Used to be called Rowan Dryadalem.

Minds. Boring into my brain. Burrowing into my consciousness. Why? Why do I hear minds?

Are they minds? Or are they just voices?

But, if they are voices, then how do I know so much? About other people, I mean. Also about all of the excess knowledge I am filled to the brim with, but I'm not really concerned about that right now…

Sometimes, I wonder if it is all a dream.

I wonder about these every day, contemplate them every hour.

Sometimes I would catch myself daydreaming during class, always interrupted by voices hacking into my head.

Personally, I think it is a sign of exhaustion that I daydream to begin with. Or perhaps I am just a weird (pre)teenager.

At first, I tried using ear plugs to simply block the noises, but they continue to resonate in my skull, unhindered by my efforts. Now, I use earbuds to listen to music, audio books, anything to drown them out.

But it doesn't work like that. It just muffles the voices, like how I imagine snow quieting footsteps, or a gag preventing a person from speaking clearly.

Or someone far away shouting to me, the message so important that my ears strain to hear every syllable, hoping to piece it all together into a somewhat coherent idea.

Usually, it isn't THAT important. Not important enough to warrant driving me insane with headaches that I can't sanely explain.

Imagine telling your teacher, Hey, I have a headache from listening to all of these voices. But they aren't in my head, they're in yours. So, may I go to the nurse's office to get two aspirin? Thanks. Yeah, you really need to get your head checked.

Oh, could you put that phone down?

I would get thrown into the funny house for sure. Locked away with madness boring into my skull, I would definitely go looney. So I don't say anything.

Anyway, why am I telling you about voices, about MINDS shredding at the little patience I have left? Well, I've got an agenda.

That agenda is to tell my story so that all of the pressure can escape somehow and not trigger an explosion that ends with a shattered brain.

Yeah, great times.

Guess what age I am. I'll give you a hint (well, it's not much of one to be honest).

Okay, here it is: I'm a senior in high school.

Nope, I'm not seventeen years old, not eighteen years old, DEFINITELY not nineteen years old. (Geez, I'm not an auldfart)

I am twelve years old. I am a Prodigy, according to some newspaper that I skim once in a while.

No, you goose! I am not some bug-eyed character from an elementary math game. I am a person with unusually advanced talents and qualities.

The vast spread of my capabilities includes, among other things, precocious intelligence, common sense (which some lack even now), sarcasm (which some have yet to become fluent in), musical tact {wind instruments, percussion, alto-voice choir, and the double bass}, and a knack to avoid most brands of trouble. Darn it, forgot the telepathy.

I've been through some crazy stuff in my life, from life-threatening allergies to creepy people trying to take me in their white van to being hit by virtually every piece of sports equipment in existence- including the actual players-, and I'm still trying to understand how I am still alive today (If you know, please tell me; I've drawn up a blank so far).

Let me guess, you think that I'm about to go on some quest to save humanity. That I'm going to become some superhero. That I am going to discover that I am not even human.

Or maybe you think that I'm just crazy.

Well, you're really close, on all of those. (except for one, but I'll let you stew on that for a while)

My name is Rowan Dryadalem. Wow, might as well say it.

Yes, my surname means "elf" or, my personal favorite, "tree lady". I personally think it was some joke. Whether it was plotted by fate, or even by some diabolical, twisted-minded ancestor, my family is not a bunch of elves, and never will be if I can help it.

I've already heard it all, so might as well get it out now.

No, my great-times-a-thousand grandfather didn't help Frodo destroy the "ring that will rule them all".

NO, my grandmother times-whatever-greats did NOT make TOYS. OR wear pointy shoes with bells. OR, may the lord of mischief have it not so, have absurd pointed ears.

But someone thought oh, hey, this is a great idea. I'm going to just renounce my name in favor of this AMAZING title and name myself after a tree lady. It is a respectable name, and will not be made fun of.

Wow, thanks.

If I had any say in the matter, no-one at school would have known that it roughly translated to "elf," and it stayed that way for eight years straight. Well, until my Latin teacher decided to start stating random 'cool' facts during our Mythology semester. I already knew about it- my parents told me-, but I thought that no-one in high school would connect it to the kids in class.

I love my luck.

"Hello, class," Ms. Park said to the class that day. "Today, we will learn about the Dryadalem."

Everyone stared at me, for I already had a reputation for having "a big brain."

"Dryadalem is Latin for Dryad, a mythical humanoid creature that lives in trees, oh, yeah, it also translates to elf. Anyway, back to the topic at hand." She even LAUGHED at herself, but the idiots thought she was laughing at me, which didn't help matters.

