Something was wrong. I knew it the second I saw my father sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands.
My father isn't that small. He's about 6 feet 2 and heavily built. He has black hair and blue eyes that seem to stare you down.
He looked at me and gave me a look of complete and total despair.
"Hi, Jackie," he said in a flat, lifeless tone.
"Dad, what's wrong?" I asked, almost scared to know because my father works for a company that does a lot of experiments and tests on animals. I am often disgusted by some of the things they do there.
"Nothing, just a hard day at work," he said in a slightly menacing tone. His eyes seemed to say that something was bothering him, though.
My eyes wandered and discovered a manila folder.
"Okay, dad. I'm going to go do my homework now. Call me when dinner is ready, okay?"
As I left the kitchen, I wondered what was in the manila folder. When I sat down on the couch, my mother walked in the door.
"Hi, mom," I said, smiling.
My mother is like an alien in our family. She has light blond hair and blue-violet eyes that are unbelievably large.
"Carmen, I need to talk to you very soon," a voice called from the kitchen.
"Okay, Peter. I'll be there in a sec."
My mother disappeared behind the kitchen door. I ran to it and put my ear up to the door, and strained to hear their conversation.
"Carmen, we have a little problem. Do you know the Hinley project? Well, the people at the lab want to test it."
"What?!" my mother's voice boomed across the world, it seemed.
"They want to study the specimen," my father said, almost whispering.
Specimen? What are they talking about? Geez, I'm getting kind of scared now. My last name is Hinley.
"Carmen, what are we going to do? She's half-alien. It's time she knew."
Oh, my gosh. What am I? They can't be talking about me. They must be talking about some lab rat or something.
I couldn't take it. I burst into the kitchen.
My parents both turned to me, eyes wide with fear.
"Hinley project?" I said it in a voice that was loud, but strangely soft, as if a human had not said it.
"What am I?" I was screaming by now. I was so scared. "What am I?"
It's amazing what you can learn in half an hour with your parents.
I now know that my mother is not of this planet.
The Hinley project is my entire life. I am a living, breathing alien/human experiment.
It's kind of scary to find out that your entire life, you've been living with an alien, my mother. It's even scarier to find out that you, yourself, are half alien.
The scariest thing of all, though, is to find out that your mother's species is coming to meet you. And to take over.
Take over not just your life, but the entire human population's lives.
That's all I can say. Scary. Really scary.
Jean Marie, 12, is a seventh-grader at Madeira Beach Middle School.
+ + +
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