A/N: Okay... I admit it. It has nothing to do with Twilight!! I didn't even just sit down and write it! It was a school project. The reason I put it under Twilight was because I was inspired by the whole "new kid moves to small town in washington state" thing, and the "pale, good looking person who doesn't talk to any one" thing. Don't hurt me!! I just want to know what people think. Please read and review!!


"Have you seen him?" asked Tanya, scanning the crowd for someone. "He's... different."

"Seen who?" I murmured, distracted. I was looking for Zach, and not finding him.

"The new kid!"

I wasn't paying much attention. "What new kid?" Tanya rolled her eyes, but before she could reply, I asked desperately, "You haven't seen Zach anywhere, have you?"

Tanya glared at me. "You're not listening, are you?" she demanded.

"No," I admitted. "But seriously, Zach just got back from Australia, and I haven't gotten a chance to compare schedules with him yet. I hope we have the same lunch."

Tanya sighed, "Whatever. What do you have first?"

"Umm..." I fumbled my schedule out of my pocket. "Biology?"

"Me too! Who do you have?"

I fumbled with the paper again. "Mr. Matthews. You?"

Tanya groaned in sympathy. "I'm sorry. He's, like, the meanest teacher here. I have Ms. Cheng- she's so cool."

"Well, lucky you," I muttered. Then, louder, I added, I'll see you later. Maybe I'll see Zach at lunch... Crap! I'm gonna be late! Bye." I ran off.

"Bye!" Tanya called, already turning to talk to someone else.

I dashed into the classroom a minute before the bell rang. The room was filled with the standard, black, two-person science tables. Everyone in the room was seated- there was only one empty table, in the center of the room. I hurried to it, dropped my stuff, and sat down in the seat on the left. I quickly scanned the room for anyone I might know. Well, I knew everyone, small town that Joyce is. But I looked for any of my few friends, especially my one good friend- my best friend- Zach. Dang, I thought. No one.

The bell rang, and Mr. Matthews stood and cleared his throat. He opened his mouth to speak- and then the door opened. Everyone turned to stare at the latecomer. He looked vaguely familiar to me, although I couldn't remember his name. That was kind of strange- I have a thing for names- but I do forget them occasionally. I turned back to look at Mr. Matthews. But everyone else was still looking at the tall, pale boy in the doorway. I wondered why... surely someone knew him?

"You must be Cory Min," said Mr. Matthews, glancing at the organized papers stacked on his desk. The room was suddenly filled with hushed whispers. The boy nodded, his long-ish dark brown hair flopping into his eyes. "Welcome to Washington State. You moved here from New York, correct?" asked Mr. Matthews with polite indifference. The boy nodded again.

New York? I thought. Oh, yeah- Tanya had said something about a new kid, hadn't she?

So why did he look so familiar to me?

My thoughts were interrupted as Mr. Matthews began talking again. "Well," he continued, disapproval now coloring his tone, "we do not accept tardiness in this class. In the future, please arrive to class on time." He glanced around, taking in the full room... and the empty seat next to me. "Why don't you take a seat next to Miss Robinson over there?" Mr. Matthews gestured in my general direction, and the new boy- Cory, I told myself- shuffled down the aisle. When he reached my table, I scooted my chair in, and he edged past me. He slid into the other chair, slipping his nondescript black backpack to the floor as he did so, and slumping down in his seat. He stared down at the desk.

"The person you are sitting next to will be your lab partner for the rest of the semester, so I'll give you a few minutes to get to know each other," Mr. Matthews grudgingly announced to the class as he retreated behind his desk. The room immediately erupted into talking and laughter as friends informed each other about their fabulous summers.

I'm a bit shy, and prefer to let other people make the first move, but when Cory didn't stir, I leaned toward him slightly and said in a friendly voice, "Hi... my name is Suze."

He turned his head only slightly toward me. His hair hung in his face, and his bright green eyes (a surprise, after the muted tones of everything else about him) stared out at me for one long moment from behind the curtain of hair. His only reply was an intense, piercing silence. And then he looked away, looking down at the shiny black tabletop again.

