I wake up with the sense that somehow today will be different. I try to rub the sleep from my eyes, but my hand isn't all stiff like it normally is from a night of sleep and I consequently poke myself in the eye.
I blink sleepily at the mirror on the opposite wall. It seems to be flickering, like the air on a hot day, what's it called? Heat haze, that's it. I get out of bed, stumbling, and wander over to the mirror.
I place my hand on the sheet of reflective glass, or try to, anyway. The glass bends, moving away from my hand, distorting my look of gormless not-quite-awake-yet into a scary clowns grin. I snatch my hand away. The glass pings back, actually makes a ping noise. I'm wide awake now.
I turn my head, checking how bad my bed head is. Strangely, my hair seems fine. I place my hand on my head, confused. My hair seems to glimmer all on its own, changing colours rippling through it.
My phone buzzes. I check the text.
Rememba bowlin @ 5:30, dnt b l8!
God, Bea is bad for text language.
I check the time. Ten past four. Wait, what?! I'd never usually sleep that late, even if I was allowed to. Why didn't anyone wake me up?
I wander downstairs. The fire is lit in the living room, thank god, it's freezing otherwise, but I go to get breakfast first. Well, more like a late lunch.
I heat up some vegetable lasagne and take it through to the living room. One of the coals from the fire moves, then falls onto the hearth. Without thinking, I reach out to replace it not with the tongs like a sane person, but with my bare hand.
As I put the coal on top of the pile, a small flame spouts up just to the left, hitting my wrist. I yell, snatch my hand back. I blink. Suddenly there is a flickering gold-red-orange flame pattern stretching right up my arm, overlapping itself like the scales of some insane goldfish. I scream, try to wipe it off with my hand, and then see that my other arm is covered in the same pattern.
The pattern wavers, then disappears. I stop yelling, but don't stop panicking.
What the hell is wrong with me?!
I meet Bea and Katie outside the bowling alley at 5:15. They've got chips, or 'fries' as Bea calls them, though I suppose she is half American. Katie hands me a white polystyrene box, containing my own. We eat happily for a while, and then the boys turn up.
We go in and queue up to get the special bowling shoes. Somehow, both me and Jett end up at the back. He looks exhausted.
"You look tired," he says, putting his hoes on the counter next to mine.
"Rough night," I reply.
The guy is just returning with shoes in the correct sizes, when Jett's fingers brush my bare forearm.
A searing pain shoots up my arm, freezing cold.
"Ouch!" I yell, jerking away from him, seeing him do the same. I inspect my arm, horrified to see crystals of ice melting away there. I glance at Jett and notice the angry red burn on his fingers.
"What the hell?" he mumbles.
I snatch my shoes and sprint after the others, totally freaked out.
I sit down on the sofa thing and pull on my shoes.
"You're up first, Ash," Katie tells me. I stand up, take a red ball and bowl. Amazingly, I get a dead on hit.
"Strike!" I yell, happy, momentarily forgetting the weirdness of a few minutes ago.
And then my hand bursts into flame.