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Taylor, Michael, Jamie and Ellie are at a birthday barbeque, when all of a sudden, a glowing, green light appears, coming from the school grounds of which they'd graduated just a year earlier. When they arrive, they meet Pavlushka, a mysterious old man who each grants them cool abilites. So now Taylor can fly, Michael can transfigure, Jamie has telepathy and Ellie has telekenisis. Some time later, they discover mysterious matching tattoos which glow as their abilities are used.


Submitted:Feb 25, 2013    Reads: 32    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   


The Glow

By Tiarna .L. and Chelsea .W.

TAYLOR RAMIREZ

I lay awake on the freezing asphalt. I sat up and looked around. It hurt to do so. I had a pounding headache and my back hurt like crazy. My three best friends were scattered around the area within the school near the old art room. All probably asleep. Or dead.

"Ellie!" I called to the person nearest me, trying to get her attention. Okay, so maybe she wasn't dead. Thank you, Jesus.

"What is it, Taylor?" she responded sleepily.

"Nothing. I was just checking if you were still alive." I said, only just loudly enough so that she could hear me.

Ellie walked over to where I was.

"Of course I'm still alive, you dick."

Ellie always had her way with words.

"How are Michael and Jamie?" I asked.

"I'm sure they're fine," she answered.

The place was silent. I checked my phone for the time and any missed calls from my parents. It was half-past two in the morning, but luckily there were no missed calls of worry. I told them I'd be home a little after midnight.

Earlier that night, Michael, Ellie and I were over at Jamie's place celebrating his nineteenth birthday with drinks and a barbeque. We were in the middle of a conversation about something stupid like why girls and guys take their t-shirts and jumpers off in different ways, when out of his eye; Jamie noticed a glowing green light.

"Let's go and check it out," he said.

"Mum, we're going for a drive," he called through the screen door to his mother, Kate. He waited for a nod of approval before leaving. Ellie drove as she hadn't consumed any alcohol that night. There was really no need to drive, it was quite close.

The light was coming from our local high school, just a short distance from Jamie's house as well as mine. The one we'd graduated from just six months prior. An old Hi Ace was parked by the old art room. The entire van had a glow which reached into the sky. This is what we must've seen from home.

"It gives a new meaning to 'pedo van' doesn't it?" Michael said to Jamie. Michael was one of your typical dirty-minded guys. Jamie wasn't much better, though I will admit, I did find some of his jokes funny.

"Cheer up, Tay. We're on an adventure," said Jamie, walking up to me and putting his hands on my shoulders.

"Corny much?" I asked.

"Ew, please. No corn. It gets stuck in your braces." Jamie has had the misfortune of having braces through his later teen years.

The green light from the van shut off. A short, hairy man that was roughly in his sixties stepped out from the van.

"Hey look, the pedo's a hobbit!" Michael said. Jamie snickered. I gave them a death stare, though I couldn't help smile myself.

"Taylor Ramirez?" The man asked in a thick Russian accent. I almost didn't understand him at first. I stepped forward nervously.

"H-how do you know my name?" I asked, shocked.

"Oh, I know all of your names. Taylor Faith Ramirez, Emanuela Harper Caldicott, Michael Nicholas Marcs and James Zachary Varghese."

"James!" Michael laughed inappropriately.

"Who are you?" Ellie finally asked the 'hobbit'.

"The only name I may leave you with is Pavlushka. Yes, I am small, and you think I am a 'hobbit'. Pavluska, itself, means 'small'. Now, I am about to give you an offer you cannot refuse. Taylor, Taylor, sweet, lovely Taylor…" I looked at him, disgusted. I towered well over the man. With my five-foot, seven-inch height, Pavlushka can't have been much more than four-foot-eleven.

"Definitely a paedophile," I heard Jamie whisper to Michael.

"You've always wanted freedom, right, Taylor? Well, tonight, I can do that for you. Emanuela, my beautiful Emanuela…"

"It's Ellie. I'm not yours," she interrupted rudely. Michael, Jamie and I stared at each other in shock over Ellie's rudeness towards Pavlushka. Michael bit the inside of his cheek, trying not to laugh.

"You arsehole!" I mouthed, playfully.

"My apologies, Ellie. You've always wanted control in your life. I can make that happen. Michael - you've always wanted to make some changes. I can also make that happen, and last but not least, Jamie. You've never been able to understand the way people think. Well, I'm about to change that." The four of us just stood there silently for a moment in disbelief. Then Jamie snorted and cracked up laughing. We all joined in.

"What a load a crap!" Jamie remarked, walking away. The rest of us followed.

"Suit yourself," Pavlushka said, getting into the van and driving off. Suddenly the green glow appeared again, but this time it almost became blinding.

Flash forward about three hours and a few pounding heads later, I had no recollection of what was going on.

"Taylor!" I heard a voice call, I snapped out of the sleepy daze I was in. "Taylor!" It was Ellie.

"What?!" I demanded,

"Look down," she instructed. I did just that. There was roughly a meter between my dangling legs, floating in the air and the cold asphalt beneath me. A series of expletives went through my head before I dropped to the ground. Luckily, I had enough time to put my feet out beneath me to land safely.

I can give you freedom, I all of a sudden remembered Pavlushka saying.

"Oh, my God. Ellie, I understand what Pavlushka meant. He said I wanted freedom. Which I think may be true. Ellie, I can float, possibly even fly. What did he say to you?" Ellie thought for a moment.

"I can give you control in your life. What's that supposed to mean?" She looked around and saw a small lunch table. She stuck her hand out and closed her eyes. The table wobbled and then tipped over making a loud crashing sound. I looked to see if the boys woke up. They were still asleep. Ellie stood there, shocked. She looked and the table and then at her hand, and then back at the table. She put it out again and lifted the table to its upright position, this time slowly and much more quiet.

"I'm going to check on Mike and Jamie." I said. Ellie stood there staring at her hands for a little while longer and then caught up to me.

What I saw of Michael was the biggest shock of the night. Sticking out of his jeans was a tail. A long cat's tail. He lay there very still but his eyes were open. They weren't human eyes I could see, but the eyes of a cat. He still had his own shape and size eyes, but the iris and pupil were different. It kind of reminded me of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.

