Author's Note:

Hello, and welcome to my story. It's going to be a long ride–unedited, it's about 100 thousand words, or 268 pages. And when I edit, things tend to get longer. It has been completely written though, and I have to say, I love how it turned out. I'll warn you though, I'm not a fast updater—I'm very busy and lazy when it comes to doing things like this. But if you enjoy it enough and prod me once in a while, I guarantee it will be all edited and posted for your viewing pleasure at some point.

Buckle your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Here we go…

Chapter One: Puzzle Pieces

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I can't say when I first noticed that something weird was going on. It wasn't a particular event that immediately clued me in; it was when I compared the strangeness of two events that happened recently. I couldn't just dismiss them as coincidences or tricks of the mind because they were just… too real. Nobody else has said anything though, so I can only hope they didn't see.

Now that I think about it, there were other smaller things that happened. I can't think of what they all were now, but after the events (which I dismissed as coincidental) I felt the same way I felt after the two larger events—like everything had been a dream. You know that feeling you get sometimes when your ears ring and voices are slightly muffled? That's what I'm referring to.

Right. This isn't making any sense. I'm sorry. Let's try this another way.

The first large event was last Saturday, when I slipped on a patch of ice getting out of the car. I reached back to grab the place where the door closes for support, but I'd just slammed the door and I knew it was going to hit my finger. I was freaking out because I knew it would practically destroy my fingertip … but somehow it didn't. The door got stuck on something before it could close. I moved my hand and turned to see why it was still open, but I couldn't see anything wrong with it. I tried to slam the door a few more times, and it didn't get stuck. I noticed a dent on the inside of the edge of the door though, like it had hit something right before it would have crushed my fingers. I can't even guess at what happened there, and it didn't help that I got really tired and dizzy afterword, like I already explained. At the time I dismissed the event because of my exhaustion, but now I'm not so sure. The event happened, and the exhaustion immediately followed. I'm pretty sure I felt fine right before all that.

The second incident I noticed was far more obvious. It occurred on Monday while I was watering a plant that my aunt had given me. It's a jasmine plant, and those don't grow in my climate zone. I've been trying to find a good place for it, and so far I haven't had the best of luck. My latest location was proving to be disastrous; the plant was turning white and dripping slime. Anyway, I'd finished watering it and was examining the texture of the soil and the leaves when they all started turning green again. Thank heavens it didn't start growing flowers; I don't know how I'd explain that to my parents. It's not like they'd even notice or care, but I figure I should always be ready for the worst case scenario.

Now that I've made a connection between these two things, I want to see how many more incidents I can identify. Maybe I can connect them all. So far I have the ability to bring plants to life and … something else. What would you call that? Super strength maybe? Why do I think it's more than that?

I don't know what to do. There's something abnormal going on here, and it's not the normal sort of abnormal associated with medical conditions. My parents have commented on the health of my Jasmine plant (which came as a huge surprise since they're so unobservant when it comes to anything that happens in the house), so I'm pretty certain I'm not seeing things. I don't know who I can talk to, if anyone. What if other people are going through this? Maybe then I could get some answers. But then again, maybe I'm the only one. What would they do to me if I was the only one who had freaky powers of some sort? Maybe they'd just sell me to the government for research. That's what they do in the novels. I guess I'm just stuck for now. I don't know what to do. I really hope this is all just my mind's fault. That's easier to explain and easier to fix. I really hope I'm not going insane though. That would be unfortunate.

Maria

She snapped the diary shut and slid the lock into place, shoving it back into its home in her pillowcase. She wished the experiences she'd just written about could be shoved away that easily.

She glanced out the bedroom window, then at her alarm clock. It was time to get ready for school.

Today she would make an effort to see what was going on with her. The thought passed through her mind before she could close herself off to such ideas. She had resolved to ignore the situation, but she already knew how impossible that task would prove to be. She was curious by nature, and this was certainly a situation to be curious about. She was being pulled in so many directions that just thinking about her options made her head spin. She should tell her closest friends; she should keep it quiet, because it was certainly not normal; she could experiment with her powers in a controlled environment and try to figure out what else she could do; she could ignore the whole situation, because it would just cause headaches.

With a heavy sigh, she put the whole mess out of her mind for the time being. She would have to finish her math assignment in her free period, she realized. She'd also have to study for her bio test. She'd spent too much time pondering—no, she chastised herself, she was not going to think about it. Then there was the new unit they would be starting in gym that day. Hopefully it would be better than the last unit. Of course it would be; everything was better than floor hockey. That class might be a good time to test—NO! Stop it!

By the time Maria left for school, she was already in a bad mood. Clearly, she could not ignore what was going on. She'd barely slept a wink the night before; her mind had been too busy analyzing.

