1 Being different…out of the ordinary…was practically illegal all over. No one liked anyone or anything different. If someone were to be…strange…their lives would be ruined forever.

There were some people who were indeed strange. They had the ability to become animals…any animal. Because of this, practically everyone either made fun of them, or hunted them down. Most of the people who had this strange ability would normally hide in the many forests of the world, but some would rather let their lives end than deal with the humiliation.

One boy had this problem. Derek was practically your normal, everyday teenage boy, with sapphire-blue eyes, and wavy, obsidian hair. He had the athletic built that any football coach would want, and he had amazingly tanned skin. The only thing was that he had this ability. Since he had the ability, he had no friends, therefore not having any girlfriends, either. He hated his life so much that he vowed to let himself die after he graduated from high school.

It was ninth grade, and Derek was leaning against his locker, as he normally did. His sapphire eyes were sparkling with sadness, and he had a slumped body frame. He wore a black-and-white striped polo, blue jeans, and a dark jeans jacket. With no ear piercing, or unnatural tattoos, the only thing he had was a mark on his back; that mark showed that he was someone who had the ability.

While he looked at the ground, letting everything be oblivious to him, he heard, "Well, well, well, look who it is; it's Derek the dog!"

Derek looked up to see a boy, looking at him with an evil smile. It was Luis, the leader of the gang that messed with him most. Luis looked like a lion that preferred to play with his food before he eats it. He had dark brown eyes that looked like two patches of dried blood. His brown-black hair looked more like a lion's mane, and it was held up into small spikes with hair gel. He had two tattoos on his arms; the one on his left arm was yellow and orange flames that looked like they could come out at anyone at any time. The tattoo on his right arm, however, was skull and crossbones; the crossbones were in flames, and the skull had cracks all over the place. Luis also had one ear piercing on his left ear.

Derek said nothing, and began to walk away. "I don't want any trouble, Luis," he said quietly.

"Aw…but I do," Luis replied. "Get him!"

One of Luis' "buddies," as you might call them, grabbed him into an arm lock, and pushed him to the ground, getting some of the students' attentions. Derek struggled, resisting the urge to become an animal and run, as he normally did; there were times when he became animals, and he wasn't himself, and that was what scared him the most.

"Well, Derek? What're you going to do? Going to…attack?" Luis asked. When Derek did nothing, Luis' buddy made his grip tighter.


"Get off of him!" A girl was standing in front of Derek, glaring at Luis and his buddy.

He looked up to see her, not recognizing her face. She had sun-colored hair and crystal blue eyes that blazed like two burning blue flames. She wore a pink blouse with long sleeves, and a white collar. Her pants were light blue jeans, and she had on white sneakers. Her hair was shoulder length, and she had it pulled back with a white hair band.

"Are you deaf?! Get off!" she yelled.

Luis' friend got off, and Derek began to rub his upper arms gingerly. He looked up, seeing the girl, and looked away quickly, saying, "Th-thanks."

There was no reply; the girl was walking off quickly as the warning bell rang. "Oh, crap!" Derek got up quickly, and hurried to his class.

During the day, Derek was wondering who the girl was, and why she decided to help him. There were times when he saw her, and tried to reach her to ask her the burning questions, but he was always stopped by a group of girls telling him that she wouldn't want to be around a freak like him.

A week later, when the lunch bell rang, Derek hurried off to find the girl; he wanted to find her; wanting to ask her why she helped him, who she was. When he couldn't find her, he went to his locker, and took out his lunch.

While he was sitting down alone at a table, he heard, "Hey there." He jumped, almost falling out of his chair, and turned around to see the girl that helped him. He jumped again, surprised that she was there.

"Oh, uh…hi…" he replied.

She giggled. "It's obvious you're not used to having someone greet you like this."

He looked away. "I-I'm sorry…I'm…I'm possibly acting like an idiot…"

"No, it's all right. I'm Alexis, by the way."

"Oh, I'm…Derek." He saw a chair out of the corner of his eyes, and stuttered, "W-would you like…like to…?"

She smiled. "I'd be glad to." As she sat down, she asked, "Why were those guys messing with you?"

He feared that the question would come up. He looked away, and said, "You…you don't want to know; I mean, I can't tell you."

"All right," she replied, smiling still.

"You're…you're not going to try to find out?"

"No…not unless you want to tell me."

There was silence. "A-Alexis, why…why did you help me? I mean, no one wants to help me out, and then you come, and told Luis and his sidekick to get off of me."

"Well…you needed help, and so I gave it; even if someone's laughed at by everyone else, I've got to help them out."