"Oh, my God," Ellie said. "Should we wake him up and tell him?" she asked me. Just as she asked, the tail vanished up into Michael's tailbone and his eyes turned back to normal. There was no hole left in his jeans where the tail was. I thought that was weird. It was like it was never there to begin with.

"No, I'm sure he'll figure it out for himself." I felt a little guilty, but I didn't want to freak him out.

"Taylor," she said, "Pavlushka said that Michael wanted some changes in his life. I didn't think he meant he'd give him the ability to change into animals, did you?" I thought about what she said. I walked off. This night was too surreal for me.

By the time we got over to Jamie, he was already sitting up. He was leaning against the wall with his face in his hands.

"Hey, Jamie," I greeted him calmly. I sat next to him and Ellie sat cross-legged in front of us.

"Taylor, hey. Have you got any Nurofen?" I feel like my head's about to split open."

"No, sorry, but I think it's time we went home. I'm sure my parents will let you crash at mine. I'll get you some Nurofen there." I told him.

"Thank you so much," he replied. I helped him up then we went over to Michael and woke him up for us to walk back to my house, which wasn't far from Jamie's. None of us were in the right state to drive. I don't know about any of the others, but once I got home, I flopped onto the couch, as I was too tired and lazy to climb the stairs and slept like a rock.

JAMIE VARGHESE

I'd always wondered what my case report would look like if I were to be found dead. Not that I'm obsessed with death or anything, but I think it would be interesting.

CASE REPORT:


Name: VARGHESE, James Zachary
Age: 19
Sex: Male
Date and Time of Birth: Thursday, 9th June 1993 - 13:26 Hours
Date and Time of Death: Saturday, 10th June 2012 - 24:40 Hours
Discovered: Surfer's Paradise, QLD
Cause of Death: Extensive brain injuries caused by fall.
Family: Jonathan Richard VARGHESE- father and Katherine Maria VARGHESE, (nee O'Connor) - mother, Annabelle Jayne VARGHESE- sister and Scott Walker VARGHESE- brother
Other: Victim's birthday. Was with three friends at time of death, RAMIREZ, Taylor Faith, (F) MARCS, Michael Nicholas (M) and CALDICOTT, Emanuela Harper (F). Small amount of alcohol found in system. No one else was injured, nor was there any evidence of foul play. ID found in wallet in back pocket.

This is the night that I thought I could've died. That's right; I could've died on my nineteenth birthday. I wouldn't have been able to farewell my teen years. I vividly remember the blinding light. Who knows what happened in the three hours that I was out. The headache I received felt like I had fallen on my head. My ability to read minds has not always felt like a gift. More often than not, I felt it was more of a burden. I felt it was often negative compared to positive.

I realised my gift when I was working at the local Woolworths three days after the incident in which my friends and I encountered Pavlushka. I had been hearing strange static-y noises in my head all day and I knew I had been standing idle as it caused a major headache. Then all of a sudden I heard the voice of my boss.

[That dickhead is such a slacker.] I looked around and saw Chris standing up the other end of the aisle. He shook his head and then walked off. I became worried that I thought I could get fired at any moment.

I then remembered Pavlushka saying, 'You've never been able to understand the way people think.'

Snap! I thought to myself. Pavlushka had given me the ability to read minds. Wait, this was too crazy. I can't read minds. I stood in the middle of the aisle staring into space. My headaches were getting worse. I put my face in my hands and knelt towards the floor. I was beginning to panic. The static seemed to go for what was possibly the longest twenty seconds of my life.

[Move it, dickhead.] I heard some guy say as he bumped into me and then step past. The voice was echoed. I got up and moved walked around to the next aisle. One of the gorgeous girls that I used to go to school with, Grace walked past
[Ooh, he's a bit cute], I heard her think.
"Score!" I said quietly to myself. My head was still a little achy. I quickly mustered up the courage to go and ask her out before it was too late. She said 'yes' and I felt like I was one of the happiest people alive.

After I finished my shift, I checked my phone. There was a text from Taylor saying to come straight to her place after I'd finished work. I did just that. Ellie was there already there with her in her room. In the room was a hyperactive Maltese shih tzu. "How long have you had a dog?" I asked her.

"He's not mine," she replied, picking up the dog and putting it in the en suite. "Come on, Michael."

"Michael? What the shit?" Taylor stared at me, waiting for me to say something.

It was only a moment later that Michael emerged from the room.

"What?" Michael said, as if he didn't know what was going on. "Pavlushka said, 'You've been wanting some changes in your life.'" None of us thought he meant literally. "What can you do, Jamie?" Michael asked, mockingly.

I swallowed hard.

"Nothing. Just… I can read minds," I said, shyly. "Pavlushka said that I didn't really understand the way others' think."

"That is so cool," Ellie said.

"Yeah, to a point. I asked Grace Payne out today after I read her mind. She said I was cute."

"Really? That's awesome. I'm happy for you," she said, giving me a hug which I accepted.

"On the not-so-plus side, I'm worried that I might get fired," I said sitting on the bed

"Why's that?" Ellie asked, sitting next to me.

"Because I read Chris's mind and he thinks I'm a slacker."

"Come on. It was one time," she said, reassuringly.

"No, I doubt it was the first." I sat for a moment and then changed the subject. "Michael, can I see you, you know, do your transfiguration thingy?" Michael laughed.

"It's hardly glamorous. I can't even stand to look at myself in the mirror when I do it.

"Oh, come on.

Michael rolled his eyes.

"Fine." He stood in a large, open space of the room and closed his eyes. He then got down to his hands and knees. The first thing to change was the shape and position of his eyes. The noise was revolting, like cracking bones. He was right, it was rather unsightly. I wanted to look away, but I was intrigued. His face bulged out to create a dog's snout. His ears shifted and became floppy dog ears. The changes moved throughout his body - arms and hands, legs and feet. He then grew a tail. This transfiguration was from head to toe (or tail, in Michael's case). He then grew fluffy white fur all over his body. The last thing to change was his size. He began to shrink. When he was finished, he walked over towards us.. Taylor was sitting with us at this stage and she picked him up. Michael soon became sleepy as soon as Ellie took him from Taylor and sat him belly-down in her lap. Taylor took him from Ellie and put him back in the en suite, leaving the door ajar. We waited for a little while before human-Michael came out again, pulling some left over fur out of his mouth and sprinkling it on the carpet.

