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Chapter 1

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Thanks so much to AshleyP for the awesome cover! I love it- it's so gorgeous.

As well, thanks to TakeFlight for being an awesome friend and for helping me with coming up with ideas. You rock!


Tonight was Friday night. In fact, it was the first one of the new year. To most teenagers, Friday night meant freedom from the constricting walls of school, if only for a couple of days. It’s a time for parties. A time for fun. A time to belt out the lyrics to stereotypical pop songs while jumping around like a maniac. At least, that’s what the movies and commercials on television seemed to say. It’s the night that everyone looked forward to all week. While Saturday night made you remember that the weekend is halfway over and Sunday made you dread the upcoming week, Friday night held the promise of a full, undiscovered weekend. It was a night to be lived to the fullest.

On the other hand, for me, Benjamin Branston, Friday night meant more time alone in my small bedroom, which, truth be told, I didn’t particularly mind. It wasn’t as if I had any places to be or parties to go to. Anyone can tell you that I’m not the most social person out there. My yearbook last year was signed by a grand total of two people: my best friend Mark and my chemistry teacher.

Mark and I have known each other since we were little. I met him when he moved in a few houses down. He still has the same short, curly, blonde hair and green eyes, along with his huge smile. Growing up as the only two kids on our street, we spent afternoons, weekends, and school breaks running between our two houses. We both proved to have above-average intelligence from a young age. Our parents became friends and we were enrolled in science summer camps together. As time went on and we got older, we still remained friends and kept our love of scientific knowledge. Most just brand us as the nerds. It’s a harsh label, but we just live with it. We’re happy with our table at lunch, so long as we both have someone to talk to.

After making my way to my room, I carefully slipped the straps of my plain, blue backpack off my shoulders and set it on the ground next to my bed. The only sound in the room was the noise of the backpack’s zipper sliding down so that I could retrieve my books to carry them to my desk. I sat down in my chair in front of my desk and absentmindedly arranged the stack of books from biggest to smallest. However, I’m not obsessive compulsive or anything of the sort; I just prefer everything to be neat and tidy.

My room mirrored this. The walls are all painted a crisp white, matching the blank-hued carpet below. My bed, covered in dark blue sheets, sits towards the side of my room. A wooden desk with my laptop on it and a chair are placed in front of a window overlooking the back yard. Outside the room, a thin layer of snow coats the ground. It was usually much higher in a normal January, but I wasn’t complaining. Lastly, the other corner of the room contains a tall white bookshelf and a comfy blue chair for reading. There’s not much on the floor or on my bed. My clothes are all in my closet, along with other various knick-knacks. All my books are on the shelf, and school supplies are held in my desk drawer. There’s a place for everything, and everything has its place.

My appearance probably says the same thing. I have short, neat brown hair and blue eyes, though they’re usually hidden behind my silver wire-rimmed glasses. I liked the idea of getting contact lenses, but the thought of putting something on my eye made me oddly nervous. For now, I’d decided to just stay with my glasses, even if it gave the popular crowd more chances to taunt me.

It wasn’t long before I grabbed a book from the pile and started working on the studying that I needed to get done this weekend. The sooner I got it done, the more free time I’d have, I reasoned. It’d been a few hours and I was almost done with my work for AP History when I heard my mom’s voice calling me.

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