1. Illyria

A sigh found its way to her mouth. She walked down the street, hands on the straps of her backpack, blazer done up, tie neat as ever. She walked away from school, toward what little freedom she could have in the next seventeen hours. Students ran past her, running along with their friends, calling out to each other, eager to reach what home they had. Others stood around, waiting for parents. She sighed again, dragging her eyes up as she came to the car park on the corner. There, the normal, dull grey car waited. She straightened her back a little, releasing the backpack from her hands, and jogging over to the waiting car.

She opened the front door, sliding into the passenger seat, taking off her bag as she did. She reached over, shut the door, and strapped herself in, stuffing the bag beside her feet. Her mother smiled at her, tucking away the i-pad and turning to the front. In silence, the car pulled away, heading toward home. In the back, she heard her brother clicking away at some computer-generated enemies, firing who-knows-what in their faces. She gazed out of the window, watching houses pass. She had been alone at break. At lunch. As usual. Always so, so alone.

She had seen one of her friends with her own. She usually referred to her as TheJaffa19. They didn't really talk in real life. They seemed more friends on the internet. As usual, the other girl had merely ignored her, leaving her to wander more. Her other friend- Poppy -also had other friends. She didn't like confronting people, and was afraid of losing Poppy's friendship if she spoke of her displeasure. Another sigh worked its way to her mouth. She didn't like being alone. It hurt to be alone.



She took the key from her mother, smiling at her.

“When will you be back?” She asked, picking up her bag and opening the door.

“In around an hour. You're sure you're alright?”

She nodded, smiling again. “Yup.” With that, she walked toward the gate, pushing it open as her mother went to collect her older brother. She paused for a few moments, watching her leave, before continuing up the steps. She came to the front door, slotting the key in its hole, and turning carefully. A quiet click rung through the air as it unlocked, and she pushed it open. At least she didn't have to deal with her younger brother. She took the key from its place, putting it back in the lock on the other side, before closing the large door. She took in a deep breath, savouring the smell of home, before walking from the porch, putting her bag down beside the sofa. She unlaced her shoes, took off her tie and blazer, before putting them in their own places. Then, she walked toward the kitchen door, releasing a large springer-spaniel. She grinned as the dog came rushing out to meet her, his tail wagging ferociously, darting over to his ball, challenging her to play.

After a quick game of tug-of-war, she left the dog to calm down a little, and took off up the stairs. As always, she skipped the third one, creeping up silently toward the landing, moving toward her own room. The usual mess greeted her, and she smiled at it. Such a warm sight after the trials of school. She walked toward her desk, hopping over the random piles of books, taking her place at her chair. She opened the lid to her laptop, turning it on and waiting for it to load. She swiftly logged in, opening up her usual programs. Of course, minecraft was included. Currently it was the only game she really played. She'd gone off games a little, she supposed, preferring more forum-based ones. She logged in, as Shadowwolf5 (Known to her internet acquaintances as either Skellybones or Shadeh), as she usually did. When she joined the server, a smile came to her face. The four people she felt were really her friends. Sure, she didn't know them in person. Well, apart from Jaffa, but that didn't change anything. Three of them from the United Kingdom, and one from Canada, that made barely a difference in their online relationship. Just because she didn't know them, it didn't mean she could talk to them. About nothing personal, of course, but they could generally mess around as the people they were, without the worry of being too strange.

That was why she loved the internet, and the people on it. There were all kinds of people there, normal to strange. And it seemed to bring out the crazy side in people. Shadowwolf5 herself had four people on there that she found she could talk to. They were like friends, but without knowing each other's real names. Monkeymate02 (Monkeh), Icefire7625 (Iceh), TheJaffa19 (Jaffa, or Jaffatron, if you were Monkeh) and ohrightthatswhy (Shicken). Sure, the five of them sometimes hated each other, but generally they got along perfectly.

People on the internet Shadowwolf5 found were more her friends than some of the ones she knew in real life.



To be honest, without them, my life would be pretty miserable. They're the four people that really make a difference, along with a select few I know in real life. They cheer me up when I'm down, they encourage me to reach my goals, they're there when something happens, and I know I can at least talk to them.

We may not know each other directly, but we know what each other is like. The internet has a way of bringing out a real person. So even if they are years away from my own age, it doesn’t matter. We speak like old friends, and it doesn't matter if we're miles away.


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