What the heck? I thought angrily. He didn't have to be so RUDE!! I glared at him for a second before folding my arms and looking away.

Eventually Mr. Matthews cleared his throat. The room fell silent, and he stood to hand out a class syllabus. He began to talk about his class, and I tuned him out. I turned my thoughts to Zach, and the rest of the hour flew by.

When the bell rang, Cory rose quickly with his bag. Suddenly, I noticed that he was definitely on the tall side. I mean, I had noticed that he was tall, just not quite how tall he was. He was maybe 5'11", while I was closer to 5'4"... medium-short. As he moved toward the door, I watched people move out of his way. He didn't look weird or anything- his hair was the same color as my shoulder-length layers, and there were guys his height (and even a couple taller than him) in my class. Although, no one else had such pale, flawless skin, but still... But it was almost as though he had an aura of... different-ness enveloping him. Something about his body language seemed to say, "Stay away- I don't want to be friends."

Geez, I thought, someone's not adjusting well.

My next class was Geometry with sweet Ms. Turner. I pushed Cory out of my mind as I hurried to Ms. Turner, and then Mrs. Case for creative writing. The two classes, neither of which contained either Cory or Zach, both flashed by quickly, and then it was lunchtime.

With relief, I dashed to the cafeteria and scanned the miniscule sea of familiar faces. (Roosevelt High is tiny.) Zach was nowhere in sight. "Ugh," I groaned.

Spotting Emily, the quiet girl in my creative writing class, I headed toward her. But then I saw Cory sitting at a table by himself. There was no food in front of him, and he was staring blankly down at the table in front of him. I hesitated for a moment- then abruptly changed direction.

I said nothing as I dumped my stuff on the ground and plopped down in the empty seat across from him. His eyes slid up to my face, and a brief flicker of annoyance crossed his face. And then he was Zombie Boy again, staring blankly down at the table. I leaned forward, staring expectantly at him for nearly two full minutes.

Finally, he glared up at me through his bangs, and spoke. "Do you want something?" he asked brusquely. The brief shock that ran through me as I realized that this was the first time I had heard him speak was quickly replaced by a growing flare of anger at his hostility. First his rudeness earlier, now this!

"Oh, you have a voice?" I fumed sarcastically. "And here I was taking pity on you because I thought you were mute."

He glared at me.

"I mean," I continued angrily, "what is your problem? You have all these people talking to you, trying to be friendly, and you just glare at them. I bet you haven't spoken all day!" Of course, there was no way I could possibly have known this for sure, but I must have hit something close to the truth, because he suddenly looked even madder. He opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him off. "Do you not want to have friends? Is that it?"

His expression changed unexpectedly, confusing me. He looked a bit wistful, and almost... sad. My rage immediately shriveled up and died. I absolutely hate making people feel bad. "No," he said quietly after a long moment of awkward silence. "I don't want to have friends."

I stared at him. Who would not want to have friends? And why? I mean, I don't have a ton of friends- I prefer to have only a few, good friends. In fact, I only have one really close friend- Zach. We've been best friends since second grade. But to have no friends? No one to pass notes to in class, no one to call for help with your homework, no one to be excited for you when you get asked out, no one to cry for you when you get dumped... no one. What kind of life would that be? The dead, dried up ball of anger in my chest promptly blossomed into compassion.

"Why not?" I asked softly.

Cory's face hardened. "I just don't," he said stubbornly. "And it's none of your business. So could you please leave me alone now?"

Hurt, I leaned back. "Fine," I said curtly. I glanced at the lunchroom clock. There was still about ten minutes left of lunch. I stood, scooping my backpack off the linoleum floor. "I'll see you around, then," I said icily.

"Yeah, whatever," Cory muttered under his breath as I stalked off.

