Chapter 1!

Here I was. Floating in midair. This always happens. Just this time it was different. I don't know how. But it was.

See, I'm strange. My friends—if I had friends—call me Emily the Strange, but I don't see the connection. An amnesiac genius (her), to a girl who floats (me). See? No connection.

I'm different. That's what my parents told me. They said they'd never seen anything like me before. Even though the scientists said it's genetic. So at least one of them must be lying.

My name: Annika Easlease. I have blond hair and brown eyes, the only normal thing about me. I go to Isabella Creek High School. I'm a freshman there. I write a lot. I can count on one hand the number of people I've been friends with, but I know of 6 billion people who have attacked me for something.

And those aren't even the weirdest parts.

I wasn't kidding about the floating girl part.

I have some sort of little known genetic disease called Aquazephyrous. It's where my physical being is different than everyone else's. The air around me—it's water to me, but I can breathe it. The water, when I'm in it, I sink like a stone, as if gravity was pulling me down faster. Aquazephyrous is dangerous. Most victims are drowning victims. Because they can't breathe the water, but they can sink into it. They can't get out. So they drown. So I might drown. So I've never learned to swim…y'know, in water. But the air? So different.

I can only move by way of swimming. It's insane. I see others give me dirty looks when I reach out my arms to do a breaststroke. But it's the only way I can move.

I have no friends now. I need no friends now.

I live in the tiny town of Isabella Creek, Ohio. It's named Isabella Creek because of the founder's loving relationship with her precious sister, Isabella. There's a statue of the founder and her sister. They were seven years apart. If I had a sister, I would want her to be just like me. So I could have a companion. But there is no one. There has never been anyone.

There will never be anyone. For as long as I live.

That's what I thought.

Until Alayna showed up.

Alayna. She looked exactly like me. It was almost like we were twins. She also suffered from aquazephyrous. That was what drew us together.

But Alayna was different from me. She loved her aquazephyrous, despite all the dangers that came with it. She was confident in her own skin, and she was popular because of it. She was famous in a way that I never thought I could be. She gave aquazephyrous a good name. She amazed me. She was my idol.

And then she disappeared.

I wanted to know where she was, but for that, I knew I needed help.

But I had none.

It was eight 'o clock at night when I got a phone call. I mean, a phone call.

My parents had given me a cell phone so I could call them when I needed a ride. But I'd never actually gotten an actual call on it.

I looked at the screen. Not a number I knew; then again, I never knew that many numbers. I opened it.


I heard a desperate scream and a scuffle, followed by the sound of air rushing by. A girl frantically spoke into the other phone.

"Please. Help. Listen, I'll call back, if I get out of this alive—Uhh!" It sounded like she got hit with something.

"Hello? HELLO?"

The line went dead.

What had happened? What was going on? Why did Alayna leave so suddenly and why did I get a phone call from her? And why was getting involved in this?

But one thing I did know: It would be hard to, if possible, get out of this situation alive.