It started like your stereotypical eighties highschool-misfits horror movie.

Evelyn, black hair, black clothes, piercings. The goth.

Gordan, huge glasses, skinny kid. The nerd.

Finella, blonde hair, long legs. The totally mental hot chick.

Kwame, dreads, Bob Marley shirt. The stoner and token black guy.

Then there's me. Sa'ida. That's pronounced Sa-eeda, not 'Saida' like a New Yorker trying to say 'Cider.' I'm the chubby white girl with an ethnic name that my parents chose because they wanted me to be 'unique.' I guess I'm lucky I didn't end up with a name like 'Jorunnr' or 'Pherenike.' But whatever. Not the story I'm telling you.

It was a Tuesday, I think. The boring day that has nothing notable at all about it. It's not as dreaded as Monday, not a halfway point like Wednesday, not an 'almost Friday' day like Thursday, not a TGIF day or a weekend. Just boring old normal Tuesday. Hoo-ray.

"So my uncle's got this cabin up in the woods. We should check it out this weekend, or something. Whatever." Evelyn picked at her spaghetti and is-that-a-bandaid-meatballs with her flimsy plastic fork.

"Isn't that dangerous?" God, Gordan was such a wimp.

"It's called camping, numb nuts." Good old Evelyn and her witty comebacks.

"Well I'm in." Kwame. Always the peace-keeper.

"Will there be, like, bugs there? Lawl who am I kidding? I'm so in!" Yes she actually said 'lawl.' I could not make this up. I don't even know why Finella was even part of our group. She was drop-dead gorgeous, the type of girl that was popular with everyone, the girl everyone wanted to be or be with.

"That's two. Gordan?" Evelyn sneered at him. She was really good at sneering.

"Fine. Just to prove I'm not a numb nuts and to make sure you guys don't starve to death or something."

So brave.

"Cider?" Cider. I hated it when they called me that.

"Sure."

One-word answers are the best answers.

And that was when Elliot "Stereotypical Jock" Benjamin dropped in.

"So what are the freaks up to this weekend, hm?"

Stereotypical Jock question.

"Camping!" Gordan just couldn't keep his mouth shut in the face of danger. I was a bit surprised that he wasn't pissing his pants.

"Oooh, aren't you afraid of the big bad wolf?"

Sigh. Stereotypical Jock taunt.

"Of course, Cider'd probably fuck it before it killed her."

I don't know who spread the rumor that I wanted to have sex with mythical beings and movie monsters, but if I ever meet them, I'll clap them on the back and say 'Wow, that was a spot on analysis!'

"You're just mad 'cause everyone knows your girlfriend refused to suck your baby dick, Baby Dick."

Kwame could get away with saying stuff like that. I never learned why, but I overheard once that it was because he had beat the ever-loving shit out of a kid who had 'disrespected' one of his friends or something.

"Whatever. Have fun in the woods, weirdos."

Stereotypical Jock parting.


Friday. Time to go camping. Evelyn made everyone load their stuff into her mom's RV on Thursday so we could leave right after seventh period. At three-thirty five and seven seconds, the bell screams in my ears. I haul ass out of that science classroom. Didn't want to get stuck cleaning up after squid dissection day. Why were we dissecting squids? I have no idea, I've already done it three times before in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade.

I'm the first to arrive at the RV besides miss pain and sorrow herself. She was smoking a cigarette when I got there.

"That's bad for your health." I tried to joke, but it came out flat and irritating.

"Shut the fuck up, Cider."

I wasn't clever enough to retort, so I just climbed into the motor home and set down my backpack. I slumped down in the booth/table area thing. Kwame was the next in the door, then Gordan, then Finella. Evelyn finished her cig and closed the door behind her. I recall her saying something along the lines of "The forest isn't that far away, we'll be there in an hour or whatever."

I'm not sure because I passed out with my head on the table.


I could smell it on the wind. The acrid tang of the Kainde Amedha. I felt a growl form in my throat. The nest couldn't be very large at the moment, but the Kainde Amedha reproduced very quickly.I switched the vision in my helmet from heat signatures to the Pyodhe Amedha's visible spectrum. It seemed useless to me when I was a Young Blood, but after many hunts on this backwater planet, I learned the advantages to it. Oomans may not be able to track their prey by their body heat, but they could see details that Yautja miss.. And, if I had to admit, it was beautiful in a way. The forest around me was full of rich colors splashing across the landscape. My usual sight couldn't see that. And it was through the human's visible spectrum that I learned something about myself, something that had always set me apart from the others in training. Something that made me an 'undesirable' male.

My skin is blue. Not the mottled greens and browns that were perfect for camouflage in most environments. No. I am a nearly iridescent, distinctive blue, though across my back and shoulders there are jet-black spots of differing size. During one of my early hunts in a rainforest, I found a small, venomous amphibian that shared my unusual coloration. I was about to pick it up when two oomans stumbled through the brush, one dressed in skins and one in light brown clothing and a hat. I understood most of what they were saying. Apparently the amphibian was dangerous to the touch, and its bright colors were a warning that attacking it would end very poorly for the predator.

I chuffed at the memory. Bright colors are a warning on this planet. "I'm dangerous, don't come near me." Bright colors are unwanted on mine. "I'm different, don't come near me."

The tree that I rested in swayed. Night was coming. The distinct rumble of an ooman vehicle approached from the east. Curiosity got the better of me. I judged the distance between nearby trees and leapt to the next branch. Perhaps they were here because the Kainde Amedha took someone important enough to warrant an investigation, or perhaps they were only here to, as I had heard it said, 'get away from it all.'

Whichever it was, I would soon find out.