My head was spinning, my mind stuck on Cory. What was up with him? He'd said he didn't want friends, which was strange enough. Then there was his expression when he said it- it didn't make sense. It was almost as if he did want friends, but someone- or something- was stopping him. And why did he look so familiar? Did I know him from somewhere?

I suddenly realized I had no idea where I was going. I had kept walking, out of the cafeteria and right out of the school. I was standing, confused, on the school's front lawn where I had spoken with Tanya this morning. Making a decision, I turned around and headed toward the main doors and back into the building. The bathroom, I figured, would be a safe place to check the messages on my cell phone- maybe Zach had texted me.

When I reached the bathroom, I slipped into the first stall and dropped my backpack. I leaned against the stall door as I fished my phone out of my pocket and flipped it open. No new text messages... but there was a voice mail. From Zach! I grinned.

I dialed the voice mail box happily. I entered in my five-digit code (51292- my birthday) and waited for the message to start. The message was from 9:32 AM- a couple of hours ago.

Zach's cheerful voice filled my ears. "Hey Suze! What's up? Yes, Australia was great. No, I did not see any wild kangaroos, and I most definitely did not bring you one. Okay, I know you're probably freaking out 'cause I'm not at school." His voice turned apologetic. "I'm sorry... my plane was delayed, like, three hours, and then we missed the connection flight. We actually just got home, like, five minutes ago. I know you're anxious, so here's my schedule: Biology-" Yes! "-Ms. Cheng." Dang. "Geometry- Ms. Turner." Ha! Good thing there was an empty seat near me in that class. "Honor Band- Mr. Langor." Pshht. Band geek. "Now, Suze, I've told you not to call me a band geek! It's rude." He knows me way too well. "First lunch (and I know you have that), then P.E.- Mr. Handle." Yay! That's two classes so far... "French- Ms. Enders." Grr... I had German. "And... I'm a T.A. in the office. Ha, ha- you're in History, huh?" That loser. "Anyway, call me tonight. See you later."

Bye, Zach, I thought. I was glad he called me, although I wish he had been able to call me sooner so I wouldn't have freaked out.

I looked at the clock on my phone- I had about three minutes before the bell rang. Grabbing my stuff, I left the stall. As I was about to leave the bathroom, I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror. I paused and set down my stuff at my feet, to fix my hair.

And then I was spinning-

-spinning, spinning-

-I couldn't breathe-

-the darkness was closing-

-closing over my head-

And then it overtook me.

I was in a house. It was a nice house, big, but not too fancy. But something was wrong... the blackness. The house was way too dark- there were no lights on. And something else- the stillness. Was this a dream? The dream was silent. Suddenly, I noticed a flickering light at the end of a long hallway. I headed toward it. As I moved closer, I could see two dark shapes on the floor. Gradually, I was filling with inexplicable dread. I got even closer- and realized the two dark shapes were people. A man and a woman, both dressed in pajamas. I was suddenly filled with horror as I realized they were lying in a small pool of their own blood. I had just taken all this in, when a tall, pale boy stepped out of a doorway. He didn't appear to notice me. Then I saw the gun clutched in his hand. He looked down at the people- and grinned. It was a crazy grin, positively insane. He said something, but I couldn't hear him. Abruptly, his head jerked up and he looked up at me... no, past me. I turned. There was a small boy standing there looking frightened, probably no more than five or six years old. The small boy asked the older boy something. I couldn't hear what; the dream was still completely soundless. The tall boy replied with a sneer. Then he laughed, a wild, crazy laugh, and raised his gun. He pointed it toward the boy and took a step toward him...

The darkness was fading.

There was a blinding flash of white light, which swiftly faded to a brilliant yellow, then a dirtier yellow. Finally, it receded to the dim light of the C-building's restrooms.

