Hey everybody! Thanks for the...review. I'm glad this is getting some attention finally, but after today I think I'll move it to Action and see if it does any better there. You guys are finally gonna get to meet my favorite character! Anyone excited? I hope so! Enjoy the chapter!
I'm hardly awake for the drive to the school. I couldn't sleep very well the night before, knowing that in the morning I would be leaving Allan for a long period of time for the first time in my life. He was always there, always at my side, along with Kayla. Somehow, I felt like I was losing them both, however dramatic that sounds.
My parents did wake me once we were a few minutes away. Call my parents what you like, but they know I'll need time to prepare myself. I fix my hair quickly (I'm a restless sleeper, and everything got messed up when I fell asleep a few hours ago), straighten out my clothes, and take a few deep breaths before looking out the window. Taking a good look at the school, it seems a little too big for a school of its kind. After all, how many kids like myself can there be? It's not everyday that teenagers find themselves in those situations. However, when we pull up in front of the school, I can't help but laugh at the little number on the side of the building: 51.
"Whoever would've guessed that Area 51 is in Ohio?" I say quietly to myself.
A few minutes later, my parents have left- they'd stay longer, but they're needed back at headquarters- and I find myself sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the school office with the secretary, Ms. Watson. We're waiting for a girl in her junior year who volunteered to show me around the school. I'm pretty sure I could find my way around the school just fine by myself- it's fairly small compared to the headquarters I was practically raised in- but it's not really up to my I guess. Ms. Watson tells me a little bit about the school while we wait.
"I'm sure you've figured out on your own that it's not a very large school. We have a total of a little under a hundred and fifty students. It's for kids in sixth grade through their senior year of college, although most leave after graduating high school, and in our entire history we've only ever had two sixth graders. Yours is the smallest grade, not including sixth or seventh. There aren't any students in those grades this year," She explains. No sixth or seventh graders? My God, how small is this school? I'm about to ask when the door swings open. A fairly pretty blonde girl with neon green eyes runs in, smiling apologetically.
"Sorry I'm late!' She exclaims. "Mrs. McKinley wouldn't let me leave until I finished my math test." Huh. So this place has normal classes too. She turns to me and flashes a grin. "Hi! I'm Melody Carpenter. You must be the fire girl." She holds out her hand and I shake it.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Madison Burner." Melody giggles a little bit at my last name, but stops herself quickly. I can't really blame her, it is pretty ironic.
"Madison will be joining the eighth grade." Ms. Watson tells her. Melody's giant smile grows even more massive (if that's even possible.)
"Oh good! I think the one we already have was getting lonely." She says. There's only one other eighth grader? Wow. I can practically feel the school shrinking around me. "Ready to go?" I nod and we walk out of the office.
The halls are deserted, everyone's in class I guess. As we walk, I notice how hard you would have to try to get lost here. Each room has a number and a sign that says what subject it is. I had a school with only two other people since I was six and my school seemed bigger than this! Melody starts saying something about the classes and the difficulty and the teachers or something like that.
"Um, Melody? I think I could find my way around by myself. I mean, I have my schedule and it says where everything is. Do you think you could tell me more about the school itself instead?"
"Yea, of course. As you've probably noticed, there are normal and 'special' classes. Our two main special classes are Concentration and Control, or C&C, and PE. C&C is usually a private lesson. In PE, we play all the normal gym class games, but we're allowed to use our abilities. Also, there are optional tournaments on the weekends. Sometimes it's sports, sometimes it's a maze, it's different every time. They're kinda like simulations." I feel a surge or sadness and stare at my feet like I've never seen anything so interesting in my life. Melody doesn't seem to notice. "You'll be limited to those classes until next year. That's when you start taking science and history classes that focus on people like us. That's when you'll start learning about the differences between people that were made this way in different ways, kind of like how some are born and you got your powers in an accident."
"You know about that?" I ask. She nods.
"There's a slight chance that I was listening in when your parents came to talk to the principal. I didn't mean to! I was just waiting to meet with him about adding more extra-curricular activities, and they were talking really loud, and my ear just happened to be pressed against the door. Don't worry though, no one else knows what you can do." She assures me.
