10 years ago, a little girl named aina is sitting in a snow covered ground. It was Christmas Eve when a war broke out in the land near their village; aina’s parents are the guardians of this certain village so they set out to stop the war from getting out of control, leaving aina to her brother. Both aina and her brother quickly set out towards a safer place but when they are seeking shelter, aina got separated from her brother; she doesn’t know where she is, so she just contented herself by sitting on the ground and wait for her brother.
    Aina never did find her family again. After the war has ended, she walked towards the north thinking her parents are just waiting beyond the setting sun.
    As she walked down a beaten path, a woman appeared in front of her. The woman has a very pale complexion and a silver hair, she leaned down at aina and then she smiled.
    “Are you lost little girl?” she asked, aina just stared at her and didn’t spoke. The woman’s smiled faltered and was finally gone, she transformed into a monster with long nails and pointy teeth.
    Aina was stuck to her place in shock, the monster lunged for aina. Fortunately, a hand came out of nowhere and saved her. After that, aina doesn’t remember what happened next.
    She just woke up on an orphanage three months later; she doesn’t remember anything that happened in her past except that her name was aina sugihara and that she has a golden locket that won’t open no matter what. Sometimes though, she dreamt of her last memories with her brother and that’s all. No relatives, no friends, nothing.
    Nobody in the orphanage pestered her about her past and she was grateful for that. After a year, she was soon adopted by a tall, plump man named houriss and his short, annoying sister named Isabel.
    Aina was never happy with her life ever since the day she woke up in the orphanage not even remembering anything about her family except that her brother is still out there looking for her.

    * * * * *

    In the present…15-year old Aina is sitting in her mid-afternoon algebra class but instead of listening, she was staring out of the window dreamily. Aina is twirling her long black hair with a pale finger while her dark brown eyes are scanning the horizon. You know, so much that I want to deny the truth…I still can’t because of my promise that I still don’t know why I still kept. And even though I really, REALLY want to deny it…I still can’t change the fact that I am and will always be aina.
    I suppressed a sigh as I stared out of the window; I envy the birds that flew freely in the sky and the plants that enjoy the warmth of the sun. I wish that I would be outside this moment; sitting under one of those trees but instead I’m stuck here in this stupid algebra class¬¬―――
    “Ms. Sugihara, you know that…it would be more polite if you will be with us this moment and listen to the discussion, instead of day dreaming all day.” Mr. Luke mockingly said from behind me, everybody in my class burst into laughter except one guy…nick. I looked at my shoes until the bell rang then I ran out.
    Nick soon caught up with me when I was rounding the corner, he looked agitated and from the looks of his messy hair. I would guess that he’s been sleeping the whole hour; at least nick isn’t like my other classmates who are back-stabbers.
    “You know aina? He shouldn’t have humiliated you in front of the class like that. At least, you aren’t dozing off like the others!” nick said angrily from beside me, I gave him a weak smile that he quickly returned.
    Nick is the only one in the whole school who hasn’t called me a freak, at least not yet. I stared blindly ahead as I remembered the first time we met…

    It was the season of fall; I was sitting under one of the willow trees while reading a book to pass the time when a guy with dark brown hair and light blue eyes approached me.
    “Hello, my name’s nick moon.” He said while holding out a hand, I stared at his hand then I looked at him.
    Is this some kind of a joke? I wanted to ask him but I held my tongue.
    “Er…can I sit here?” he asked me while pointing in the vacant spot beside me, I nodded once then I resumed reading my book.
    Both of us sat in silence for a few minutes while a soft breeze swayed the trees. Out of the corner of my eye, nick kept snatching glances at me and looked like he was about to start a conversation but thought better of it.
    “Hey nick! Let’s go dude or else we’re in for a serious yelling from coach!” A guy shouted from across the lawn.
    “Don’t worry! I’ll catch up with you in a minute!” nick shouted from beside me and when the student was gone, he turned uncertainly to me.
    “Er…see you tomorrow aina.” then he stood up.
    How did he know my name? I asked myself in my mind. When nick was half way across the lawn, I heard a crack.
