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High-school freshman Nerissa Blane has problems. They're not exactly the same as your average teenage girl's either. Nerissa is adopted and on a quest to find her birth mother. But this story isn't quite so cookie-cutter. Why is she finding her biological mother? Oh, because the voice inside her head is telling her to. Not to mention the fact that Nerissa makes water fountains explode. On accident, of course. Is she just plain mad, or is something bigger really going on?

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3. Her

      I can't help but sigh. I look on the bright side though; maybe she's a cousin? A cousin isn't good enough, though. The Voice keeps telling me over and over again, like it used to, but now it's almost like a repetitive hum in my brain.

     School is long over and now I'm alone, propped up on my bed with my laptop on my legs, trying in vain to drown it out. I'm searching, quicker and more rigorously than ever before. I'm even going through my old mail to see if there's something I missed. An e-mail for ninety-year-old Janet Blane. No. Kevin Blane. Nope. Seraphina Blane. "HER!" the voice shouts, and then... silence. For once in my life, my mind is completely quiet except for my own thoughts. Whoever she is, I think I've found her.

 

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

     Wow. It only took six hours for me to hate this new school. They assigned me a "peer assistant". I mean, really? A peer assistant? Why do I need one of those? If I wanted to know my way around this school, I'd grab a map. Besides, it's not like I'm actually going to stay for all six classes anyway.

      The peer assistant chick is my worst nightmare. Her name's Stephanie and she's your classic high-school, Hollister prep. Pink cardigan, white frilly blouse and classic skinny jeans all adorned with that stupid burgundy bird-thing. Ugh. She makes me sick. I felt like making her flawlessly curled strawberry-blonde hair go up in flames. What's worse though, is the fact that even though I told her at least 10 times to stop calling me "Seraphina", she did anyway. What's so hard about just calling me Blaze? Ha. Maybe I scared her when I scorched my schedule between my thumb and index finger.

      I'm at my new "home" now. Lilith, my new foster mommy, is already on my case for being late coming home. "Shut UP, Lilith!" I shout at her. I can feel her wide eyes gawking at me as I turn around and walk to the room I share with three little girls. Lucky for me, they're running around outside, and will be for a while 'cause I'm propping a chair on the door, locking everyone out. I grab the laptop that my buddy Skinz hooked me up with before I left the last place. What the hell?! Why is the keyboard sticky? Fucking Trina. Looks like it's time for a new hiding place.

      I wipe off the keyboard and notice the red little "1" popping off of my browser icon. It's probably more spam mail. I click on it and go to my email. Well would you look at that! It's not the Prince of Kenya asking for my social security number! It's from a girl. Her name's "Nerissa". Weird. Then I laugh, remembering my own name. I go to drag it to the little trash can in the corner of my screen, but then "NO!" comes from the back of my mind. Ugh. He's back.

     "I thought I told you to go away!" I say to the voice. I'm not crazy, I swear, it's just... I hear a man talking to me, but... no one's actually there. Fine. I'm crazy. Sue me. I listen to him regardless.

     I open the message and read it. She says she thinks we're related? I look at the bottom of the email and sure enough it's signed "Nerissa Blane". She says she wants to meet up with me and that we live in the same town. How does she know all this stuff? I seriously just got here. I'll bet this isn't even a she. It's probably some pervy old man who just got a refill on his Viagra. That's it. I'm deleting it. "Look. Again." The Voice says.

     "What do you want!" I yell at it. I read the message over again. Nothing. Now I'm looking all over the screen. Nothing stands out. But then I notice something. You know those little icons people have for their email? Hers isn't the generic silhouette that most people have. It's a picture of a girl, but it's too small for me too make out what she looks like, so I zoom. Then, my jaw drops.

It's me.

     The picture is stretched out and a little pixelated, but it's definitely me. Same wavy brown hair, almond shaped eyes. The girl in the picture has freckles across the bridge of her nose too. But... those clothes. They aren't mine. I've never even seen them before, nor would I EVER put them on. She's wearing a purple t-shirt and denim shorts. Purple really isn't my color.

     I guess my shock is getting the best of me. I clutch the sheets of my sad, little, beat-up, twin bed and they start to sizzle. Who is this, and why does she look exactly like me?

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