I was still facing the mirror. Heart racing and breath coming in shallow gasps, I hurriedly took in my appearance. My clothes remained unruffled- the ribbed blue tank was still perfectly set over the longer white one. Still, I fidgeted with them until I was satisfied that they hung perfectly over my tight dark jeans. My eyes traveled slowly upward. I straightened my necklaces. My eyes continued their gradual journey up, stopping when they reached my face. The wide eyes, flushed cheeks, and overall expression of horror were not as easily remedied as the clothes, though. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, forcing myself to calm down. Attempting to squash down the panic, I shoved the disturbing images to the back of my mind, to be dealt with later. I knew, though, that the panic and horror could not be suppressed for long, because of something I had seen. What I had seen was this: the tall boy had looked a lot like someone I knew.

It was Cory.


The rest of the school day flashed by. Cory was in my German class, as well as History, and we both pointedly ignored each other. Well, he pretty much ignored everyone- but of course if someone talked to him he would look up at them and stare until they walked away. He refused to even look at me.

When I got home, my parents were just leaving. They were going on a four-day cruise. And leaving me alone. (Yes, just after the first day of school. They did this last year, too. I could feel a tradition in the making...) For some odd reason, my parents trusted me inherently. They knew I wouldn't get into any trouble while they were gone. But all the same, there were rules. Or, I should say, a rule.

"Bye, honey," my mom exclaimed, donning her long black coat. "Remember, no visitors while we're gone."

My dad suddenly appeared in the garage doorway. "Not even Zach," he added.

I sighed. "I know. You guys have fun on the cruise," I told them.

My mom smiled. "Thanks, honey!"

"Don't set the house on fire!" my dad grinned cheerfully.

"Alright," I agreed.

They bustled out the door, and I waited until the car was out of sight before I dashed up to my room to call Zach.

He picked up immediately.

"Suze?"

I frowned. "How did you know?"

He laughed. "No one else ever calls my room phone- they don't know when I'm home." I could hear the smile in his voice as he teased, "Stalker!" After we both stopped laughing, he continued. "So... how was school?"

"Great! But we only have two classes together."

"What?! In a school that small? But there's only, like, three teachers for every subject!" he fumed. "That's ridiculous."

"I know," I said unhappily.

He sighed. "Oh, well," he said. "At least we have lunch together. So," his voice became cheerful again, "did anything interesting happen at school today?"

"Not really. Well-" I broke off, thinking of Cory. "-actually, yeah. There's a new boy at our school."

"Really?!" I could practically hear Zach's eyes bugging out of his head. Not that I blamed him... no one ever came here.

I laughed. "Yeah. But he's..." I paused, remembering the term Tanya had used to describe him that morning. "He's... different."

I knew Zach was rolling his eyes. "How so?" he asked slowly, as if I were stupid.

"I don't know. At first I thought he was just quiet. Then I thought he was just-" I scowled, remembering lunchtime, "rude. But then I had a vision."

"Oh..." Zach trailed off, his voice immediately much more somber. Zach knew all about my... um... gift. It wasn't like I got visions all the time or anything- just when something really big was going on. Zach was the only one who knew about them. Last time I had visions, we eventually figured out that this teacher at our school was a perverted psychopath. That was pretty scary. I've probably had at least fifty visions- but only about five different ones. The way it works- for me, anyways- is that I'll get one vision, over and over, until I finally figure out what it means. "So..." continued Zach slowly, "You wanna tell me what happened?"

"Um, yeah," I said. "Let me start at the beginning..." I told him everything that had happened to me today, ending with my vision. It took me almost twenty minutes.

"Wow," Zach breathed. "That's rather... interesting."

"A bit," I replied dryly. Sighing, I said, "You are coming to school tomorrow, right?"

"Of course," he grinned. "I have to meet this kid."

"Well, I have three classes with him, none of which you are in, so you might have to go bug him at lunch or something."

Zach laughed. "Sounds good to me." He paused. "Well, this has been very interesting, but I'm pretty sure Lisa's going to die if I don't get off the phone right now, because apparently Mom's hogging the other phone. So, I'll see you before school?"

"You better, or I'll come over there and kick your butt," I threatened.

He laughed again. "Okay, I'll meet you in the parking lot. Bye!"