    I stood up slowly, looking at nick who was fifteen feet away from me when suddenly a strong breeze suddenly blow in, I heard a loud snap and I saw a huge branch fell directly towards him.
    “Hey, watch out!” I shouted the warning while in a mid-stride, I saw him turn to me then he looked up. The last thing I saw is nick putting his arms in his head because I put my hands in my eyes.
    I didn’t hear any crash but just to be sure, I slowly removed my hands in my eyes. What I saw totally left me with my mouth hanging open…the branch is levitating a few feet from nick like there is an invisible shield stopping the branch from hitting him.
    He stared at the branch then he slowly looked at me like he didn’t believe what happened, he stood up uncertainly then he jogged towards me.
    “H―How did you do that?” The loudness of his voice made me jump which made the levitating branch also hit the ground.
    “I―I―I don’t know…” I said to him while shaking my head, I was shook by my experience. I can’t even feel my legs anymore.
    “You just… saved my life.” He told me then he smiled, I quickly returned his smile grateful to finally found a friend.

    …I shook my head back to the present then I sighed.
    “Hello! Earth to aina…Are you still there?” he asked me jokingly which made me chuckle, I looked at a small family crossing the street as we walked.
    “Sorry, I was just thinking of the first time we met.” I told him as we round another corner, I sighed again because I saw the dark blue rooftop of my foster father’s house.
    “Hmm…Really? I thought you might be thinking of how to finally escape houriss.” He said jokingly again before he said good-bye to me, I walked slowly towards the house then stopped just before I opened the door.
    I heard voices in the house, one is the grumbling voice of my foster father houriss which made me snort in irritation and the other is the voice of someone unknown to me. He sounded like a professional as he spoke.
    “Good morning Mr. Dale, we are here about your adopted daughter…aina. Our school committee is interested at her because of her unusual talents, so we are asking for your permission if you will permit us to enroll aina to our school. She will be taken to our school to enhance her abilities and talents that haven’t been――” the ma was quickly cut off by houriss’ loud voice.
    “Aina doesn’t have any abilities, she is worthless and if you are here just for her then you are just wasting your time. Isabel, my sister―on the other hand―is very talented and I assure you she is more interesting than aina―who on the other hand is useless.”
    I felt my blood suddenly boil in frustration. I mean, I’m not useless or worthless either. In fact, I was even the one who is doing all the chores and the cooking in the house while they sat there like king and queen.
    “I’m sorry but we are here for aina, if she agrees to come with us then we will take her away and she will study on our school. Aina could board one of the rooms in the dormitories designed for the students.” The man said confidently, I felt a hope rise inside my dark and miserable life. I’m gonna be taken away from my irritating foster father at last!
    I pushed the door slowly and when I’m inside I slammed it shut with my foot. I walked towards the living room where I found a man with black hair and light brown eyes sitting on the sofa across the plump figure of houriss. I saw another guy about eighteen years old; he has a pale skin which feels oddly familiar and he also has a pair of scary black eyes that followed my every movement.
    I walked hurriedly towards my room just behind the sofa where the― O, hail king houriss sat; I could almost see a crown materializing on his fat head as I passed behind him.
    “Aina, come here you brat!” houriss shouted from behind me, I rolled my eyes at my door then I opened it. My usual creaky bed greeted me with annoyance; I never get enough sleep because of that bed.
    I removed my body bag then I threw it towards my pillows, it missed and landed instead at the edge of my bed but fortunately it didn’t fall off.
    I stepped back from my room then I slowly closed the door. I walked towards houriss who was tapping his foot with impatience.
    I can’t help but roll my eyes on his fat and greasy back before I walked around the sofa which made me almost collide with Isabel, who scowled at me and pushed me away. She put down a plate of cookies and three glasses of milk on the table then she smiled sweetly at the visitors which made me scowl silently to myself.
    I’ll bet all my allowances that she just bought that milk and cookies across the street; I mean she never touches or even dare to see any cooking utensils!
    Isabel gave me a dark look before she walked back to the kitchen
    “Hurry up, will you?!” he hissed at me “Don’t be such a nuisance to my life!”
    I sighed miserably before I sat beside him; houriss gave me a warning look before he turned to smile at the visitors. I hurriedly shifted my attention to my shoes.