As she continued with the lecture, moving on to Minotaur and Cyclopes, a group of jocks started snickering. Soon, it was all over the school.

I suppose I should be grateful that it didn't spread farther, but that doesn't stop me from shuddering when I recall the idiocy that jumped around then.

He's an elf. Well, that was just stupid, plain and simple. I don't even have pointed ears, much less live in trees.

He cheated on the midterm with his magical powers. I have a photographic memory. Sue me, I dare you.

People made the jokes about elves and lightbulbs, which is just childish.

But the worst one I heard, and hear,- it isn't even said aloud- is true. He's a FREAK.

Photographic memory, telepathy, what could go wrong? SO. MUCH. WORSE. Than what you're thinking.

I remember everything told to me, everything I've seen. Everything that ever happened in my presence. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Got it?

Even my own birth. It was disgusting, so I won't go into it.

The only moment in my life that I don't remember was when I was five years old. Probably was because of the concussion.

Apparently, I had knocked my head on the concrete while running around outside.

I do remember reading a book, though -Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne- because other kids didn't want to play with me. They had already started thinking that I was a freak.

I didn't know that they were thinking that, though. I didn't have telepathy back then. But now, when I look back on it, I could see the signs.

Anyway, so I was reading when a girl named Janet Callaway stole my book and ran off with it, a regular occurrence. I ran after her, engaging in the fun game called 'Keep Away', but tripped in a hole in the grass right as I got to the sidewalk. I fell down on the concrete, then the memory goes dark for a while.

I don't remember any pain from right then, but picture this.

You wake up after having a crappy day at school to find yourself hooked to a bunch of machines. Got it?

Now, that was not even the worst part. Imagine that voices were blaring in your head. Little five-year-old me thought that I was going crazy.

There was a set of syringes sitting beside me, full of some who-knows-what. Some random stranger whose face is covered with a weird mask thing grabs two of the syringes and stabs them into my arm.

Vomit rises in little me's throat, but is blocked by a tube that forces it back down. Yum, tasty vomit. Just kidding, it tasted like acid and merde.

Some weird smelling gas came out of the tube, and fog clouded my eyes, then my brain, then it all went in a flash.

Ever since that day, I heard voices, but I found out quickly that they were minds. I don't know why, but I didn't tell anybody right then. That was probably a wise decision.

The only reason why I am writing this is so that I can share it. There is so much in my brain that I have a hard time sorting, but all of my memories are like fine-focus photographs, high definition video, or live music. It is all so overwhelming.

You're probably reading this as though it were fiction. I don't blame you…too much. It is a hard story to swallow, but hey, put it down and somebody else might actually believe it.

Now, here's where my adventure begins. Yep, I'm calling it an adventure, for it was. Don't look at this autobiography like that; this is a work of definite fact.

Right after I finished my midterm exam for Forensics AP, I started daydreaming. Again.

There was a lot of time, for it took me only thirty minutes of the two hours we had, including checking over it. I didn't need to, though, for I knew that I got all of them correct.

I got out my phone, plugged in my ear buds, and started listening to "A Cat Named Virtue" a thousand times.

Yeah, I listen to music that hardly anyone my age knows. But that's okay. I don't need to listen to what other people listen to; I merely hear their minds.

We get out at 12:20 PM because it is a half day, so I board the bus, 'super excited' to be stuck in a 'yellow can' for forty-six minutes.

Sounds fun, right?

No, it is miserable. It is hot, crowded, and louder than my Math class.

It also doesn't help that a lot of the older students don't bother with basic hygiene, stinking up the already smothering hot space with their sweat and stuff.

However, this is the one place where I refuse to muffle the voices. There are so many different people on the bus, even some freshmen who were twelve because they skipped a couple grades somewhere.

I rarely get to listen to kids my age, so I listen.

But I've never encountered another quite like me. Not until I walk home from the 'canning station'.

Halfway to my house, some random teenager that I've never seen before starts running up to me.

It was a girl, with blond hair and rich brown eyes. The eyes had flecks of gold in them, as though someone decided to throw glitter in her face on Freshman Friday when she was in ninth grade. She's definitely older then I am, at least four years.

I don't have some 'blank brain' moment, as I like to call it. I have observed this on numerous occasions throughout my high school experience. Some pretty girl- this stranger is pretty, in a way- would walk into class, then all of the teenagers would start gazing at her as though they've never seen a person, much less a human girl, in their lives.

I don't really have enough emotional attachment between my feelings and my actions to make a fool of myself, but I do feel a warmth come across my face. Is this what people call…blushing? Nope, you ridiculous reader, I just spent an entire day in an unconditioned school with a long-sleeve band t-shirt.

