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There was a knock on the door. Doctor Name Warren, though he was going by Dr. Nerran so if it all went wrong no one would know who he really was, put his glasses on as he walked down the hallway to open it. He was not expecting any visitors this late at night, he had already sent all of his staff home for the night. There was a young couple standing under the pool of light on his old porch. Looking them up and down he sighed. Stepping back he gestured for them to come into the house. Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, the young man said. I was not sure you would, but we have heard about what you can do and we have no where else we could go. The young woman who was with him took off the long tan coat she had been wearing. Her belly was just starting to swell enough for others to notice that she was with child. Her

eyes were filled with longing and a hope that Dr. Warren did not want to crush. Glancing around at the neighboring houses, he closed the door, fearing that he was sealing his fate by letting them enter. ............................. The experiments began the following week. Name had thought that he might have a few couples interested, but it turned out that he had so many that he had to turn some couples away. After hiring two more people, he thought that he had enough help, but he was still working most of the day and well into the night as well. He caught himself wearing the same outfit for several days in a row because he was just too busy or too exhausted to change. He would have people showing up at his house in the middle of the night still trying to get in his program, as he had started calling it. It was hard to turn them down at first, but the more he had to the easier it got. When Dr. Warren first came up with his idea, he knew that he was doing this because he wanted to help people. The further he got into his experiments the less he saw his patients as people. He started seeing them as numbers and as results. He thought that it might be hard to lie to some of his patients, but as it turned out, it was quite easy. Once one lie was out of his mouth more seemed to flow out, almost effortlessly.

He did not notice that he had changed, hut the women that he was treating did. Only some of them knew the real reason they were there. Others thought they knew why they were there and the rest of them were completely in the dark about everything. Knowing that a few people might be hurt during this process was always a possibility, but Dr. Warren had always shoved that idea back into the deepest part of his thoughts. When the first baby was born Dr. Warren knew that he could no longer pretend that no one was in danger. Even though it might take years for the results to show up it drove him crazy. But the fact that they were getting hurt gave him even more reasons to do more tests on them. It helped to think about all those who would be healed or even just helped from what was being compiled from his work. All of the money that he was making did not hurt things either.

Chapter One

Gaylen looked at the school and sighed heavily and absent mindedly played with the bracelet she always wore. Over the past few years the size of her class shrank with the start of a new school year. Last year there were only twenty one juniors. Even though that was an unusually large class for a junior class, the junior class before them only had twelve students in it, she still felt like a part of her was leaving at the beginning of school. So she walked up the steps and had at least a little bit of hope that there would be at least a few familiar faces waiting in homeroom for her. Opening the door she found that she was the first one to arrive. At least she got to pick whatever desk she wanted. Settling down in a desk that was in the middle of the room she waited. She hoped that she was not the only girl in the class. One year one of the classes had five of the most obnoxious boys and only one girl. She would be devastated if she was put in that situation. She knew that her best friend, Rebekka, would not be here

because she tested out right at the start of summer as a level three. Gaylen was happy for her, but also a little sad for herself. Hating to admit it, she was also jealous. She remembered the conversation that they had right after it had happened. They said that nothing would change, that they would still be friends and talk all of the time and hang out together. That part was true, for the first week or so. Then Rebekka would be busy or gone whenever Gaylen would go over to her house or called her. The summer ended up being very long and lonely for her. Digging in her bag she grabbed a well worn paper back book that she was supposed to read over the summer break. She had started to reread it so that it would be fresh in her mind, so she found the place where she had left off. A few minutes of reading the same sentence four times she closed it and sank down in the desk. The warning bell rang and she stared at the door. On one else had even come in to set their stuff down to claim a seat while they were catching up with others they had not seen all summer. With each passing second Gaylen could feel her nerves getting more excited. Looking at a wadded piece of paper she checked her schedule. Maybe she was just in the wrong room. Nope, Home room Rm. Five Oh Three, she was in the right place. The bell to start classes rang and still, no one else wandered into the room. Either this was a

nightmare or she was the only one left in her class this year. She did not know whether she should cry or just leave the school and never come back. Maybe living in seclusion would not be so bad. Laying her head down on the desk she felt waves of humiliation wash over her. She knew her parents had such high hopes for her. With her sister testing out two years early and her younger brother five years early (one of the youngest students ever to do so) they thought that maybe she was just nervous and that was why she had not tested out yet. Being the last one in her class to test out was something that was not even considered. She could hear the other classes staring through the walls. The sound of kids greeting those that they had not seen all summer almost brought tears to her eyes. She remembered her first day at this school. Some of her friends were surprised to see her here because of her siblings and most of her family had been early testers. She was worried, she actually enjoyed coming to school and learning. Being with her friends was a lot of fun, too. Watching her brother working at age eleven made her sad. He said that he did not mind, that he enjoyed what he did and if it meant helping other people he was going to do it.

Hearing the door open, Gaylen brought her head up fast. She did not expect to see who was at the door. Principal Facet was standing in the doorway. She walked through, followed by a man Gaylen had never seen before. Miss. Nolana, please bring your stuff and join us in my office please, she said and then turned around on her heels and left. The man who had been standing behind her gave a quick nod of his head and then he left the room too. Gaylen who had only been in the principals office once because she had been a volunteer for one of the school dances, did not know what to make of Principal Facets tone or the look on her face. She did not look exactly happy, but she did not look like she was pissed off, either. She wondered what the guy with her had to do with anything. She had never seen him before. Maybe he was some new tester they had brought in to test some of the older students who had not shown any sign of being ready when they were supposed to be. Maybe that was why there was no one else in the room. They were probably already in the office getting ready to take some sort of new test. Yeah, that was what it was Gaylen thought as she gathered up all of her stuff and headed to the office. It was strange to be walking in an empty hall on the first day of school. Her shoes echoed so loudly that she thought that everybody in each classroom that she passed could

hear her. She knew that she was just being paranoid, but she tried to take quieter stepps, anyway. When she finally reached the office her heart was beating fast and she hoped she was not sweating through her shirt. Taking a deep breathe she pulled up the courage to knock on the door. The door opened and Gaylen stepped inside. Principal Facet was seated behind her desk in a high back leather chair that looked as if it were made just for her. She looked like she belonged there and she knew it. The man who was with her was on the other side of the desk in a less comfortable looking chair. He had a very expensive looking briefcase set by his feet. He had a passive look on his face, like he was used to waiting on people. The chair next to him was empty so she sat down in it. Gaylen, this is Doctor Warren. He runs a special school that specializes in students with, your condition. I will let him explain what he does in more detail. If you need me, I will be out in the main office. Your parents have been notified of this meeting. You are not in trouble, Miss. Nolana, it is just that we do not have the capability to deal with someone in your situation, she said, then stood up and left her office.


Gaylen was not sure how she should react to what she just heard, so she sat in silence. Dr. Warren sat quietly beside her. After a few minutes he turned his chair so that he was directly facing her. I know that you probably have quite a few questions for me, so please, do not be afraid to ask me anything, he said. What did she mean by students in my situation? Gaylen asked. I think that she was referring to the fact that you have not tested out yet. It appears that you are the only one left in your class not to do so. She might have said it in a different way, but that is what it boils down to. I run a school that helps those who are not able to pass the test on their own. Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with you, and I can not say that I have had a complete one hundred percent success rate. But, I can tell you that my team and I will do our best to help you live up to your best potential. Now that I have given you my little schpeil, do you have any other questions that you really want to ask? he said with a smile. I did not know that there was another school. Are you saying that there are other kids my age that have not tested out? I thought that because no one else showed up today


that it meant that they all passed the test over the summer, Gaylen said, feeling very relieved that she was not the only one. Well, you are the only one from this school, but there are others like you from other areas. My school covers a very large area, so we get calls from all over. Because we do not have very many students it means that we can give you all more individual attention. I have sent some information to your parents so that you as a family can come to a decision that you can all feel better about. I do hope that you chose to come to our school because I believe that we can help you, but I will leave that choice up to you. I will let Mrs. Facet know that we are through here, he said, picking up his briefcase. Gaylen sat in her seat stunned at what she had heard. Obviously this school was away, because she had not even been aware of its existence. That would mean that she would have to move away from her family. She was not sure how she felt about that. She would miss her parents and brother. She wanted to say that she would miss her sister, too, but miss was not exactly the word that came to mind when she thought of Sabrina. Sabrina was her older sister and had always made her life a living hell, making fun of her and tourturing her her whole life. But this was not your typical and regular sister riverally, it was Sabrina being mean and spiteful and just plain hateful. Gaylen was never sure what


she had done to have her sister treat her so badly. It had been like that for as long as she could remember. One time when Gaylen was twelve and a half Sabrina took all of her shoes and put them outside while it was raining. Two pairs of them were brand new, she had just gotten them for her birthday. They were her new school shoes made from thee softest leather she had ever felt. She recalled waking up and looking for her shoes and not being able to find them anywhere. Sabrina had a smile on her face that Gaylen would never forget. She looked like she had done something and knew that she would get away with it because no one would be able to prove it. After seeing Sabrina look out the window she raced over to the rain streaked window and felt sick to her stomach. There sitting in the middle of the yard completely filled with water were all of her shoes. Each and every pair she had, soaked through and through. To figure out at the age of ten that her sister hated her, truly hated her, had a huge impact on her. To have the knowledge that no matter what she did that her sister would never like her weighed heavy on her and she tried to stay out of Sabrinas way and not do anything to cause her to get mad her. The one good thing about Sabrina picking on her was that she pretty much ignored Gabe. Gaylen did her best to make sure that her brother and sister were never alone together. She would have friends stay over at their house instead of going


over to theirs when she was younger. Gabe was three and a half years younger then her and she felt a great sense of responsibility to keep him safe. Her parents thought that their kids had typical fights that brothers and sisters had, they never saw the true animosity that was between their two daughters. Gaylen did spoil Gabe rotten, she did it because she never wanted him to feel like she did with Sabrina. She wanted to spare him of hating his sisters, so she never told anyone, even Gabe, what Sabrina was doing to her. Gabe just thought that Gaylen was an overprotective big sister. He never really had the chance to interact with Sabrina and Gaylen only felt a little guilty about being the cause of that. She would rather him be safe and happy then to have Sabrina take her anger and wrath out on him. Sabrina did not seem to care either way. If she wanted to hurt someone or see someone cry Gaylen would gladly throw herself in front of her little brother, he was not going to be hurt like she had. Sabrina was very smart and devious, a lethal combination in her case. Leaving the school Gaylen looked up at the massive building that she was so used to going to. If her parents decided to send her away to this new school she wondered if it would look anything like this place. Sure, it was old and falling apart a little bit more each year, but it was HER school. The bricks were faded and cracking, but it was sturdy and familiar.


