"Now, make sure you check behind you when backing up," I told my little brother, Blake.
"I know, Liv," He said. "You tell me every time I do this."
"I want to make sure you remember it," I said. "I'm just looking out for you."
"Whatever," Blake muttered. He backed out of our driveway and down the road.
The drive to his school took about fifteen minutes. When we made it, he exited the car and I said goodbye. Then I moved into the driver's seat and headed to my school, Tial University.
As I was driving, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. I sang along with the lyrics.
At one point, I was crossing a four-way intersection when a car shot out from the side. Everything slowed down as it smashed into the side of my car. I was thrown in the opposite direction. I vaguely felt glass shattering on my back as I flew out the car's window.
Pain flooded my senses.
And then blackness engulfed everything until all I could feel was emptiness.
I don't know how long it had been since I was last conscious. I couldn't move or really do anything other than think or breathe, but I could hear people talking around me.
". . . a few broken ribs," Someone I didn't know said. "We don't know when she'll next wake up."
I heard a soft sob from another person, probably my mother.
"Thank you," My father said in a toneless voice. After that, there wasn't anything except for the sound of my mother crying softly and the repetitive beeping of a machine.
Soon after that, I began to drift away into unconsciousness again.
This time, when I woke up, I could open my eyes. I was sitting in a hospital bed with quite a lot of bandages wrapped around me. I couldn't really move except for my head.
I was in an open room with five other beds. Two of them were occupied, one with a boy who looked to have been a high school freshman with two golden horns spiraling from the top of his head and the other with a girl who looked more my age with the signature blue gill ears of a siren.
The boy was asleep with what looked like a hospital air mask on his face, but the girl wasn't she was sitting up and reading a book. She glanced over at me and saw that I was awake.
"Oh, hey," She said. "You're awake."
"Yeah, I am," I said.
"Nice to meet you," The girl said. "My name is Sophia."
"I'm Olivia," I said. "It's nice to meet you too."
"How'd you end up in here?" Sophia asked.
"Car accident," I answered. "You?"
"I was swimming in my school's pool when the diving board's stand broke and fell in on top of me," Sophia said. "Luckily, I didn't drown." She pointed at her ears.
"Oh," I said.
"And Rayden over here fell down some stairs," Sophia said, pointing a thumb at the sleeping boy. "He's been in here for two months."
"Yeesh," I said. "How long have you been in here?"
"Three and a half weeks," Sophia said. "You've been here for three days."
"Three days?" I asked.
"Yeah," Sophia said, "You've been unconscious basically the entire time."
"What!" I yelped.
"I think you got a concussion," Sophia said. "That's probably what made you unconscious for so long."
"Probably," I said.
"I'm surprised that you're still human," Sophia said. "I think you're the first person I've met our age who hadn't caught it."
"Huh," I said. "Well, I've been waiting for a while now."
"You know. . ." Sophia said. "People notoriously catch it more often in hospitals."
"Really?" I asked.
"Yep!" Sophia said. Then the boy on the other side of Sophia stirred.
"Ugh," He said, sitting up slowly. As he did, I saw two reddish gold wings on his back.
"Hey Rayden," Sophia said to him. "The new girl woke up."
"Oh, really," Rayden said, looking over. "Hey. The name's Rayden."
"I'm Olivia," I said. "It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you to-" Rayden tried to say, but he was interrupted by a coughing fit. Then a burst of bright flame came out of his mouth, but the mask over his face stopped it. He coughed a few more times before breathing deeply.
"You good?" Sophia asked.
"I'm fine," Rayden said.
"What was that?" I asked.
"When I fell down some stairs, I injured my flame gland," Rayden said. "So now I can't control when I breathe fire."
"Oh," I said.
"That's why I wear this mask," He continued. "It's really heat resistant and stops me from burning the stuff around me."
I was about to say something else, but everything spun around me. As I fell back onto my bed and into unconsciousness, I heard Sophia say, "There she goes."
