CHAPTER EIGHT

"Death angels?"

She nodded casually. "They're the powerful kind of ghosts who pass judgment to supernaturals for all the wrongdoings they've committed in life. All supernaturals are afraid of them because of all the legends surrounding them. And so they're afraid to talk about ghosts."

He tried to see it, but couldn't find any hint of fear in her voice or on her face. "But you're not. I can see it on your face."

She smiled, her eyes brightened. "Let's just say I have a connection to one of them."

Maybe a very good one, too, he thought and asked, "Is there anyone else here who can see ghosts?"

"Holiday can see them, and Burnett can sense them. My great-aunt can also feel their presence. But it's a very rare power, not many people have it."

"I'm guessing some higher power believe that you can make use of it in ways that other people can't."

She snorted. "And sometimes I wish they wouldn't put that much faith in us. Ain't an easy job."

They laughed. Then Snow changed the subject.

"What about chameleons? Burnett gave me the basics. He said that they're - you're a blend of several species." He studied her pattern in hopes of finding a connection. "But I don't see anything on your pattern that shows those traits."

She snorted uncomfortably. "It's very weird, isn't it? That's because chameleons can only be one species at a time." She pointed to her forehead. "This is when we're not being anything in particular. It's pretty much our general pattern, like your teeth and your hair. Chameleons have only been around for the last century or so. Most people receive the dominant DNA from their parents. Chameleons receive and keep the DNA of both parents and those of their forefathers'. In the past, people thought we had brain tumors messing with our heads, because our patterns could shift from one to another."

"So when you become a specific species, you change brain patterns and get their powers?" She nodded with a frown. "Do you have any default ones?"

She nodded again. Snow suspected that she didn't like to talk about herself too much. "But it takes a long time to learn. Most chameleons don't start coming into their powers until they're in their twenties. At first, my people hid from the world because of some science experiments the government performed on them back in the 1960s. It terrified them. Last year, I decided to come out in the open to help the other chameleons do the same."

"How did you do that?"

"I don't know if you've heard of the FRU. They're the governmental agency specified in handling paranormal activities. They were curious about me, so I agreed to let them test me. In exchange they would announce my people's existence to the rest of the supernatural world."

He stared at her with wide eyes. Shocked. This girl was brave. "And it worked?"

She nodded again, with a little bit of pride this time. "There's still alot to be done, but we're working on it. At least now everyone knows that chameleons exist."

He looked away and stared at the snowy ground. Kylie's words reminded him of two things he learned from movies and school. First was curiosity: scientists were always curious about the workings of extraterrestrial technology and the workings of magic, and then they would pull all kinds of resources to satisfy their eagerness for knowledge, including the murder of one of their own. "Knowledge is power," his dad told him once; the second thing was racism. Lots of people were racists in the past, repellent to people from foreign lands and cultures. Racism was what led to hatred and destruction between the inhabitants. The proportions had lessened over the years, but they still existed in many countries. Russia had totally banned open affection of homosexuality. He was both glad he didn't live there and angry at those jerks who made that law. It was because of such things that the world couldn't be a better place.

His thoughts took a U-turn all the way back to his own situation and was utterly thrilled by it. Shadow Falls was accepting to all supernatural species. This was the place where no one had to hide themselves, and could be accepted by each other. He had felt some of that since he arrived. His new friend Freddie spoke to him and treated him like a friend. And Diego was very friendly too. Michael wasn't quite as friendly or open, but he hadn't tried to frighten him, either.

It suddenly clarified. While he may not be in his old world anymore, this new one may not be quite so bad either.

"Okay, enough about me now," Kylie said, pulling his mind back to the present. "Do you have any idea what you might be?"

He sighed. Irritation started eating his insides, and he felt compelled to change the subject. But the girl had shown him much courtesy by sharing, so he should do the same.

"No idea," he admitted. "The best I can do is guess. And I don't got enough clues to come up with a theory." He wanted to stop there but then decided to spill about the whole water incident, hoping that some answers might come if he talked about it. "Two weeks ago, I saw a figure in the water. And this morning, I saw it again when I was trying to get some water to drink. The image was kinda blurry, but..." he trailed off.

She cringed her eyebrows to study him.

"Any idea what it could mean?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. But you should bring it to Holiday or Burnett, the principals. They might be able to help you come up with a theory. You can trust Holiday. If you don't want her to share something with others, she'll respect your wishes. She's very understanding and really sweet." The way she addressed the headmasters' names and complimenting Holiday showed emotion. They must be close.

He nodded. "I'm supposed to meet with her after lunch."

She nodded with a look of approval. "That's good."

Somehow he sensed that Kylie could be a very good friend. Like Freddie. Nothing like his best bud, Benny, who cared for nothing but fun and competition. He hardly ever felt comfortable to share with the guy. You could never tell him anything personal without hearing a mocking comment or an insult that made you regret telling him. Snow only stayed with him because he was his only friend in junior high. That, and Benny was always fun-loving and carefree, something Snow couldn't have on his own.

Snow had other friends, but he never felt comfortable enough to talk to them.

So, this was really new to him. For the first time since he arrived, he felt belonged. He felt accepted. Maybe coming to Shadow Falls wasn't so bad after all. His ears tuned in to the sound of calming water again, and he welcomed it.