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"They said it was a giant spider." Emmanuel Naidoo stretched his arms out. "As big as a car."

Rhian bit her lip. Emmanuel came from South Africa and his accent was lush. His ability to communicate with and control plants had impressed even the Druidic council and thus he was the envy of the school. Apparently one of his ancestors was a tree or something.

"Bigger than that mate, I heard, more like a van." Lewis Davies leaned back in his chair. A Welsh lad through and through, his family hailed from Fishguard. His power was less impressive than Emmanuel's, but still cooler than hers. The great-great-grandson of a siren, he could manipulate sound waves to either attract or repel his targets.

Free period was the highlight of her day, sitting in the great library with Gretchen and some other year tens. They were a diverse group, and so they often referred to themselves as the mini-UN. They'd usually spend the hour sat in a circle chatting, gossiping and the like. Sometimes Katie joined them. But not today.

"It's mad," said Afia Phillips from London, she was a psychometric, could touch an object and tell you its whole history. "I ain't ever heard of spiders that big, not in this country." Funnily enough, her family supposedly came from a Ghanaian spider deity.

"It's not natural, spiders eating humans." piped Sabina Begum staring down at her Mary Janes. She was from Cardiff, but her parents both came from a line of Bangladeshi song-weavers. She could supposedly control creatures with her songs. Not that anyone had ever witnessed it. Sabina lacked the confidence to sing in public.

"I'll tell you what's not natural yeah?" Lewis narrowed his eyes. "Locking us up in this place. Cancelling visiting day, an all that."

"It is for our protection." Emmanuel crossed his arms.

Rhian and the others exchanged glances.

Lewis shook his head. "Don't be fooled mate, it's to protect their arse, and that's it."

The ancient yew door creaked open, and in walked Alaric Strumbottom, with his thick wavy hair and killer smile. He was well fit, easily the best looking bloke in year ten and a telepath — so he knew it. Pretty much all of the girls in her year, and a small portion of the boys, were gaga for him — Especially Gretchen.

"Look who it is." Rhian elbowed her friend.

"Shush." Gretchen glared back.

Another boy was with him. One she'd never seen before.

The door banged closed.

"Who's that?" Rhian whispered to Gretchen as Alaric pointed to a shelf of books.

The new kid was tall with styled black hair. He turned and saw her staring at him. He tilted his head and smiled.

Rhian's pulse quickened. There was something about him. She couldn't look away. She smiled back.

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