"Not on my floor!" Taylor snapped.

"Well, where else am I supposed to put it?" Michael retorted. Taylor ignored him as she knew he was right. "It's your turn, Miss Neat-Freak."

"Fine."

Taylor stood up and stood in the same space as Michael had during his transfiguration. The next thing we saw was that she slowly floated higher and higher into the air. The Ramirez residence was a very old, expensive house that luckily for her, had very high ceilings. Taylor was now metres above us. She began to fly around, making sure not to hit or break anything. She seemed to have been practising. She was quite good. Graceful even. She landed with perfect, pointed feet onto the spot where she'd started. It was obvious she had taken years of ballet lessons when she was younger. She had to give it up when we graduated to the senior campus of our high school. Her two-day-a-week training schedule was paying off for her posture, grace and coordination.

"Good job, Tinkerbell," Michael said, clapping sarcastically. He turned to Ellie. "It's your turn, Shawtay"

"Happily," she retorted confidently. She stood up and stuck her hand out. She lifted Michael violently into the air. He screamed and shouted at her to put him down. Ellie had a very short fuse and just about anything annoyed her. Especially Michael's jokes. For a small girl, she had a lot of force. After a short while of him kicking his legs forcefully and yelling, she dropped him back onto the bed carefully.

"Dude! What was that for?" Michael yelled, freaking out.

"No reason," Ellie said dryly. "Okay. I'm sorry." She then shifted the bed slightly and then back into its place. "There. Now we all know what we can do," she said sitting on the bed she just moved.

[Jamie hasn't shown his ability yet], I heard Michael think.

"I can't show it physically like you guys can," I answered Michael. He looked at me strangely. He knew I'd just read his mind. Taylor stood up, followed by Michael and Ellie.

"We need to make sure no one ever finds out about this, okay?"

The response was followed by a series of 'yesses' and 'sures' and even a 'Yeah boy!' from Ellie's usually shy, soft-spoken voice. We leaned in for a long group hug.

All of a sudden, Michael let out painful groan he fell to the ground and did a clumsy backwards somersault. But when he landed, we saw that was no longer Michael, but a tarantula. The girls screamed.

[It's chill, it's only me], I heard him say by telepathy.

"I can hear his thoughts," I said, picking him up. I put him near Ellie. She squirmed.
"What did he say?" Taylor asked, worryingly.

"He said to relax and that it's only him." Taylor made a split decision to take him from me. I was shocked. I'd previously known her to have the biggest fear of spiders out of any of the girls I knew. Even my younger sister, Belle, who claimed to have 'serious arachnophobia'.

We sat and talked and played with Michael for at least an hour. He seemed to be enjoying it. I then had a thought.

"Michael, or should I call you Aragog, should you see if you can return back to your human form, you know, to see if you can control it?"

[Yeah, maybe.]

Michael scrambled into the en suite. I heard a lot of painful groaning. Soon after, Michael walked out. We were all excited to see him. We'd never seen anything so sudden.

"Thanks for the heads up, dude," he said. The girls rushed over and hugged him.

"You chicks are acting like you haven't seen him in years. It's been like, an hour. Besides, he's been here the whole time," I said. I waited for a reaction from Ellie.

"Nah, we're just glad he's okay. That sounded so painful," she said.

"It's not so much painful," he said, "It's nauseating. Especially the unexpected ones. You see, when you're transfiguring either way, your insides either have to grow or shrink. It feels disgusting. When I was returning from my snake form this morning, the tongue was the weirdest bit. It actually went numb when it turned back into a human tounge. The shih tzu form I took earlier? That was voluntary, but it was still weird."

"We're just glad to have you back, bro." I said. We went in for a group hug. Taylor held made sure we were all holding onto each other tightly, hand by hand, as she floated us up into the air. Being in the air without the aid of any transport was amazing. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that both Taylor and Michael could fly and Ellie could make people fly if she wanted to.

"Michael, I wonder, if you can do animals, can you do people?" Taylor asked. Michael looked at her and then at me. I felt a little bit victimised and I hadn't even said anything. Michael waited to catch his breath from the extremely uncomfortable and tiring transfiguration he'd just finished. "I'll give it a go," he said. "Don't freak out, J." He once again walked to the 'stage spot' in the room. He stood still and concentrated on my image. The first thing to change was for his groomed, dark, curly hair to turn into my shaggy, blonde surfer hair. His face thinned out a little and his jawline softened slightly. His facial features changed to match mine. In his chin, appeared a small cleft, just like mine.

I've been told that I look a little like Niall from One Direction. Like you care.

His skin lightened slightly and his body shrunk inwards. Michael was ripped, where I was just plain skinny.

"Dammit, I lost my six-pack!" He said when his extra muscle disappeared. He shrunk slightly in height. He opened his eyes. I was looking at the exact replica of myself. I had mixed feelings. I wasn't sure whether to be freaked out that I was looking at someone who looked and dressed exactly like me, or to be excited for Michael. I looked at Taylor and Ellie. Both of them were smiling with excitement. None of us cared if Michael's physical changes were far from glamorous. It was actually awesome to watch. We walked towards each other. I circled him to check if there were any accidental differences. Nope, nothing. I can't describe the emotion I was feeling at that moment.

"It worked," Michael said. But it wasn't his voice we heard. It was mine.

"Look, I'm going back to my own form again. I've had enough for today," he said. He did just that. In record time. Taylor all of a sudden broke the excitement.

"Hey, Michael…" Taylor started eventually "Ellie and I have something to tell you. The other night when you were sleeping at the school, we noticed that you had a um... tail," she said nervously.

"…and cat's eyes," Ellie added. "You were sleeping with your eyes open." Michael, again, looked at us strangely, not knowing where this conversation was leading. Ellie continued, "It was long and silky…" she said going into a bit of daze. She snapped out of it quickly. "Anyway, they disappeared before we got to have a decent look. The strange thing is, it left no hole in your jeans. It was like it was never there. But, we freaked out. We thought Taylor flying was crazy. But your transfigurations are insane. Clearly, you've got the coolest ability out of all of us." Michael ignored the compliment.

