I live, just a few miles past the ranges. That's where I headed as the helicopter chased me." I bet I'd gotten pretty far.

"Mark Yorkshire, please report to the front office," said a voice over some speakers.
Mark blushed at his name. "I hate it when they do that. See you around," he said, mostly to me, as he jogged away.

"Finally. Amy, I have something to tell you about Mark," Bree said quickly. "I know you have a boyfriend and all, and he knows that too. But Mark--"

"Likes me."

Bree looked at me, astounded. "How did you know?"

"He doesn't try to hide it, does he?" I replied. Bree seemed to really want to talk about it. I didn't know why, really--no, I didn't look inside her head. It was obvious how I felt when I blew him away.

"Nope. He hasn't. That's what I told him, that he wasn't going to win you over but he wouldn't listen," said Bree. "I know you're with someone else, so if Mark gets direct with you, don't let him down easily. He won't ever learn unless he does the hard way." That was just what I wanted to hear. An excuse to hurt him like hell for talking like that about my Jake.

"God, Amy," she muttered after a few moments silence.

"What?"

She seemed a little embarrassed. "It's just that… you almost left today and… I don't know. It's amazing how far you got. I've only gotten about a hundred yards away from the building before they got me," said Bree.

"You tried to escape?"

She nodded. "Almost everyone here has tried, but we knew it was impossible so we just gave up. No one had actually made it out of the mountains, so we accepted that." A shiver went through me when she said it.

"Can I ask why you're bringing this up?"

She started blushing again. "It sounds stupid. I shouldn't have said anything at all."

"No, go on. I won't say it's stupid."

Bree took a deep breath, probably trying to figure what to say exactly. "Had I known you were planning on leaving… I would have asked if I could… tag along." Bree seemed to be so happy here, but then I realized how stupid I was to think that. Idiot.

"Well…" I said, not sure of what to say, "if you had asked… I would've said yes." Her brown eyes lit up with delight, which reminded me of Liz. "I'm not saying I'm planning on leaving right now," I broke in. "But if the time ever comes, I would want you to come." For once, I was honest. Bree made me feel better without ulterior motives. She was probably the only one I could possibly trust here.

"I guess you don't live that far, then, do you?" she asked. Until she said it, I didn't notice how close I was to home.

"I guess so." I frowned at the ground.

I was socializing. I didn't want to make friends here, but I already had one. I hated that I wasn't feeling so unbearably homesick when I thought of home, mostly because of Bree. But if that dream really does come true, I'm gone.



I DECIDED TO HEAD HOME AND CHANGE. I still didn't have a clue about where to find Amy, even though I had spent three days at her house (like that'd been so helpful). Tomorrow we had to go to school, but I didn't care. School wouldn't be the same.

I sat in my room, thinking like I'd never thought before. If the kidnappers used a car, I might be able to follow some sort of trail. Maybe the police missed something. I decided to head to the orchard, to the exact place we were before they took her. I wasn't going to rest until I at least tried.

I had to squint my eyes at the brightness of the field. No one was here--the season hadn't started--so I walked around till I found the tree where we had been and found our footprints, thankfully undisturbed. There were two more--grown men by the looks of it. I followed them all the way to the dirt road that ran through the orchard.

There were tread marks heading away from town into the deserted acres that separated us from a few cities and the mountains. I bent down to touch the marks, wondering if it was a van, car, or truck.

But when my fingers grazed the tracks, I saw a black car from behind, speeding through a highway, onto a freeway and through a city, then off road at a super fast speed, like it was playing in fast forward. The car then went up a steep trail--

The image disappeared when I took my hand away from the tracks. I stood there breathless, as if I had been running right behind them. Was what I saw true? Or was I so sleep deprived I was starting to hallucinate?

I tried once more, leaving my hand on the tracks despite the instinct to let go. I watched the same thing up until the trail. It sped through the forest, the trail going steeper; I was surprised the car, which couldn't have four-wheel-drive, was able to make it up. When it stopped in front of a big, white building… the car door opened. I stepped out and then turned to help Amy stumble out of the car.

I let go instantly, stunned at what I'd just seen. How was I with her when I'm here? Was she alright?

I quickly analyzed the vision… thing--whatever this was I'd just discovered, some kind of tracking ability. She was in the mountains; she wasn't even that far! I assumed she was still there, possibly--most likely--being held against her will. I couldn't believe I'd actually found her. I decided to go there under the cover of night. Tonight.

I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT. Three days had already passed and I still had no strategy. No plan to make my escape come true. I never told Bree or Mark about my plans. Bree would want to come, and Mark would most likely make sure I couldn't leave. He would probably tell someone and they would just catch me again. Of course, I wasn't going to make myself a spectacle, like my last attempt.