True, there were days that she hated having to come here, especially since her class started shrinking because it only helped to remind her that she had not tested out yet. But she was not sure she was ready to leave behind everyone and everything that she knew. Maybe her parents would decide to keep her at home and just hire a private tutor or something. As she walked home she tried to soak up all that she things that she normally took for granted. Gazing up at a tall, bare tree, she remembered the time she dared Gabe to climb all the way up to the top. He had only been seven or eight at the time and had made it half way up when he looked down. He stopped moving and refused to go up or to come down. Gaylen had thought that it was funny at first. After about ten minutes she pleaded with him to come down. She had been so worried that she would be the one to get in trouble, after all it had been her brilliant idea for him to climb the tree that she knew was too big for him. She told Gabe that she would be right back, that she was going to go and get their dad. He did not move, not even to shake his head to show that he understood. Grabbing one of the lower branches she could still feel how hard that one thin branch felt on her backside after her father had retrieved Gabe from the tree.


Picking up her pace she hurried to get home. She did not even have to think about which way to walk, because it was like second nature. This was the first year that she had to walk it by herself, though. When she was little she would run the way, trying to catch up with Sabrina. Her sister would always try to find the longest, most confusing way hoping to get Gaylen lost. When Gabe started school, Gaylen would hold his hand all the way, and she always walked slow enough so that he kept up pretty easy. After Sabrina and Gabe had both tested out she walked with Addison. Walking with her always took the longest because they would goof off and talk. After this morning and now walking alone she realized how long and lonely the walk was all by herself. Seeing her house across the street she how much she was used to her life. She knew that she should not scared to move on, but for some reason she had a feeling of dread that she could not shake. It was probably just her nerves acting up, after all this morning had been pretty strange. To realize that she was the only one her age left with out having her potential show to learning that she might have to go away to a special school. Her life had pretty much turned up side down


Chapter Two

Both of Gaylens parents were waiting for her on the couch when she opene d the front door. She almost dropped her bag because she thought they would both be at their jobs and she would have the house to herself for at least a little while longer. Her mom was sitting calmly with her hands laid in her lap. She looked as if it was a normal day and she was just waiting for someone who needed her help. Her dad, on the other hand, looked as if he just rolled out of bed. His hair was all messed up looking, as if he had been running his fingers through it, like he did when he was nervous or upset. His tie had been loosened and was hanging uneven. He only had one sleeve rolled up, forgetting that the other one was still buttoned tightly around his wrist. Well, I guess either Principal Facet or Dr. Whats his name called you guys, huh? Gaylen said, sitting down in an empty chair beside the couch.


Yes, your principal called your father at work. I really wish she would have called later today, but I guess we should have been expecting a call like this, her mom said. she explained how this school could help you. Youd also be around other kids you have, who are more like you. Your father and I were discussing how you might feel better and be willing to try a little bit harder if you did go to the school. Now, Mere, you do have a say in this, you know, her dad said, give a side look to his wife. When would I have to leave? Gaylen asked, looking down at her shoes. Maybe it would not be such an embarrassment to her family if she did leave and go to the school. They would probably send her back pretty quickly when they found out that she was messed up and could not be fixed. But she was willing to try it if it would make her parents happy. That was what she was supposed to do, right? Make her parents happy and proud of her. Um, they wanted you there as soon as we could get you there, the sooner, the better, is what we were told. I have permission to take a few days off so we can get you settled at the school. Its only a few hours away, so if you have any problems or if you want to come home we can come get you at any time, her dad said.


I didnt realize that it would be so soon. If they wanted me there tomorrow why didnt they let us know before today? Its not like they dont know who hasnt tested out. Everybody knows they keep records on who can do what, how they can do it, and when they first could do it, Gaylen said quietly. It is not for us to question, they contacted us when they thought it was the right time . We should have assumed that something would be happening with you at your age and with what should have happened by now. We need to make the best of this situation and this Dr. Warren is a credible man. I have heard of him and I personally know that he has helped several families, her mom said. You mean that he helped some other families safe face when their kids did not measure up to what their parents wanted them to be like. Ill go start packing so we can leave whenever you want to, Gaylen said getting up. When Gaylen got up to her room she did not know where to start. What should she take? She did not even know how big her new room would be or how much stuff she could fit in it. Would she have to wear another uniform or would she be able to wear her down time clothes? How many students would be there and did they want to be there or were they there to make their parents happy like she would be? So many questions and fears were


running around in her head she had to sit down. Floppy down on her bed she grabbed her pillow and curled up. She was wondering how long she would have to be at this school when she fell asleep. When Gaylen woke up her eyes felt all puffy and dry. She realized that she had fallen asleep while she was crying, or maybe she had cried in her sleep. Standing up and stretching she saw that someone, most likely her dad, had put a brand new set of luggage in her on the floor beside her bed. There were five pieces total, all a light golden brown with varying shades of aqua stripes running criss cross all over them. They were not childish looking, but not old fashioned, they were perfect. Just seeing them there made her feel a little bit better about having to leave. Grabbing the largest of the set she started packing some of her heavier clothing the hopefully she would not need for a few more months if the weather stayed how it was right now. A knock on the door startled her and she dropped the pair of dark green pants she held in her hands onto her unmade bed. You scared me, mom, she said, trying to catch her breath. I just wanted to check on you and see if you needed any help getting your things ready for your trip. Your father picked out the luggage, he said that it reminded him of you.


If you do not like it there is a classic and functional set that I wanted to get you. We can always go and trade it in if you want to, her ever practical mother said, looking at the suitcases and frowning. No, I like this set, it makes me happy to look at it, she said, looking down. O. K., well, I guess Ill head back down stairs now. Call me if you need any help packing. I need you to be ready to leave within the next few hours. We are going to go and have dinner as a family before you leave. When I called your sister, she said she would not miss seeing you off for anything. I will never see why you two do not get along she obviously cares about you greatly. Shes willing to drop whatever she is doing to spend some time with you, so please dont make a scene tonight, she said shaking her head as she le ft the room. Her mom just did not see how bad Sabrina treated others, she closed her eyes and looked the other way. Maybe it was because Sabrina was the first born and would always be the little girl who could do no wrong. It did not matter now, Gaylen thought. She was leaving, going to some school that she had never heard of, where they specialized in treating and curing freaks like herself. Maybe they would help her test into something cool, like blowing things up, that would be pretty cool. At least then she would have fun every day destroying things. She hoped that it did not turn out to be something lame, she once heard about a boy


who could only change the temperature of water three and three quarter degrees in either direction. Then she started to worry about not being able to test into anything at all. She did not think that it would be so bad, not being able to do anything, but people looked down one those who never tested into anything. They became the ones no one spoke about or even claimed belonged to their family. It would be devastating for her mother. She was always worrying about what the neighbors might think. She had always been that way, even when Gaylen was just a little girl. She always had to be in a nice and clean dress without any stains or holes in it. For someone who loved to be outside all of the time this was extremely hard and not to get dirty was nearly impossible. Of course though, mommys little perfect angel, Sabrina, always looked presentable and spotless. Whatever, Gaylen tought, I guess that I get to start over. She would not have to compare herself to Sabrina and try to live up to her unreachable expectations anymore. She could get to be Gaylen, who she was without apologies. She looked over her room trying to decide what all she needed to take with her. There was not much for her to choose from, her room looked sparse compared to other people she knew. She had a few pictures up on the wall, and to little figurines on top of her dresser. She did not need item or tons of pictures to remember events.(She is creative and messy, fix this later) Hearing a door slam,


she looked out the window and muttered a few choice words, coming up the driveway was Sabrina. There went her last night at home down the drain. NEED MORE The drive with her parents seemed to last double what it should have had taken. Her mom kept talking about how going to this school was such a great opportunity for Gaylen. Her dad kept reminding her that it was not that far from home and that it would always be her home and open to her, no matter what. It was almost like watching a ping pong ball game. One parent would say something and the other one would say the exact opposite. They almost missed the school the first time because it did not look like a school, so they drove right past it. The building was fairly new and had an almost industrial look to it. The front of it was almost made up entirely of giant glass widows that reflected the trees that covered the front lawn. It looked very majestic, all green and gold. This building was not falling apart. She could see the back side of the school expanding well into the distance. With all of the shining metal and gleaming glass she wondered if the sun was bright enough if someone could go blind if they looked at it from the right angle. Gaylen could see a few students weaving their way in between the slender tree trunks. They were laughing and appeared to be having a good time. They did not look like they were being forced to be here against their wills or tortured every other night. They looked


like normal students enjoying one of the first days of school, the ones here you really dont have any work to do. When you spend all the time reconnecting with your friends after spending summers apart. Would you look at that building, her mother said excitedly. There must be plenty of funding for them to be able to build a structure of that caliber. I wonder who they hired to design it? Im sure that we can ask Dr. Warren those questions after we help get Gaylen settled in, her dad said as he pulled their car into a parking spot. Yes, I am sure you are right. Speaking of getting Gaylen settled in, let me find the map that has her room and classes on it. I know that I have it here somewhere, her mom said digging in her sleek leather bag. Gaylen kept looking out the window as her parents debated over which way would be the quickest way to get from her third class period to her fourth class period. She was used to having them put their input in her life. She wondered how it was going to be when they left. Having to make a bunch of small choices for herself may not seem like such a big thing, but it would be a new experience for her. It seemed that they had her whole life planned out for her.