"Why didn't you tell me this earlier?" he asked, a little offended.

"Because we knew you'd find out yourself," Taylor replied, slowly and nervously.

"You know what?" Michael replied, changing his mood suddenly. "I did find out myself. It scared the shit out of me. I dropped to the floor. I looked in the mirror and I was no longer Michael Marcs. I was a brown snake. But when I realised all I needed to do was concentrate on my own form, I wondered, 'What else can I become?' After that, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. So, you see, there's ups and downs of not being told stuff about yourself you didn't know. Especially when it makes a huge impact on your life." I looked at Taylor. Her eyes were swelling up with tears.

"Michael, I'm sorry," she said, beginning to cry. Michael walked closer towards her. He held her arms and then hugged her.

"Taylor, Pavlushka was right. I have been wanting some changes in my life. I do have a change in my life. Don't feel bad that you didn't tell me. I'm sorry for being an arse." He hugged her again.

MICHAEL MARCS

Taylor had been right about me finding out. That very morning, I was sitting at my computer checking for any Facebook notifications and Twitter mentions.

Yeah, I know. Twitter.

I suddenly felt a strong, tingling sensation in my foot. Before I knew it, I slipped off my chair and into a heap underneath it. I slid out and looked into the mirror. To my horror, it wasn't my reflection looking back at me. It wasn't my tall, althletic figure with dark, curly hair and my Mediterranean appearance that made me Michael Marcs. Looking back at me was the reflection of brown snake. I didn't know what to do. I was home alone. My parents and sisters were all out for the day, but even if they were home, I couldn't scare them. What could I do? I sat around as a snake for a while. I slithered up the leg of my bed, but I wanted to be me again. I lay on my back and concentrated hard on my own image. The image of Michael. Suddenly, I felt my skin becoming smooth instead of scaly. My face bulged out to form that of a human face. My body expanded and I grew a pair of arms with hands and fingers and legs with feet and toes. I could feel myself growing my hair out. The feeling in my stomach was nauseating as I felt my insides rearranging. I felt my fangs shrink back into teeth and my tounge go back to being short and chubby. My tongue went numb as it did so, but the numbness soon went away. I sat up and looked into the mirror. I was Michael again. I touched my face. Looking good, I thought to myself. Taylor had always told me I was vain. I didn't care. I patted myself down. I was still wearing the same t-shirt and jeans that I was wearing before becoming the snake. I had been barefoot beforehand. I looked at myself again in the mirror to make sure that there was no part of the snake still remained. I then thought to myself, If I could transfigure back to my own being, how many other animals could I become? I practised all afternoon. Snakes, dogs, cats, mice, an echidna, I even went outside and tried a horse. The more I practiced, the more I was able to control it. This transfiguring (or morphing, if you want to call it that) business was very exhausting and probably very unattractive. I decided to ring Taylor's home number. Luckily she answered, rather than one of her parents.

"Tay, I was wondering if I could come over. We need to piece together the other night."

"I totally agree. Ellie is here at the moment. You're welcome anytime," she replied.

"Cool beans. I'll see you in ten." I hung up and left a note for my mother:

Dear Mum,
I'm going to Taylor's place and I may not be home until late.
Don't bother making me dinner. I'll grab some later.
Love,
Michael.
xx (My mum thought it was super cute when I ex and oh'd my letters to her. Go Nicola.)

I put a few cans of Coca Cola from the fridge into a bag along with some other stuff, put some socks and sneakers on and left.

"Hello, Michael," I was kindly greeted by Mrs. Ramirez, who often insisted I call her Anja.

"Hello, Anja, is Taylor here?" I asked nervously.

"Yes, of course. She's in her room. Emanuela is here with her."

"She'll kill you if you call her that to her face," I half-joked as I walked in. "Believe, me, I've tried. Scariest moment of my life.

Taylor's house was massive. It had a huge spiral staircase in the foyer with a large dome sun roof that reminded me of the Titanic. I walked up the stairs to Taylor's door and knocked on it. I heard some girly giggling before hearing the door being unlocked.

"Mikey, hey," Taylor said, with a mouthful full of food. She swallowed. "I'm sorry, come in."

"'Sup? I have Coke," I smiled, holding up the bag. I couldn't help but think something would trigger an unexpected transfiguration.

"I've texted Jamie to tell him to come here after he finished work," Taylor said. I nodded. I sat on the bed and thought for a moment. I finally said, "Girls, I need to show you something." I stood in the most open space in the large bedroom. I breathed deeply, trying to relax myself. I got down on my hands and knees. And concentrated on a Maltese shih tzu. Before long, the transfiguration was complete. Taylor stood silent. I couldn't tell if she was more shocked or disgusted. Ellie had a bit of a poker face going on. Typical Ellie. Ellie and Taylor were complete opposites. Taylor was tall and blonde with big, blue eyes and clear skin and she had beautiful, straight teeth. She was at all times super polite and softly spoken. It's safe to say I was very attracted to Taylor. Ellie, on the other hand, was roughly five-foot-three, long hair and brown eyes. and wore contacts. She was very shy but she could explode at any moment and when she wanted, she had the foulest mouth on her. I was amazed at some of the things she said. But other than this, she was cute. I mean, little sister-type cute.

Soon after, Jamie rocked up. I was still in the form of the shih tzu. Jamie inquired about whether the dog was hers. I thought this was hilarious. Taylor picked me up and put me in her en suite. The transfiguration back into my human form took a little while longer than anticipated, but I eventually, I was done, and yes, I did double check my appearance in the mirror for extra fur or something crazy like that. I walked out.

The rest of the night was a mixture of amazing and crazy, finding out about each other's abilities. The only downside was having the accidental transfiguration, which Jamie explained in his earlier entry.

