Chapter One

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Do you know how it feels to be normal? If so, please tell me how that feels. I want to know what the experience is like. Being an outcast your entire life makes you want to be normal. Then again, no one knows the things that I can do; except my mother. She has been protecting me since she found out my ability.

But first, I believe I need to introduce myself. My name is Breanna Lawson. I am fourteen years of age, and I go to Springwell Academy. I am in the ninth grade. When it comes to my parents, my mother died when I was twelve. She became sick and refused treatments. She passed away in front of me. My father, whose name I can't remember, is elsewhere in the country. He left us for another woman. I can still see the pain on my mother's face when she found out about his scandal. She thought I was asleep, but I honestly wasn't.

Since that day, I thought that it was my fault that my father cheated. However, is he really my father? I mean, don't fathers stay in their children's lives? He didn't even call to check if I was okay once my mother passed away. I don't know how I feel about him now. However, that isn't my big secret.

On my mother's side of the family, we have the chance to get this gene. It's rare, but it occurs in every female in odd generations; except for myself. My ability formed when I turned five years old. The proper term is called Age-Shifters. We can shift our ages without changing our appearance. Unfortunately, it doesn't make us immortal. We can't stop our biological clock. When my mother found out, she couldn't stop crying.

"Change back to your five-year-old self this instant, Breanna!" she yelled. She was scared. After what happened with her sister, she didn't like this gene. My aunt, Abigail, had the Shifter gene. From what my mother has told me, Abigail was taken by scientists. They noticed her ability and decided to do some research. My mother feared that they would come for me.

"Why am I not allowed to practice?" I demanded. I faced my mother with my new self. The first shift was painful. My bones moved and cracked with every change. Now, I compare it to growth spurts. However, shifting was ten times as bad. Right now, I was a teenager. Of course, as a kid, you want to be older. I had brown hair with a pale complexion. My nails were painted a light pink. My eyes were a chocolate brown, and I had freckles underneath my eyes. I had glasses on my face and was wearing a long, flowy pink dress. It stopped just below my knees. I looked down and saw that my other clothes were ripped.

I looked back at my mother. The tears pooling in her eyes escaped. "You are the only thing I have left, Breanna. I can't lose you" she replied. She hugged me tightly as if I was caught already. "What if they knew what caused the gene?" I asked. I knew that they didn't, but I wanted to give it a shot. "Honey, they wouldn't let you go. They will do all the research they want on you," she answered.

She had a point. We never heard from Abigail after she got caught. In fact, we thought that they killed her. My mother lets me go, and she looked me over. "Please, shift back to your five-year-old self," she begged. I still didn't know how I shifted the first time. It was a random change. If I just thought about it, maybe it would happen again. As I thought about being five years old, I felt my bones break and move. Changing back was more painful. However, I shifted back to my five-year-old self. I was glad to see that I had clothes on from my last shift. My mother smiled at me and patted my head. "No more shifting, okay" she stated. She never phrased it like a question.

Ever since that day, I never shifted again; until now.

Today, I live in my mother's house. I go to school and do housework. Things that teenagers learned later on in life, I was learning now. I never had to shift, unless there was a parent-teacher meeting. It is interesting what teachers say about you. At fourteen, you don't get questioned about why you were home by yourself. I give the usual lie of, "Oh, my mother works a lot." Being home by yourself can be a good thing, but it is lonely. As far as I know, I am the only Age-Shifter left in the world. I haven't found anyone else that shared the same ability.

I haven't told anyone else about being a Shifter. How could I possibly tell someone? I would be risking my life telling someone, even if they were family. I promised my mother that I wouldn't be caught. I owed that much to her. I didn't want to end up like my aunt.

If I was, to be honest with myself, I was scared. I was nervous about being caught. I thought about the possible outcome. The images that came to my mind were violent. I would shudder at the thought of being caught. I only used my shifting ability when I needed it. It was a good emergency blanket.

As long as I go to school and act normal, I have fewer suspicions. I mostly keep to myself, so the risk of telling a friend on accident is slim. There is only one thing that I know. Time will tell how this year will go. 

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