Chapter OneI'm sick of ruining things for myself.
I was in a small grocery shop buying a loaf of bread and a tin of meatballs. All we could afford. But when some police officers came in, searching for someone they'd seen acting suspiciously, I panicked and used my power. Invisibility. I know it sounds like something out of a comic or a sci-fi movie, but it's real.
The thing is, I can only turn invisible for a few seconds at a time, and if I appeared in front of the officers all of a sudden I'd be caught. My whole family have these sorts of small powers.
Baecere can tell if someone is lying, Dad could make words and pictures appear wherever he wanted and Mum could sense emotions. Abilities are actually pretty common nowadays, but when the government discovered us they became paranoid somebody would get a dangerous power, so we were banned from using our abilities.
It didn't stop us. When we are frightened, angry, or feel any strong emotions they tend to break loose. When Mum and Dad spoke up and told the government this wasn't right, and it would only cause more difficulties, they were arrested. Baecere and I swore blind that we'd been born without powers and that we were going to live with our great aunt up north, so they forgot about us. But now, once again, I'd gone and nearly got us caught. When the country still had public schools, I used my ability when I was bullied. I was about to be pushed off the top of the playground when I turned invisible, and I leapt down onto the slide. Luckily, there were so many bystanders the bully thought I'd simply slipped away.
This time, I'm terrified. James, who owns the shop, employs people with abilities so they can earn money without fear of their boss arresting them. The workers know about us and would never tell, but I doubt they could cover up this particular incident.
So I ran. One kilometre.
When I get back to our cabin, with its cheap wooden furniture and beige, peeling paint, Baecere is on our bed hugging his knees. Apart from his ash-brown hair, he looks nothing like me.
'Someone's grumpy! Did it go alright?' I chuck the bag of food across the room. 'Yes, I was totally fine.' Baecere raises an eyebrow. 'You weren't fine, Kal. You went invisible.' He stares at me smugly. I hate him sometimes. 'Yes, that's exactly what I meant, now stop being a brat and help me make lunch.'
There aren't many rooms in our house. When my parents were still around we were kind of rich and had a nice house, nourishing food and our own rooms. Mum and Dad did little favours for people in our neighbourhood and companies who were short on time or resources, and they had their jobs too. We earned plenty of money. But when Mum and Dad were about to send their complaint to the government, they sold our nice house and bought a cabin. They knew they would come for us.
'Now, Kal, Baecere, you might not see us for a long time. Just like us, you will surely use your abilities sooner or later, so we can't give you to somebody. Just stay here and act naturally until you can find someone to look after you, ok?' So we did.
Our cabin is tiny. We have just one bed to share, and it takes up the whole bedroom.
I start making butter sandwiches, seeing as we can't afford expensive fillings. Once the money's gone, it's gone.
Baecere and I decide to leave our dull old unit and go for a walk. The day felt so much better until a group of men walked up. I gasped. They were the officers from the shop! I swallow, and hope they hadn't noticed what I did. 'Hello, gentlemen, we're looking for someone we think has an ability. A female teenager, reasonably small build, blue eyes, feathery black hair, and we believe she headed east.' I feel a sudden pang of recognition.
'No, haven't seen anybody like that. We'll let you know if we do.' They nodded. 'Thank you for you time.'
They walk off and I breathe out slowly. 'Marley's got an ability?'
Baecere frowns. 'Is Marley your girlfriend?'
'No you, doofus, she just used to be in my class.' Marley got mainly As when I knew her, and she seemed nice, but after the schools closed I didn't really see her that much. I had no idea she had any powers though, and I realized she needed to know about this. Now.
Racing home, I file through all our old paperwork... Yep, there's me classmate list. The one with everyone's address on it.
I ran along with Baecere until we found Marley's house, which is pretty close to the store. I stared at the fence. I knew this was urgent, but it just didn't feel right climbing over into her family's property. Sighing, I clamber over and try not to fall onto the rose bush. I walk over to her house and ring the doorbell, and Marley's mum comes to the door. 'Kal? Is that you? I haven't seen you in ages. How is your brother?
I swallow. 'I know about Marley's ability.' She smiled. 'Oh, which ability?' I froze. Did she have more than one? 'She's good at lots of things, Kal, same as you are.' 'No, I mean her power. You know.' 'On that computer game? Why don't you ask her? Come inside.' she gabbled. She grabbed my arm and pulled me in, slamming the door behind me.
'Just what were you thinking? Talking about it outside in front of everyone! You're going to get us caught, you numbskull. You had BETTER NOT tell on us or I will... '
I just stared. She was clutching my arm so tightly it was hurting. I started to tremble, and then went invisible again. She sighed, let go and patted me on the back as I reappeared. Down the hallway, I saw a head poking out from a doorway: it was unmistakably Marley. She looked like she always has: thin and ghost-white with striking blue eyes... but still different. Harder somehow. Angrier. I felt more than a little unwelcome.