He couldn't help but to smile. "Thanks."

For a month, Alexis accompanied Derek in lunch, and Derek was happy for the first time in his life; he forgot about his vow to kill himself, and he spent more time thinking of Alexis.

However, the more he thought of her, the more he began to worry; he knew that Luis would do anything to make him friendless, and he figured that Luis would try to get him to become something to terrify Alexis. He feared that if he became something in front of her, then she'd become like everyone else, and hate him as much as Luis did. If that were to happen, Derek would possibly kill himself that very moment.

One Friday, Derek was waiting for Alexis outside, when he was blindfolded, and pushed to the ground. "Guess who, dog!" It was Luis.

Derek tried to reach the blindfold, but Luis held his hands behind him, preventing him to see. "Get off, Luis!" he said.

"No way; your girlfriend's not here yet; I got to make sure she sees who and what you really are."

"No! You can't tell her; y-you can't show her!" he struggled even more, trying to get free before the urge became overwhelming.

But then it was too late; before he could try to resist, he got to his knees, while he felt fur growing over his body. It was gold, while his legs turned dark. His face lengthened, and his hair grew longer, and out toward the right side of his neck. As he gained an extra pair of legs, his arms disappeared, and a tail grew.

When he finished becoming a buckskin stallion, he found out that Luis was on his back, and the blindfold slipped off his face. He tried to look around for Alexis, but Luis had put the blindfold back on. Out of the horse's instincts, he reared up, and threw Luis off. He didn't know who was around him, but he couldn't stop himself from rearing in fright.

Then, he heard, "What's going on?!" It was Alexis' voice.

No, Alexis… he thought, as he stopped, and looked around, not knowing who was around him.

"Well, well," said Luis, who was right in front of him. "Look who your boyfriend is, Lexis."

Derek felt her eyes looking at him, and he stopped moving, terrified by what he thought she was saying to herself. She hates me…I just know she hates me…

"Derek…" She walked up to him. "I'm right beside you." She touched his neck gently, and he turned his head toward her.

She's…not trying to hurt me? She doesn't hate me? Derek was getting confused.

She took off the blindfold, and saw his blue eyes looking straight at her. When he could see, he saw many of the students looking at them in surprise. Derek backed away, and ran off into the forest that was right outside the school.

She may be pretending that she doesn't hate me, but I know that Alexis hates me,he thought, as he continued, not realizing where he was going. He stopped in the middle of nowhere, and became himself. Tears streamed down his face, as he fell to his knees, and just sat there.

"I knew this wouldn't last…" he said to himself.

Then, he heard, "Derek!" and he looked up, recognizing the voice.

"A-Alexis…?" He saw her looking around, and when she saw him, she hurried to his side.

"Derek, are you all right?" she asked as she helped him up.

"Y-you care about me…after what you've seen?" he asked in reply.

"Yes, of course; you're my friend, and I was worried that you were hurt."

He looked away. "You must hate me…now you know that I'm a…"

"I don't hate you, Derek; if I did, then I wouldn't have come for you. Having that ability doesn't change who you are in my eyes. You're still Derek, and you're still my friend."

"Having this ability changes everything about me…it did to Luis, and it did with everyone else."

"Well, that's Luis, and that's everyone else; I'm not them, and you're not different."

"Yes I am!" Derek jumped, realizing that he yelled at his only friend. He backed away, and took his eyes off Alexis.


"I-I'm sorry…"

"Derek, it's all right."

"I…I shouldn't have yelled…I'm sorry…" he ran off, tears trickling down his face again.

I yelled at her… he thought. I yelled at Alexis…she's sure to hate me, now…

But then, he heard hooves pounding the ground behind him. He glanced back, seeing a magnificent white horse that glowed. After slowly stopping, the horse stopped beside him, and looked directly at his face.

He saw crystal blue eyes, and said, "A-Alexis…"

The horse became Alexis and she smiled. "Surprised?" she said.

"Y-you have the ability, too?"

"Yes, but am I different now that you know? Have I changed at all?"

"No, you haven't changed, but…"

"See, Derek? I'm not different, and neither are you. It doesn't matter what the others think; you're still you, and I'm still me."

Derek looked at her, and she got a little closer. He backed away, and looked at the ground. "I'm sorry for yelling at you, Alexis."

She smiled some more. "It's all right."

She looked around, and touched his hand gently. Derek jumped, surprised that her touch was so soft that it felt translucent, almost like silk. "Alexis, do you live here?"

"Yes, I do; I've lived here ever since the town learned about me."

