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"¡Aiiii, es la gringa!"

Taunts and jeers followed this statement.  Ainika kept her head held high, not letting them see how deep their words had gotten. They weren't true, anyway, no matter how much she might look like a gringa, with her pale skin and hair. She kept trying to convince herself that, but she knew she would never convince her classmates. It didn't matter to them that she had grown up alongside them, it didn't matter that she could speak Spanish just as well as any of them, nothing mattered but the fact that she had an American father. She wished, not for the first time, or even for the one hundredth time, that she looked more like her mom. She had her mom's sharp nose and short stature, but her face and her hair and her skin were her father's. It wasn't fair that he didn't even know she existed, yet he still defined so much of her life.

If she only looked Mexican, maybe people would care less about her other defining trait.

Ainika pushed this thought away and sat down next to María. María was the only person in all of Mexico that actually genuinely liked her. She was her alma gemela, her soul sister.

"Ellos son tantos. ¡No les escucha!" ("They are dumb, don't listen to them!")

"Sé, pero es difícil. ¿Por que solo les importa el color de mi piel?" ("I know, but it's hard. Why do they only care about the color of my skin?")

"Por que son tantos." ("Because they're dumb.") That ended the discussion. María had a way about her that wouldn't let anything bad in. She was the exact opposite of Ainika, maybe that was why they got along so well.

The bell rang, signaling the start of the school day. Ainika sighed. She hated school, it was just more proof that she didn't belong, because the only reason she went to the expensive private school was because she had saved the life of a government official's son, and he had rewarded her by paying her tuition. Because of this, she couldn't drop out, even though she knew more than school could teach her already. Her first class was ethics and civics, and somehow she always got called upon to answer morally grey questions. She supposed people assumed since she was the way she was, she had all the answers.

She slumped into her seat by the window, and María took the desk behind her. El profesor
entered and wrote la sociedad médica y el seguro médico. Ainika cursed under her breath. She was not in the mood to hear a political rant this morning. She could already feel a headache building, and she had to leave before she had a vision. She raised her hand after about ten minutes of the lesson. "¿Señor? El baño, por favor."

"Sí. Vayas." He waved his hand and she quickly left. She went into the bathroom, but she didn't really have to use it. Instead, she climbed onto the sink and grabbed onto the window ledge. She then pushed the window open and pulled herself through it. She had discovered last year that leaving the window unbolted was a great way to escape the school unnoticed. She did this all the time, whenever a vision threatened. No one cared. As soon as they found out about the tragedy that had been avoided or the life that had been saved, they gave her a free pass.

She stepped on to the roof and then climbed to the building beside it, running over four rooftops until she came to the ladder. She used it to get on to the ground, and then she ran. She ran until she arrived at the small Catholic Church near her house. Here she could have her vision uninterrupted. The priests almost regarded her as something holy, but even those who feared her power was of the devil didn't hinder her. Only once, when she was first getting her visions, had they thrown her out of the church, and called in law enforcement. Later that day, Father Jose had fallen to his death, just as her vision had foreseen.

She knelt in front of the stone alter and crossed herself. She did pray, sending up a quick prayer for protection for whoever her vision concerned, and then she let the vision free.

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