"Ugh," I said.
"Oh, good," A nurse sitting on a stool next to my bed said. "You're awake. How do you feel, sweetie?"
"Fine, I guess," I said, sitting up. I glanced over at Sophia and Rayden. Rayden was awake this time, and he waved at me. I waved back. Sophia was asleep.
"Good, good," The nurse said. She scribbled something down on her clipboard and then left.
"That was quick," I said to nobody in particular.
"Yeah, they tend to do checkups quickly," Rayden told me. "It helps that most of them are fairies."
"Wait, really?" I asked.
"Yeah," Rayden answered. "Have you not noticed their auras?"
"I'm human still," I informed him. "I can't feel auras."
"Ooooh," Rayden said. "How old are you?"
"Nineteen," I said.
"Wow," Rayden said. "I've never met someone who's gone as long as you have without catching the virus."
"Sophia said the same thing," I told him. He chuckled.
"Well, it's probably true for a lot of people," Rayden said. I was about to respond to him when I sneezed, twice.
"Ugh," I said. I grabbed a tissue from a nearby box and wiped my nose.
"Has Sophia told you that people notoriously-," Rayden started.
"Yes," I interrupted. "She has."
"Oh," Rayden said.
"What are you guys talking about," Sophia said, slowly waking up.
"Nothing much," Rayden said. "A nurse just came in for Oliva's checkup."
"Oh," Sophia said. She sat up and grabbed her book from her nightstand and began reading.
"I wonder if I could get my phone," I said.
"Just ask a nurse," Rayden told me. "They'll talk with your family to see if they can get it to you."
"Cool, thanks," I said.
"Oh, I keep forgetting to ask you," Rayden said suddenly. "What's your favorite video game?"
"I don't know," I said. "I don't play very many. I think out of all the ones I do play, I have to go with Metroid Dread."
"Really?" Sophia asked. "You don't seem like someone who plays games like that."
"I play Metroid Dread, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, Minecraft, Splatoon 3, Hollow Knight, and Rain World," I said. "What about you?"
"Minecraft and TF2," Rayden said. "Oh, and also Terraria."
"Rocket League, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and Celeste," Sophia said.
"I keep telling her she should play Minecraft," Rayden said. "But she doesn't want to."
"Why not?" I asked her.
"I tried once before," Sophia answered. "Hated it."
"How come?" I asked.
"I can't stand the spiders," She responded. "Ugh."
"That's why I just do building stuff in creative mode," I said.
"Oh, you do?" Rayden asked. "I play survival."
"I do," I said. "And I don't like survival. I just want to build stuff."
"Oh well," Rayden said. "Aw man, I'm sleepy."
"What time is it?" I asked.
"The clock's over there," Sophia said, pointing to the wall on the other side of me. I looked up at it to see that it was 12:00 A.M.
"Oh," I said, surprised.
"What?" Rayden asked.
"I just wasn't expecting it to be so late, or early if you look at it that way," I said.
"Yeah, it's like that for me too," Sophia said. "On top of not needing sleep as much as other people, going unconscious randomly really messes up your sleep schedule."
"Although, I am feeling a bit tired," I said. "Maybe I'll go to. . . sleep too. . ." I drifted off into sleep.
Olivia was born into a world with a special virus. This virus converts people from normal humans into monster hybrids, like werewolves, vampires, dragons, and many more.
The world has accepted it, for the most part. Olivia lives in the "good" part of the world, where people can live together peacefully whether they're human or monster.
But there are less utopian places. Out in the Outskirts are huge towns of tents and people trying to get into the cities. They are hunted by the Orix, dangerous shadow monsters that prey on humans and monsters alike.
Olivia is one of the few people still human at her age. But when she has a car accident and goes to the hospital, she finally becomes her monster form.
Then she and her friends, and the rest of the university she goes to, take an Aptitude Test, meant to classify them in the defense forces.