    “Please excuse her rudeness.” Houriss said politely to the man, his politeness made me scowl at my shoes.
    “Aina, this is Mr. Scothmark…Mr. Scothmark, this is aina.” He introduced us to each other.
    “Please, call me Dane.” The man said while we shook hands and after we finished, he continued. “It’s nice to finally meet you, aina. We were just talking about you going to our school. If you will be permitted then we will take you far south to our school where you can enhance your abilities” one by one my hopes has started to resurface and finally escaped the dark depths of my miserable soul
    “That is if you will permit us.” Dane told houriss who merely grunted before he gruffly said.
    “If it will take freak show away from this house and from our life then…fine!” He threw his arms, I gasp in delight then I smiled at him. Dane drew a sigh of relief; he looked at me with finality.
    “Aina, can you pack your stuff today? We will leave as soon as you finished packing but only pack the things you will use for the trip because there are clothes there you could borrow.” Dane told me, I nodded once then I quickly walked to my room.
    I pulled my clothes from my cabinet then I crammed it into the body bag I used earlier. I stuff it with the books then I stood up, that’s when I caught a glint of gold in my pillow. I snatch the pillow then I pulled out the locket that is left of my past, I hurriedly put it around my neck.
    I took hold of the strap of my body bag as I ran back to the living room. In my excitement, I collided this time on Isabel. She landed on the floor with a loud thud while I fall face first on the floor. Fortunately, two hands came out of nowhere and took me by the arms, I stumbled slightly but I stayed upright. I turned my head around to who was holding me and saw myself looking in the black eyes of the pale guy, I heard houriss coughed sarcastically from where he was seating. The guy quickly let go of me, faster than I could imagine a human being could go then he moved away. Dane nodded at him as the pale guy passed like there was some invisible connection going on between them.
    “Hmm…very nice, aina. Fifteen minutes is faster than I expected. So, are you ready to go?” Dane asked me, I heard houriss snort before I nodded happily.
    I followed behind Dane as we walk out of the door; I smiled quietly to myself as I finally left my miserable life behind.

    CHAPTER 2: What an odd night…

    “Aina, are you hungry?” Dane’s head popped out of the front passenger seat, his driver sat rigid behind the wheel which―unfotunately for me―leaves me to sit with the odd guy. Ever since we got out of the car and into the house, he was straining away as far as the car’s space could provide. I was starting to think that I’m a newly developed virus that could kill by just physical contact.
    Remembering Dane’s question, I thought about it for a minute. The last time I ate was lunch at the school and judging by the position of the moon, it’s probably about past midnight by now. My mind suddenly flashbacked at the time when nick used to tease me about my accuracy to tell the time by just looking at the position of the sun or the moon, an ability I learned back at houriss’ house when Isabel used to throw me out of the house just because she wants to. That memory with nick suddenly sends a pang of guilt which hurt as if I was being shot by a gun again and again.
    Oh no. I haven’t even told him I was going away! I know that it’s not my fault that I haven’t told him I was going away because Dane only came to my house this afternoon but still…
    I looked at Dane hopefully, maybe I could ask him if I could borrow his phone for a minute―he’s a guy who travels a lot surely he has one, right?―so I could at least call nick and tell him the bad news, I don’t even care if its late to make a call but the guilt of leaving him unaware is killing me. I was just opening my mouth to ask him when the odd guy spoke up and answered the question that was meant for me.
    “Well, I’m hungry…do you think you could at least drop me off here?” I looked wide-eyed at him, this is the first time I heard him spoke and his voice sounded like it came from a god instead of an ordinary senior student.
    “Nobody’s asking you, Robert. Just sit down there quietly and would stop your growling.” Dane snapped at him, Robert slumped back on his seat looking defeated and irritated.
    He must have sensed me looking at him because he turned to look at me warily at first, the wariness quickly turned to friendliness when he found out that I won’t lash out at him (Yeah right). He grinned at me widely; I blushed again (Ugh! What is wrong with me?). I gave him a shy smile; his answering smile almost melted my heart.