"And why do you glow?"

At first, she said nothing. "It's unique for only me. Every one of my animal forms can glow, and that's why I live here. They want me because they think that I can do great things…magical things. And actually, while I'm here, and people from the other town see me, they think I'm a spirit."

"That can make sense." He looked up, seeing that the moon was rising, and the sun had fully set. "Can…can I…?"

Alexis smiled. "Make yourself at home."

Derek sat down, and looked back up at the sky. He began to think of all of Luis' comments, and felt a tear leave his eye.

"Derek?" Derek looked at Alexis, and sighed. "What's wrong?"

"I'm tired of what everyone says about me," he replied. "And I've finally made up my mind…I'm going to kill myself."

"What? No, don't do that!" Alexis sat beside him quickly, sounding more worried than she ever did.

"I've already planned it; after I graduate from high school, I'll be gone, and everyone can stop making fun at me."

"But don't kill yourself; a lot of people that have this ability did that, and those who learned more about that person regret what they did. Please don't kill yourself."

Derek looked at her, seeing how worried she was, and said, "If everything turns out better for me, then I won't."

Alexis smiled. "It would mean a lot to me."

"What do you mean?" Derek asked.

"Well…I like you a lot, and…"

"Wait…you like me?"

She nodded. "When I saw how Luis was going after you, I had a feeling I knew what you were; and when I asked you why Luis was going after you, and you didn't tell me, I knew what the reason was."

Derek couldn't speak. Wow, he thought, Alexis actually likes me…

"Could I see your horse form again?"

"You want to see it?"


Derek looked at her for a few moments, and then stood up, becoming the buckskin stallion. He looked at her as she stood, and she smiled.

"You have an amazing conformation; not nearly as many people with the ability have such a conformation," she said. She walked around him, and touched his soft, dark nose. "A lot of people would die to see a horse like you."

Derek wanted to smile; he had never heard such comments. After becoming human, he asked, "Do you really think so?"

"Yes, of course."

He smiled. "No one has ever complimented me on any of my animal forms."

"You needed one." She walked away, becoming the magnificent white horse.

As she began to glow, he walked up to her, and gently touched her neck; she felt so soft, that it seemed that she wasn't even there. "Alexis, thanks for being my friend; if it weren't for you, I think I might have killed myself already."

She nickered, for no one could understand someone while they're animals unless they, too, became one, and nudged him gently. He smiled, and leaned against a small boulder falling asleep.

The next morning, Derek woke up to Alexis nudging him quickly. He looked at her, and stood.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

She became human, and said, "Someone's coming; they can't see me."

The nearby bushes began to tremble, and Derek looked around. "I've got to get you out of here, then." He became a horse, and stood beside her.

Alexis looked at him, and said, "I can't…"

Derek nudged her, getting her closer to his back. Finally, Alexis got on, taking a hold of his mane as he bolted, and left whoever it was that was coming. He flew passed tall pine trees, and leaped over some fallen maples. However, it wasn't long before he tired out, and stopped, breathing heavily.

Alexis looked at him, and said, "Thank you, Derek; don't continue." She slid off, and he became himself.

"I…I haven't run…that far…before…" he panted. But then, he fell to his knees, exhausted.

"Derek!" She knelt beside him as he breathed heavier.

"I'm…not…feeling well…" He looked up, seeing Alexis become a horse. She stood beside him, and looked around, pinning her ears back. "A-Alexis…?"

He woke up feeling lightheaded, finding himself on a bed.

"Thank goodness; you're awake!" said a woman's voice, startling him. He jumped, and looked around, seeing the woman beside his bed. "You had such a terrible fever; I thought you had the flu!"

He didn't see Alexis anywhere, and said, "Wh-where's…?"

"That glowing horse that was with you? Oh, she's in one of our pens."

No…he thought, as he got up, feeling dizzy.

"Where are you going?"

"I-I have to…see her," he replied with a shaky voice.

"You're too sick to go; you'll faint again."

"I still need to see her…" He walked passed the woman, finding his way outside to a bunch of pens. When he saw Alexis in a round one with high fences, he felt guilt rushing through his body. Alexis…

"No, Alexis…" He reached the pen, and caught her attention. She trotted up to him, and gently nudged his hand that was through the fence post. "This is my fault…I'm so sorry…" He leaned his head against the post, and let a few tears trickle down his face.

"Son, I don't think you should be right there," said a booming man's voice behind Derek, startling him to the point where he almost fell over. "You could get hurt."

