Everyone wants to be different. Sometimes, I wish I can just wake up and instead of running down two blocks to catch a bus, I can just fly to school. Or go through a teleportation device, you know, like the ones in Star Trek? Then again, if I can be different, why would I be going to school? There's nothing spectacular or glamorous about Aegis High—it's not a prestigious boarding or private school. There are popular girls in their chic pumps, clutching their hundred-dollar brand-named hang bags, but nothing Gossip-Girly, or the likes. No one learns magic here—this is not Hogwarts, unfortunately, because I know if it was, I'd excel in every magical, potions, and spells classes. I'd rather turn people into toads then learn about physics—a violent science, with projectile motion and all.

Aegis High is a typical NYC high school, clichéd to the max with the same-old cliques and groups—the dorks and nerds, the Goths, vampires, witches, and emos, the cheerleaders and jocks, the High School Musical wannabes, and the others. I guess I'm one of the others—these days, being normal is abnormal.

On a typical Monday morning, I jump out of bed, half an hour before the start of homeroom. In exactly one minute, I brush my teeth, relieve my bladder, put on a t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans, and fly down the stairs to stuff a piece of toast into my mouth. I give my Granny a kiss good morning and good bye, gulp down a glass of OJ, and bolt out of the house and down two blocks like a track star to catch the 7:30 bus—of course, it's two minutes early—I'm not two minutes late. The driver's nice enough to stop for a second to let me on—if I bribe him, I think I won't have to run these two blocks to catch his bus, daily.

I pant and smooth my black hair before plopping myself down on a seat next to Sandi Chin, my best friend. Sandi shakes her head at me and signals with her eyes for me to look behind us. Do I dare look? I turn my head smoothly like I'm stretching my neck. Lo and behold, sitting in the backseat with headphones on, is Terrance Wilde. Oh great. The bane of my existence since seventh grade! Don't think this is a typical love story—girl hates guy, girl and guy misunderstand each other, then learn about each other, then fall in love in an oh so predictable way. Terrance Wilde is absolute evil—stick dissected frog parts down your pants evil, blame farts on you evil, and laugh at everyone of your bloopers evil.

In junior high school, Terrance was a class clown. Now he's Mister Cool of Aegis High, even though he does not drive a sports-car. He's cool because he wrote an award winning poem that brought Aegis High national fame. He's also in the swim team and has swam records fast enough to qualify him for the Olympics. Plus, he used to date the governor's daughter. Terrance Wilde's a mini-celebrity who takes public transportation—ooh, makes him even cooler.

"What do you want me to do?" I roll my eyes at Sandi. I think I'm the only girl in Aegis High who doesn't harbor a crush on Terrance. I've told Sandi a million times before—since we started high school, Terrance has stopped pestering me. I've become too uncool for him. Sandi bats her pretty dark brown eyes and fixes her ponytail.

"You know what I want… Go talk to him for me…" She nudges my arm. "Please." She gives me the cutest puppy dog eyes.

I shake my head. "I'm not a lesbian. Your feminine wiles don't work on me." I stick my tongue out at her. Sandi pouts. I grin at her. Suddenly, my back aches—it feels like something's trying to explode out of my body. I haunch over in pain and close my eyes. Instead of black nothing, a million colors appear before me. I open my eyes and the colors do not disappear. I'm no longer on the bus with Sandi and Terrance. A bright glowing blue light floats toward me—it radiates warmth. A low male voice fills my ears.

"Wake up Zofia."

I blink. "My name's Kiri."

"You are Zofia of Avalia. I've finally found you… my savior."

The globe of light flickers before it disappears. The swirl of colors fades and I hear Sandi's voice.

"Kiri, what's wrong?" She touches my shoulder and I see concern in her eyes.

I touch my forehead and wipe away beads of cold sweat. I shake my head. "I saw something… there were these colors…"

"You must be on drugs," Terrance says, walking past us. He smirks and leaves the bus. We're already at school. I blink and look at Sandi. I no longer feel the pain in my back.


"Something crazy happened…" I tell her… "I think I was just abducted by aliens."

Sandi coughs before she laughs. "Silly… You must be really tired to have dozed off like that. Come on, let's go. Oh my god, Terrance talked to us!" I follow Sandi off the bus. Walking into Aegis High, I see a flicker of blue light hovering over a tree. The light quickly disappears. Maybe Terrance's right, I should stop taking all those vitamins Granny gets for free.

I've never dozed off in class before, but today, Mr. Chronicles seems extra boring, droning on and on about the exciting reproductive cycles of sponges. My eyelids are heavy and I'm just going to rest my head on my arms. I close my eyes and Mr. Chronicles' voice repeats itself like a broken recorder in my head. Then he sounds like he just sucked on helium balloons. I open my eyes and I'm no longer in the biology classroom. I'm in a field with purple grass beneath my feet. My sneakers have disappeared. My short black hair flows like golden silk down to my ankles. Freaky. The pain I felt earlier in my back returns—I bend over and clutch my waist. I feel like vomiting. My body shivers and I feel something breaking through my back ribs and skin. I scream and then the pain disappears. I think I've just grown a pair of translucent purple-black wings. I can't control them—they flap and my feet float a feet above ground.

What the heck is happening? "Put me down!" I scream, trying to gain control of my wings in vain. Rain pours from the light blue skies. The rain tastes sweet, like cotton candy. My wings take me higher and I begin to soar, like a seagull over ocean waves. I laugh and don't care if this is a dream—I've always wanted to fly. After all, nothing makes sense here—raindrops are watermelon-sized and I can see my reflection in a drop of rain that freezes before me. I hold onto it and like a solid bubble it doesn't disperse. I have large sparkling violet eyes and golden blond locks. I have tawny freckles, porcelain skin, and lush coral lips—this is not me. She's too beautiful. And she's definitely not Asian. I doubt she's even human. I am dreaming.

"This isn't a dream, Zofia."

I hear the voice again. A large blue light materializes before me. The globe shifts into a humanoid form. A male appears before my eyes, with light blue wings on his bare-tattooed back. His hair is long and ice-white, his eyes a deep gray, and his skin tan. He takes my hand.

"Welcome back to Avalia, Zofia. Your people need you. The faeries and all the lands are dying."

I wrinkle my brow. "Who are you? Where I am? What are you talking about? Faeries?"

He smiles. "You will know when you dream again. I shall seek you again, Zofia. Until then, avitu."

He fades away and my wings melt. I fall sans grace and my head hits the ground. I rub my forehead and blink. I'm back in the biology classroom. I taste cotton candy in my mouth and purple grass fall from my head to my desk before it quickly disappears.