She knew that they had her best interest in mind, but sometimes she felt like they were smothering her. Maybe being not normal was actually going to work in her favor this time. Finally, after exiting the car after her mom had mapped out the short routes to each of her classes and all other possible reasons that she would have to go anywhere, they made their way to the main building. Several of the students and people they assumed to be part of the faculty waved and smiled at them. Some of them offered to help them find the office, but Gaylens mother said that they had their map and that they wanted to see if they could navigate their way on their own. She thought that it was a good idea for Gaylen to get used to the campus from the very start. Sure enough, using the much highlighted copy of the map they made their way to the main office without any trouble. Behind one of the desks was a grandmotherly looking woman with a very large amount of brightly red colored hair. Her glasses hung on a very old looking chain around her neck. You must be the Nolana family. Dr. Warren wanted me to relay that he is very sorry, but he will be delayed for a little bit longer due to some unforeseen circumstances. If you want to make yourselves comfortable, I will let you know when he is available. I am Mrs. Ranhaun, by the way. I want you to know that we are very happy to have Gaylen joining us


here at the school. I like to think of myself as a surrogate grandmother to all of the students here, she said, her glasses bouncing around the desk she was behind. Im glad to know that Gaylen will have someone she can go to if she needs to. Do you think that we have enough time to put her things in her room before Dr. Warren will be able to see us? her mother asked. Yeah, that was what Gaylen wanted, to tell all of her secrets and fears to a sixty five year old woman. Did her mom ever stop to think about how humiliating some of things that she said were? Thankfully there were no other students in the office to overhear this horrific conversation that was being held. The door opened and Gaylen looked over at who had just walked in. Oh no, she spoke too soon. In walked one of the most interesting looking guys she had ever seen. He was gorgeous in a conventional manner, he was too rough looking for anyone to say that about him. His looked like one of the cocky guys who was used to getting what he wanted whenever he wanted. She immediately did not like him and his smug walk. I suppose that you might have just enough time to drop her stuff off, if you hurry . It is an honnor Ill let him know where you are if he is finished before you are back. He likes to meet with the family together before a student starts classes, so that everyone is aware of what is expected. Because this is a special school there are some special rules of course,


Mrs. Ranhaun said. Please have a seat Liam, Dr. Warren talk with you when he can, she said curtly to the boy who had entered the office. Gaylen cast a look back at him as they left and he smirked at her before she closed the door. Of course they found the room without any delay. It was what Gaylen had expected it to be. It was a moderate size, not too small, but just enough room for two beds, two dressers, and a small walk way between the two sides of the room. The walls were not stark white, but a pale shade of melted butter. Two of the walls each had an abstract print on them that were not too crazy, but not boring. One bed was already made with a thick bright orange and green comforter loosely thrown on it. Three mismatched shoes were peeking out from underneath the bed. Placing her bags on the unmade bed her dad looked around the room. I guess its not so bad. I hope you werent expecting a huge room and a bathroom all to yourself, he said trying to lighten the mood. No, its a nice room. Im sure that it will be fine. It wasnt like I was expecting a palace or anything, it is just a school after all, Gaylen said smiling at him. We should get back to the office, we do not want to keep your new principal waiting, now do we, her mom said walking to the door.


Gaylen and her dad followed her out of the door. Her mother was nothing if not punctual and a rule follower. Sometimes she wondered how her parents got together. It wasnt that they really fought or anything, it was just they never showed anything of much to each other. It made her kind of sad, she thought that people should be in love and at least of a little bit of fun together. She hoped when she found who she was going to spend the rest of her life with that he was fun and supportive of her. She knew that they would not get along all of the time, but she hoped that they would not get stuck in such a rut that they just went through the motions. When they got back to the office Mrs. Ranhaun was just closing the massive wooden door that led to Dr. Warrens office. Perfect timing. Dr. Warren just finished what he was doing. Go ahead and go on in. Gaylen followed her parents into the dark room. The man behind the desk surprised her. He looked totally different here, sitting behind his desk, then he did when she met him at her school. Here he looked in control and like a man on a mission. He exuded an air of confidence that surprised her. But there was something almost sinister about him. She could not quite put her finger on it, but it was right there under the surface. She wondered if


it was just because of the pressure he was put under. She did not think that she would want the responsibility of having all of these kids that he was enlisted to fix. Gaylen zoned out as her parents discussed all of the normal boring adult things with Dr. Warren. She did notice that her dad would look at him and then shake his head, like he was going to say something, but he never did. She could see her moms eyes get big and bright when the doctor went over the percentage of students who excelled here, rather than in the normal school setting. Gaylen hoped it was because of the students who were able to test out and not because she was sending her away from the normal school where everyone knew that there was something not quite right with her daughter and she was embarrassed. Maybe she was just relieved to know that there were other kids out there who had the same problems Gaylen did and that there might be a chance that she was not a broken as they originally thought. Her dad was now looking everywhere but at the doctor. It was as if he did not want to hear anything that the doctor was saying and if he did not hear it, then it was not true and not happening. Her dad had always been the one who always said that Gaylen fine the way she was, that she would test out when she was ready and that there was nothing wrong with that. He liked to say it was because she was so stubborn, like he was, but he always had a smile on his face when he said it.


When Dr. Warren was done giving his little spiel, he offered to give them a tour of the campus. But Gaylens mom declined stating that they had already been to each of the classrooms as well as the gym and recreational room. How very efficient of you Mrs. Nolana, he said. I wonder if some of your skills have been passed down to your daughter Gaylen. Her mother laughed, Gaylen is the least organized of our children. I think that Sabrina, our eldest child, took most of that gene and whatever was left skipped Gaylen and found our son Gabe. But, her dad interrupted, Gaylen makes up for her lack of organization with how creative she is. She can come up with solutions that no one else would even consider and usually faster than anybody else too, he said with a proud smile. Being creative is a good thing to be also, we like it when students think outsid e of the box. One of the theories that we have come up with is that certain students are not testing out because they think in a different way than most other people, Dr. Warren said a little bit less enthusiastic then he had when he answered her mother just a second ago. Now, I know that you had planned on staying the night to help get Gaylen settled in, but I think that since classes have already began maybe it would be best to let her join the


other student right away. I do not want her to feel awkward, you know how sensitive kids this age are and with, well, you know, their complications, it makes the situation a little more sensitive than most. I will leave it up to you as a family to decide, though, Dr. Warren said scouring the grounds around them. Gaylen looked around and saw that it was between classes now and a few of the students were milling around. Some of them kept looking their way and when they were caught staring quickly found something else to look at. Looking at both of her parents she made the choice for them. You guys can go if you want to. Ill be fine, she said. She wanted them to stay, at least for the night, but she knew that they should go. She did not want other students to label her a baby who needed mommy and daddy around to hold her hand because she was scared. It took her mom about three seconds to decide that it would probably be for the best if they went ahead and left, that she was a big girl and would not get lost on the campus by herself. After seeing her parents off, she walked back to her new room and set on her bed. She breathed a sigh of relief because she was all by herself. She was here with others who were like her. Now she would not stick out so much, she might be able to fly under the radar.


She would not always be compared to so and so. She could be herself. People here would not know that her sister received one of the highest test out scores ever or that her brother was one of the youngest kids ever to test out. Here she could just be Gaylen who has not tested out. Plus if they did fix her here and she tested out, even with a low score, her mom would be so relieved and her dad would be so proud of her. Any score would be better than no score at this point, she would already be one of the oldest ones to do so. The door being forced opened interrupted Gaylens thoughts. Coming in the room was one of the most LATER girls she had ever seen. She had the hugest smiles on her face that Gaylen had ever seen. Hi, I m Donahue, and Im guessing that you are Gaylen Nolana. Age 17 and have not even tested out at a level one yet. Your older sister, Sabrina, is a level nine and your brother, Gabe, tested out at the age of eleven at a level seven. Though, some people think that he should test out again and then he would probably be a level nine or even a ten, she said all in one breath. Wow, I guess that saves me the problem of introducing myself. Looks like you know all about me already, Gaylen said. Well, is there anything else you would like to know about me? Or is there anything else that you would like to tell me about myself I should say?


I think that Im going to like you. You are much more interesting than my last roommate. All she did was sit on her bed staring and moaning about what a failure she was because she could not test out. I have not seen her yet this year so hopefully she did this summer so I wont have to hear her bitch and moan all day every day. Hey, you dont mind loud music and people in the at all hours, do you? Donahue asked plopping herself on Gaylens bed. Um, was all Gaylen could come up with. You should see your face. Im just kidding. At least about having peo ple in the room all of the time, Im not exactly a people person. I do like my music loud, but I am quite accommodating so I am sure we can work something out. Hey, that is a cool bracelet, where did you get it? she asked. My grandmother gave it to me the day she died. I remember she wore it all the time and never took it off. I used to play with it and try to take it off of her so I could wear it, but she never let me. She would tell me stories about each stone and while I was getting lost in them I would completely forget that I wanted to wear it, she said. Maybe when we have more time you can tell me some of those stories. Right now, though there is a mandatory dinner we need to get to. They really play it up for the new


students. Do not get used to it, though, because tomorrow we come back down to reality to boring dinners and not so much flash. I ll introduce you to the people you need to know and also show you those you should stay away from. Be glad that you got me for a roomie, Ill help you survive this special school for us rejects, she said pulling Gaylen off of the bed



The dinning hall was not what Gaylen thought it would be like. With what she had seen of the rest of the school, this was not very modern at all. It looked more like a throw back from an earlier era or somebodys grandparents had designed it. It had a feeling like it was supposed to be homey, but it felt forced. The chairs were a little bit too rustic looking and the tables were too new to be antique. She thought that all of the fake flowers were over doing it. The room was not quite full; maybe only about one hundred and seventy five to two hundred kids were in there. Gaylen was shocked to see so many, though. She did not think that so many would not have tested out. They must be from all over the country, because you did not hear about them, or at least people did not talk about them that much. It was as if


they were swept under the rug because they were an embarrassment to their homes and families. It was noisier then she expected, she had pictured all of the quite, withdrawn kids with their heads down. Maybe a few of them would be laughing, but definitely not all of them. It made sense to her once she started to think about it, though. At home they were the outcast, the ones who were embarrassed about what they hadnt been able t o do yet. Here, they were all alike. In a way they were free to be who they were. They had a sense of hope, a feeling that they might be able to find out what was wrong with them and get it fixed. Gaylen breathed and it was if a weight had been lifted off of her. She felt Donahue tug on her sleeve. Here, let me show you the people who suck the least here and are almost cool enough to hang out with, she said pulling Gaylen across the floor. She stopped when they came to a table with a girl and two guy seated at it. This is Ryse, she said nodding to the blonde girl. Yes, like the candy, but only I can call her Pieces. Seated next to her is Ryland, and if you cant tell, they are in fact twins. And the other guy there is Jaxon. If you include me these are the cool people, because anybody that hangs out with me becomes cool by association.


