A New School

The gentle tapping of the nun's footsteps echoed outside Lana's door. Hurriedly she placed the photo of her and her parents, the only photo of her and her parents, under the pillow but before she could lie down and pretend to still be asleep, the nuns hand was on the door handle and the door opened. Lana groaned inside her head. The nun beamed with delight to see Lana sitting up, her face crinkling. "Ahh Lana," she said softly in her withered old voice, "So nice for you to be finally up. Has your headache gone?" Lana turned to face the nun. "Yes, Sister Greta," she said with a hint of resentment in her voice. However this resentment was not for sister Greta, but for the lost chance of spending time alone outside away from the orphanage.

"Are you feeling hungry Lana?" asked the nun picking up her abandoned sewing. Lana picked at the duvet cover absentmindedly. "I don't know," she said. "Not really." The nun snorted. "Rubbish!" she said her eyes focused on her sewing. "All young girls must eat food. You'll turn into an anorexic Lana! You are already too skinny; the sisters and I have decided we need to put some more meat on you. And do you know what that means?" Lana looked up hopefully. "More junk food?" she asked playing with her cross. The nun shook her head laughing slightly, a strange, halting, accented laugh.

Her face became serious. "No," she said, "The sisters and I agreed on a strict diet for all the children. That means only fresh, wholesome, organic food. None of this chocolate or soda. Instead you will have our lovely fresh vegetables and lots of cream and cheese to make you plumper." Lana sighed flinging herself back on the pillow dramatically.

"You are lucky Lana," said Sister Greta. "You have a wonderful diet and you are healthy and are happy here." Lana sat up. "Yes, happy…" she remarked sarcastically. Sister Greta beamed at Lana, oblivious to the sarcasm in her voice. "See I told you. Oh and speaking of changes I have some news for you."

Lana turned away from the window that she had been gazing out of longingly, wishing to be outside of the tall walls surrounding the orphanage. "What?" she asked curiously. "The sisterhood and I have decided that it would be best fro you to start school seeing as you are the oldest child in the sanctuary." Lana's jaw dropped. "Say again?" Lana said in confusion. The nun tutted at Lana's choice of language. "I said my dear, that tomorrow you are to start school. We can teach you no more."

"I'm 15!" argued Lana in protest. "I don't need to go to school anymore!" She ran one hand through her bed ruffled hair. "Your name has been on the waiting list since you were born. This is quite a special school. We believe it will help you fulfil your potential." Lana stared at the nun in shock. "You mean you're sending me to retard school?"

"No, no," said Sister Greta reassuringly. "It's not that sort of special school. It's for very talented people. You will understand tomorrow." Suddenly the nun gave out a small gasp. Lana looked up from her sulk, seeing the nun clutching her finger, where a small droplet of blood was forming from a cut. "Do you want me to get a plaster?" asked Lana concerned. Sister Greta shook her head and smiled. "No, no I will be fine," said Sister Greta. "Now just run along to dinner please, and make sure you eat every last mouthful!" Lana left the room, half glad that the conversation with the nun had taken place without any mention of God.

Back in Lana's room, Sister Greta examined the small cut from the needle. As she did so suddenly her already hazel eyes began to turn a lime green colour and slowly the skin of her cut finger, wove back into place, the small capillaries knitting themselves back together until only a small droplet of blood was left on the nuns finger. Smiling the nun pulled a tissue from her cardigan and wiped away the blood.

Lana awoke to the high pitched squeal of Sister Bertha's voice. "Morning sunshine," she squealed in Lana's ear, her voice a soft Irish lilt. She pulled open the curtains enthusiastically. Lana raised her head from the pillow struggling to open her heavy eyes. She glanced at the alarm clock on her chest of drawers and let her head fall back to the pillow. "It's 7 o'clock!" she moaned as Sister Bertha pulled the covers off the bed, leaving Lana shivering in the crisp September air coming through the open window. "Yes and your bus arrives in one hour!" said Sister Bertha cheerfully. "Isn't it exciting?" She clapped her hands together with a broad grin on her plump face.

Lana sat up sleepily. "Fine," she groaned, "I'm up!" She stood up and grabbed her clothes off the end of her bed. She trudged out of her room and down the corridor to the shared bathroom. Thankfully it was empty as most of the other kids would probably be in bed. She had a quick shower then climbed out and dried her hair with a towel letting it curl at her shoulders. She pulled on her jeans and slipped her long rolling stones top over her head before fastening a studded belt around her waist. She quickly brushed her teeth and washed her face.

