Chapter 1

She ran, praying that the mob chasing her wouldn't catch up with her. What had she done? What was wrong? All she had done was save someone's life, and now they were chasing her and calling her a mutant! She could still see the child as he ran out into the street, how she had reached out for it, and how he had just seemed to fly back onto the sidewalk to land at her feet. For saving his life, they were ready to kill her!

Thunder rumbled overhead while lightning splintered the sky. Slipping in the puddles of an alleyway, she looked for a place to hide. Desperate, she jumped into a metal garbage can and pulled the lid down on top, hoping that no one would think to look inside for her. The sounds of the mob came closer, reached a roar, and then gradually faded away. She waited, hearing only the tinny echo of her own breathing as she willed her chest to stop pounding.

She couldn't stay in this city anymore, that was certain. People would remember her as a mutant, and they wouldn't allow it. She felt tears come to her eyes but resolutely fought them down.

"I'm not going to cry," she whispered to herself. "I'm not!"

When had things become so horrible for her? She couldn't remember. What she did remember was suddenly being able to do anything--anything she imagined, really. If she wanted to read minds, she only had to imagine herself doing it. Disappearing and reappearing? All it took was a little imagination. Changing her appearance? Simple.

As simple as her abilities were, the consequences of them became very complicated. Her family, never one to trouble itself about her in any way, either by encouraging her or punishing her, suddenly became rather watchful of her. When she had been caught practicing her abilities by her father, he had told her to pack her things. That very afternoon she landed in a "teenage treatment facility," which was a pretty fancy name for a mental home. He left her there, telling the doctors to cure her, and told her that she would come home once she was better.

She lasted there for only a week before she ran away. The doctors, counselors, staff, and other "residents" talked to her as if she were crazy. She was always watched, and if her mind wandered the slightest little bit, she was bombarded with questions as to how she was feeling or if there was anything the matter. One girl told her that if she wasn't crazy when she came in, then she would be when she left. One night, she grabbed her things, imagined herself invisible, and slipped out. Still invisible, she boarded a train which took her to the next city, and she hoped to find a place that would take a teenager who was willing to work and go to school. She wasn't going to return home.

That glorious plan ended before it had even begun since she had demonstrated her powers. Now what was she going to do? She had to leave, and the sooner she did the better. She would get onto another train that would take her somewhere else, somewhere far enough away so that no one would have heard about this.

She pushed the lid of the can up, but received the shock of her life when it slammed down on top of her. She screamed for help, positive that the mob had found her after all and had crept up on her unawares. She screamed again, pushing at the lid and praying for help from any source.

"Relax, child," she heard a deep, dignified voice say from outside of the can. "I am not here to hurt you, but to help you."

"Who are you?" she shouted to the man outside. "Let me out!" To her horror, she felt the can lift from the ground and begin moving up.

"All in good time, my dear," he said kindly. "I'll let you out once we get where we're going."

Fear suddenly settled over her like a cold, wet blanket. She had heard countless stories of mutants being snatched off the streets by the government or mad scientists wanting to experiment on them. Panicking, she felt her powers come to the fore and take over.