Yeah, she is so full of coolness that she cannot contain it all so it spills forth onto us and we are just so lucky that she picks us for her leftovers, Jaxon said with a smirk. But I guess that we should be grateful that she chose us and not anyone else By anyone I think that he means Miss. Perfect over there, Donahue said tilting her head over to a table far across the room. There was always the it table at a school. Even Gaylen knew that the table across the room was that table and she had only been at the school for less than one day. It was the way the students held themselves, like they were better than everyone else and they knew that everyone knew it. This table is always the loudest and filled with laughing that is always louder than any other. Her eyes were drawn to a girl sitting down. She was smiling, but not laughing. Instantly Gaylen knew that this was the girl they were talking about. There was something about her that gave off power and energy. Who is that? The girl sitting over there? Gaylen asked. Thats Neesha, Miss. Perfect herself in all of her glory, Donahue said. Please tell us how you really feel about her, Jaxon said scooting over to make room for the two girls to sit down.


She has no right to be all uppity. She is here for the same reason we all are, we are failures. She has her nose so far up in the air just because her parents are beyond rich. Just goes to show you that money cannot buy you everything you want. I heard that they spent a ton of money on private tutors when she was not the first one to test out of her class. Now she is trying to blame them for her not testing out. One time last year she said that she cant test out because the tutors filled her with so much knowledge that she cant decide on which one she wants. Now that is a load of malarkey if I ever heard one. She thinks shes so special she probably thinks she should show up to school riding on a pink unicorn, Donahue raved. Well, it must be an invisible pink unicorn, cause I sure dont see one and if I did I would shove its horn right up her- Jaxon said. Gross! I do not want visuals. Its bad enough that I have to look at her every day, now all I am going to see is her with a unicorn horn shoved in places I do not want to think about, Donahue shrieked. Maybe shes just embarrassed and thats her way of dealing with it. I bet shes not that bad once you get to know her, Ryse suggested.


Ryse here is our positive thinker. She always wants to see the bright side of whatever is going on, Jaxon said. She just wants to believe that everybody has some good in them, Ryland interjected. Theres nothing wrong with that. I dont believe that everybody is evil, I just dont think that Neesha has any good in her. I discriminate on a person by person case, Donahue said. What time is dinner supposed to start? I am starving. Theyre supposed to start in about ten minutes. Theyre giving the newbies a chance to find the dining hall. You know how most of them keep getting lost the first few days. Youre lucky to be rooming with Donahue Gaylen. At least you have someone to show you the ropes, Jaxon said. Oh, she wouldnt get lost anyway. You should see the map her mom highlighted for her. I bet that there are at least twenty four ways for her to get to each class. It even includes estimated times on how long it will get her to get from where ever she is. Man, your mom must be a hoot to live with, Donahue said smiling. Shes not that bad. Maybe she is a little controlling, but she has my best interest at heart. Besides, my dad kind of evens it out. Hes a little more easy going. Hey, I will always


know where I am supposed to be. At least I talked her out of making me a color coded calendar that would have taken up an entire wall, Gaylen said, trying to laugh it off. As much as her mom upset her, she was still her mom. Donahues just jealous because she never had a mom to take care of her. She practically had to raise all of her brothers and sisters. Thats why she takes people under her wing, she has always done it and she does not know how to stop, Ryse leaned over and whispered in Gaylens ear. Donahue isnt even her first name. Its her last name. No one knows her first name except Dr. Warren. Hey what are you guys whispering about? Didnt anyone ever tell you it was rude not to include everyone? Jaxon said. Oh, its just girl talk, Ryse said turning bright red. Look, here comes the food. Wow, they really out did themselves this year. It looks like they have a lot more than they did last year. Wonder who theyre trying to impress? Donahue muttered under her breath. I dont care who or why theyre doing, Im starving, so bring it on, Ryland said.


This boy can eat everything in sight and he is still a sack of bones, Donahue said. Watch your plate because he has been known to steal stuff right off of other peoples plates without asking. I am not that bad, he replied looking down. Its O.K., I dont know if I am going to be able to eat that much anyway. Im kind of nervous, Gaylen said looking around at all of the new faces. Oh, you wont be saying that once you see all of the food they bring out. They have every thing that you can imagine and then some. Last year I swear that they cooked at least four or five whole cows and about six dozen chickens. And that was just the main course. And they desserts, well, I will just say heavenly and leave it at that, Donahue said . Once the servers started bringing out the food everybody in the room got quiet. Donahue was not kidding. The food just kept coming and coming. When it looked like there was enough food to feed at least three times the amount of people who were present they stopped bring the platters. Gaylens stomach grumbled at the smell and sights that were surrounding her. She closed her eyes for a moment and just enjoyed the aroma that filled her nose. Maybe she could eat a little bit, so she would not offend any of the cooks. She hated to hurt anyones feelings.


Once the plates were filled the students resumed their conversations. The room became filled with oohs and ahhs over what people were eating and what they had done over the summer. Certain people were louder than others, but everyone at Gaylens table refused to look over at that table. So, Gaylen, tell me why you chose to come to our humble school? Jaxon asked wiping a stray piece of turkey off of his chin. Well, my parents that that it might be a good place for me to get the help that I need to be able to live up to my full potential, she replied. The old live up to your full potential line. Parents love to use that line when they do not know what to do with you anymore. I heard that one, too. But then I also got the being in a new surrounding might jump start the process. Like being shipped off half way across the country was going to trigger something that does not want to be triggered, even if it is there in the first place, Jaxon said with some animosity in his voice. At least it was only one of you, our parents had to ship two of us off. But we got the maybe if one of you start then the other one will. Nothing like a little bit of sibling riveraly to bring out the best in a person, Ryaland said.


I think that I have all of you guys beat, my dad told me that if I did not leave that I would probably pass this genetic flaw down to my little brothers and sisters. He ran me off the moment I turned sixteen and did not test out. Luckily I found out about this place and they were willing to take a freak like me in. another plus is that I do not have to pay any sort of tutition because I am what they call a hard case. So, I am a nut case according to my father and a hard case according to the school. I do not know which one is worse, but if I get to eat food like this I do not care. Bring on what ever case they want to make me, she sai d and stuffed a gigantic bite of some sort of meat into her mouth. Everyone at the time kind of fell silent after that little tirade. Jaxon was consintrating so hard on cutting his meat up that Gaylen thought that he was trying to get each piece of meat exactly the same size. Ryland and Ryse kept glancing over at each other but not saying anything. She wondered if they had some sort of mental communication that you hear that only twins have. Then she saw that their mouths were barely moving, so they were just reading each others lips. Donahue was eating as if nothing had happened. She seemed to be enjoying her food.


A bell sounded through out the room. Gaylen looked up and noticed that everyone was putting their hands in their laps and not eating anymore, exceopt of course Donahue, who she thought did not like to follow any rules and like to make up her own. I would like to welcome back all of our students, new and those who are returning to us. I hop that all of you had a nice and relaxing summer. I know that it may be hard for those of you who are joining us for the first time. I hope that you will all find friends and comrades in some of our returning students. They will be a guide for you. Let us all raise our glasses and toast to the start of a brand new year that will bring forth a new generation of young adults. Remember that even if you do not test out this year I hope that you will continue to grow and learn and push yourselves like you have never done before, Dr. Warren said raising his glass of sparkling drink. The room was filled with glasses clinking against each other and people saying what a wonderful year it was going to be. It was almost dream like Gaylen thought. Not hiding what you were, but almost celebrating. They were hopeful that they would change, but they were not ashamed of what they were. It was very surreal and she wondered when she was going to wake up.


Walking back from the dinning hall with Donahue was hard. Gaylen was so full that she thought that she was going to explode and the fact that her friend, at least she hoped that Donahue was her friend, kept making her laugh. She had not laughed this long and hard in such a long time. It felt good to just let go and let it come out. She did not realize how much she missed hanging out with other people her age that did not look down on her. Once Rebekka tested out it was as if she thought that Gaylen was less than her, that she was not worth anything. It hurt really bad at first, but then she thought what if she was the one who tested out first. Would she want to hang out with someone who had not et. She wanted to think that she would have been a better friend, not letting that come between them, but trying to look at the situation from an out side perspective she was not quite so sure.


Here she wondered what happened to those who tested out. Did they get sent home immeadiatly or was there some sort of training cource to help them intergrate back into society. It was almost funny if you stepped back and looked at it. Here she was trying to get fixed for her parents, but she was not so sure she wanted it for herself. She did not know if she would like the person she might become. Would she turn out to be one of those women who were always whispering behind peoples backs, comparing levels and only wanting to be around those who had the same level? She hoped she would not be one of the ones who only wanted to be around higher levels, thinking that something might rub off onto them. Those ones were the worst ones in her eyes. She thought that people should be happy with who they were. Sure, there was nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, but it should be done with hard work, not hanging around someone like a small sad, lost puppy dog. At least have a little respect for yourself. Donahue threw their door open. Home sweet home, she exclaimed launching herself onto her bed. I guess that I will have to be the one who helps you with all of the rules and regulations. There is no hand book, so you just kind of have to remember them. Someone tried to write it down, but it was confiscated. No one knows why or who did it, but


when ever some new student tries to write them down so they do not forget them they disappear. Why dont they want the rules written down? Wouldnt it be easier to have them in a book so no one ever forgts? Gaylen asked. Who knows why they do what they do here. Parents dont complain because most of the time it gets results and that, my dear, is what this is all about, results. Parents pay big bucks, especially if they do not want people to know that their kids are here. There are rumors going around that certain students use alias, so that no one knows who they really are. How ridiculous is that, some teen age kid having to use a fake name so their parents can keep it a secret that they are here. I guess I can kind of understand why some parents want it kept a secret. What if the situation affected their job or something. Maybe they are trying to protect their kid. I know it was hard on me to not test out, Gaylen said. Maybe a few of the parents do actually have their kids in mind, but I bet that the majority are doing it for purely selfish reasons. I have met most of them when they are dropping their kids off. They are usually in a pretty big hurry to leave after dropping the kid off. Most do not even stay the night.


