1) Genetics

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The gentle breeze caressed the long stalks of grass, creating ripple after ripple. A beautiful azure blue sky kissed the green fields. A young girl, her mousy brown hair splayed around her head, lay spread eagled in the grass; her gaze fixated on the huge expanse of sky.

"Reve....Reve" a female voice shouted. Oblivious, the girl remained on her bed of grass; watching a pair of swallows perform aerodynamics in the sky above her.

"REVE!".... The voice held more than a trace of anxiety, it was tinged with fear.

"I'm coming!" The girl shouted back. She reluctantly tore her gaze away. She stood up, smoothing down her cotton dress and ran towards the small dwelling that was her home. The girl held her arms aloft, enjoying the feel of the wind against her skin. She closed her eyes, trying to imagine what it would feel to fly free.

She felt a small ripple that centred on her arms. Hesitantly she opened her eyes and stared in wonder. The skin of the underside of her arms had grown and lengthened, creating a smooth thin expanse of skin that tapered off at her wrists; creating something akin to bat wings. The transformation hadn’t hurt, it never did. The sensation was something like a gentle tickling.

Mesmerized by the new additions, she held her arms above her head as she caught the wind, which began to propel her forwards.

A middle aged woman, her brown curly hair tied up in a bun; her clothes dotted with flour, hurried towards the girl, concern and fear written all over her face. She stopped abruptly, her shock a momentary thing, as she watched her daughter catching a ride on the wind.

As Reve came closer, she held her arms out to her mother who embraced her into a tight hug. She released her and took a step back, examining the change in her daughter's arms. She lightly ran a finger over the membranes.

"Reve...How did you?" she asked with concern. Elise knew her daughter would change in ways that she couldn't fathom. Explaining to Reve herself how different she was to the other children, and the circumstances surrounding her birth.

Reve was four years old, yet resembled a ten year old. The sudden growths spurts and her ability to manipulate her own DNA structure were part of her alien heritage.

She was an exceptionally bright child, and was enthralled at the natural beauty that surrounded her home. But Elise never allowed her to wander far. The new world was a dangerous place to live since the alien occupation and enslavement. Even humans, were to be approached with caution.

"I'm sorry Mum. I wasn't paying attention. I was just thinking about the birds and how it would feel to fly" she said her voice low.

Wrapping her in another hug to reassure her she said, "It's ok baby, but you have to be more careful. There are people out there who would see you as something different....and..." She never finished that sentence, instead shuddering at the thought of what people were capable of.

Reve sensing what her mother was thinking grew sad. More than once her mother had sat her down and explained the importance of appearing human. Having been told of how people were too quick to judge, and how they would take her away for goodness knows what.

Taking a deep breath, Reve concentrated on shrinking the flaps of skin, until she felt the familiar rippling. Opening her eyes she saw that her skin was as smooth and normal as before. Her newly acquired wings, now gone.

Elise bent down, facing Reve. She stared into those not quite human eyes, the only feature that gave away her daughter’s hybrid heritage.

"One day Reve, you'll be able to embrace who you truly are. I love you so very much and I will be there to make that happen," she caressed her daughter's cheek, silently thanking whatever god there was out there for keeping her safe so far. "Until then, I need you to try and be more careful...for me."

Reve nodded solemnly, and was rewarded with her mother's beautiful smile. Holding hands the pair headed in the front door, to be greeted by the delicious smell of mushroom soup and freshly baked bread.

Reve helped to set the table, as her Mother's husband came in carrying a dead chicken. At a few years younger than Elise, he was tall and stocky. Having to work the fields to feed the family had filled him out.

Reve quickly hurried out of his way, as he held his prize out to Elise. He looked hopeful, but Elise shook her head, an unspoken conversation happening between them. He frowned, the tension was apparent in his face.

He looked at the chicken, its neck dangling at an odd angle and then at Reve. His face held a deep hatred, but he quickly smoothed his features and went out the way he came in.

Reve had become aware of Carl's deep rooted hatred and mistrust of her at an early age, and had kept out of his way as much as possible. She wasn't sure why he hated her, and she had attempted to broach the subject with Collins but each time her nerve gave out.

Almost as if she had mentally summoned him, he came through into the kitchen. "Smells good Elise" he said, as he passed Reve and ruffled her hair. Collins was the same height as Carl, but that was where the similarities ended. Carl had red cropped hair, his blue eyes never smiling, except for when he was with Elise.

Collins on the other hand, always seemed to be laughing. His short brown hair was always sticking up at odd ends, his brown eyes held mirth, as if he was aware of a private joke that no one else was privy to. He was a hit with every woman he met.

"The market's on tomorrow," he informed Elise, sitting down at the table and tearing a chunk of bread and stuffing it into his mouth.

"That reminds me; Reve, we'll go and buy supplies and you can choose your birthday present."

Reve shrieked with excitement. A trip to the market was a special occasion. Seeing as it wasn't always guaranteed to be on. It was dangerous at the best of times to be in any built up areas, but people needed other human contact. And so for miles around, word was sent out that a market would be set up.

"Yeah, you’re how old now? Three?" Teased Collins

"No! I'll be five!" she pouted, and then covered her mouth. Realising she'd fallen for Collins trick. Her Mother frowned at her.

"I mean I will be eleven." she stuck her tongue out at Collins, which earned her a laugh from Collins and a smile from her Mother.

"Just remember what we tell people Reve. Don't forget." Her Mother reminded her. Reve nodded and took her place next to Collins as Elise served them hot Mushroom soup. Carl was noticeably absent.

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