I knew the moment she walked in, with her long black trench and her hair dyed silver and the determined look in her eyes we were going to be friends. I saw her looking at everyone in the room, scanning them, measuring them with an expert eye. Her eyes were two different colors, one an icy blue, the other a dark blue-black, and I knew that, like my little gang, she was going to be immediately outcast. The teacher introduced her.
"Class, this is Kiira Draknin. She just moved here from out-of-state, so I want you all to be kind to her." She gave the teacher a 'Yeah-right' look as another girl in the class mumbled something that sounded like, "Where, Czechoslovakia?"
"Got a problem, girl?" asked Kiira, taking a step toward her. "Anyway, my family is Japanese, not Czech." I was impressed. I'd never seen such a small look or action look so threatening. I was definitely going to like her. Especially since she was going to get lumped in with my gang anyway.
My suspicions were confirmed when the teacher said, "Alright, Kiira, there seems to be a seat open next to Kayra. Why don't you sit next to her? Maybe she'll show you around the school." Kiira nodded politely and walked to the desk next to mind.
"Never been to a school where the teachers participated in the labeling," she muttered to herself as she sat next to me. "Lumped in with the goths already."
"Got a problem with that?"
"Not at all. Some of you are more sincere than some of them." She jerked her head at the girls who were pointedly looking away from us. "Think I'm a freak. They always do."
"I think you have an interesting genetic quirk," I replied. "Just because you have two different eyes, that doesn't mean you're an evil practitioner of the Dark Arts." I smiled. "If that were the case, my soul would already be forfeit." One of my eyes is gold. No one has been able to figure out why.
"I can see that," she laughed. "Where I come from, my family is both revered and hated. I'm told that it will change in time, once the others get used to our oddities, but, well…" She shrugged. "Humans have never been very good at tolerance, and I'm a physical reminder of the darkness in our past."
"One black eye is a physical reminder of evil in the past?" I laughed. "Never heard that one before."
"We lived in a small island town. Strange rumors grow there." She looked troubled.
"Girls," said the teacher, "I know whatever you're talking about is much more interesting than the chemical properties of cross-linking in polymers, but I'm sure you don't know everything I'm trying to teach you, so pay attention."
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Later that day, at lunchtime, I led Kiira to the table. "Hey everyone, meet the new student. Guys, this is Kiira." A general murmur of hellos came from around the table. We sat down, and I waved at the girl to my left, a dirty blonde with brown eyes. "Kiira, this is Megan. She's a junior and pretty much the leader of our little group."
"Nice to meet you," she said, and put out a hand for Kiira to shake. Kiira gripped it, a firm handshake much stronger than the one we had shared. Megan stood up to it well, and Kiira smiled. I could tell my older friend had pleased her.
"The boy next to Megan is Kyle," I said. The boy in question was tall, with black hair ad brown eyes. I used hand signs to accompany the gestures, and Kyle waved. "He's more of a conservative than most of our group. He's been shoved in with us because he can't hear." I don't know whether Kyle or I was more surprised when, in perfect American Sign Language, Kiira signed, 'How do you do?' He shook her hand and signed, 'Fine, thanks.'
Across the round table from me was a girl with a book open. Her glasses were on the table next to her and she was trying to read and eat at the same time. "This is Cali," I said. "Cali, say hello."
"Huh?" she said, looking up. "Did you say something? OH! Hi there." She resumed reading. This common occurrence elicited a sigh from Megan and a laugh from Kiira. The last girl had been quiet so far, keeping to the background as usual, though anytime she could take a cloak of authority to use at a moment's notice, and always for good reason. She was powerful, I knew, though in what way, I had no idea. "Last of our little group is Miri," I said. Kiira sharply looked up at the name, and as her eyes met Miri's, they lowered in respect. Then their eyes met again, and Miri nodded slightly, too small a gesture for anyone with less observation to notice. I could sense a stream of information pass between the two girls, then Kiira reached out a hand. "It's very nice to… meet you," she said carefully.
"And I you," Miri replied.
This little display left me completely confused. It was almost like they knew each other, but that was impossible. After all, Kiira was from out of state, and Miri we had known since middle school. An odd girl, she was actually home-schooled, but her mother let her come here to PHS to get the 'social skills' she supposedly needed. Her golden eyes were pretty much stopping her from getting any 'real-world' education in that department. Besides, Miri scared most people. Sometimes she even scared me.
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On our way to the final class of the day, Kiira kept muttering to herself and shaking her head. When asked what was wrong, she only said, "It's nothing."
"So, what do you think of my friends?" I asked to change the subject.
"They're really nice. That Miri… has she been here long?"
"At least a year or two. We still don't know a lot about her."
"You and the rest of the worlds," she muttered.
"Nothing. Is this the room?" she asked, pointing to one of the doors.
"Yep. Good thing we picked the same electives. This is programming."
Mrs. Dumont, the Computer Programming teacher, was a stern woman who also ran the business classes. She reminded me of nothing more than a bank official I had once met when my mother had taken me with her when I was ten. I was wearing all black, and although I looked very nice in my black high-heel boots, sleeveless black shirt with the sheer jacket attached and my tight-cut black and silver pants I could still tell it was a little too goth for her. Mrs. Dumont isn't that straight-laced, but she is extremely proper and entirely organized and in sequence.
The lesson was long and we chatted to pass the time while we worked on the extremely complicated sequences of code. Doesn't sound too smart, but you'd be surprised how much better two heads are than one in the coding business.
Afterward, as we were heading out, Kiira asked, "You take classes from her every day?"
"Every other day. There's a rotation here at PHS, so we have eight classes, every other class every other day. For example, we have Spanish, Math, Science, Social Studies, Computer Programming, Language Arts, and Beginning Guitar. We had Science, LA, Begin Guitar, and Programming today, so tomorrow we'll have SS, Spanish, Math, and a study hall."
"I get it now. That's actually pretty easy."
"Yep. Plus, you get two days to do any homework you have."
"That's a relief," she said, smiling.
After that we went our separate ways. Kiira easily learned the school, with it's confusing halls and strange schedule. She was a fast learner, exhibiting every ounce of that adaptability that allowed our ancestors to go from the trees of Africa to the Ice Age in Europe and eventually across the land bridge here to America. She was special, but I didn't think she was abnormal.
That is, until the new student came. Until my world was turned upside-down.
Until the Discovery.