"Bye," I said, hanging up. I set the phone back in the cradle and lay down on my bed. Thankfully, I had no homework, meaning I could just think for awhile. I stared at the ceiling, thoughts of Cory crowding my brain once more. All of a sudden, I leapt off my comfortable bed. I raced across my spacious room, tripping over the grey and gold backpack that lay by the door where I had dumped it when I came in. Regaining my balance, I slid into my spinny turquoise office chair. (Don't ask me where my mom found a turquoise office chair, but I love it.)

While I waited for my computer to boot up, I asked myself exactly what it was I thought I was going to find. I had to admit I had absolutely no idea.

My computer finished loading, and the login screen popped up. I rapidly typed in my password, mis-typing it three times in my haste. Finally, the computer accepted my password, and the internet came up. I went to Google, hesitated, and then typed in "Cory Min," with quotations for an exact phrase.

What came up was not at all what I expected. There was nothing at all about Cory Min- I hadn't really thought there would be. But there was also no random websites that had nothing to do with Cory.

There was absolutely nothing.

I glared at the monitor for another minute. Then I sighed, and turned it off. I looked at my reflection in the black screen.

And then the blackness moved in on me, closing over my head, stopping my breath, spinning the world around me...

Then I was back in the dark house. I spotted the flickering light again, and headed toward it. There was the couple lying on the floor, their blood soaking into the expensive-looking Oriental rug. I stepped toward them- and then the tall, pale boy was there clutching his gun, eyes wild, laughing madly. I spun around, knowing the small boy would be there as well. He was. His eyes were wide, terrified. I stepped toward him, meaning to comfort him. Suddenly, everything vanished.

And then I was sitting in my chair, clutching the desk and gasping for breath. Great, I thought. This was clearly going to keep happening until I figured out what it meant, just like all the other visions. The only thing I knew was that it had already happened, because all my visions took place in the past.

I sighed. That information was not so helpful. Although, Cory looked almost exactly the same... It must have been recently, I decided. Maybe that's why his family moved here- to start over. That made sense.

Suddenly, I realized that my eyelids were drooping. I glanced at my alarm clock. It was almost 10 o'clock... okay. I could go to bed. I quickly got ready for bed, then climbed between the cool sheets. I immediately went out like a light.


"I expect you to have your project outline finished by tomorrow, so you'll probably have to get together with your partner tonight," announced Mr. Matthews the next morning, amidst loud groans. I peered at Cory out of the corner of my eye. His brown hair hid his face as he stared down at his pale hands spread out on the table in front of him. "The public library is closed today, so you'll probably have to go to someone's house. You can have the last fifteen minutes of class to work on it. Go ahead."

I turned to Cory, who reluctantly turned his head to look at me. "We can't go to my house," I said as he opened his mouth. "I'm not allowed to have visitors while my parents are out of town."

He closed his mouth and scowled. "I guess we'll have to go to my house, then. Unless you just want me to do it?"

"No!" I said quickly. When he raised his eyebrows, I added more slowly, "I mean... how am I supposed to understand the project if I don't help with the outline?"

Cory stared at me for a second, then turned away. "Whatever," he mumbled.

"Um... where do you live?"

He looked at me, then sighed. He tore a page out of his notebook and wrote his address on it. Slowly, he slid the paper across the desk to me. He looked back down at his hands on the table.

"And-"

"Come at three-thirty," he cut me off without looking up.

"Um... okay," I replied. The other groups were frantically working on their outlines, trying to get the hour assignment done before the bell rang, but Cory and I remained silent.

For the next ten minutes, he stared blankly down at his hands, and I doodled in my notebook without paying much attention to what I was drawing. When the bell rang, I looked at my paper and realized I had sketched the scene from my vision, with the couple on the ground and the tall boy standing over them, the strange light flickering in the background. Cory glanced over at my notebook as he stood up- and froze. He stared at my picture, his expression registering shock.

I watched him for a second. "What?" I demanded.

He blinked twice, and then his face was blank again.

"Nothing."