My parents were going to stay, but Dr. Warren suggested that they might want to leave so that I could get adjusted without them here because classes had already started. I bet he did that with the other parents, trying to make the adjustment for the kids easier, so they would not be mortified at having to be seen with their parents in front of everybody, she said. Donahue just shook her head, Even if kids are dropped off in the middle of the summer and theres no one around and the parents and the kid wants them to stay he makes them leave. Now, granted that situation does not happen very often, but when it does it can be heart wrenching to watch. Why dont you tell me about these secret rules that I can never write down or Ill have my hand cut off and then put into a frame to remind me to follow the rule? Gaylen said trying to lighten the mood. Fine, but if you fall asleep in the middle of it I am not going to repeat them and then if you break any of them I will just let them feed you to the lions because you fell asleep on me, she said seeming to be in a better mood. Though Gaylen was up all night giggling with Donahue, she was still up at the crack of dawn. She was surprised that she wasnt more tired. Maybe it was the fact that she was in


a new place and about to start a new school. She knew that she had a few classes and thankfully lunch with Donahue because they had compared their schedules while discussing which of the rules was the worst one. Gaylen had thought that it was not being able to tell anyone outside of the school what type of classes they were taking. Donahue digressed and said that it was they were never, ever, even under the most dire of situations, to leave the campus without one of the adult chaperons. What fun is there if you cant even sneak off of the campus for some torrid teen age fun? I mean how much fun can you have sneaking around if you have to bring a chaperon? Dragging herself out of bed, just because her mind was racing and going one hundred miles per minute did not mean that her body wanted to do the same, She pulled out a pair of pants and a favorite shirt. She tried to shake as many wrinkels out as she could, but it did not do much. She should have listened to her mom when she told her to unpack as soon as she got back to her room so that her clothes would have time to hang. She was always thinking that she should have done what her mother had said, but now it was going to be different because she did not have her mom around to tell her what to do any more. She needed to start doing things on her own and taking responsibility for her own actions. When did I get to be so old, she thought to herself.


Could you make any more noise? Geez, you could wake sleeping beauty with as much as you make. I dont know if I told you this, but I am defiantly not a morning person. Heck, I dont become a person until after two in the afternoon. MORE HERE LATER

When you are testing for your powers , it is crucial for you to have a clear mind and heart. How are you supposed to know what is really trying to come through if you are filled


with thousands of thought and images floating around in your head? Become one with yourself and do not try and fight it. If you fight it the process becomes harder and then it will result in failure for the day. If you are having a bad day I can give you a few minutes to try and find a focus, but I will not do that every day, Miss. Lateme said, looking directly at Donahue. Donahue smiled and leaned over to whispered to Gaylen, Shes just mad because I never could find focus, it was not like I was doing it on purpose because this is such a lame ass class. Gaylen looked at Donahue and tried not to burst out laughing. She did not want to get in trouble in this class, it looked kind of neat, even if the teacher was a little too much into it. Now, class, I am going to give you some work to do tonight, so please do not blow it off. It will help you if you keep practicing, Miss. Lateme said with pleading eyes. Yeah, like Im going to spend my free time sitting around looking up at the sky and trying to keep a clean and pure mind. I do not think that it was ever clean to start with, Donahue said. Miss. Nolana, I would like to speak with you when the class is over, if you do not mind, Miss. Lateme said.


Gaylen nodded and spent the next few minutes trying to keep her friend quiet. When class was over Gaylen waved by to Donahue and waited for her teacher to come and talk to her. Instead, she waved at Gaylen to come over and join her sitting in the overly green grass. Sitting down she tried ot to make any noise because it looked like her teacher had reached the point that she was trying to tell the students about. Her face looked so peaceful and still. Gaylen did a double take and realized that her teacher was floating just a few inches off of the ground. Just enough to see space between her and the grass, but not enough to notice if you were far away. I do hope that you are not going to let Miss. Donahue keep you from taking this class seriously. Maybe if she sees you trying, then that will motivate her to try as well. She has so much potential and I dont think that she sees it. It is such a waste. I hope that you have a wonderful day, and then her floating teacher was silent once more. Gaylen did not think that she would ever get used to this school. She should, though, because this is what it was like out in the world. Seeing people use their powers and knowing that she did not have any was something that she was going to have to get used to. Being one of the oldest here meant that she had missed the deadline for her to get help. That is what sucked about this whole thing, they waited for you to be a certain age before they


started worrying about you and trying to come up with ways to fix you. But if they waited too long, then there was no hope for you and you either became a burden on you family or most of the time they just disappeared. Whether it was on their own or the doing of others, no one knows. They are just gone one day, never to be seen again. Shaking her head she told herself that she needed to get out of this way of thinking and start being more positive. Wow, she sounded like Miss. Lateme. Pulling out her map she recalled where her next class was and saw that she still had a few minutes, so she took her time getting there and sat down on one of the concrete benches. You know that the person who designed this building never manifested his powers. Dont you think that it is just a little ironic that a school for discovering powers was drawn by a person who never got his? I bet thats one little fact they do not put in the brochure, a smooth voice said from beside her. Looking over at the guy beside her she felt her heart skip a beat. Not in the Oh my goodness, hes so cute kind of way. It was more of the Holy crap he looks just like the guy from my nightmares, I need to get the hell out of here kind of skipping. Since she couldnt pick up her stuff and start running away she just shrugged her shoulders. Anyway, Im Corr, and I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am.


Why would you be sorry for me? she asked. Well, if you have to come her to this school, then, well, the rest goes without saying, he said and then he shrugged his shoulders. Standing up he waved, See you around Gaylen. It took her a moment to realize that she had never told him her name. By the time she turned around to ask him how he knew her name he was gone. Now she was mad. Why did everybody here seem to already know everything about her. She was wishing to make a clean start, but how was she supposed to do that if they all knew everything about her. She thought it was odd that Donahue knew, but hey, she probably hacked into the system to find out information about her new roommate. It was actually not a bad idea to know something about the person you were going to be living with for a year. But now, some random guy who had sat beside her on a bench knew her name, that was just too much of a coincidence. What was going on here? Hearing the warning bell, it was an actual bell that was in the middle of the campus, she started to run, so that she would not be late to her next class. As she was sliding into her seat, she had started to calm down. That lasted all of five seconds. Looking around to see who else was in class she caught the boy from the bench, Corr, smirking at her. Even his


name made her mad. Corr, what kind of name was that anyway? Why was he smiling at her, it was not as if he even knew her, well, he knew her name, but he did not know her, so he had no right to smile at her. She wondered where this was coming from. She never let herself get mad like this. What was this place doing to her? She needed to refocus and put all of her energy into testing out, so she could start her life. As the teacher, Mr. Blankman, called roll she listened for Corrs name so she could find out his last name so she could have Donahue dig up some information on him. She figured it was only fair, since he knew about her that she should find out about him. Turn about is fair game. Looking down she realized that she was playing with her bracelet again. She wondered if she did this as much at home and had just never noticed it or if she was just playing with it because she was in a new setting. She saw that Corr was watching her, well, he was watching her bracelet. She quickly covered it with her hand and then put them in her lap. Listening to the teacher she realized that he never called Corrs name. Had he lied about what his name was. He must have known that she would hear his name somewhere, so why would he lie about what it was? She bet that he was one of those rich kids Donahue was saying used an alibi here.


Now she was really intrigued. But it would have to wait until after class, because Mr. Blankman was already starting to furiously scribble notes on the board. By the end of the class Gaylen thought that her hand was going to fall off. She did not think that she had ever taken so many notes in such a short amount of time. This was one class that she would have to pay attention in, Mr. Blankman mentioned that he was very fond of giving pop quizzes. At least it was an interesting class. She never knew that people used to be able to go to the Other Side whenever they wanted to. She was so used to there being rules and only certain people being able to go. She wondered what it was like over there, she had only heard stories about it. She did not know anybody who had gone over. She always pictured them in dark cloaks floating in the shadows to remain unseen. Maybe there were spies, sent by the government to keep tabs on what they were doing and stealing the technology that we loved to use, but was hard for us to create over here. Then this made her wonder if anyone from the O. S. had ever come over here to our side. Her sister used to tell her that if she ever told on her that men from the O. S. would come over here and take her away. She had never heard of any reports stated that there was ever any activity showing people crossing over onto our side.


The tales of children being kidnapped by Other Siders was just to keep them scared so that they would behave. The rest of her day went by pretty quickly. Lunch was eventful, but that was because Donahue decided that she was going to show Gaylen exactly why she should not eat the mashed potatoes. After having been assigned cleaning duty after school for a week Donahue then had to stay when lunch was over and scrape mashed potatoes off of the ceiling. She said it was totally worth it if it prevented more students from the agony of trying to digest the potatoes. Because her roommate had her punishment after school Gaylen had about an hour and a half to be by herself in their room. She figured that she would get caught up on her homework, since she was a few days behind. Most of her school books were the same that she had at her old school, but there were two that she had never seen before. One was horribly thick, but the other one was surprisingly thin. She picked up that one first. How To Channel Your Inner Self. This was a real book? She flipped it over to see who wrote it, oh, by Doctor Remyin Warren. Thats why we have this book, the principal wrote it. The title sounds so cheesy, though. You would figure that a doctor could come up with a better title for the book that he wrote.


Flipping through it she wasnt quite sure what to think. It talked about finding your true self by looking deep and accepting what you see. Not too bad, something that most people knew. Where it got weird was when it said to nurture it like it was a child and let it grow, that it had its own personality. If it was you, wasnt it your personality? Maybe she just did not understand all of the new age fru-fru stuff, as her grandmother used to say. If it worked for some people, whatever. She guessed it worked for some people because parents kept sending their kids here. She set the book down and tried to start on the rest of her homework but she just could not focus on anything. She went out into the hallway to use the phone to call her mom and dad. She got the answering machine and left a message telling her parents that she was doing fine, thanking her mom for the map, and that she would try to get ahold of them later on in the week. She was a little sad that she hadnt been able to talk to them but she knew that she would talk to them soon. She could hear laughter coming from a room down the hall. It sounded like there was a party going on. She found it a little strange, but then again she had never been at a boarding school, maybe this was an everyday occurrence. She watched as a guy opened the door just a crack, looked up and down the hallway and then ran out. She recognized that he was the


guy who was in the office the day that her parents dropped her off. Gaylen remembered that one of the rules that Donahue had told her was that no boys on the girls floor and no girls on the boys floor. She was not surprised that this rule was being broken, they were teenagers, after all. Instead of going back to her room she decided to take a walk. Being out in the open helped her to feel better, it always had ever since she was a little girl. It wasnt like she would commune with nature, she just felt freer outside and not in a building. I was easier to breathe and to think. Her mom would always yell at her to come in when it was raining, but she did not want to. She would be soaking wet and her dad would come and scoop her up and tell her that she had been watered enough to grow another inch, so she should come in now or none of her clothes would fit her anymore. She would laugh and beg just for a few minutes more and he would say five more minutes meant another tenth of an inch, and that wouldnt make much of a difference. Her mom was always so made, but her dad would say that she was just a little wet and all that she needed was a towel. Can I join you? a voice interrupted her train of thought. Looking up she say that it was Liam, the boy from the office and the one she saw sneeking out of the room down the hall just a little while ago. Sure, she said.