ELLIE CALDICOTT

After a few practices using my telekinesis, my bedroom looked like a bomb had hit it. But I had gotten good at cleaning it up again. The lazy way. After a few weeks, I had mastered opening the drawer, folding the garments of clothing carefully with my mind and putting them away neatly. My mother was very impressed with my (ahem!) good work. Although I was almost nineteen, I didn't mind spending time with her. We'd go out for lunch together which would often be her treat. Oh, how I longed to tell her about my gift. But I made a promise never to tell anyone. Period. It was difficult, but I managed through it.

At the time, I was having personal issues and would often sleep at Taylor's house. Even though I knew I could achieve many things with my gift, I wasn't certain that I liked having it. Quite often, I'd accidentally knock something over and I didn't even have to touch it. That bothered me. It made me feel clumsy. I hate to feel ungrateful, but I liked Michael's gift. He could change his physical appearance whenever he wanted. I was short and my eyesight was horrible. I used to wear glasses, but now I've decided to use contacts. I hated myself at times.

We'd spend most of the time in the air. I tried to lift myself up, using my mind, though I could only lift myself about a foot. Taylor laughed at my attempts and brought me up with her. We made sure we held hands the whole time we were up there or I would drop and I didn't have quite the strength of telekinesis to keep myself in the air more than a few minutes. I thought it was amazing when Taylor flew me around the room. At one point, she flew us out of an open window and flew around in the air for about an hour. I felt like Lois when Superman took her for a flight for the first time. Even when Taylor was in the air, she was her beautiful, graceful self. It made me feel ugly and clumsy. I mustered up the courage to tell her how I felt and she felt really guilty, although both of us couldn't help that she was blessed with amazing genes.

Damn Argentineans.

Taylor was not only beautiful on the outside, but in the inside as well. Because of her Argentinean heritage, she was fluent in Spanish and usually spoke it at home. Her father, Enrique still had a hint of an accent. Her mother was of Swedish ansestory, which explained her blonde hair and blue eyes. She looked exactly like a younger version of her mother. It was creepy. Even with the mixture of cultures, Taylor considered herself to be more Argentinean.

Before we landed the flight, we could see Michael below in Taylor's front garden. We landed, Taylor very gracefully as usual, me, a little less so. He was standing behind a bush. He knew Taylor's father was home. Enrique was not keen on Taylor having boys at the house and he knew it. Michael took my hand and ducked behind a tree. He began to transfigure. Though the thing is, it wasn't only him transfiguring. I felt myself shrink. The next the next thing that happened it that my facial features and ears began to rearrange. My face bulged out to create a cat's nose and mouth. I wanted to scream but nothing came out. Taylor looked on in horror. My teeth and tongue changed shape and size. My arms and legs shortened and my fingers and toes shrunk into paws. Michael, also still going through the same changes, held onto me tightly. I felt a tail emerge. My back straightened horizontally. I looked down at what used to be my hands. I felt fur grow, starting from around my nose to the tip of my tail. I kept staring at my paws. They too, had grown fur. I all of a sudden felt nauseous. I could feel my insides and bones rearranging. I closed my eyes. I wanted it to end. When Michael let go, I knew the transfiguration was complete. I purred and walked over to where Taylor was standing. I circled her leg with my tail the way cats do to their owners. Taylor picked me up and held me. She was crying in shock. If I were still human, I would have cried too. I hated seeing people cry. She picked Michael up and flew with us through her open bedroom window. She put us down carefully on the bed and closed the window. "Michael, please transfigure her back now," Taylor demanded. I actually liked being, well, should I say, not myself? I also didn't want to go through the nauseating discomfort of the transfiguration again. Michael seemed so used to it though. Michael came over to me and lay a paw on mine. Soon enough, I was myself again, minus the discomfort. I ran up and hugged Taylor. She was once again crying. I cried too this time. We sat together, in each other's arms for a while.

"It's not as bad once it's over," I reassured her.

"Mikey?" she begged Michael in a childish voice, "May I have a go?"

"What, this?" Michael asked, seeming unsure if that was really the best idea. Taylor gave him the puppy eyes. "Fine," he eventually gave in. "What would you like to be, Tinkerbell?" he asked sarcastically. "A grass parrot!" she replied, again childishly, still with teary eyes.

Michael looked confused. "Can't you already fly?"

"Yeah, but their colours are so beautiful." Another thing I forgot to add about Taylor that made me jealous. She could paint beautiful pictures. Landscapes, portraits. You name it, she could draw it or paint it.

"Alright," Michael gave in.

"Have fun," I said, sarcastically. They kneeled on the carpet and he hugged her tightly. When I saw Taylor's face bulge out into a hard beak, I knew I couldn't look. I had no problem watching Michael, but it was weird too see it with Taylor. She soon let out the noise of a grass parrot to indicate that she was finished. The parrot, like human Taylor, was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. I picked her up and perched her on my arm. Michael flew onto my shoulder. We sat quietly before Michael felt as though he'd had enough. He transfigured himself and Taylor back right in front of me. This time, I was able to watch. Taylor hugged me, excited.

"Ellie, that felt amazing. The physical changes were so exciting. I don't see how I freaked out when I saw you going through the changes."

"No, nauseating discomfort?" I asked.

"Only the slightest," she replied. "I was too excited to notice."

I hugged her back and we both cried. Yes, I know, we were a bunch of emotional crazies. I couldn't understand why Taylor loved the changes so much. I loved being the animal, but she loved the becoming of the animal.

I woke up in Taylor's room. Still in her arms. Michael was fast asleep on the ground in front of us. Taylor was leaning against the bed and I was sitting in her lap. Leaning against her. I don't know who was more uncomfortable, but I really enjoyed the cuddles. I carefully lifted Taylor's hands from around my body and stood up. My whole upper body was stiff. I think I'd just discovered muscles I never knew existed. I sat on the bed and cracked my back. Much better.

I stood and thought for a while. I lifted up my hand and lifted a still-sleeping Michael into the air. I kept him there for a while. He didn't even move, though his arms and legs flopped down. Clearly, he was very relaxed. I now knew he was a heavy sleeper. Using my telekinesis, I placed him carefully onto the bed and left him there. I went down stairs and into the kitchen. Anja and Enrique were already eating their breakfast.

"Oh, good morning, sweetheart, I didn't know you stayed the night," Anja said.
"Oh, I actually was here most of the afternoon and I just crashed here. As you can see, I'm wearing yesterday's clothes. I hope that's cool."

