She was sitting in her last class of the day, trying to concentrate, but her body would not cooperate. She reached back for the hundredth time to scratch the strange patch of dry skin on and between her shoulder blades that was causing thie maddening itch. An involuntary gasp escaped her as her fingernails knocked part of a scab loose. Class ended, and she couldn’t get out the door fast enough. When she got home, she eased her backpack off her shoulders and tossed it carelessly on the kitchen table. As she peeled her shirt off, there was a sickening, tearing sensation across her upper back. She felt nauseous. It felt like her skin had torn open. But then she froze. The sensation was like a fist opening up—something was protruding, unfurling, from gashes in her back. She couldn’t believe it—this was just like the dream she has every night. She opened the sliding glass door and stepped out onto her balcony. She perched precariously on the railing for a moment, and then her wings spread open.

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