They walked for a while, neither one of them saying anything. It was kind of nice just to walk with someone else and not having to make idle chit chat. Im Liam, and you are? he asked. Wow, somebody here who did not know who she was yet, she was impressed. Im Gaylen, she said. Its not that I dont know you, I just did not know your name. We always try to find out all about the new kids. You know, things like how many times theyve been tested, family history, grades, likes, dislikes, favorite movies, music, you know all the usual. The only thing that I could not find out was what type of movies was your favorite. So will you tell me so that I can say that I have finally finished my research? he asked. Well, since it is for your research, I guess I could tell you. I love horrible cheesy movies. There is just something so bad that makes it good, if you know what I mean. What did you find out about my favorite type of music? she asked. If she was going to start a new school maybe she could be a little bit more of what she wanted to be, but was always afraid to be. There has been some debate about that. I probably wont make my final conclusion about that until I steal your music collection myself, he said smiling at her.


Well, then Ill be sure not to put it in the top drawer of my desk, she said back. Ill be sure not to look there. Well, I have to go meet some people to study. I enjoyed our walk. Maybe Ill see you around sometime, Gaylen Nolana, he said turning around and walking back towards the school. Gaylen continued to walk further away from the school. It took her a while to catch what he said. She felt like a fool. He said he did not know her name, but she never told him her last name. Could this place get any more strange?


After classes the next day Gaylen decided to stick around and keep Donahue while she completed her cleaning of random school rooms. Today it was helping Mrs. Reisky clean out all of the animal cages in her room. She wasnt even a science teacher, she just felt that having all of the animal around helped the students relax and if they were relaxed then they would be able to absorb what she was teaching easier. It was weird, but Gaylen agreed with her on this. She wasnt sure if she liked the rats, snakes, or lizards the most. It was the bunnies that creeped her out, though. She just felt like there was something off about them and she did not know why. Hey, Mere, you wanna come over here and scoop some poop for me? Donahue asked holding out a bag.


Um, no thanks? I will hold the bag for you though, how about that? she said with a smile. Yeah, that would be great, she said with less enthusiasim. Dont knock free help. If I get caught Ill probably end up with detention and then I wont be able to keep you company. And what fun would it be to scoop poopy by yourself? she asked. Turning around Donahue stared at Gaylen with a very serious look on her face. Setting the bag down on the counter beside her she walked over to where Gaylen was standing and put her hands on her shoulders. I am only going to ask you this one time, so think very carefully about how you answer my question. Did you just seriously say poopy? Looking at her Gaylen was confused. Yes, she finally said. Donahue burst into laughter. Oh, my, god! You did not even realize it. You need to hang around be more often, Ill help you transition into an honest to goodness real seventeen year old girl who does not say words like poppy out in public. You are a danger to your reputation and I am the only one who can save you from yourself.


Gaylen could not help but join in the laughter. I am not some goody two shoes. Well, Im not someone who goes around cursing up a storm, but when its called for I can make a drunken sailor blush. What does that even mean, make a drunken sailor blush? she barely got out. It was something that my grandmother would say. I thought that it was the funniest thing so I always remembered it, she said. Is this the same grandmother who gave you that cool bracelet? I would have loved to meet her, she sounds like she was a lot of fun. The only things that I remember about either of my grandmothers was that they always smelled like old ladies and that one of them could make me the best hot coco just by thinking about it. That was the coolest power you could have when you were a five year old, Donahue said. Yeah, that would be. I remember thinking that it was the neatest thing that anyone could do at the time. All my mom could do was calm angry people down. It never worked on me, I guess that was because I was her daughter, you know, part of her and all that stuff, Gaylen said shrugging a weird feeling off. My parents did the normal, accelerate molecules and stuff. Basically, they could make stuff move without you seeing it move. My brother could do the same, lets just say that


he could clean his room a hell of a lot faster than I could. I once bribed him to do my room and all he did was mind shovel everything under my bed. I was grounded one week for not doing my job and another week for paying my brother to use his powers for non work related activities. What a waste of ten bucks, Donahue sighed. If I get a power, or should I say when, positive thinking and all that crap, I want to be able to accelerate stuff so quick that I can make it explode. I am so tired of not being able to do anything, that when I can I want to do something so big that everyone will notice what I can do, Gaylen said. I dont want to be able to do that. I want to be able to read people. What they are thinking, feeling, what they want. I dont care which it is, as long as I have power over their minds, she said waving her fingers in the air. See, I dont want anything to do with the mind, it freaks me out. I do not like the idea of anyone in my head and I do not even want to imagine what I might find digging around their mind. Plus, you never know what they might do if they found out I was in their head without them knowing it, Gaylen said. The government pays you good money, though. I have heard that some people even get to go to the Other Side and work from over there. My dad said that was how we got the


designs for most of our cars and phones. I would not mind having a few people hate me if I got paid to go over there and work. Can you imagine what it is like there? I heard that one of the students here a couple of years ago found a way to cross over and he went back and forth at least a half a dozen times bringing stuff back before he got caught, Donahue said. I think that I would be too scared to do that. What would happen to you if you got caught? Is he in the prison, now? she asked. I am not sure. There are tons of things that supposedly happened to him, but I think that they just want us to be scared so that we do not try and go there. I dont know how you would, though. There are tons of security people all around the thresholds that lead over there. Besides, why would go there, you would not want to use your powers, God knows what they would do if they caught you over there. They would probably cut you open and dissect you to find out all about you. O. K. enough with the depressing talk, lets talk about something fun and not serious. Oh, I know, tell me about how much you love Corr, she said with a grin. I do not love Corr. He infuriates me. Yes, he may be kind of cute and is very funny, but he is such a pain in the ass. He thinks that he is Gods gift to females, Gaylen said turning red.


No, you dont like him at all, she said still grinning. Well, Ive seen the way you look at Ryland. Dont tell me that hes just a friend. You give him a hard time, but I know what a crush looks like when I see one, Gaylen said returning the grin. Ryland! There is no way that I would even think about liking him. Even though Ryse is quiet, I have a feeling that she would kill me in my sleep or something if I even thought about him in that way. Besides, hes just so, so, Ryland, she said. So the only thing stopping you from going after Ryland is a five foot nothing girl, who is quiet as a mouse? Gaylen said surprised. Its the quiet ones that you have to look out for. They are the ones who either poison you or hack you up into teeny tiny little pieces while you are asleep in your bed, she said shivering. Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into how Ryse would off you if you were to go out with and hurt Ryland, Gaylen said teasing her. Oh, I think about a lot of things. I dont sleep that much, so I have a lot of time to think about random stuff that most people dont, she answered. Trying to change the subject she said, I have something to show you, but you cant tell anybody about it,


What is it? Gaylen asked. First you have to promise not to say anything, she said. Fine, I promise that I wont say anything to anybody. Donahue looked around double checking to make sure that nobody had come through the door with in the last five seconds. Slowly she rolled up her sleeve. Starting on her shoulder and scrolling down her arm was one of the most elaborate tattoos that Gaylen had ever seen. At first there did not seem to be a pattern, but the more she looked at it the more she could see in it. The swirls melted and turned into one another, so you could not tell when one stopped and the other started. It was slightly raised, as if there was something in the ink to make it stand out. If you dont have your powers why do you have that? I thought you were only allowed to get one done after you had proved what you could do. How did you get it, wont the person who did it get in trouble? I asked. Well, if the person who did it knew I did not have my powers yet, then yeah, I suppose that they would get in trouble, she said with a smirk. I probably do not want to know how you did it then, do I.


Pulling her sleeve back down to cover her arm she answered, Lets just say that some things are better left to the imagination, shall we. No one else has ever noticed it? I asked amazed th at no one had seen it, it was amazing, something I had never seen before. Most of the marks were simple, to the point, not so elaborate and breathe taking. Come on, Gaylen, lets go and get some food, all this talk is making me hungry, Donahue said getting up. I could not stop thinking about how much I wanted my mark to look like hers, not exactly like hers, but one that would tell a story and not be so blunt. I could see the shape of it taking form in my mind. I wanted more than one color, blending into each other. A cascading of symbols, almost like my grandmothers bracelet for some reason, I knew it would have a special meaning and that it would be powerful. Over the next few days all I could think about were tattoos. I studied the marks that our teachers had on their wrists. They were on the inside, so that you could only catch a glimpse every so often, just enough to know that they were there without being to noticeable. The generations before us wanted to note their power, but not throw it in everyones face. I had noticed that younger people were getting them in places that were more easily seen, but


it was still new. Some people had them on the tops of their hands and I had seen a few that were on the side of the neck. They were still on the small side, but usually with a little bit more flare. Not anything that had come close to Donahues, but with a little more design and edge then what had been seen in the past. Whats wrong with you? Youve been kind of spacey these past few days, Ryse asked one day while we were eating lunch. I dont know, I guess I just have a bunch of stuff on my mind, I said. It must have been bad if Ryse asked me what was wrong. She was always afraid to hurt peoples feelings that she never brought stuff up. Shes undoubtedly spending all of her time thinking about Corr. I can see a sort of longing in her eyes, a longing to be with her one true love. Oh, my dear sweet Corr, where are you? Jaxon said, pretending to swoon. I reached over to give him a small smack, but he jumped out of the way, laughing. His laughter was contagious and soon we were all laughing. It was odd to think that just a few weeks ago I was worried that I would not fit in here and how scared I was. Now I had friends and they were teasing her about a boy that she liked, not that she would admit it to them.


Looking at my watch I saw that it was almost time for me to go and meet with Dr. Warren. Hey, I gotta go, or Ill be late. Ill catch you guys later. It was kind of nice to walk through the grounds by self lost in thought. It had been a while since I had been by myself. I caught myself wondering how my family was doing. They always said that they were fine when I talked to them on the phone, but I also knew that my mom wanted everyone to think that we were the perfect family. I hoped that Gabe really was doing O. K. The office was empty when I arrived. I had thought that Mrs. Ranhaun would be behind her desk or bustling around. It was almost eerie how silent the room was. Walking to the frosted glass door that separated Dr. Warrens office from the outer one I gently rapped on it. Come in, a muffled voice answered. Upon entering the room, I found Dr. Warren almost completely hidden behind stacks of paperwork. I stood unsure of what to do and whether I should stay standing or sit down while he kept sorting through his papers. I shifted from one foot to the other glancing around his office. There were degrees in glass frames from places that I had never heard of. The writing was very fancy, so they must have been from some pretty important schools. I had counted eight before I was interrupted by Dr. Warren clearing his throat.


