Chapter One

Days go by quick at Brakfend Regional High. Aliya knows that better than anyone. It's not that the school is particularly bad in one way or another. It just feels the same each day, which makes the days merge together and weeks turn into months. Aliya is an average student, with an average lifestyle. She doesn't get great grades but good enough to pass by and not be overly noticed. She has a few close friends, even if she feels like she doesn't belong with them, and a few hobbies in which she has little interest. Brakfend is your typical high school, where you must be smart, athletic, and good looking to be popular. Which is why whenever you see a group of girls giggling together in a tight knit, everyone knows that Kylan Canter and his friends are near. The teachers believe him to be a saint but any peer that isn't in love with him knows he has an ego the size of a blimp and an even bigger attitude.

At lunchtime, Aliya walks out into the blinding sunshine with her group of friends. They giggle about a cute boy they saw in science, some senior that had absolutely no interest in them at all. They sit on the grass area outside, looking over the soccer field.

'Are you coming to study group after school today, Aliya?' Jennie and Aliya have to go to a study group after school every Tuesday and Thursday, courtesy of their parents', of course. They go and get mentored by some of the smarter students (such as Kylan Canter) and basically are made to feel stupid.

'Yeah, guess I don't really have a choice,'

'We could always skip and go uptown instead,'

'Nah, my parents would find out and I got in trouble last time,'

''Kay'. Though Jennie looks a bit disappointed, and Aliya shares the same feeling.

The next two periods go unexpectantly fast, but Aliya was still nodding off by the end of the last bell. Unfortunately, school doesn't end for her like everyone else and she has to drag herself all the way down to the library classrooms. All ten of the tutors are there already, it was beyond Aliya how they managed to get here so fast. Do intelligent people walk faster? Or teleport? Aliya finds herself a seat in the back, realizing that there seems to be less and less people being tutored each week. As the final people filter into the classroom, the teacher begins to go over the plan of the lesson for this afternoon. Aliya notices that Jennie hasn't turned up and the empty seat next to her feels like a huge weight on her shoulders. Aliya doesn't know anyone else and they are usually tutored in pairs, though there might not be enough people to double up with a tutor. The continuous drone of the teacher's voice eventually fades into the background and Aliya places her head on her desk. I won't fall asleep, she thinks, I'll just listen to what we have to do. But alas, her body betrays her, and her eyes begin to droop. Eventually she ends up sound asleep on her desk, no one even noticing.

'Wake up.' Aliya feels a hard thud on the back of her head, and she sits up in alarm, cursing. Kylan Canter stands in front of her, a rolled-up workbook in his hand. Aliya rubs the back of her head and glares at him.

'What do you want?' She tries to sound threatening, but she is only half-awake and feeling extremely tired still.

Kylan scoffs 'What do you think? What the hell do you come here for?' He sits down heavily in a chair he'd pulled over. It takes Aliya a bit to fully awaken and interpret his words. Trust Kylan to already make her feel dumb within a measly five seconds.

'Right. Sorry.' Aliya mumbles and looks down at her workbook, where the pages remain blank, not filled with the notes that should've been written ages ago.

'Here, obviously we have to start at the beginning. Or should we start at a kindergarten level instead?' He hands Aliya his book, brimming with foreign words that seem to glare at her. She wasn't even mad at Kylan's snide comment, her brain was already overloading with all the information. Aliya starts to scribble down the notes into her book, missing ones that seem unimportant. While she writes them, Kylan watches over her shoulder and points out words that she misspells, commenting on how dumb she is when she has all the words right in front of her. Surely he can't be this mean to everyone, she thinks to herself, surely a teacher has to notice at one point. Yet the teasing continues throughout, even when their lesson finishes an hour later. Aliya's brain hurts and her cheeks are red from embarrassment.

'Well I have never known someone's brain to be so empty, if only your looks could actually make up for it,' Kylan laughs and starts to collect his books up. Aliya is beyond mad; she had put up with it long enough. She stands up and stares at him with a long glare, Kylan still looking down at his book. As he raises his eye level to Aliya, she punches him right in the jaw. There's a giant thud as he stumbles back into table behind him. Aliya shakes out her hand and grabs her stuff quickly, wanting to go home right away. Kylan grabs her wrist just as she walks past, other hand rubbing his jaw, and pulls her so she loses grip on the books that fall to the floor. There was pure rage in his eyes.

'What the fu-' But he falls silent as the supervising teacher walks into the room.

'What's going on here?' The teacher looks questioningly at Kylan's and Aliya's angry faces. Kylan doesn't look away from Aliya's face as he replies.

'Nothing sir, I was just helping her up, she fell over.'

'Oh, well go out quickly now, I'll see you all Thursday.' The teacher turned to go usher out other students and Kylan sneers and then shoves Aliya into the table behind her. Aliya hits her back on the edge and fall forwards on the floor. Pain lashes through her body and she can already tell that a bruise is forming. Kylan stalks out the room and says goodbye to the teacher as he passes, his voice cheerful. Tears sting Aliya's eyes and she gathers her books that are on the floor. She stands up, her back hurting and quickly races out of the library. She ducks into a girl's bathroom, wanting to clear her eyes before her Mum picks her up and worries. Aliya wipes her eyes and stares into the mirror. It doesn't look like she had been crying, so she begins to walk out when something in a mirror she had passed catches her eye. She backtracks and stares into the mirror that is next to the one she had used. Her reflection stares back at her, but it feels weird for some reason. Aliya moves closer to the mirror, but her reflection doesn't seem to do the same, just keeps on staring at her with a blank expression. Aliya smiles, her reflection does not. Her heart starts to race, her throat closing up in fear. She can't seem to move; her eyes fixate on her reflection. Her legs move on their own, walking closer to the mirror. Aliya reaches out a finger and touches the mirror. Cracks spread from the spot she is touching, and they web across the mirror, her reflection is still staring at her but this time, it's smiling.