Alexis glared at the man, pinning her ears back as she backed away. Derek looked at her, before turning to face the man behind him. He was much taller than he was, and he wore a cowboy's type of outfit. He had tanned skin, brown eyes, and black hair.

"S-she's not…dangerous…" Derek looked back at Alexis. "S-she o-only needs to be…let out…"

"No can do, son; this is the horse that'll make us money."

"N-no…" He found the gate, and staggered to it, seeing that it was tied shut.

"Son, what are you doing?" the man asked.

Derek ignored him, and opened the gate. Alexis trotted up to him, and helped him onto her back. When he was holding on tightly, she bolted, getting out of the ranch as fast as possible. He leaned against her soft neck, as she reached a large cave, and stopped.

Derek slid off, and held onto Alexis as she became human, and kept him up. "Oh, Derek, you look terrible."

"I've…I've never…felt this…sick before…" Derek replied, as Alexis helped him sit and lean against the cave walls.

But then, his sides began to hurt, as long, gray fur grew on his body. He yelled in pain, as his face changed, looking more canine-like, and a long tail grew from his developing hindquarters.

No, he thought worriedly, as he felt the wolf gain control, I can't control the wolf; I'll hurt Alexis!

"Alexis!" he tried to cry out, forgetting about the setback when being an animal. "I'm not in control!"

The wolf looked at Alexis and growled. She looked at him for a few moments, and then touched his head. Her eyes turned from her crystal blue to a faded sky blue, and as they began to glow, Derek began to gain control.

When he gained control, he became himself, not looking at Alexis.

"Derek, are you all right?" she asked.

"It happened again…I promised myself it wouldn't happen again…" he said, not realizing that Alexis had spoken.


Hearing her, Derek glanced up at Alexis before turning away quickly. "Alexis…I'm so sorry…"

"Don't be sorry; you didn't hurt me."

"But I shouldn't have lost control…this…it happened…"

"Derek, calm down; I've had this problem, too. The wolf is stronger than you are, that's all."

"'Stronger'…Which means…which means that I'm still weak…"

"No you're not weak."

"Alexis, the reason why Luis calls me dog is because I became a wolf right in front of them, and I almost attacked him; I scared the shit out of everyone, and they only come near when Luis is around, because he was the one who stopped the wolf and I gained control. I'm just…weak…"

"Ha, I'll say…" said Luis' voice, causing them both to jump. The bully entered through a bunch of bushes, and smiled evilly at Derek. "I'm surprised your girlfriend's here, Derek; I mean, she saw you…"

Alexis glared at him, getting close to Derek. "Seeing what he has doesn't change my feelings toward him, Luis; he's still Derek."

"He's a freakin' freak of nature!"

Derek suddenly got up, walking away from Alexis. "Derek?" she said, trying to stop him.

"I'm sorry, Alexis…" he replied through tears as he brushed past Luis. "I'm sorry that I exist." He became a horse, and ran off, ignoring any cries for him. She doesn't need meI'm not wanted in the world

As he continued, he heard, "Derek!" He slowed, turning to see Alexis as a horse, hurrying toward him. She stopped right in front of him, and leaned her head against him. "Don't kill yourself, please, Derek!"

Derek looked at her. "Alexis, no one wants me here."

"That's not true; I want you here." She rubbed her head gently against him. "Please don't kill yourself; you'll only regret it afterwards."

"How do you know?"

Before she could reply, they heard the bushes beginning to tremble. Derek stood in front of Alexis, and glared at whoever it was that was about to come out.

It was Luis.

"No…WAY!" he cried out looking at Alexis. "You're one, too!"

Alexis pinned her ears back, staying close to Derek.

"Oh…you're the one everyone else talks about…"

Derek became himself. "Leave her alone, Luis; it's me you want."

"You don't know, do you?" Luis asked. "You don't know what she is!"

"What do you mean? She's my friend, nothing more."

"Oh no…no, no, no, no, no! You're wrong! She's not like you! She's not supposed to exist!"

Derek turned to glare at him. "Shut up! She does exist! You see her, right?! So she exists!"

"Derek," Alexis said as she became herself. Derek looked at her. "He's right…" Tears trickled down her face. "I…I really don't exist…I'm a spirit, a lost, wandering spirit."

"No…no, it…it can't be true!" Derek turned his entire body toward her. "Please tell me it's not true!"

"I…I can't tell you that…it's true; the reason why I glow is because I'm a spirit. I…I killed myself because everyone made fun of me, and…I regret it. All I need is a friend, and then I'll leave this world…forever."

