CHAPTER 1

Some loud woman, in what is by the way the ugliest pant suit I have ever seen - and that's saying something because all pant suits are scary - anyhow, she's snarling orders at us through a megaphone about what lunch table we're allowed to sit at. Like we didn't figure it out yesterday.

The teachers here are all about corralling and herding students from one place to the next. I'm not sure they expect us to learn anything. At least not the first week, that's for sure. Their only goal is to keep us contained. Hopefully in the right room, but you know, whatever, as long as we're not out in the halls at the wrong time.

So I'm crammed in at the "bag lunch" table with a crew of strangers, and based on the way they're all staring at their food with enough intensity to burn a hole through it, I'm thinking they aren't sitting next to anyone they really know either. You see, this is a magnet school for visual art students, so maybe you know a couple of kids from your last school, but they probably aren't your best friends.

"Silent Lunch" was the punishment table at my old school, and this is starting to feel a lot like it. My food's not that much fun to look at, you know?

"Hey. It's Abbey right?" I ask the girl next to me. She's got hair that looks like my paint pallet. It's twisted up into to little knots all over her head, most of them are her natural jet black, but a few are red and pink.

"Yeah. And you're um, Lacey?"

"Laney. So what are you in here for?" I ask.

"Huh?"

Okay, so she doesn't get me. Yet.

"I mean what art do you do? Paint, sculpture, collage?" We all got into this school, because we're good at some kind of art. So she must do something.

"Oh. Paint. We have painting together. First period. I'm at the easel next to you. That's how you know my name."

"Right. So that's where I know you from." I swear sometimes it's painful being me. There's lots of embarrassment, but I just play it off - what else can I do?

I'm about to ask Abbey what school she came from, when a flash of mind lightening blinds me for a second.

That's how it happens for me, my brain is sort of emptied out with a bright white light, and then I get a vision of the future. Not important life altering moments from the distant future, more like dumb things from a couple of seconds or hours into the future.

This time, I see the kid on my other side stuff the turkey from his sandwich on that little ledge under the lunch table. It only lasts a second.

"Gross," I shout and turn on him. "You're about to put your lunch meat under the table. That's nasty. What if it falls on some seventh grader's leg next period?"

He's got that deer in headlights look on his face.

"How could you see what he was doing?" Abbey asks. Your back was turned to him."

"Um." Okay, what do I say here? The truth? A lie? Um. Everyone's staring. How am I supposed I think of a good lie under pressure? Whatever. The truth it is. "I'm psychic."

"Really?" Two kids on the other side of the table say at the same time.

"Yeah. I see this flash of lightening and then something that's going to happen. It's no big deal."

But maybe it is a big deal, because everyone is staring at me now with their mouths open. They look like a bunch of fish. I'm going to have to paint that. Too funny.