She radiated light just like her name. Her beautiful skin glistened in the neon light coming from the paved court through the slits in the blind, her soot-black lashes matted, and her gray beady eyes mischievous more than ever. Her long jet black hair fell in loose waves past her shoulders, with a few black peekaboo strands. “Haya. . . .?” called her mother. She quickly hid her diary under her pillow and marched off to her mother, anxious to see what came next.
Ma still doesn’t know of my shape-shifting. It has been three days since I last changed shape. I changed into Yusuf, my brother last time because he knows. How funny it was when I became a young boy, dressed loosely in a drab green T-shirt and baggy green trousers. I had a green army jacket tied around my waist and a green canvas bag slung over my shoulder. The only non-green thing about me was the pair of scruffy black walking boots on my feet. Do you know as to why did I change into him? It is because he was having a high degree of fever. Very high! And, he couldn’t attend his school’s function in such a condition. Could he?
“Ma, you called?” asked Haya.
“Yes. Could you please peel the potatoes and chop the onions.”
Oh, no. Not the chores again! She visualized of being a cat and . . . . Woah, her powers never disappointed her. Smiling, she meowed and left the scene.
“Haya. . . .? Where’d she go?”
Haya was strolling around on the newly paved street, as a cat of course when she saw him. There was her uncle. He wasn’t as slight as Haya first thought him to be: he wasn’t exactly muscular, but he wasn’t weedy-looking either…there was an air of hidden strength about him, a graceful strength that showed in his balance, the way he held himself, the way he walked. . . . Changing appearance, she approached him.
“Hello,” he replied, his voice hoarse. But, without saying anything further, he vanished into thin air, leaving not even a trace behind him. So her powers were definitely genetic.
My powers are proving to be no good to me. Except for helping in avoiding the hectic house chores, of course. Oh, I hope I get to be Maryse Rills tomorrow. The center of attention in our class. Good night.”
Haya woke up to something really strange. She wasn’t feeling like herself at all. Her blond hair was suddenly a different color. She bounced off her bed and headed over to the mirror, anxious to see what the matter was. She gasped. Her wish had been heard. There, in front of her stood Maryse Rills. No wonder she was called the “star" – her amber eyes shone like orbs in the night. Her hair, deep hues of fierce crimson against her angelic face Haya smirked. Things were about to get spiced up!
At her school, things kept going on crazily in her favor. Maryse was on leave and so the people who once followed Maryse now followed her. Haya never thought that her dream would come true in such a way. The dance crew captain arrived.
”Maryse? Will you be coming for the practice this afternoon?”
“Of course, I will.”
“What happened to your voice?”
Instead of replying to the unexpected question, Haya quickly hurried away.
Back at her home, she changed back to her usual self. She kept on playing and then replaying her day’s highlights. She was smiling to herself when her mother arrived.
“You always get away with the chores one way or the other. But, today. The chores have arrived for you themselves. Chop the onions! Quick. Quick. . .”
“Ma. . . I’m really tired. I promise I’ll do the chores once I wake after taking an afternoon nap.”
“No! You’re doing the chores, now!”
Defeated, she got busy with the work. Chop, chop, chop. . . Peel, peel, peel . . . Chop, chop, chop. . . Peel, peel, peel . . .
The sunlight poured into her room through the crevices of her room’s window. A brand new day meant a brand new appearance. . . . She had never tried to pull off an appearance in front of her Abba. She thought of Mina, the new neighbor, and her mum. Abba detested them for their never-ending talks. What if Haya changed into Mina this time? She giggled, Abba was about to get furious.
Abba arrived late that afternoon, around 7:05. But, Haya was already ‘in Mina’s shoes.’ She now had bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin. She wore a pale blue hoodie with grey capri pants. Her eyes were Fremen blue, staring out of a soft, round face.
“Hello. . .” she began, hoping Abba wouldn’t recognize her.
“Hello. . . .young lady.” He smiled.
Young lady? Was her secret out, already? Her heart started sinking. Nevertheless, she continued.
“Uncle, I’m here to meet Haya. Is she at home?”
“She is everywhere but home, young lady.”
Haya’s face turned pale. Everywhere but home? So, they all knew it. Yusuf must’ve given her away. She wanted to cry.
“All good, young lady?” Abba wasn’t going to go easy.
“Yessir,” and she quickly left the house.
Once outside, she breathed heavily. How dare they play with her emotions? She wanted to shout at the top of her lungs at the sudden betrayal. But then again, why did she expect them to be fair with her when she, herself had been playing with their emotions. A wave of guilt passed over her like fog on a beach party.
Guilt-stricken, she headed home.
Who would Haya want to be now? There was a long queue of people for Haya to change appearance into.
Yusuf – done.
Amena— . . . .? Oh, how had she forgotten Amena?
She was about to shape-shift into Amena when suddenly there was a. . . Whoosh. Haya was now drenched in ice-cold water. “Hello, hello? My daughter is dreaming of having a superpower again?” her Mom smirked. The bucket of cold water, still in her hand.
Dreaming . . . ? Had this been a dream all along? Oh, no! Not again.