"No…no…" He fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face. "My…my only friend…w-who doesn't exist…"

Luis backed away, and hurried out of the scene, knowing that he was somehow going to get involved. Alexis knelt beside Derek, and embraced him gently.

"Derek, I'm sorry…I'm so sorry…I should have told you…"

"N-no…I should never have known…" He stood up, and looked at the way Luis hurried off to.

Alexis looked at him. "Derek, what are you doing?"

"I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you."

Knowing what he meant, she stopped him. "Derek, no! Don't kill yourself because of me! You'll only regret it, like I did!"

"I won't regret it if I'm with you." He became a horse, and ran off toward Luis, finding him back at the cave.

When Luis saw him, he stood, and backed away. "Derek…don't get me involved," he said quickly, as Derek became himself.

"You want me gone, don't you?" Derek asked as he broke off a tree branch. "I'm giving you that chance to get rid of me." He began to make the edge sharp.

"No…I'm not killing you, Derek; I'm already going to Hell for screwing up your life, and I don't need a murder to make my life worse."

"You'll be doing us both a favor." He handed the branch toward Luis. "Go ahead; kill me, now."

Luis didn't make a motion toward the branch. "No…I'm not killing you; I've already caused enough shit to you; I don't need to do anymore. I regret it."

"Do it! I want to die!" Derek forcefully pushed the branch into Luis' hands. "Kill me, now."


"Kill me, Luis!"

"No, Derek!" Alexis' voice suddenly cried out. Startled, Luis jumped, causing the branch to dig into Derek's chest. Derek fell to his knees as Luis backed away.

"Holy…crap…" he said, as Alexis ran up to Derek.

Derek looked up at Alexis, breathing heavily. "A-Alexis…"

"Derek, don't die…" She leaned her head against him, with tears streaming down her face.

"I-I w-want to…"

"No… please don't…" She leaned closer toward him, and right before he took his last breath, she kissed him. The branch slowly disappeared, as her entire body glowed a bright, yet faded sky blue like her eyes did, and Derek was saved from death.

Derek looked at her and as she looked at him, he said, "Alexis…"

"You're not going to die, Derek," she replied.

Luis approached them, and held out his hand toward Derek. "Hey, Derek; I screwed up big time."

Alexis looked at him and smiled, getting up as Derek just looked at him in surprise. "You're…helping me?!"

"Sure; I'll even get your life back together."

Derek hesitantly took Luis' hand, and Luis helped him up. Derek looked at him in surprise, still, but then smiled. "Thanks, Luis."

Then, they heard, "Derek…" He turned around, seeing Alexis slowly fading.

"No…no!" He ran up to her, and she smiled sadly.

"My spirit's been settled, Derek," she said. "It's thanks to you; you've become the friend I needed."

"Don't leave…please, Alexis…" He tried to embrace her, but felt nothing.

"I…I have to, Derek." She got closer, and kissed him one last time…only the kiss felt real. "I love you Derek—we'll be with each other again, I know it."

She faded into the heavens, and Derek just stood there, with tears trickling down his face. NoAlexis' gone

"Derek, let's go," Luis said behind him.

After that day, Derek's life improved; Luis became his best friend, and would go off at the others who would try to make fun of him. The girls at the school grew to admire Derek, now that they've seen his horse form. They tend to ask him to become a horse for them, and they'd get even more attracted. The only thing was that when he was asked out, he refused; he only wanted to be with Alexis.

Not long after, though, Derek grew into a state of depression; he'd be the last one to leave, and the last one to enter his classes; his grades declined, and worst of all, he would lose his train of thought, thinking of only the one person that really cared.

One day, on the first day of his sophomore year, he was beginning to put things in his locker, when Luis came running up to him. "Derek! Come here!" he cried out.

"What for?" Derek asked gloomily in reply.

"You've got to come with me and find out!" Luis began to drag Derek to the spot where his old locker was, and found a lot of people starring at someone. "You won't believe who's here!" Everyone backed away, and let Derek get through to see who it was; it was a girl, wearing a pink blouse, light blue jeans, a white hair-band, and had sun-colored hair and sky-blue eyes. Alexis? he thought.

"I asked for her name, and she said Alexis," Luis said.

"Alexis…" Derek walked up to her, and she smiled, seeing him.

"Hey there," she said. Inside, Derek jumped; it was, indeed, Alexis, but she didn't know who he was.

"Uh…hi," he replied, getting closer.

"You know, you remind me of someone."

"D-do I?"

She giggled. "Well, I'm Alexis, but I could tell that you knew my name, already. What's yours?"

Derek smiled pleasantly. "I'm…I'm Derek."