I am sorry, where are my manners? Please of a seat, Galyn. I am sorry I am running a little behind today. It seems as if the work keeps piling up and time never slows down so I can get caught up, Dr. Warren said pushing some piles over, so that I had a clear view of him. The bags under his eyes and rumpled shirt showed that he had been working for a long time. No problem, I can not imagine how much work it would take to run a school like yours, I said sitting down. It can be a lot of work, but it does not help that I want to make sure that it is all correct so I choose to do it myself. I bring most of my troubles on myself. Anyway, I digress. I have asked you here so that we could start some testing to see why you have not yet shown any signs of progressing in your abilities. We would start with the standard ones, of course. I have done these on all of our students and I assure you that they are all safe and noninvasive. Now, I knew that they would want to do some testing, but it still made me nervous for some reason. I tried to shake the feeling I had, he would probably start out with some of the same ones that they had given us at my old school when we entered the upper grades and not shown an affinity for anything. Lots of boring and repetitive questions and staring at pictures.


Yes, I said. I figured that there would be some sorting of testing. Are we starting with the written part or the pictures? I have the results from your tests at your other school, so no, I do not need to duplicate those. Besides, I feel that those tests show nothing that we do not already know. Obviously, students here are special and I have found that if we approach your situation with different questions we get different results. I do want to warn you that sometimes we will have to try many tests before we even get the slightest result, but that is my job, to do the worrying and stressing. Your job is to do your best to be honest and give the best answers that you can, he said. I nodded and set farther bake in the seat, a little less nervous. At least I would not have to redo those stupid tests again. How bad could some test be?



Galyn walked to her room when they were done in the dark. The walk there did not seem that long, but walking back seemed to take a while. Was it because it was dark and there was no one else around or was it because I was tired? I thought that at least a few students would be out and about. I could hear voices, but I did not see anyone. Hurrying up I started to walk faster so I could get back to my room sooner. Why are you in such a hurry? a voice startled me. Do you always sneek up on people, or is it just me? I asked after catching my breath. I think that it is just you. Most people hear me before I can scare them, Liam said. I guess I was just so focused on walking I turned off my hearing Liam super powers, I said sarcastically. Thats why I like you, Galyn; you always speak your mind. I give you crap and you give it right back. Most people wouldnt even think of talking like that to me. Its kind of refreshing if I can be honest, he said. What do you mean that most people wouldnt talk to you like that? I asked.


You really dont know, do you? I figured that Donahue would have been the first one to tell you all about me. I guess this is almost worst because now I have to tell you about it myself. Do you know who Walter Pomputer is? he asked. Did I know who Walter Pomputer was? Everyone knew who he was. He was one of the men who helped to write all of the rules that we follow. He is always making speeches to help endorse his ideas and is genuinely liked by most people. I would hear my mom talk about how nice it was to have someone finally looking out for the everyday people. My father on the other hand said that he always had an alterive motive when he was making his laws. My father said he just did not trust him, he was too smooth. Of course I know who he is. Everybody knows who he is, I said. You dont sound too impressed, he said casually. Thats because Im not. Hes just some guy who wrote a some laws and a few of them are questionable if you ask me, I replied. See, thats what I am talking about. The answer I hear the most is that he is one of the best men that they have the privilege to know or would love to know. Then when I tell them that I am his son, they are usually speechless, he said looking at me.


Well, I guess I am speechless, too. I dont know what I could say that wouldnt hurt your feelings, so Im not going to say anything, I said, expecting him to turn red and start yelling. Instead, he surprised me by laughing. That was definitely not the response that I was expecting. God, I love that you just say what you want and you do not hold back, he said still smiling. Well, were at your dorm house, so this is where I leave. I want to thank you for such an interesting conversation. I want you to promise me that once you find your power that you will stay you. Dont let them change you. Ive seen what having power, any kind of power, can do to a person, he said and then turned and let before Galyn could say anyth ing back. I walked into the dorm shaking my head. I could not figure out some of the people here. Donahue went by her last name, no one even knew what her first name was. I overheard some of the teachers say that it was odd that they were not even allowed to know her name. She never let anyone really know who she was and not knowing her name was just part of it. Then there were the twins, Ryse and Ryland. They were both so quiet, but in different ways. Ryse seemed so timid, but when the time came, she knew exactly what to say and how to say it. She was willing to do what she felt was right, even if she was scarred to do it. Even I did not know if I could ever be that brave. Ryland was like a [insert quiet strong


animal here]. He did not say much, but he was fiercely protective, especially of his sister. I would not want to be on the wrong side of his anger. He did intrigue me, I had to admit, with his few and brief moments of humor, he could be very funny, which was not something you would expect when you first saw him. There was Liam. He was still a mystery to me. Now finding out who his father was just made me more curious. I could not figure him out, at first I thought he was just picking on me because I was the new kid. Then he would just sort of show up and have these brief and cryptic conversations with me and I thought maybe he was interested in me. And tonight he basically said he was amused by me because I did not treat him like all of the others. So I still do not know where I stand with him and I did not think that I ever would. Finally there was Corr. He was happy, lively, and felt like a good guy to me. He was smart and funny. I could not think of anything negative about him. I liked him and I wanted him to like me, too. I needed to refocus and not get into all the drama crap that usually encompassed teens when they were, well, being teens. I could hear voices before I turned down the hallway. The desperate pleading sounded uncharacteristic coming from a voice I recognized. I stopped, so that I would not run into Neesha. The only things that I had gotten from her since my arrival was either snide


comments or completely ignoring that I even existed. Even though I could tell that she disliked me, I did not want to impose on her when it sounded like she was having a problem. I couldnt really make out what she was saying, but I could absolutely tell that it would embarrass her if I walked by her right now. Even I could have compassion for someone when they needed it. Standing in the hallway the seconds seemed slowly dripped and seemed to stop, as if frozen in time. Shifting from foot to foot I concentrated on trying not to make any sound. I was about to turn around and go back outside when I heard the phone slam against the wall. Three more thumps followed and I was not sure if she was hitting the wall, kicking the wall, or slamming the phone down over and over again. Whatever it was, I was glad that I was leaving and not going to be in the middle of her breakdown. I sprinted down the hallway and then turned around like I had just walked through the doors. It took a few more seconds before I ran into Neesha. Her eyes were red and puffy and there were streaks of black running down her face. Her face was all pinched and she looked like she was on a warpath. I just hoped that tonight was a night she chose to completely ignore me. It was not my lucky night.



The first words out of her mouth were, What are you staring at? I know she just had a horrible phone call, but did she have to take it out on me? I had never done anything to her so I was just going to let it go. Then she decided to push me as she stormed past me. Nobody put their hands on me like that. I learned a long time ago that if you let them do it one time that they thought that they could do it whenever they wanted to. I was not going to live like that again. Do not ever put your hands on me like that again. Do you understand? I said getting in her face. It was better to take a hit then it was to back down. Neeshas eyes went from shock to pure hatred in a fraction of a second. You have a lot of balls for someone who is such a loser. You just should have walked away. She drew back her arm and swung. ................................................ What happened to you? Are you O. K.? Donahue asked as I walked through the door.


Yeah, I just walked into Neeshas fist is all, I said slamming the door behind me. What! she exclaimed. I had a run in with Neesha. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time I guess. I was in the hallway and I ran into her after she had a phone call. She pushed me out of the way and I told her never to touch me and then this happened. Can we get some ice? My face kinda hurts here, I said trying to smile. Im going to kill her. She pushes everyone around and thinks that she can get away with it just because her parents are rich. Its not even like she likes them, she just uses their money to dangle over peoples heads so that theyll do what she says when she says it. Boy, I bet shes super pissed that you didnt take her crap. Well done my child, she said giving me a hug. I dont like being pushed around. My sister did it to me my whole life and Ive had enough. If I didnt stand up to her then she would have thought that Id be a push over, I said to her as much as to myself. We should go and tell Dr. Warren in the morning. She needs to get in trouble and this is something she cant talk her way out of or pay her way out either, Donahue said.


No, Im going to deal with her myself. If I went and tattled it would only make thing worse. Were just going to tell people that I tripped over something and hit my face on the bed or something if they ask. Dont worry, well take care of her ourselves, I said. That night I dreamed I was floating down a river on a raft. The sun was shining and the wind was strong, but not overpowering. I could see fishes break the surface every now and then. I let my fingers dangle, letting the water drag between them. I floated for what felt like forever. I didnt mind because it was so relaxing to just lay there letting the sun warm my face. When one fish jumped out of the water I laughed. The water sprayed all over me cooling me off. A moment later a saw another one. Then there were three more, then ten more, then twenty more. One landed on the raft with me. I didnt mind, there was plenty of room on here for me and a fish. When more started to join it though, the raft started to get crowded. I scooted over and sat up, so that there would be more room for the fishes. Soon the fish were covering the raft in more than one layer. I held the first fish that had joined me in my lap and petted it. The other fish saw the attention it was getting and started to throw themselves at me. There were so many fish that they started to push me off of the raft. I started to panic because I couldnt remember if I knew how to swim or not. As soon as I hit the water I woke up.


That was one of the strangest dreams that I had had in a while. I wasnt scared, but had a worried feeling. It felt like there was something right in front of me, but I could not see it or touch it. I knew I should reach out and get it, but I did not want to. In my dream I started out helping one and as the number increased I couldnt handle the pressure. My dream was probably about all of the stress I had about wanting to be what my parents and teachers wanted me to be. It made me want to crawl under by blankets and hide there forever. Instead I threw them back and walked to the bathroom. I tried to avoid the mirror as I got ready for the morning. I did not want to see how bad my face had swelled up overnight. It was not as bad as I had believed it would be. My left eye was smaller because the whole area around it was slightly swollen. I did have to admit that the redness did bring out the green it. This was one of the times that I wished I had a power, then I could just zap myself and everything would be fine. I wouldnt have to avo id questions all day about what happened to my face. I covered it up as best as I could, which wasnt very good. I tried to arrange some of my bangs to cover it up, but looking through my hair all day would drive me nuts so I pushed them back out of the way. I would show Neesha that I could take what she dished out and that I


was not going to be some little punching bag that would cower in the corner. At least the ice last night helped a little. Classes during the day brought all of the questions that I had prepared myself for. After the first three hours the questions started to die down. Once they thought that I was just clumsy it was not as interesting as they thought that the story would be. I kept waiting for Neesha to come up to me, though. She seemed like the type of girl who would gloat and liked to rub stuff in peoples faces. I only saw her once in the hall in between class and she just gave me an evil look. She could give me all of the evil looks she wanted to, but I was not going to back down from her no matter what. Donahue thought that we should tell Ryse, Ryland, and Jaxson what really happened, but I did not want anyone else to know. The more people who knew the greater chance that someone might tell Dr. Warren and I did not want him to find out, it would just make things worse. I just do not like lying to them, she said. Think of more like protecting them. If Neesha found out that they knew what really happened she would just take it out on them. She has two classes with Ryse, does not she? I asked.