"Absolutely, sweetheart. Anytime." Taylor walked into the kitchen at that time.

"Morning, Mum," she said, walking straight past Anja. She hugged her father, "Buenos días, Papá." she said proudly.

"Buenos días, Tay-Tay." He kissed her on the cheek and looked at the clock on the wall. "Your mother and I need to go to work," he said. Anja and Enrique jointly owned a chain of Argentinian restaurants. They seemed to rake in the dollars. He then said something else to Taylor rapidly in Spanish that I got not one word out of. He kissed her on the cheek again and left.

Once they left the house, I turned to Taylor.

"Buenos días, Tay-Tay," I said mockingly. "Shut up," she said embarrassed.

Michael walked in yawning. "Got any waffles?" He asked. Taylor and I both looked at each other. Typical male. No, Typical Michael.

"Is food all you ever think about?" Taylor asked.

"What do you expect? I'm part-time animal. I need something to sustain me in the wild." Taylor and I both rolled our eyes at Michael's corniness.

We suddenly heard a knock on the door. It was Jamie.

"Hey, come in," Taylor said, greeting him. "My parents just left so it's chill."

"Cheers, Tink." She lead him into the kitchen.

"Jamie, there's something we need to tell you," I said. We told him about yesterday and about how Michael could transfigure us with him. Jamie kept a poker face about it all. "Cool beans," he said finally. "Can I try?" The three of us looked at Michael for an answer. He thought carefully for a moment.

"Let's do it," he finally said. He got off the barstool and stood by the window, looking out onto the back patio. He noticed Taylor's family pet. A Labrador named Zuko sitting in his kennel. "You ready for this, J?" he asked Jamie. "I'm ready as I'll ever be," replied Jamie. Michael held tightly onto Jamie's shoulder and closed his eyes. Jamie also closed his eyes, not knowing what to expect. Before long, they were twin replicas of Zuko. Yes, I was able to look this time. Taylor and I let the boys (in Labrador form) run around for a while before Michael decided he was going to play it safe, and change Jamie and him back.

"Oh, that's hot," Taylor joked. I laughed. Jamie was not as impressed.

"How did that feel, man?" Michael asked him, still trying to get his breath back. "Amazing," Jamie replied, also still puffing.

"Michael," I said, knowing I was interrupting them. "Did you know before yesterday about me being able to transfigure other people. I mean, like yesterday, with me becoming the cat?"

"Honestly," Michael began, "I had no idea. I took your hand quickly and hid just incase because I thought I heard Enrique entering the yard. I made a split decision. Your transfiguration was accidental." I felt a little relieved. "The transfiguration scared the crap out of me though." I turned to Jamie.

"Did you feel any nausea?" I asked him. He shook his head.

"Not one bit," he replied. I turned to Taylor. She too shook her head.

"You guys are bullshitting me." I exclaimed.

"Not one bit," Jamie repeated.

JAMIE VARGHESE


If Ellie hasn't told you already, being in the body of an animal is just fascinating. The sights, the smells, the sounds. Everything is different. Sure, it's an initial shock at first, but after, it is so worth it. Being the Labrador gave me a new perspective on what it's like in another body. Another life, even. But I had to focus on my own 'gift'.

Telepathy was difficult business. My first date with Grace Payne was a nightmare. She, like Michael, was vain and I believe she was only in it for the root. I liked a real relationship. I only say this because of some of the things I heard her think - most of which are too graphic to write here.

Speaking of relationships, I was positive that Taylor and Michael should have gone out. I feel like there was some real attraction there. Ellie was right. Taylor was painfully beautiful. Michael knew it too but he wouldn't admit it. This is just another comment that I mind-read. I feel so guilty sometimes. It actually brings a whole new meaning to the term, 'eavesdropping'.

I decided to confront him about it.

"I think you should ask Taylor out, man," I said. Michael smiled shyly.

"You think so?" he asked.

"Yeah! Dude, she's beautiful and you know it. Plus, she's artistically talented and uh… man just do it. Besides, Ellie said she took notice of the way you held on to her when you transfigured her. She said it was the special type of caring hold." Michael laughed.

I hesitated for a moment. "…and I also read your mind and I know you like her." He laughed.

"She's great. I mean I've known her for so long, I know what she's like. She's…. amazing. She's not only gorgeous, but she's caring and always happy!" He said going into gushy, in-love mode. He stumbled upon his words. Michael was the jock type. Handsome (and he knew it) and althletic. But he never spoke in a derogatory or sexual way about women. He was always respectful and other people respected him for that.

"Then do it, man!" I said.

TAYLOR RAMIREZ

Michael asking me out was one of the best moments of my life. Almost as exciting as him transfiguring me into the grass parrot. The first date was brilliant. The candlelit dinner was superb and so was the time we spent on the beach. After, we decided to go for a swim in the ocean, close to Surfer's Paradise (as dolphins of course - Michael's treat.) So, I decided to take him for a fly. It was amazing. We flew into the sunset (metaphorically speaking). This was also a brilliant way to dry off as we refused to transfigure back on the beach as there were people around. I was very cautious not to let anyone see us, though. Everything about it was romantic - and it was only the first date.

Sure, I've had other boyfriends before. In high school, Ellie would call me a 'serial dater' but I only felt guys were dating me to get into my pants. This is why my father didn't like boys at the house.

People told me I was beautiful all the time but I was human. I had my own insecurities. Small things like my button nose, which people told me was cute, but I thought it was childish and too small for the rest of my face. Just small, silly things like that.[C1]

We decided to have another 'hangout day'. The type where we sit in my bedroom and practice using our gifts. Ellie was able to lift herself a increasingly further into the air, with more and more practice. I would float closer to the ground at her level. Michael was in the form of a tiger. He though he'd try something larger and a little more exotic. We heard a knock at the door. Ellie and I both dropped from the air and Michael ran into the en suite. I closed the door before opening my bedroom door.

"Hey, Mummy. I said, taking the tray of drinks that she was holding. I kicked the door closed. Or at least I tried to. My mother had stopped it with her foot.

