Chapter Three, Dependent

Sitting by the edge of the pool, with the other shivering level two girls, Aly began to wonder if she had ever really been "normal," or if she had been something below that. Physically, she would have to work pretty hard to beat the competition, unless the game was volleyball. But mentally, Aly had never been a part of the elite. It was strange, now, how her body didn't feel any different, but somehow whenever she rose into action, it seemed as if she had the power of an Olympic athlete or a genius backing her up.

"Hey, Aly," Jasmine Peters sneered as she walked by the squirming level twos. "You know, I'm really sorry to hear that you messed up that dive last week," the sneering blonde laughed as she sat beside Aly. "You know, once you learn to dogpaddle, the rest gets a lot easier."

For a brief moment, Aly felt as if she were no longer looking into the face of her school rival, but into the eyes of another Amy. A constant reminder that she was too weak, too hopeless, too young, too naïve, the runt of the litter, the weakest link on a perfect chain. As often as she tried not to resent her sisters, it was all too much to bear. Aly was not weak, she was a late bloomer. And the events of the past week had proved it. But the one thing she had always wanted came too late. By now, she was psychologically fatigued. She hated how Nine never had to come to terms with who she was. She hated how Aimee went right back to her life of fame and fortune after becoming emotional again. She hated how Seven could do anything Aly could, only better. And she hated how Five always got to be the leader. Lastly, she hated the fact that she, Aly, had defeated the director. Not Seven. Not Five. Her. But who, would she suppose, got the credit?

Aly wasn't a generally aggressive person, but she had felt as if a surge of anger had been growing inside of her for a long time, ever since she met her "twin" sister. "I am not weak," Aly sighed.

"It gets easier, trust me," Jasmine grinned.

Without warning, Aly leapt to her feet and pushed the girl into the pool.

"Aly!" a girl shrieked. "What did you do that for?"

"Damn," another girl gasped.

Aly just stared into the water, unsure of whether to be petrified or thrilled at what she had done.

Jasmine rose, screaming with shock and fury. "I'm going to get you for this!"

But Jasmine never caught up with Aly. In fact, no one even saw her leave.

Amy Candler sat in the kitchen, eating dinner with her mother and Dr. Dave, when the phone began to ring.
"Don't answer it, Amy," her mother warned her. "Whoever it is, they can call back later."

Amy nodded, and continued to eat. But when the phone stopped ringing, Amy knew that whoever it was definitely couldn't call back later.

"Hello, this is Mrs. Kendricks, Aly's mother. I know she was friends with Amy a few years ago before we moved, and I was just wondering if Amy's there. Because I called the school and they haven't my daughter since third period."

Without thinking, Amy dived for the phone. "Hello?" Amy breathed.

"Amy?"

"Yes, this is Amy. Aly's missing?" Amy breathed.

"I just don't understand this," Mrs. Kendricks sighed. "Why would Aly be gone, if you and the other Amys are still here?"

Amy knew the answer, but wasn't sure if Mrs. Kendricks was ready for it. "The other Amys and I lost our abilities," Amy breathed. "For some reason, the Organization took them from us, and gave them to Aly."

"Oh my God," Mrs. Kendricks sighed. "Then…where do you think my daughter is?"

"I have no idea," Amy breathed, hating to feel so hopeless.

"Aly's missing?" Five spat onto the phone. "Great, that's just great!"

"Do you think the Organization took her?" Amy asked.

"Do you think it didn't?" Five asked incredulously. "Where else would Aly be?"

Amy began to shudder. "Five, I don't know…I just don't know…I mean, they're probably smart enough not to use the island. The labs have been shut down…it was on the news. But maybe now that the Organization is gone, it would be okay to report her missing. Don't you think?"

Five shrugged. "Um…Seven? What if she wasn't caught?"

Amy didn't understand what Five was saying. "Of course she was caught. Why would Aly just run away?"

"Why would Aly take unnecessary risks with her life under the false pretence that she's invincible? Gosh, Amy, I don't know," Five said sarcastically.

Amy went pale. "We have to find Aly."