Chapter 1

His eyes flew open, and he sat up in bed, breathing hard and trying to calm his intensely beating heart.

"Just a dream," he panted. "It was...just a dream..."

Yet he couldn't shake it away. He remembered it all. How he stood by the pool, unable to move. He remembered how stiff he was; paralyzed. He remembered wanting to turn his eyes away, remembered how they watered and stung. He remembered the water, how it had turned a white opalistic color that he'd never seen before.

And he remembered the girl...

'Enough!' he thought, shaking his head. 'It was just a weird dream. It wasn't real. It wasn't real. That's the last time I ever eat that many Twinkies before crashing ever again...'

Justin blinked, looking around his room. The alarm clock by his bedside flashed the numbers 3:48. His TV was off, but his stereo was still humming dimly. Did he turn it down before he fell asleep? He couldn't remember. He reached for the lightswitch, mumbling under his breath. The bright light made him wince, but he lowered his hands after a few seconds. He listened for any sound. Nope. His aunt and uncle were still asleep. Good. He'd be in deep shit if he woke his uncle up before 5:30.

He quickly looked out the window. He thought he'd seen something...a small light or something. But the sky was dark, the tiny specks in the sky sparkling dimly in the pitch blackness. There was nothing there. But he walked cautiously to the window, knowing he had seen something. This wasn't a hutch. He knew.

He leaned out his window. The pool was still and serene, the underwater lights giving it a scary look to it. But that wasn't what he'd seen. He looked straight up. And felt the wind completely vanish from his lungs.

The sky was swirling. There was a tornado in the sky. The clouds, the stars, every bit of light was being sucked into the...the tornado. Justin felt every bone in his body freeze. The purity of it all was too much. The tornado began to expand, taking over the sky. He felt his mouth open, trying to scream for his aunt and uncle, but nothing was working now. 'A dream,' he thought wildly. 'This is still a dream. If I throw myself off the roof, I'll wake up before I fall. This is a dream.'

But as he thought this, a hole suddenly appeared in the exact center of the tornado. It was small, the size of a pencil point, but it expanded more and more. Justin started shaking, and he closed his eyes, waiting for whatever was destined to happen.

'I want to live...'

There was a flash of bright light, and Justin screamed, his voice drowned out by the massiveness of the light. A beam of light plunged down into the pool, and as it hit, there was an explosion within his head. He saw things he'd never seen before: a girl trapped within an egg, writhing and twisting and screaming; blood, whooshing and splashing in his head; something silver, something small and silver and delicate; and two symbols he'd never seen in his life.

Silver dust pushed up from the ground, entrapping the house and yard within it. Justin fell back from the window as the dust reached for him, taking the form of small human hands. He screamed and screamed, the dust reaching every crevice within. Words... so many words...and pictures....eyes...and hands...hands with strange symbols on them...blood...blood drowning him...and silver dust... everywhere...a girl's voice...why didn't this end? I dead?... oh please, I want to live...

He opened his eyes. Floating down from the sky, right past his window, was some weird egg thing. It was translucent with a diamond-like shine to it, illuminating what lied within. A girl...a beautiful girl...but he squinted and studied it as it slowly made its way down. He felt himself gag., that was no human girl... she had spines running up and down her back, sharp spines that flexed and tensed and dripped poison from the tips. And her legs...where were her legs? Girls had legs, HUMANS had legs. But she didn't. She had no legs...oh god, she wasn't human...

Justin felt his knees snap, his legs give out from beneath him. Before his head hit the ground, he heard a soft voice, a voice that echoed within his head.

"Don't worry. I will protect you. Don't worry..."

And then the soft blackness enveloping him...