I only remembered my friends and family at night, when I had only my thoughts to comfort me… or haunt me. It was one in the morning, and I couldn't fall asleep, so I got up and went to the window to look at the mountains. I would've tried to escape that very minute, but Bree told me The Place (that's the name I'd given it) activated its sensors and cameras at night. Because of past attempts, the cameras were extra small, and there were no more blind spots. Awesome.

The past three days weren't as bad as I thought they would be. Dr. Hewitt's results showed little progress. The antidotes affected me several ways, most of them were painful. The burning needles and the unpleasant side effects were the hardest part of the whole. I had told Bree about it after she had asked what was wrong with me; I had barely made it to my room one time, practically dragging myself.

Some of the antidotes started to get easier to take. One antidote actually caused me to turn invisible. Just yesterday I had found myself outside the building, panting for breath. I didn't tell Dr. Hewitt that these abilities belonged to Jake. After he flushed out the medicine, I tried to do it on my own as I left, but it didn't work. Maybe I got Jake's abilities because my mind was trying to get me to remember I had a life outside The Place.

I realized I was beginning to worry about my friends and family less each day. In fact, I barely even thought of them--except at night. There was no one I could talk to, not even Bree, but mostly because I didn't want to. Bree thought about her family at night, but she never wanted to talk to anyone about it; she completely adored her little brother--he was the only person outside this place she ever thought about. One thought she had while with me was that she couldn't remember what her mother looked like at all; her father even less.

I was startled out of my thoughts at the sound of a small pop below my window. Curious, I looked down to see someone's silhouette, turning wildly around. I strained my ears to hear him.

"… the hell? What is this place?" I heard Jake say to himself. I was about to call him but realized someone would hear me shout. I looked wildly around the room to see I had nothing, then looked down at my broken watch. I took it off and dropped it down to him. I waved my arms at him after he picked it up. He looked up at me then back at the watch.

When he looked back up at me again, he disappeared. Did someone see him? Was he leaving? I turned only to find myself in his arms.

"How did you find me?" I asked breathlessly, wishing I could scream my lungs out. He still held me so tight against him I could barely breathe.

"I followed a trail. It's--" He stopped. I heard the footsteps too. I let go, he turned invisible, and there were knocks on my door.

"Amy?" It was Mark. "Who are you talking to?" I opened the door, but he barged in and looked wildly around the room. I heard Jake move around, barely missing him.

I crossed my arms. "What do you want?" I asked, sounding as mean as I could. "I was trying to sleep until you came in."

He hadn't found anything. "I thought a heard a guy's voice," he replied.

"It wouldn't be the first time you came to the wrong conclusion. Get out. Now." I held the door open for him.

He stayed where he was and sighed. "This is getting ridiculous. Why don't you talk to me? You talk to Bree so easily, but you guys aren't the same. We are."

I scoffed. "I have a boyfriend, Mark. Get that through your thick skull. I don't see you that way at all."

He smirked. "We're the only two of our kind here, Amy. I doubt it's just coincidence that we found each other. Plus, I don't see your boyfriend here--"

"Shut up, Mark!" I said loudly before Jake could even think of appearing. "He may not be here physically but he's been with me forever. I love him, Mark, not you. You and I will never have anything. That is one thing that will never change, so just get out."

He stepped closer. "Face the facts, Amy! You're not going to see him again. He probably doesn't even care about you anymore. He probably has another girl--"

I punched him. My super strength must've been back because the sound reverberated around the room. He got up and left without a word, slamming the door behind him.

Jake reappeared next to me. "Wow. I--"

"No time. Someone might've heard that. We need to leave now," I said, taking his hand and pulling him to the balcony. "You see the last mountain range over there?" I asked, pointing at their silhouettes through the darkening sky. He nodded. "You have to take us there now. I'll explain later--" The door slammed open as two men in army-looking uniforms pointed menacing rifles at us. I was already seeing them disappear before I heard the gun shots--Jake was pulling us into the suffocating hole.

When it was over, I fell to my hands and knees, gasping for air. I heard Jake collapse next to me. For a second, I thought he was lying down and breathing like I was, or maybe I was just too loud.

"Jake?" He didn't even stir. With a creeping feeling of déjà vu, I turned him over to find two tranquilizers in his chest, the same kind that had hit us back in the orchard. I pulled them out and dropped them instantly, the metal smarting my hand. I wasn't sure how long Jake was going to be out, since he'd gotten a double dosage.

I half-dragged half-levitated Jake behind a bush. The night air chilled me to the bone, so I curled up beside Jake, resting my head on his chest to keep us warm.

Bree crept into my head. I had promised her had I ever tried to escape again I would bring her with me. Here I was and here she wasn't. I felt bad about that….

I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming again… nope, this was for real. Just to be sure I still had my powers, I put up shield. The clear purple aura flowed from my hands to form a bubble around us. I started to listen more sharply when I heard a howl come from the distance… .

Its claws scratched lightly on the ground in the darkness, the light padding foot of the animal made it sound like it had four legs. The scratches became light footsteps and the sound of branches could be heard being pushed aside. I stood up inside my purple transparent bubble, unwilling to believe it would be her, as she stumbled into view.