"Taylor Faith, I've been worried about you. You hardly talk to me or your father anymore. Is there something that's going on in your life?, "she said, worried.

"There's nothing going on in my life," I lied. We heard the toilet flush and Michael came out.

"Hi Anja!" he greeted my mother, puffing. He took a drink from the tray.

"Hello, Michael, dear," she responded. Michael put his arm around me and kissed me on the cheek.

"Good save," I whispered in his ear. He kissed me again. I responded by giving him a short kiss on the lips. "Mum, this is what is going on in my life." I said.

"Aw, you two will make a great couple," she said, embarrassing mother-like. She left the room. I sighed in relief once the door was closed.

I turned to Michael. "The toilet flush was brilliant." I said, smiling.

"Thanks," he said. He took a sip of his drink. "I thought of that myself," he joked.

I was a trying not to smile. "I'm serious. I thought we were going to get caught. You especially. You're the one with the craziest gift." He kissed me again.

"You're beautiful when you worry," he said.

I heard a whipping noise as a glass flew off the tray and into Ellie's hand. We looked at her.

"What? I was thirsty!" She said defensively. She took a sip. I too, took a glass.

"Ellie, you silly child," Jamie said, jokingly. He hesitated for a moment. We all looked at him, waiting for him to talk. "You guys forgot I was here for a moment didn't you?"

"You read our minds, didn't you?" Michael answered back. Jamie nodded cheekily.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain go through either side of my legs. "Michael, are you doing this to me?" I yelled. "No, otherewise it would be happening to me also!" he yelled in the same tone. I began to rise. I started kicking my legs hard. I quickly passed my glass to Michael, who gave it to Jamie. I took it Michael's hand and bought him up also. We rose further into the air until we hit the ceiling, hitting my head. Michael was a few inches lower than me. I floated down ever so slightly. I tried to take off from the ceiling to descend. It didn't work. I tried to descend at least three times. Ellie and Jamie were freaking out just as much as I was. Michael was able to calm himself down after a while. I hugged him tightly. I began to cry softly. Michael hugged me tighter, reassuringly. I wrapped my legs around him with my arms around his shoulders.

"Hey baby, its okay." he began to sing quietly:

"Don't go looking in my eyes tonight

Don't go telling me lies tonight

Don't go promising the skies tonight

'Cause you're crazy, 'cause you're crazy beautiful."

I cried. This time, happier. Not only Michael was reassuring me, but he was singing one of my favourite songs by Hanson. I had always loved Taylor because we had the same name. The other reason I was happy, and not very many people knew this, but Michael had an amazing voice. It was so peaceful up in the air with my Mikey.

Ellie decided to try and bring us down with her telekinesis when I'd calmed down. We hit the ground softly. She stopped and I began to rise again like a helium balloon. Michael held on to me. We returned back to the same hugging position. I knew that trying to descend was useless. Even with the use of Ellie's powers. About half an hour of this had gone by and we hadn't even noticed it.

Suddenly, I felt Michael slip. I pulled him up again. We hugged a little longer before he slipped again He pulled me down with him and this time I stayed on the ground. I lay in a painful heap, but the second that Michael hit the ground, he was no longer human himself; he had been automatically transfigured into a ring-tailed possum. I picked him up and hugged his possum body for a bit. I sat on the bed, still holding him.

"Please, Michael," I sobbed and rubbed his belly, which he seemed to enjoy. I then twirled his tail in my hand. "Please transfigure back now." Michael looked up at me.

"He said he'll try," Jamie said. I looked at him and thanked him. I then looked at Michael. I held him tightly against my body. He transfigured back right in my arms. I'd never been happier to see him. It was an emotional moment for everyone. He looked up at me and I kissed him.

"I have to go and get ready for work," Jamie said looking at his watch. He left quickly without a proper explanation. "I have to go too," said, Ellie following Jamie.

Well, at least Michael and I were there alone.

"That was scary," I said, still teary.

"Trust me, it scared me too," he said.

I woke up the next day in my bed. With Michael laying next to me. We were both still wearing clothes. Phew. I wasn't ready for that yet. I looked at my alarm clock. One o'clock PM.

"Shit!" I exclaimed. "Michael get up!" I shook him. He didn't budge. I looked turned him onto his front. He was exactly the same as I found him the early morning we encountered Pavlushka. With a tail. I used my thumb to open his right eye and like that night, his eyes weren't human.

Great, I thought. I'm stuck here with Cat-Man. I lay next to him for a little longer until I heard him wake up. He yelled. He'd seen the tail. He looked in the mirror and noticed his eyes.

"What's going on with me? I've woken up in another animal's body before, but I didn't have just parts of it!" The "You've woken up in another animal's body before?" I asked, freaked out. Michael nodded. I must transfigure throughout the night. It's horrible"

I thought for a second and then said, "This is how Ellie and I found you on that first night. This is what we were trying to explain to you and you got all upset with us." I walked up and hugged him. I put my hand on the tail and started playing with it. I heard Michael sigh. The tail disappeared in my hands. I looked at him. His eyes were back to normal.

"Are you okay?" he asked, "You look shocked." A tear streamed down my cheek. He wiped it away with his hand. I hugged him and floated him up to the same spot we were yesterday. Soon enough, all I needed to do was hold his hand and he was able to stay there with me. It was like him being able to transfigure us. We were defying gravity.

"It's time to try Defying gravity

I think I'll try defying gravity

and you can't pull me down," Michael sang. I laughed softly. I was flattered. It was really quite corny.

I floated us down to the floor. "You know, if I can help fly people and you can transfigure people, I wonder if Jamie can help others to read minds," I said softly. "I don't know," he answered. I thought for a second. "You know, if he could it was be awesome if he could because then we could communicate with you when you are in another form."

"I know. That would make life so much easier," he said, giving me a quick peck on the lips. "Ew, you smell. There's Listerine in the en suite. A shower too." Michael jokingly pulled a face at me as he went in.

About ten minutes later, Michael came out with a towel around him.

"Hey, Tinkerbell, do I smell any better?" he asked me. I smelled him.

"Did you use my shampoo?" I asked curiously when I noticed his hair smelled like berries.

"What else was I supposed to use?" he answered.