    “Aina, are you hungry?” Dane repeated his question; I nodded while still staring at Robert’s coal black eyes.
    I suddenly felt the car make a hard right; it turned towards a luxurious looking restaurant. My heart skipped a beat when the car makes another turn making me hit Robert’s chest, he looked at me with quiet satisfaction in his eyes as I tried to sit upright.
    The car halted outside luxury the restaurant, Dane came out first and when I turned to look at Robert he was not in his seat.
    “Come on out Aina.” Robert’s voice suddenly made me jump; he was already outside my door holding it open for me.
    “How did you get out that fast?” I asked him confusingly as I got out of the car, he just shrugged and then he flashed me again his perfect smile.
    “I’m used to being fast.” He caught my wrists then he closed the door as he pulled me away.
    “But…” I tried to protest because his explanation is not enough, you are just too fast! For goodness sake! I wanted to tell him but he put a finger on my lips then he continued to drag me towards the restaurant.
    Inside the luxury was amazing, the tables are made of crystal and the walls are made of mirrors so you could easily see outside forest. Dane asked a waiter for the best seat in the house while I was distracted by the place; Robert tugged my sleeves towards the table.
    After a while, I was just surprised when the food was served. There are many dishes that are unfamiliar to me but nevertheless it smells amazing. Robert started to stare at me funnily.
    “Go on Aina, eat up… you’ll need all your energy for tomorrow.” Dane said as I hesitated at eating the food, I gave him a smile as I tried the dishes.
    During the rest of the hour we were eating, I kept on glancing at Robert. I was a little puzzled because he wasn’t eating at all; he was even the one who was complaining that he was hungry.
    After an hour, I excused myself from the table. I quickly headed towards the powder room, unaware that Robert was following me.
    “Aina, do you have friends at your old school?” Robert’s voice made me suddenly stop on my tracks; I turned my head towards him.
    “Yeah I do, his name is nick… he’s my best friend.” The talk about nick brought tears to my eyes, so I quickly looked away embarrassingly.
    “Hmm… do you like him?” I decided not to answer that one as I continued to walk towards the powder room. With no noise or warning whatsoever, Robert suddenly appeared in front of me.
    “Please answer my question Aina… do you like him or not?” his voice didn’t sound threatening but my conscience is screaming to me to Run away! Hide! Scream!
    I felt a shiver down my spine as Robert gave me another funny look, which I tried to avoid but to no Vail. I just stared at him eye to eye unable to look away, he took a step towards me at the same time that I felt something cold rest on my shoulder. I froze.
    “Roberto Shievalle Stewart! Stop threatening this girl immediately or else you’ll get detention for the whole month!” deep with a British accent, Dane’s voice shouted from behind me which quickly stopped Robert in his track, his confident and authorative voice also brought comfort to my mind that I almost fainted in relief.
    “But Dane… I was just asking Aina if―”
    “No buts, Stewart… go back to the car and get the driver to run the car.” His voice left no room for argument, which made Robert’s broad shoulders to slump in defeat. As he walks away, Dane turned to me with a look of reassurance.
    “Aina, are you hurt? You look pale.” I just shooked my head then I turned towards my original destination, Dane nodded at me once before walking towards the exit.
    Inside the powder room, I splashed my face with hot water. It helped stop the shivering in my spine and calmed my mind, I sighed as I stared at my reflection. My black hair was a mess so I tried to comb it with my fingers, when I got my hair to its natural wavy straightness. I got out of the restaurant and walked towards the car, unfortunately I was still stuck with Robert at the back of the car.
    The car was already weaving the highway even before I got then door closed, afraid that Robert will give me another one of his funny looks. I turned my head to the window and stared at the black forest until my eyes were heavy, I felt an icy cold hand took hold of my arm and pulled me away from the window.
    Startled, I turned to where the cold was coming from. Robert’s black eyes caught mine which send my heart to overdrive.
    “Don’t worry I won’t bite.” I was puzzled by his words but his eyes said everything, he was sorry.
    I smiled contently as he pulled me closer to him; I snuggled happily at his chest. Honestly, his freakishly cold body was relaxing in the warm autumn night that I felt myself slid into unconsciousness…