"Really? Why not?" I ask curiously.
"Well, most times, they do know, but with people like you we're more careful." She answers slowly, being careful how she said it. "You see, there are four groups of kids. The most common are the kids who were bitten by certain kinds of venomous animals, like me. Then there are the kids who ingest special substances that give them their powers." She explains. I nod, signaling for her to go on. "The second rarest are people who are born with their powers. This school has only had six students like that. Two still go here. Their powers are more like the comic book super heroes." The nerd in me gets excited about this.
"That's really cool! What about people like me?"
"People like you are the rarest of all. There's only been two other students here before you that are like that. Sam Wilson, he's in the ninth grade, and then Gavin MacArthur, he's a senior. Supposedly, you guys are more powerful than the rest of us." Melody explains.
"What do you mean 'supposedly?'" I ask.
"We don't know for sure if it's true. Nobody knows what Sam can do or how he got his abilities. He doesn't do tournaments, doesn't use his powers in PE, I heard he doesn't even use them in C&C, drives his teacher crazy. He's really quiet too. Seems nice enough though. And then Gavin only used his powers once, and we're not sure how powerful his are because it was only a small incident."
At first, I don't understand why he'd keep his abilities a secret if he's so powerful. Then I realize, that's exactly what I've been planning on doing. I don't want to be treated any different from everybody else, I don't want anyone to know how different from them I am. I don't want to be the freak.
"So what are the other kids like?" I ask.
"Well, there's the other two freshman, Tessa Baker and Clara Lancaster. They're usually pretty nice, but in all honesty, they can get a teensy bit annoying at times. They've got the whole girly, peppy, super close best friends thing going on." I nod understandingly. I've met people like that, squealing, whispering, laughing at weird inside jokes. I wouldn't be nice enough to describe that as 'a teensy bit annoying.' "The next grades have a lot more students, most kids that come here didn't have powers until about sophomore year, and then more and more come with each year. Senior year has the most, fifty kids I think."
"Is there really only one other eighth grader? Or was that just a misunderstanding?" I asked, sounding a little sad. I keep my fingers crossed she'll tell me all about how I heard her wrong and that there's tons of other eighth graders.
"Yea, but don't worry, he's really nice!" Melody insists, trying (and failing) to make me feel better about the situation.
"He?" Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against boys, but sometimes it's nice to have a friend that's a girl. She smiles weakly.
"Sorry. But he's really fun once you get used to him. His name's Parker Callahan. I'm sure you'll like him. His brother Caleb too. They're a bit of a package deal. Caleb's in my grade." She tells me. "The Callahans are the two students who were born with their abilities."
"Oh, that's cool." I reply. We stop in front of an English classroom.
"Can you wait out here for a second? My English teacher will kill me if I don't get my essay in on time." she says.
"Yea, of course. Go ahead." She smiles gratefully and walks into the classroom. I look around the classroom and turn to look at a bulletin board behind me. I look at the posters for study groups, tutors, clubs, etc. Huh, fencing club, might want to try that. I learned to sword fight with Allan and Kayla, how different could it be? Or rock-climbing maybe, or archery. For a small school, there sure is a lot to do. I feel a tap on my shoulder. I spin around and see Melody.
"Oh, hey. That was quick." I say.
"Yup." Her voice sounds different than usual. She coughs and clears her throat, then continues sounding normal again. "So what were we talking about, uh…" Melody trails off.
"Madison." I remind her.
"Right, Madison. What were we talking about?" She asks.
"You were telling me about the other eighth grader. Parker, I think his name was." She grins.
"Oh, yes, Parker Callahan. Cool kid, very cool kid. One of the handsomest boys I know too. His brother Caleb's all right, but Parker, he's just awesome!" She exclaims. Okay, I may not be used to normal kids, but I know that this isn't right.
"Um, okay…" I reply, a little confused by the way she's acting.
"Yea. Smart, handsome, funny, that boy is just-" She gets cut off.