Her free period wasn't very productive. While she did study for her test and complete her worksheet, she could barely remember doing it. Her mind had been too busy going over and over the facts. A distant haze of panic settled over her at the thought of failing another test, but that too was pushed aside by those pesky, ever-consuming thoughts.

"Hey!" Maria practically jumped out of her skin at the voice. A pale hand waved in front of her face. "I've been trying to get your attention for five minutes. What the hell is going on with you?"

Maria looked up to see her friend Melanie looming over her. She was a tall girl with short blond hair, clear blue eyes, and a kind face that was currently pinched in annoyance. Maria just shook her head. "I … I'm just tired, I guess," she sighed.

"Right." Melanie raised a skeptical brow. "The bell rang, by the way. You're late for gym, and now so am I." Without another word, Melanie turned on her heal and strode down the hall. Cursing under her breath, Maria hastily stuffed her school books into her bag and ran after her.

At least Mel would go down with her this time, Maria thought. The last time she'd been late, Maria had been sketching and had lost track of time. It was only when Mel had texted her ten minutes into the class she was missing that she'd realized her mistake.

When the two girls entered the gym out of breath a few minutes later, the teacher gave them a glair, then continued what he'd been saying. "Today we'll be working on tennis drills. Everyone get into partners and grab rackets and a ball."

Maria and Melanie exchanged looks filled with dread. Neither girl considered herself to have good hand-eye coordination. Nevertheless, they slinked over to the line that was forming in front of the supply room, grabbed the equipment they'd need, and took their places across from each other.

As soon as they began their drills, Maria discovered that this sport would give her more puzzle pieces to put together. Many times she had been resigned to the fact that her racket would not reach the ball in time. Yet somehow, each and every time she acknowledged this, she would feel a gust of wind across her hand and suddenly her racket would be where it needed to be. She freaked out the first time this happened, thinking that she'd dropped it. When it returned to her hand the next moment, her eyes widened and she froze in position. She was so distracted by this that she missed the next ball, but she was much more alert from then on. It was only after a few more of these incidents that she caught onto what was happening. She added 'can control wind' to her list of puzzle pieces as she left the gym. Sure enough, she felt the wave of dizzying exhaustion that she'd associated with the strange incidents collapse over her as she took her seat in the cafeteria.

She could not remember much of what happened during the next two hours. The next thing she knew, she was slipping her math book into her bag and walking toward the bio room to take her test. This time a much stronger wave of panic jolted her fully awake. She had not gotten very far in her studying earlier that day or the previous night. She'd have to go off of what she could remember.

She breathed a sigh of relief as she passed in the test forty-five minutes later. She estimated she'd been able to answer over half the questions with confidence, and most of the others with only small amounts of guess work. While she waited for the bell to dismiss the class, she debated whether or not she should ask her friends if they'd had strange experiences similar to hers. Maybe this was something normal that everybody went through but nobody bothered talking about. That was the only way she could explain it to herself.

When the bell finally pierced the silence of the bio room, she was still undecided about her course of action. It was only when she reached her locker that she made the final call. It was a split-second decision, but Maria went with it because she didn't know what else she could do or when she'd have a better time to say something. In hindsight, she probably should have planned what she would say.

Mel's locker was right next to hers, and the girl in question was in the process of exchanging her books. Mel knew that Maria had been out of it today, she reasoned, so if she were to talk to anyone, her blond friend would be the best bet. If things didn't go well, Mel would probably just attribute the weird conversation to Maria's so-called tiredness.

As nonchalantly as she could manage, she walked up to her locker and yanked it open. She busied herself with its contents for a few seconds, then leaned past her door to look at Mel.

"Hey Mel? Do you ever have things happen to you …" she desperately fought for a way to phrase her question that would be subtle and not make her sound crazy. "I mean, do you ever do or see things that just aren't coincidences? Like … avoiding getting hurt or somehow fixing everyday things?"

"Nice to see you too. My afternoon was lovely." She commented sarcastically, though her eyes held nothing but worry for her friend. Maria had been quiet at lunch today, which was highly unusual for her. Mel had covered for her, of course, telling the others that she had stayed up all night studying.

"Sorry," Maria muttered sheepishly. "Seriously though." When Mel's eyebrow lifted again, Maria added, "Just humor me."

Melanie's brows furrowed in concern. "No, why?" she asked finally. "What's going on?"

Maria's heart sank. That had been her one chance to see whether or not she was alone in this, and it had not worked out. If she asked any of her other friends the same question, they would eventually confront her as a group and try to help her. If nobody else was experiencing something similar, there would be nothing she could tell them. And it was looking like that would be the case. She would have to go about this alone. Her shoulders tensed as she felt the stress of it all suddenly fall on them with what she imagined was an audible thud of finality.

"Never mind." She turned away, putting the books she'd need that night in her bag and trying unsuccessfully to smother the wave of despair and frustration.