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Chapter 2

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Chapter Two

Caitlin stood before the door to her new apartment, staring, and suddenly realized where she was. She had no idea how she got there. The last thing she remembered, she'd been in the alley. Somehow, she'd got herself back home.

She remembered, though, every second of what happened in that alleyway. She tried to erase it from her mind, but couldn't. She looked down at her arms and hands, expecting to see them look different-but they were normal. Just as they had always been. The rage had swept through her, transforming her, then had just as quickly left.

But the after-effects remained: she felt hollowed out, for one. Numb. And she felt something else. She couldn't quite figure it. Images kept flashing through her mind, images of those bullies' exposed necks. Of their heartbeat pulsing. And she felt a hunger. A craving.

Caitlin really didn't want to return home. She didn't want to deal with her Mom, especially today, didn't want to deal with a new place, with unpacking. If it weren't for Sam being in there, she may have just turned around and left. Where she'd go, she had no idea-but at least she'd be walking.

She took a deep breath and reached out and placed her hand on the knob. Either the knob was warm, or her hand was as cold as ice.

Caitlin entered the too-bright apartment. She could smell food on the stove-or probably, in the microwave. Sam. He always got home early and made himself dinner. Her Mom wouldn't be home for hours.

"That doesn't look like a good first day."

Caitlin turned, shocked at the sound of her Mom's voice. She sat there, on the couch, smoking a cigarette, already looking Caitlin up and down with scorn.

"What did ya, ruin that sweater already?"

Caitlin looked down and noticed for the first time the dirt stains; probably from hitting the cement.

"Why are you home so early?" Caitlin asked.

"First day for me, too, ya know," she snapped. "You're not the only one. Light workload. Boss sent me home early."

Caitlin couldn't take her Mom's nasty tone. Not tonight. She was always being snotty towards her, and tonight, Caitlin had enough. She decided to give her a taste of her own medicine.

"Great," Caitlin snapped back. "Does that mean we're moving again?"

Her Mom suddenly jumped to her feet. "You watch that fresh mouth of yours!" she screamed.

Caitlin knew her Mom had just been waiting for an excuse to yell at her. She figured it was best to just bait her and get it over with.

"You shouldn't smoke around Sam," Caitlin answered coldly, then entered her tiny bedroom and slammed the door behind her, locking it.

Immediately, her Mom banged at the door.

"You come out here, you little brat! What kind of way is that to talk to your mother!? Who puts bread on your table...."

On this night, Caitlin, so distracted, was able to drown out her Mom's voice. Instead, she replayed in her mind the day's events. The sound of those kids' laughter. The sound of her own heart pounding in her ears. The sound of her own roar.

What exactly had happened? How did she get such strength? Was it just an adrenaline rush? A part of her wished it was. But another part of her knew it wasn't. What was she?

The banging on her door continued, but Caitlin barely heard it. Her cell sat on her desk, vibrating like crazy, lighting up with IMs, texts, emails, Facebook chats-but she barely heard that, too.

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