"PARKER!" A shrill voice screeches. I look over her shoulder and see that standing a foot or two behind Melody is… Melody? Okay, now I'm seriously confused.
"Aw nuts." The first Melody mutters in a boyish voice.
"Parker Callahan, what do you think you are doing? The second Melody asks sternly.
"Talking to Madison," The first Melody replies.
"Change back." The second Melody commands.
"Just do it."
"Why should I?"
"So you can actually introduce yourself to Madison." The first Melody's appearance begins to morph. Her hair turns black and shortens, her eyes turn brown. Her face becomes rounder, more child-like, and becomes heavily spotted with freckles. She loses about a foot in height. The clothes even change. The change stops and standing before me, decked out in ratty clothes several sizes too big, is a small boy of probably ten years old.
"Please to meet 'ya Miss! My name is Jack Thompson." He says. The voice has changed to belong to a boy with a British accent.
"No, it's not! Change back to yourself!" Melody demands. He just smirks. His hair turns to a light shade of brown and grows to be long and curled. His eyes turn violet. He grows to be about 5'2" and his clothes change to dark skinny jeans and a navy blue graphic t-shirt with paint splatters on it. He's transformed into a mirror image of me. I gasp and my eyes widen.
"Am I really that short?" I ask, disappointed. They both nod.
"Parker, why won't you change back?" Melody asks in annoyance.
"Because it bugs you so much." He laughs. His appearance shifts again and he's a rather chubby baseball player. Melody groans. I hear footsteps approaching.
"What's going on down here?" A voice asks. I turn and see a boy who looks about Melody's age walking toward us. He's tall, probably a little over six feet tall, with dark brown hair and sky blue eyes. He looks pretty muscular too. You'd have to be blind not to see that he's very good looking. "This kid giving you trouble again Mel?"
Melody's face turns slightly pink, but the boy doesn't seem to notice. "Caleb, Parker is refusing to change back." She complains. He groans.
"Again?" The boy (who I'm assuming is Caleb Callahan) looks at the grinning boy/chubby baseball player, trying to decide what to do with him. "Okay. Here's the trick." He says, preparing to demonstrate whatever the trick is. Caleb reaches over, grabs Parker's ear, and gives it a good hard pull before he can jump away. There's a popping sound and in a flash, the baseball player vanishes. In his place is a boy my age. He's tall for a thirteen or fourteen year old, 5'8" or 5'9", with light brown hair and the same blue eyes as Caleb's , only with a mischievous gleam in them. He's pretty good looking, not as handsome as his brother, but in a few years that would most likely change, once he's matured a little. "Do that, and he'll change back every time." Caleb informs us.
Parker glares at his older brother and rubs his ear delicately. "That hurt!" He exclaims. "It's not fair, you have super strength!" Caleb just grins and messes up his younger brother's hair.
"Sorry bro, that's the breaks."
"What are you even doing out of class Parker? Aren't you supposed to be in science?" Melody asks curiously. Parker opens his mouth to explain, but before he can get a word out, we hear a loud boom! and a crash. The door to a classroom down the hall swings open and students pour into the hallway, coughing and gagging. Their faces seem slightly green and they have some kind of blue liquid splattered all over them. A noxious odor follows them out of the classroom and into the hallway. Caleb, Melody, and I join in the gagging while Parker is doubled over laughing.
"Parker Callahan!" The old teacher yells, her face twisted up in anger. Parker immediately stops laughing and turns a little pale.
"That's my cue!" He starts springing down the hall away from the class (and the stench, that lucky duck.)
"Parker, you get back here right now!" She hollers, taking off after him. The smell begins to go away, leaking into the vents for people in other parts of the building to enjoy I guess.
"Ladies and gentleman, Parker Callahan has left the building!" He says, chuckling softly. "Well, I'd better go help catch him. Later gals!" With that, he takes off after the teacher and his brother. Melody shakes her head.
"I swear, he will never learn."
"Does this happen very often?" I ask, praying she'll say no.
"Oh yea. Parker really likes attention. So does Caleb, but he grew out of the whole pranking thing about a year ago." She tells me. "Well, might as well get on with the tour."