At lunch, Zach told me that Cory was in Honor Band with him- he played drums. "That boy's friggin' scary." Zach added. "His hands are, like, invisible. And he didn't mess up once. And when everyone was like, 'Oh, you're so good,' you know? He just, like... looked at them until they shut up. It was weird."

I told him that I was going to Cory's house after school, and he just raised his eyebrows. "Whatever," he muttered darkly. "It's your funeral."


I have to admit I was pretty nervous as I knocked on the door at the address Cory had given me. Zach's words rang in my head as I heard footsteps hurrying toward the door, and I shook my head at myself. It's not like he was a psychotic axe murderer or anything. No, I thought wryly, he's just a deranged gun murderer. No big deal.

The door opened, and I looked up, expecting to see Cory. I frowned... there was no one there. I looked down- oh. I must have the wrong address. The lady smiling up at me from the doorway was extremely short, and very, very Chinese. The opposite of Cory's tall paleness. Yep. Definitely the wrong house.

Or not. "You must be Suze!" That would be evidence to the contrary. "Cory's lab partner? I'm Mrs. Min, Cory's mother." Her cheerful, friendly voice had no hint of an accent.

More footsteps approached. "Is that Cory's friend?" asked a male voice. Friend? I thought. I resisted the urge to snort loudly. Yeah. Right. A short, Chinese man appeared from nowhere.

"Yes, dear, this is Cory's friend Suze. Suze, this is my husband, Mr. Min."

I didn't bother to correct them about the "friend" thing.

"Is Cory here?" I asked politely, peering over their heads. Not too hard- they were nearly as short next to me as I was next to Cory. He has to be adopted, I thought incredulously.

"Up the stairs and last door on your right, honey," said cheerful Mrs. Min.

"Thanks," I said brushing past Cory's parents. I climbed the stairs and walked swiftly down the hall, lowing as I reached the last door on the right. I could hear quiet music coming from within. I knocked cautiously on the door.

"Come in," came Cory's bored voice.

I slowly opened the door, and carefully looked around Cory's bedroom. It was small, made smaller by the large bed sticking out into the middle of the room. The black covers sharply contrasted with the pale boy sprawled across them. His white t-shirt was a welcome change from the black hoodie he'd worn today and yesterday to school.

He was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, long white hands hidden under his head.

Suddenly, I recognized the music. "I love this song!" I exclaimed, surprised. He was listening to "Broken Man" by Boys Like Girls- one of the best songs ever.

He looked at me, a little surprised. "Really?"

"Yes! Boys Like Girls is my favorite band."

"Hmmm... me too." He frowned, and I wondered why. He sat up, then paused. "I suppose we should start our outline," he said slowly.

"Okay." I set my backpack down on the floor, and sat down next to it. While I shuffled through it looking for my science notebook, Cory slid off his bed and onto the floor, sitting about three feet away and facing me. I pulled out my notebook from the bottom of my already cluttered backpack (after only two days of school- not such a promising start). Opening it to a blank page, I took the pencil Cory was wordlessly holding out to me. I immediately began sketching a couple of ideas I'd had earlier. "So, I was thinking we could do something like this-" I pointed with the pencil "-or maybe this." He edged closer to see better, then nodded.

"I like the second one."

"Okay, let's do that one, then," I said in a business-like voice. Flipping the page, I started sketching it again, larger and more detailed this time. This isn't bad at all, I thought. He's not even being rude.

About an hour later, we were surrounded by crumpled pieces of paper, discarded ideas. But the outline was done.

"Finally," I sighed, throwing down the pencil. "My hand hurts like heck."

He gave a small smile, showing a few of his perfect white teeth. "You're really good at drawing, though."

I stopped gathering paper balls, startled by the unexpected compliment. I felt my face getting hot. "Um... thanks?"

He laughed quietly. "You're welcome."

"So," I began, attempting to make small talk. "Your parents..."

He eyed me with amusement, anticipating my question. "Yes. I'm adopted."

