I'm bullied because I'm different.
Because I don't have a home.
Because I can't afford good clothes.
Because rude things often just slip out of my mouth.
Oh, and because they're all scared that I'll accidentally kill them with my 'magic powers'.
So maybe I'm not your average teenager, but it's not my fault.
I'd give anything to just be normal and accepted.
Of course, things aren't just going to be that way.
So this is my story.


1. Different

My eyes shoot open as I hear someone sneaking into my room. My dirty doona cover is rough against the flesh on my arms, and the hard wooden bed creaks slightly under my weight. Without moving enough to show the person I'm awake, I check the time on the old clock next to me, with glow-in-the-dark numbers, making it easy to see in the night. 3:12AM. I fucking love it when idiots sneak into my room at 3 in the morning. Sometimes they'll try something stupid like pouring ice cold water on my face, other times they legitimately come into the room with a knife in an attempt to kill me. 

How the hell did I get into this situation? My parents happened to drop me off at a tiny town in Nowheresville when I was 2 years old and accidentally set their couch on fire. Harsh, right? They were afraid of their own kid because I had some superhuman powers. The kids in the orphanage though I was a freak too, just because I didn't know how to control my powers. I'd accidentally set their bed on fire or push them out of the room using only the air, so they ganged up on me. This trend continued in primary school, and even now in high school, though I've pretty much mastered my powers now. 

As the person draws closer I use the air around them to figure out their shape and what they are holding. I feel the air shift and bend around my old wooden cupboard, and then a stick thin human. I relax. It's just Aria, she's fairly nice and is probably just here for a dare, so I'm not worried. In her trembling hands I sense what feels like a bottle of some sort. 

I sit up slowly, not meaning to scare her. My back aches as I drag it away from the wood. "Hey, what's up?" I say casually, as if we've been friends for years.

I see her jump backwards in the dim lighting coming from the window, "I'm sorry. I really am. It was a dare, they wanted me to pour gasoline on you to see if you would immediately catch on fire."

I laugh, some of those girls are idiots. It's like pouring gasoline on logs, they won't light until you strike a match to them. "I control the fire, it won't light up unless I mean for it to. Go ahead, I can pretend I was asleep the whole time, that way they won't outcast you or some shit." I roll my eyes as I say this, some of them hate me so much they would literally stop talking to Aria if they thought she was trying to help me.

"A-are you sure?" 

In response I lay back down and close my eyes, not worrying about getting comfortable. Stupid dares I think to myself as she comes up and pours the putrid smelling gasoline over me. They'll laugh at me for the stench in the morning, there is no doubt about it, but honestly I don't really care.

I hear Aria scramble out of the room and slam the door shut, then eager mutters just outside my door.

"What happened? Did she catch fire? Did she see you? Did she try to kill you?"

I hear Aria's voice, "Nothing happened... She didn't even wake up."

They all groan, they wanted me to die. Sometimes they make me want to die, not that I care about what they say.

*          *          *

The next morning at breakfast everyone bursts into giggles and whispers when I come in, muttering quietly to each other. I glance quickly through the room to find my corner, empty as always next to the rubbish bin. I calculate the best route to get there, and am rushing down through the room when I'm stopped short.

"HEY," Ashlie speaks up, blocking my path. She's always the worst, she thinks she rules the orphanage. "WHAT'S THAT AWFUL SMELL? I THINK IT'S THE FREAK!"

I push past her and grab myself some toast, stuffing it down as fast as I can, barely noticing the tastelessness and the texture of cardboard, and then I head to the showers. Luckily I'm the first one there, so I wash most of the disgusting oil off without any interruption. When I hear people coming, I quickly turn off the shower and reach for my towel. I scramble into my bra and undies as fast as I can, then glance around through the empty cubicle, with its dirty grey tiles, and one small, almost useless shower head. They must've stolen the rest of my clothes without me noticing, somehow. Great. Glancing down at my stomach, I trace the imprint of burn marks, and shiver slightly as I remember the incidents that caused them all. Some were accidents, others were not. Now everyone will know. Isn't that just great?

As fast as I can, I sprint into my room, almost tripping myself along the way. Ashlie is in there with a camera, and she runs out as soon as they get a photo. Great, that'll spread through the whole town within a few days. The freak with burn marks across her stomach, caused by herself of course. I chuck on a t-shirt and a hoodie, and then some tracksuit pants and my runners. Covering up my head and face with my hoodie, I escape the house and start to run to school, comforted by the gentle rhythm of my runners hitting the pavement.

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