Glancing at her watch she saw it was quarter to eight. Giving her reflection one last glance she dashed back to her room and pulled on her personalised converses. Grabbing her bag, she rushed downstairs to the small kitchen, which was thankfully empty and sneakily grabbed a piece of toast before running out of the door and down the path. Reaching the gate she noted the bus that was just about to pull up. Without stopping to open the gate she placed her hand on the top and half jumped, half climbed over the gate. She landed just as the bus pulled up and stopped. Taking a deep breath she climbed on board.

"Howdy there," called the bus driver, a 30 year old man wearing a baseball cap, a big smile on his chubby face. "Ron Wilson, bus driver." Lana eyed him warily. "Um, hi" Behind her the bus door hissed shut and she gave a slight start. As she moved to the aisle, she noticed someone waving her over. She walked towards him nervously. He was a boy, about the same age as her, with white hair, noticeably pale skin and red eyes. He was quite good looking, in a cute sort of way. "Hey you can sit here, if you want." Lana nodded gratefully and sat down. "I'm Xander by the way." Said the boy. Lana smiled. "I'm Lana."

Xander smiled excitedly. "Cool, oh in case you haven't noticed yet, I'm an albino. Just in case you are wondering about the eyes." Lana nodded appreciatively. "So you're new huh?" asked Xander rummaging through hi pocket. "Yeah," replied Lana. "You?" Xander looked up. "Gum?" he asked offering a packet of gum. "Um, no thanks" said Lana. Xander popped some gum into his own mouth. "Nah," he said answering her previous question. "This is my second year. But we'll be in the same class won't we. How old are you?"

"15," said Lana, slightly overwhelmed by the talkative Xander. "Cool, cool. Same." said Xander. "So what's your power?" Lana turned to Xander puzzled. "What-?" she asked. She was suddenly cut short when 2 heavy grey seatbelts snaked across her hest and pulled her back tightly to the chair. Glancing around she noticed the same had happened to everyone else, but no one seemed as puzzled as she did, in fact most of the kids seemed excited as if waiting for something to happen.

Suddenly she was snapped back against the chair as the bus fell and tumbled through air. She let out a moan of terror. Next to her she heard other shrieks but this seemed to be of enjoyment rather than fear. Turning to look at Xander, she noticed the look of enjoyment in his eyes and his hands were in the air, as were most of the other kids.

Suddenly she felt the bus regain control and it began to move normally again. But as she looked out of the window she was quite shocked to just see clouds and blue sky. "What was that?" she asked Xander breathlessly. "What is going on?" Xander looked at her as if she was stupid. "Oh yeah," he said suddenly a smile on his face, "I keep forgetting you're new. The only way to get to Sky High is to fly obviously, but Ron just likes to make it fun." Lana looked at him suspiciously, one eyebrow raised. "Fly?" she asked. "Yeah!" said Xander nodding enthusiastically. "Look there it is!" he said pointing out of the window. "Sky High!" Lana followed his finger to see a collection of large buildings floating in the sky! Her mouth dropped. Slowly the bus landed on a patch of tarmac in front of the buildings.

"Welcome to Sky High!" said Xander happily, patting Lana's shoulder. He grabbed his bag and stood up, and Lana did the same. Slowly in a daze she got off the bus staring up at the buildings. Xander suddenly grabbed her hand and pulled her forwards. "Come on," he told her already walking up some steps, "I'll take you to the reception." Lana followed obediently looking in awe at the school. With disbelief she noticed kids flying, running incredibly fast. She noticed two boys suddenly get turned into a block of ice, by a tall thin girl, who walked off smiling.

"Xander?" she asked hesitantly. He stopped and turned to look at her. "Yeah?" he asked cocking his head to the side. "What is this place?" she asked gesturing to the school, from where they stood at the top of some steps leading into the biggest building. He grinned and put his arm around her. "This is the greatest collection of future heroes and sidekicks in the world!" Lana suddenly understood everything. A goofy smile spread across her face as they walked inside the school. He took her to sit her on a blue plastic chair then said something to a young woman at a desk. They both turned and smiled at her as a bell rang over head. Xander walked over to Lana sheepishly, his hand sin his pockets.

"Well I have to be off," he said gesturing somewhere behind him, "But can we meet up at lunch?" Lana nodded, glad to have made a friend already. "Sure." Xander flashed her another bright smile then walked off down the corridor turning just before he reached the end. "Oh and good luck with power placement!" he called to her as he went through a door? "What's power placement?" she called after him, but he was already gone. The sinking feeling in Lana's stomach deepened. Power placement did not sound like a very good thing at all.