I sighed. "Okay. Just checking. 'Cause otherwise... well, that would just be, like, really weird."

He grinned, showing me all his teeth this time. "Yeah. I know." His smile faded, and his eyes turned sad. "My real parents-" he cleared his throat. "Well, they died when I was about six."

"I'm sorry," I said softly. I paused. "How did they...?"

He looked past me, looking back in time. "Well, everyone thinks they died in the fire. And that's what we tell people. But I know better. James and Laura- my adopted parents- they don't know I know." His voice was quiet. "My real parents were murdered." He paused, and came back to the present. He narrowed his eyes at me, and his voice was accusing. "But you know that, don't you?"

A chill went down my spine at the look in his eyes. "What are you talking about?" I asked faintly.

He snatched my notebook up off the floor, flipping to the back- to the sketch I'd done in Biology that morning. He shoved the picture in my face angrily. "I'm talking about this."

"That was just me doodling," I protested unconvincingly.

He snorted. "Yeah, and you somehow knew exactly what my mom and dad looked like? And-" his voice shook with anger and hatred, and his eyes blazed. "-him. You drew him, too."

"I-" I stopped. Him? Wasn't that Cory? "Wait- what? Who's him?"

"He is Cory." Huh? "My brother." HUH?

"Huh?" I asked, confused. "Aren't you Cory?"

He sighed. "No," he said. "I'm Justin. Justin Dean. And that's Cory Dean. I'm adopted, remember? I took my brother's name."

"What?! Why?" Cory didn't kill his parents? Um... this Cory, not that Cory, I mean. Cory Min, not Cory Dean. Uh- I mean Justin Dean, not Cory Dean. Wait... what? "Um... you wanna start at the beginning?"

Cory- um, Justin- sighed again. "Okay. First I have to give you a little family history...

"So, Cory Dean was always a little weird. As he got older, he got weirder. Then, Rosalie Dean (my mom) had her second son (me), when Cory was nine. That's when they figured out something was wrong. My mom brought me home from the hospital and showed him to Cory. Cory was amazed by how tiny I was. But after a few weeks of his parents cooing over me and ignoring him, he began to feel resentful and jealous toward me. So one night, soon after they moved me in to share a room with Cory, he formed a plan. That night, Cory tried to suffocate me. Luckily for me, my mom walked in to check on them, and pulled Cory off me. You may have heard of similar things happening with jealous two-year-olds. But Cory was nine- he should have known better.

"Soon after that, Jack (my dad) and my mom put Cory into counseling. But he didn't get better- in fact, he got worse. By the time he was twelve, he had been officially declared insane and was locked away in an asylum.

"Our grandmother, Jane, didn't believe that Cory was insane, and she managed to convince Mom's brother Sam that my mom and dad had just wanted to get rid of Cory because they loved me more. Sam still lived with Grandma Jane, and, unfortunately for the Deans, she and Sam were both probably insane, too.

"Cory hated the 'home,' and frequently tried to escape, never succeeding. That is, until Sam and Grandma decided that he didn't belong there, so they busted him out. Unfortunately, he'd spent the past three years listening to his grandmother and uncle when they visited, telling him how horrible his parents were, and that they didn't love him. Naturally, he was extremely resentful, and I don't know how he got it, but he found a gun somewhere. He found our parents' house and broke in, in the middle of the night. The power was out, and there were candles lit in the kitchen. Cory knocked one over- and the fire started.

"Mom came downstairs to get a midnight snack. She saw the fire and screamed. Dad came rushing downstairs- and found Cory shooting my mom. Dad rushed to her, and Cory shot him, too. I heard the gun and came downstairs. I came upon Cory, waving the gun, standing over our parents' bodies. Frightened, I ran away, only to be chased by Cory. I tripped, and a table that had caught on fire collapsed, trapping Cory. Cory died there, in the fire, and I made it outside. When the fire department got there, it was too late.

