• Another boring Monday. Another monotonous geography lesson. Another useless hour spent glowering at the resource sheets on wind farms in Cumbria. 10% by 2010...noise pollution…farmland...TV signals. Worthless facts and figures. Life went on as it always had done, and I resented it. I sighed at the sheet in front of me, and rested my chin on my hand, gazing into space.
    The classroom door slammed open and we all looked up eagerly at the interruption. A boy stood in the doorway. He was fairly short, maybe an inch taller than I was, and stocky, with messy dark hair, standing in disordered spikes. He looked about our age, perhaps a year older.
    His eyes scanned the room swiftly, and he grinned when he saw me.
    “Found you,” he said in an almost sing-song voice.
    I looked on, dumbfounded. I had never seen him before, had no idea what was going on.
    He frowned at my expression.
    “Huh. Guess they found you first.”
    He strode towards me, covering ground quickly, staring for some reason, at my throat, which began to itch under his scrutiny. As he reached me, he slid his fingers into my hair, not at all in a romantic way, more like a doctor, and tilted my head sideways to get a better view of my neck. With his other hand he reached to his belt and drew a small flick knife, opening it with a swift movement of his wrist.
    I still didn’t feel at all alarmed, surprisingly, but my teacher, who had, until now, been looking on in shock, suddenly came back to life.
    “Excuse me, young man, just what do you think you’re doing to my pupil?” She sounded quite indignant.
    She got to her feet, apparently aiming to stop him. He didn’t even glance up, but simply slashed downwards with his knife, making a neat slit that hurt like hell. His mouth quickly followed his knife, and I felt the warm, wet sensation of sucking, followed by teeth. A second later, he spat two halves of a small metal bug onto the floor, and a great many things came flooding back to me.
    “Bastards!” I exclaimed, staring at the recently extracted bug.
    I grinned upwards. “Chopper!” I cried, clapping a hand to my neck to try and stem the flow of blood. He had missed the jugular, but now I had my correct memories back, I knew this was more by luck than judgement. Chopper was your man if you wanted help with a vehicle, with any machine, but I wouldn’t ask him to try brain surgery.
    “Hey, Pearl. Sorry.” He gestured at my neck.
    “No problem, really,” I replied, “Where’s Fenix?”
    “Couldn’t come. She’s busy.”
    “Right.” I’d get an explanation later. “So who is here?”
    “Me, you,” Chopper ticked people off on his fingers as he counted. “Mira and Stone.”
    “Mira? Excellent. Get this…”
    We were interrupted by my teacher, who was still stood at her desk, watching our brief dialogue in outrage.
    “Aimee! Do you know this boy?”
    Aimee? Oh, yeah, that had been me. Up until a moment ago.
    “Sure,” I said, “But I’m not Aimee. I’m Pearl.”
    I smiled sweetly at her, and strode to the door, yanking it open and yelling into the corridor.
    “Mira? Get this ******** glamour off of me right now; I am so tired of being blonde!” At a slightly lower decibel, I continued, “And has anyone got a very large plaster?”
    Mira let go of the strand of grass green hair she was inspecting, and pushed off from the wall, giving me a slow up-and-down. A second later, I was my usual self; long silver hair back in a high ponytail, ridiculously pale skin and trademark long black duster.
    I sighed relief and grinned at Mira.
    “Hey, you changed your hair,” I commented.
    She smiled faintly back at me. “Not really,” she said.
    “Right. Where’s Stone?”
    “Mooove!” The yell came from the end from the corridor, and we both turned to see a tall, thin blonde boy pelting towards us, sunglasses slipping down his nose. Stone.
    “They’re here, in force!” He yelled. I tensed, ready for a fight.
    But Chopper was right behind me, reading my intent.
    “You heard him Pearl. They’re here in force. There are only four of us. We can’t take them, and we’re not leaving you behind again.”
    Which left only one choice. We were leaving. I ground my teeth in anger.
    “Fine,” I spat. “What’s the plan?”
    Apparently from nowhere, he whipped out what appeared to be four pairs of metal wings and pointed at the window at the back of the classroom. Subtle.
    At that moment, Stone skidded to a stop by Mira, panting.
    “Hey, chief,” he said to me, “Alright? What happened to your neck?”
    “Yeah, it’s fine,” I lied, trying to scrape the half dried blood on my hand off on the edge of the door. Stone winced and handed me a large white bandage type thing. I ripped off the backing and slapped it on. He took off his sunglasses so that I could see his dark brown eyes, so unusual in someone with such pale blonde hair, look at me sternly.
    “Fenix’s little shots probably shouldn’t be used so inefficiently.”
    I stuck my tongue out at him while he put his glasses back on, and strapped on the wings given to me by Chopper. The window plan wasn’t great, but we had little choice and even less time. Chopper pulled us all inside the classroom and let the door fall shut before handing them their wings. Mira looked doubtfully at the thick, double glazed window.
    “Who’s going first?” She asked.
    “Chopper,” I replied with a sweet smile. “He has the hardest head.”
    Chopper gave me a ‘don’t be silly’ look, which I was offended by, since the bloody plan was his. Out of his stupidly small bag, that behaved like a Tardis, he pulled out a metal gauntlet which, when on, greatly enlarged his hand, and protected it. I had to admit, it was a good idea, but where the hell did he get all this stuff?
    Wings on, I wasted no time on goodbyes. Aimee had known these people, but I never would. We went crashing through the window, and I watched the broken glass falling to earth, sparkling like rain. I soared upwards with a feeling of release.
    I blinked and sighed heavily, raising my eyebrows at the resource sheet, as if hoping it had suddenly gained something more interesting than information on wind farms in Cumbria.
    It hadn’t.