That's super embarrassing.

I don't try to say anything, for I haven't said anything for over two hours.

Instead, I get out my umbrella in a casual motion, for something about this person doesn't sit right with me. I don't say anything, I just watch.

Something about my face gives her pause. Perhaps it's my eyes. Dark violet with ocean-green flecks.

I constantly get made fun of for my stupid eyes. The doctors did some tests and found that they're okay, for the most part (They found that my eye pigments that they carefully extracted are actually spread erratically, with all of them absorbing different light. Technically, I should have rainbow eyes, but I was lucky).

Yeah, don't quite know what I could've done if I became the Human Kaleidoscope. Not much, probably.

Even worse, I have to wear prescription glasses, so it's not like I can use sunglasses to cover them. Well…that is probably for the best. One of the kids at school gets made fun of all the time for his reflective sunglasses.

People often have to look twice to make sure they aren't crazy; I got used to it, but I still feel a mix of unnerving and amusement when I see their reactions

She puts her smile back on, then pulls up an article on her phone. Then, of course, she asks, "Is this you?" The picture was from four years ago, and is in black-and-white, but I definitely recognize that picture.

Those weirdos had decided to write YET another article about me, but I still feel a hint of pride at the fact that they couldn't find a recent picture of me.

Proceed with caution. I say, "Yeah, so?"

The stranger starts to say something, but a bus slowly passes by full of elementary students, the loudest minds in the world, in my opinion.

Cue migraine.

I bend over the grass, bile rising in my throat as the pain sets in.

When it passes, I look up. The weird person looks distressed, even sick. Good. If she wants to stalk people, she better be prepared for vomit.

That was what I thought, until she says, wincing, "Did-Did you hear that?" Without asking, I know what she's talking about: voices.

Hold up. Wait a second. Why can't I hear her?

Yes, I heard her voice. She's talking to me, and I understand her. I'm not deaf.

What I mean is why can't I hear her mind?

I paint a confused look on my face. An easy mask, to be honest- I use it too often, to be honest. But I forget to let it reach my eyes, too busy thinking of what I should say.

All of my doubts are pushed out of my mind for the moment when she nervously asks, excitement brewing in her gaze, "Are you a Telepath?"


I start to back up quickly, then turn around and run, away from the girl who had figured out the secret that I had managed to keep for seven years straight.

The creeper runs after me, going way faster than I am. I push harder, but she keeps coming.

Stupid short legs. I run across the street towards my parents' house, pushing my raven-black hair out of my eyes. Looks like I need yet another haircut.

I pause at the crosswalk to check that no-one is going to run over me. It would be a sad case of irony if I escape a kidnapper only to be run over by a bus.

"Stop!" I hear from behind me.

Against my better judgement, I turn my head around and see that the creepy teenager has stopped ten feet away. That is not a safe distance, Panic muttered. But at least it isn't within arm's reach.

"Stop!" the girl shouts again. Well, I stopped. You don't need to repeat yourself, or are you a broken radio?

"We've been looking for you for a long time." She pauses to catch her breath, then adds, "For fourteen years."

High Alert. Creepiness factor is off the charts.

Oh, crap! I think. There's more of them!? But I have little time to contemplate the catastrophe that is occurring. All I think is that there is a band of full-time stalkers who have been looking for someone for fourteen years. I'm not even that old!

Suddenly, I drop my bag and dash across the street, clutching my instrument case.

Well, I can't exactly let her have my most prized possession, can I? You probably think that I've got priority issues.

Just as I start crossing the other half of the road, I hear a blaring honking.

I stupidly stop in the street, my leg muscles frozen in shock. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my neighbor's truck bearing down on me. The driver is panicked, but the brakes are not working.

I think that the story in the paper should have the headline, "DUMB GENIUS SQUASHED BY NEIGHBOR", with the subtitle, "HERE'S WHY YOU LOOK BOTH WAYS".

I realize, with little more than disappointment, that I'm going to die. I guess I can't actively change the world for the better if I'm nine feet under- or gone with the wind, whichever burial practice would be used.

Wow, people say that when you are in a life-threatening situation, your life flashes before your eyes. For me, that's not the case. I just hear the scream.



New chapter coming soon!

Shannon Messenger, you are an awesome writer! I realize that I've just changed part of your story already in my story, for this occurs when Sophie Foster is about fifteen (starting from her human birthday, not inception like the elves say).

So, this is going off to a better start than what I was hoping {YAY}, but I do hope to make the story grow as I go along.

Please review this, for I do want to improve my writing.