We start walking down the hall again. "As I was saying, we have both normal classes and special classes. All students get private lessons for C&C, but since we obviously don't have enough teachers around here for that, most kids are taught by upperclassmen who already have their powers in check. For example, I'm Parker's private teacher." I laugh.
"I can't even imagine that class."
"Oh yea, it's a blast." She replies sarcastically. I grin.
"Can I ask you a question?" I ask her.
"You just did." She jokes.
"No, I mean a different one." I say.
"Why are there normal classes and special classes?" I ask.
"That's easy. When students are finally ready to leave, they should be able to do whatever they want with their lives, like normal people. Our school teaches normal classes as well as special ones so that that's possible for them."
"Like in the movies?" I ask.
"No, not like in the movies." She replies calmly. "All though, most former students get bored of normal life and join some government or military operation."
"Like in the movies?" I repeat.
"No, not like in the movies." Melody answers, sounding a little irritated. "Many former students are very successful in the FBI, NASA, the CIA, and other government and military programs." Hearing her say the CIA makes me feel hopeful that my life as I know it isn't over yet, but I don't show it. Melody doesn't know nearly as much about me as she thinks she does.
"So, like in the movies?" I ask a third time. Now I'm just doing it to get on her nerves.
"No it'sssss not like in the moviesssss!" She literally hisses, teeth bared. It's not until now that I notice a set of fangs hidden among her normal teeth. I jump back. Holy fudge pops! I feel like screaming. Is she a vampire? Do those even exist?
"Um, just out of curiosity, what are you?" I ask nervously, trying to stay calm. She smiles sheepishly.
"Oh, you saw that?" I nod. "I'm an anguis hominem." she tells me.
"It's Latin for 'snake person.' When I was fourteen, I was bitten by a special kind of venomous snake. Instead of dying like 90% of other people who get bitten, I grew fangs. I can shift my bones around to slip out of things or turn into a snake, but I prefer not to. As far as I know, and as far as I care to find out, the fangs are just for show. Creepy, aren't they?" She explains. I shrug, not wanting to offend her.
"So is it kind of like being a werewolf, only turning into a snake?" I ask curiously.
"Nah, I can change whenever I want and it's as fast and easy as Parker's changes." She answers.
"So it's more like being a shape shifter."
"Not really. I can only turn into snakes. I can't even control which one I turn into. If it were up to me, I'd turn into a garter snake or some other harmless kind, but it's always a cobra or a viper or a python or some other big poisonous sucker." Melody says, sounding more and more like an annoyed teenager complaining about a bad job by the second. "But anyways, that's beside the point. I'll show you wear your room is. We turn down a long hallway and walk to a staircase a the end. After walking up two flights of stairs, we walk down a hall that almost resembles the hall of a college dorm, only a lot cleaner, and without a nasty smell.
We pass door after door, each one with a number and a few with pictures, posters, stickers, or a name of who lives in it. We stop at room 338 and Melody pulls a key out of her pocket and unlocks the door.
"This is your room. All your stuff is already in there. Here's the key." She says, handing the key to me. "Do you have any questions?" I shake my head. "Good. Then I'll see you tomorrow. If you have any problems or think of any questions, I'm just down the hall in room 320." She waves goodbye and turns down the hall, disappearing behind a corner.
I open the door to the room and walk in. The walls are painted light blue and there's a purple rug on the floor. My stuff has all been unpacked and put away. The wall has two rows of shelves holding my books and trophies. A desk in the corner has a pile of school books and supplies on it. A few photos of Kayla, Allan and I lay on the desk as well beside an old scrapbook. A door opens to a small closet and a dresser sits next to it. The bed is already made with my purple comforter and sky blue, mint green, and light purple blankets and pillows. I walk over and flop down on the bed, sighing. I curl up in a ball, hugging one of the pillows to my chest. Exhausted, I quickly fall asleep, aware that I have a long day ahead of me.
I didn't really change much to this chapter, but reading over it, it still seems a lot better than the original. The early chapters in the original version weren't so great. I hope you guys liked it, please oh please oh please oh pleeeeeeeeaaase review!