"Nah, it's chill, but you smell berry nice." Michael thought for a second before throwing his head back and laughing. Finally - someone who laughed at one of my jokes!

ELLIE CALDICOTT

My telekinesis was getting stronger. By now, I could bring an object up from underneath a pile without hardly damaging that said pile. I could also now lift myself at least three meters into the air. I was aware that all I needed to stay up was Taylor holding my hand. Also, we realised that Jamie only needed to be holding onto someone for them to hear what he could, which was beneficial for when Michael was in another form. I just wanted to know what my powers were useful for.

Thinking it through, I seemed to be at the shallow end of the awesome power pool. Flying? Awesome, so totally amazing. Shape-shifting? Sweeeeeet. Mind-reading? Pretty useful and such. But telekinesis, are you kidding me?

I kept thinking over the night when it happened. The glow, and the hobbit, and Michael turning into Cat-Man and all that. (Right now, my life sounds like a Tolkien novel tripping on acid.) You've always wanted control. That's what our mysterious pedo-dwarf said. And the stupidest part is that he was right. Not that I like to admit it. My childhood screams 'problem child', really. Mum divorced, re-married, et cetera et freakin' cetera.

So, back to telekinesis. I sat cross-legged on my bedroom floor, hand outstretched to a massive tower of papers. I was practicing removing things from piles - it's harder to focus on a single object amongst several others. The others can be distracting, I guess. I had found all my Year 12 Chemistry notes and placed them in the centre of the room. It wasn't like I was going to miss them if I trashed them, having graduated high school the year before. I had attempted to challenge myself and find a particular sheet of paper in the pile, removing it without causing all of them to scatter around the room.

In case you haven't noticed, I have a short temper, and a particular lack of patience to accompany it. It was taking all of my will not to chuck the pages one by one across the room, due to the tempting nature of destroying one's Year 12 work as a kind of gesture of finality.

I stopped for a second, half of a page poking out of the pile. Why was this so hard, and why was it all happening to me? I couldn't be like Taylor, who flew around looking like the lovechild of a model and a fairy. No, instead, I had to be me. Ugly little old me. I confronted Taylor about how I felt - my stupid jealousy and everything. She seemed almost apologetic. So what did that make me? An insecure little bitch with a temper, crap eyesight, and two left feet.

Stretching my hand out to the Chemistry notes once more, I threw several pages to the other side of the room, where they floated to my floor in a manner almost contradictory to the rage I was focussing on them.

I paced the room before belly-flopping onto the fluffy purple bedspread on my bed. If there was one person I hated most at that second, it was me.

"Emanuela?" came a voice from downstairs, causing me to sit up from my slumped position. Peter, my step-dad.

"What?" I just about growled the single syllable in reply.

"Michael's here."

"Send him in, then. And tell Rhiannon and Maddie to leave him alone!"

The joy of having younger step-sisters of eight and ten years of age. They take joy in harassing your friends and thinking they're being friendly. A knock jolted me from my ponderings of my step-siblings. "Come in, Michael."

He promptly did so. "Hey, Ellie," he greeted coolly, glancing briefly at the sea of papers littering my bedroom floor. "What's with the mass slaughter of trees?"

With a wry smile and a shrug I replied, "Just some fine tuning of telekinesis gone wrong."

"Ah, I might have known."

A brief moment of silence. I couldn't decide if it was an awkward or companionable silence. "Taylor told me about what you guys talked about - the jealousy thing."

My jaw dropped for a second. "Well. That's definitely going against the girl talk code. What is shared between one's closest female companions is not then shared with boyfriends."

"Except I'm like your brother, so..."

"Touché, my shape-shifting friend, touché. So why is that of significance?"

Still standing in my doorway, he shrugged. "Just thought you might want to talk."

"To the boyfriend of the girl I was ceaselessly comparing myself to?"

"No. To Michael. Your brother-type friend." Michael replied cheerfully.

"It's not a big deal, just let it go."

"Ellie, I know you better than that."

If there was any phrase that could piss me off, that was it. "No, Michael, no you don't! You have no idea what my life is like, you have no idea why it pisses me off seeing everyone love Taylor and her bloody flying and I'm stuck being boring me, you have no idea what it's like to be everyone's girl friend-" I made a point of distinguishing those last two words "- and never the girlfriend!"

He sighed, running his fingers over his head as he remained in my doorway. "Ellie..."

I rolled my eyes. "Don't 'Ellie' me! Well, there. I talked about it. Happy?"

Michael said nothing in reply. We remained silent for a few seconds. "So... what exactly were you doing with those pages?"

"Trying to pull a specific one out of the pile without causing it all to fall over. Like 'Jenga' but not."

"Can I help?" he offered, in an almost meek tone. Why not? If I had telekinesis, I might as well work at it so I could be just as useful as the others.

"You can start by helping me gather up those pages, then we'll see what we can do."

JAMIE VARGHESE

I decided to give it another try with Grace. This one was a little more successful. Sort of. I cooked dinner for her and she really enjoyed it. The best thing about my gift is that I'll know when someone is lying to me. Grace actually did enjoy the food. I made her chicken with Camembert cheese and basil pesto, wrapped in a puff pastry parcel. My specialty.

"This is amazing," said Grace.

"Thank you," I said smiling.

"So, how's your job going?" Grace asked, trying to make conversation.

"Eh. It's been better. The boss is a madman."

[He sounds like a dick the way you talk about him.] I heard Grace think.

"That he is." I realised what I'd just said. Grace looked at me strangely. I ran my fingers through my hair nervously and slumped back in my chair.

"What did you say?" she asked.

"N-nothing. I didn't say anything."

"You agreed with me after I thought something." She sat there for a second.

"You agreed with me when I called him a dick. Oh, my God. You can read minds!" I shrugged my shoulders not knowing what to say. This was the most awkward position I'd ever been in. Grace Payne knew about my ability. She decided to be playful.

"Try me," she said.

"Nah, I just… don't feel comfortable," I said, trying to get out of it.

"Aw, come on." [Grace, you're amazing.] She cracked up. I knew that she wanted me to say it to her. I sighed.

"Grace, you're amazing." She laughed again. She cam





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