"I was adopted by my neighbors. But Sam and Grandma still blamed me for my parents' supposed corruption. They came after me. After my adopted parents were severely injured by Sam and Grandma, I was put in a program similar to long-term witness protection. The Mins, who were part of the program, and had been trained to protect me, adopted me. When they adopted me, I was seven. We lived happily in New York for about six years.

"Then, when I was thirteen, I made a new friend- Andy. Andy seemed nice enough. He was polite. He was bright. The Mins liked him. He became my best friend. But once I got to know Andy, I realized Andy was different from the other kids; Andy knew things. And things he didn't know, he could find out, through a combination of amazing research skills and... um... don't laugh... psychic ability. So he found out about my past for me. That's how I know all this.

"After that, we became closer than ever. So, a couple of weeks after my fifteenth birthday, when Sam and Grandma found me, Andy was with me. He was a year and a half older than me- sixteen and a half. He had his license. We wanted to go to the skate park, so he borrowed his dad's car and we started out. Sam and Grandma followed us and rammed their truck into us. Sam, Grandma, and... Andy all died. I survived, but I was traumatized.

"The Mins decided to move away. I heard them talking. We were moving to a small town, so that I wouldn't have all the memories of Andy, and I could make some new friends. But I didn't want to forget Andy. I'd decided not to have friends anymore. I still held the irrational fear that, even though Sam and Grandma were gone, anyone who was friends with me was in danger. To remind myself of this, to make sure I didn't hurt anyone else, I changed my name to Cory. I refused to respond to Justin anymore, said that Justin had died with Andy. Sam and Grandma had wanted to kill Justin, and they succeeded. Every time someone says my name now, I think of Andy, and what happened to him because he was my friend. So I don't make friends anymore.

"And... here I am." Cory's voice had grown hoarse, and sad.

I stared at him for a long moment. Finally, I found my voice. "Um... wow?"

He smiled sadly. "Yeah." He thought for a moment, then looked up at me. "So... how did you draw the picture?"

I sighed. "Remember what you said about... um... psychic abilities?"

He frowned. "Yeah?"

"Well," I continued in a rush, "don't laugh, but... I have visions. I see things- things that have happened in the past."

He didn't laugh. Instead, he appeared thoughtful. "And you saw Cory kill my parents?"

I shuddered. "No." I paused. "But I saw him standing over their bodies. And I saw a flickering light- that must have been the fire. And I saw... you."

There was silence then. The CD had ended over a half hour ago. I was the first one to speak. "Well... I should go, then."

"Right," he answered stiffly, as I scooped up my bag. But as I turned to go, he said "Suze, wait-" I turned back to look at him, and he stammered, "I- I... could you, um, please eat lunch with me tomorrow? I mean... would you?" I must have looked stunned, because he quickly amended, "You- you don't have to! It's just that- it's nice to have company. And you- you could- you could bring your friend! Zach, right?"

"Yeah..." I said slowly. Then I grinned. "Will you talk to us?"

He looked relieved. He probably thought I thought he was asking me out or something. He grinned widely. "Um, yeah!"

"Alright."

"Later, Suze."

"Later, Justin."

He frowned. "Don't call me that." I just laughed and walked out the door.

"Whatever."


A/N: I'm sorry, I'm sorry!! -squeals and dodges rotten vegetables- Seriously, though... good? Bad? Completely sucky and I should never write again? PLEASE review!! Flames welcome... (well, don't be too mean... but constructive criticism helps!) Obviously, praise is fabulous too. Everyone who's read this so far says the ending feels rushed, but you can't be mad at me!! The assignment was to write a mystery at least 5 pages long. The teacher said if it went past 15 pages she wouldn't read the rest. (:C) Mine was 22 pages handwritten, and 19 pages typed until I took the font down, like, 4 sizes. Anyway, please review! Even if all you have to say is that I made a typo or grammatical error. Actually, if I have made a typo or grammatical error, please let me know so I can fix it.

If I write anything else, it will probably be under Maximum Ride, and it will probably actually be a fanfiction!!!!!!! Hurray for me! Go on, hit the little purple button...