Yeah, and one with Jaxon, she admitted. She would torment them and that is something I dont want. Well take care of this ourselves, I said looking at her. Fine. But at least tell me if she tries something else I am permitted to beat the ever living crap out of her. Ive been waiting for an excuse to do it anyway and this one would actually be a legit one, she asked. I wont stop you, I promise, I said with a smile. The rest of the day went by smoother than I had hoped it would. Most of my teachers believed that I had tripped in my room. Miss. Lateme nodded when I told her, but her eyes didnt tell the same story. She kept looking at me throughout the cla ss, but I kept the smile on my face. By the end of the day I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. But, unfortunately my roommate had a different plan for me. Come one, its just a little get together. After the week we have had we need to blow off some steam. We deserve to have a little fun. We only have a half day tomorrow, so it wont be too bad if we are a little tired. I also heard a rumor that Liam is going to be there, just in case you were wondering, she said bumping my shoulder with hers.


Fine, I will go, but only for a while. It has been a long day , I think that my cheeks are going to fall off from smiling so much so no one would think anything was wrong. Crap! I totally forgot that I was supposed to meet with Dr. Warren after school today. Ill catch up with you later, I said running to the door. Running towards the office I berated myself for forgetting about my appointment. I never forgot things like this. My mom would be having a hissy fit if she found out that I was forgetting meetings with my principal. She would be throwing her highlights right at my head. Heck, she would probably keep the lids, so that my face would look like one of her famous colored maps. That thought made me smile and then I picked up my pace, so I wouldnt be any later than I already was. Entering the office I apologized to Mrs. Ranhaul who was sitting there with her bag in her lap. Dont worry, most students forget that they have an appointment with the doctor at least a few times. I wont tell your mother, she winked and then she left the office, shutting the door behind her. I heard about last nights accident. How are you feeling? Dr. Warren asked. I feel pretty stupid, to tell you the truth, I said, hoping that I sounded conv incing.


If there was anything going on I would hope that you feel comfortable coming to me, he said looking directly at me. I guess that I was not that convincing, but I was going to stick with my story. We better get started. I thought that we would try something a little different tonight. Im going to try and push some of my power into you and then see if you can push it back out at me. If you cannot do it, dont worry, some students can do it the first time, others take a while to be able to do it. The first thing that I want you to do is to clear your mind and just relax. You might feel some pressure in your head, but dont worry, that is normal, he said. I could feel something , it was like someone was trying to push on my head, but could not quite push hard enough on it. My scalp started to itch and then slowly it started to turn into a light burning feeling. Not like my head was on fire, but more like there I was sitting next to a fire a little too closely. Uncomfortable, but not unpleasant. I could see confusion cross Dr. Warrens face, then almost an angry look for a second. I tried to open up more because I thought I was doing something wrong. I kept waiting for some kind of force in my head, but nothing came.


Little beads of sweat formed on Dr. Warrens forehead. He quickly wiped them off and his face became more focused. I could see the muscles clenching all over his body, I thought that he was going to pop a blood vessel or something. Suddenly his whole body relaxed and he slumped back into his chair. Dr. Warren? Dr. Warren are you O. K.? I asked going over to him. He just looked at me with questioning eyes. I do not know. I cannot explain it. The best analogy that I can come up with is that I have never come across such a strong barrier before. Usually it feels like a students mind has a brick or stone wall around it. Yours, on the other hand, felt like I was trying to punch and kick through a steel wall that was twenty feet thick. I do not think I even made a dent in it. I am at a loss of what to do next, he said. I did not say anything, because I did not know what to say. The way he had explained why we did not have powers was because we had either put up a block or were born with one that prevented them from coming out on their own. Very few people had this problem, but they, I have no idea who they are, have been seeing an increase of blocked kids in the past few years.


On my way to the party I felt weird that I had a block around my brain. And that it was a thick steel block that Dr. Warren had never seen, made me feel more of a freak than usual. My sister Sabrina would say that she always knew I was a freak and that this just proved it even more. Gabe would think that it was cool and then try to find a way to fix it. I could hear the party before I even saw the dorm. The music was pounding so hard that I could feel it all the way down to my bones. The bass was pulsing and I could hear people laughing and screaming. A small get together, yeah right. It sounded like there was about one hundred people if not more. I should have known that Donahue would not be able to put together a small party, she always thought that more was more. I had to squeeze through a wall of people to get through the door. I dont think I recognized any of them. I did not realize that so many kids came to this school. Some kids said hey to me, and I nodded back because I didnt think that I could yell loud enough for them to hear me. Fighting my way, I finally found Ryse. She was standing in a corner fidgeting with her hands. She looked very uncomfortable, like she was out of her element and she knew it. When she saw me she gave a tight lipped smile and a small wave. Are you having fun? I yelled into her ear. Yeah, she yelled back.


Have you seen Donahue? She said that this was going to be a few people. What happened, why are there so many people here? I asked . Oh, you know, once word starts spreading that theres a party people show up. There are a lot of kids from town here. They love any excuse to come here because theyre curious about us. Once one of the girls asked me if she were to touch me would she lose her powers too, she shouted. Nice, now were a free freak show, I said to myself. What did you say? I cant hear you, she said loudly. Nothing, I shouted back. Shes out in the back somewhere. Here, Ill take you, she said grabbing my arm so that we would not get separated. It took us almost five minutes to make our way through the crowd. I swear that I almost smacked three different guys for grabbing my ass. Ryse just kept her eyes straight ahead and kept walking. She stopped for a second, but then kept walking. A noticed a guy following her with his eyes, but then I couldnt see him anymore through the crowd. When we finally made it outside, I asked her who the guy was.


Just some jerk. I think thats Donahue over there, she said pointing to a girl who was bending over the bushes. Is she puking? I asked. I dont know, Ryse said. Walking over slowly I got closer to Donahue. She wasnt puking, but looking for something in the bushes. What are you looking for, I asked. Somebody, and I am not naming names Ryland, she shouted over her shoulder, threw my music player into the bushes so that I would not be able to use my playlist for the party. Will you help me find it? All my good music is on it. Why on earth would he throw your music player in the bushes? I asked as I moved branches aside. Oh, he says that my taste in music sucks and that it would ruin the party, thats all, she said. He just doesnt appreciate good music. Hell, he wouldnt know good music if it came up and bit him in the butt. I would like to see that happen, I said, trying not to laugh. How bad is your taste in music, anyway?


I found it! The night is saved. Ill let you judge for yourself how great my taste in music is, she said as she tossed her music player at me. Glancing through the list of music I did not think it was too bad, maybe not exactly party music, but not bad. Why dont you just let them have their music tonight. Boys just dont appreciate good music when they see it. Well let them think that they won tonight, but we know better, I said. I guess, she said thinking about it. Are you enjoying the party? More people showed up than I thought would, but that just means that its rocking. I just got here, but yeah, there are a lot of people here. Ive seen Ryse and I guess Ryland is here, but I havent seen anybody else I recognize, I said as we started to head back to where the majority of people were. Dont worry, I saw your dream man earlier. Well find him and then you can stand there and stare at him. And Ill be a good friend and wipe the drool from your face, she said smiling. Turning red I chose not to say anything and walked silently beside her. The music was still pounding and the number of people appeared to have doubled, if not tripled, during the time that I was gone. It was harder to make our way to the center of the room. The crowd


seemed to part for Donahue and she sailed straight through. I had to squeeze my way through and push past everyone. By the time I caught up with Donahue I was sweaty and pissed off. There were at least three or four different drinks on my pants and shoes. I smelled worse than a bar. I was hoping that I did not run into Liam by the time I found the edge of a chair to sit on. Wow, you like youve been drug around the yard a couple of times, Liam said behind me. This is just what I needed, to have him see, and smell, me this way. I thought that I would try something new. So, is it working? I said trying to smile, so he couldnt tell that I wanted to burst into tears right now. Well, I can say that most girls could not pull off, but on you, no, sorry, you cant pull it off, either. But you almost make it look good and thats saying something, right? he said. Well, since I almost pull it off, then youre almost saying something, I said trying to still pull off that it wasnt bothering me. Touch. Well, time to change the subject, then. How are you Want to go outside so we can hear each other? he asked.


I nodded and then stood up. I saw his mouth start to twitch and I looked down. It looked like I had peed myself. Yeah, not embarrassing at all. There was nothing I could do but keep walking. Once we got outside I felt like I could breathe again. It was quieter and without all the other people surrounding us we could talk and hear each other. You know, I have control over my bladder, some jerk just spilt his drink all over me. I didnt think that this many people would be here tonight, I said. Someone might have mentioned it to some people who could have told more people.. Donahue really wanted you to be impressed and not think that we were a boring school. You know she is not as bad as I first thought she was. Shes kind of loud and brash, but she has a good heart. I thought that I would help her out tonight. Plus, its so crowded in there that I got to bring you outside to spend some time with you. I was not sure how to respond to that so I didnt say anything. A loud crash interrupted what I was going to say. Liam turned and ran back towards the dorm. Screams were erupting as I made my way to the dorm. All I could think of was finding Donahue, Ryse, and Ryland. Kids were pouring out of the door and running. One girl tripped and was run over by several people by the time I got to her. I quickly pulled her up


and asked her if she was O. K. Her cheek was bleeding, but she answered that she was fine. I pointed to the street and told her to go wait there. I turned and ran so I could go find my friends. I had lost Liam in all of the commotion, but somehow I knew that he would be fine. I found Ryse and Ryland standing inside of the front door. Neither one of them knew was Donahue was, so I went to go find her. By then most of the kids were out of the house, so it was not as crowded. Donahue was in the kitchen sitting on the ground holding someone in her lap. All I could see was short dark hair and closed eyes. Donahue was saying something to the girl, but I could not make out what it was.