"Roxanne?" I asked incredulously.

"You have to leave. Now. People in army-looking gear are looking for you. They have these huge guns and everything." She said everything in one breath, just like in the dream. We slung each of Jake's arms over our shoulders as I flew us farther away from where Roxanne came, careful to stay in the trees.

"How did you find us?"

"I was sleeping next to a rock when I heard someone say your name. I looked up and saw like… six big guys with guns walk by. I knew you were probably around so I sniffed you out. I had to transform in order to beat them to you. What happened to Jake?" she asked, looking at Jake's head lolling side to side with our movement.

"He took two tranquilizers to the chest as we left," I explained, weaving through the trees. I heard some footsteps behind us, though I wasn't sure how fast they were actually moving; maybe I was going too slow. "They're getting closer," I said as Roxanne heard them too. If we kept going at our pace they were bound to catch up with us for I was definitely not going fast enough. I tried to speed up but my body ached in protest. My sleep deprivation wasn't helpful at the moment.

"They're catching up," Roxanne said, letting go and dropping to the ground.

I stopped and turned back to her, still levitating and holding Jake. "What are you doing?" I hissed.

"This is my fault. I'm the one who led these guys to you in the field. They wanted to capture me but I offered you up as an exchange." I blanched. "I'm so sorry and I know that's not going to be enough. Hide up in that tree, I'll distract them so you can fly away."

"You're… insane. They might kill you," I said. I knew I should have been angry at her for selling me to these people instead of herself, but she was making up for it.

"There's no reason for you to feel responsible for me," Roxanne replied as she watched for the approaching men. What did she mean by that? "What are you waiting for? Go!" She shooed me away.

"Just come with us. There's no need--"

"Amy, I owe you more than this. Just go--" The men were almost on top of us. I gave Roxanne one last look before flying up over a tree, keeping out of view and hating myself for leaving her.

"Where are they, Roxanne?" I recognized Dr. Hewitt's voice.

"Who're you talking about? I haven't seen anyone here all day," she replied in a convincing tone.

"Don't play dumb, little girl," snarled another male's voice, a harsher one. "We know you've had contact with the faerie girl. Now, where are they?!" I jerked when I heard Roxanne grunt in pain.

"I don't know… where they are. They left a long… time ago," she said, her voice breathless and strained. I couldn't stand hearing this; I wanted to help… but if I left Jake for a second they might get him while I helped Roxanne. I didn't want to lose them both.

"Don't hit her!" said Dr. Hewitt. I heard some struggling. The men were fighting.

"Stop it!" Roxanne yelled. There was more struggling now with some growling--Roxanne must have transformed. There was a loud snarl, a gunshot and yowl at the same time. The gunshot still echoed throughout the mountains.

"What did you do?" came Dr. Hewitt's quiet voice. It couldn't be Roxanne….

"I- I didn't know… s-she was coming," came the man's voice. I gasped and put a hand over my mouth. The man's stuttering was answer enough. I didn't hear any sound that could identify her. I wanted so badly to go down there. Instead I flew away as fast as I could, leaving Roxanne behind.

I wasn't sure what to feel. I didn't call Roxanne to come to our aid. I didn't tell her to hold them off while I hid. If only I'd seen this coming….

"What was that?" Jake murmured. We flew over the last bit of mountain. His eyes were still closed as his lolled around like he was trying to wake up.

"What was what?" I asked softly. We were descending, flying only a couple of feet of the ground and avoiding loud branches.

"… loud sound…." He fell back into unconsciousness, his head lolling back onto my shoulder.

I was starting to get exhausted from supporting Jake's weight along with myself, and I nearly dropped him a few times. After a couple more trees, I decided to stop about a couple of yards from a hiking trail; I wouldn't be able to continue much longer. I gently lowered him to the ground. My legs gave away, and I fell right next to Jake, which was sweet relief. With the remaining strength I had, I made myself comfortable and let the darkness take me.



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This book has 3 comments.


on Oct. 4 2011 at 9:38 am
WhiteWidow GOLD, Bakersfield, California
14 articles 3 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is not fair because no one plays fair and survives.

Thank you.  The prequel---the first, rather---is 'choice'.  There's a third installment, but I'd like to see how the first two do

Also, if you've got the chance, take a look at 'complex'.  Part One and Two of this book are online already.


on Oct. 3 2011 at 3:37 pm
star2brite SILVER, Amherst, New Hampshire
7 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul."--Aldous Huxley

Interesting idea. I started reading it then realized that it's a sequel so I should probably read the first! I like the voice. I think this has potential--the title definitely caught my eye. Keep writing :)

on Sep. 20 2011 at 12:36 pm
WhiteWidow GOLD, Bakersfield, California
14 articles 3 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is not fair because no one plays fair and survives.

Someone read this please....


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