1. The Hidden Me The silence in my bedroom stretched so thin, I could have sworn there was no one else in the world but me. But with one click of my computer mouse, I would share my deepest secret with millions of strangers who surfed the web. And I would do it anonymously. Not written by Kara Martinez, a girl who did her best to appear normal, but the hidden girl who was far from normal and who no one else got to see. The digital clock at the top of my screen read: 5:22 P.M. Mom would be home any minute. I wet my lips and clicked "publish." Wiped my damp palms on my thighs and navigated to the homepage. I stared at my blog entry, reading it as if for the first time. As if I hadn't already agonized over every word, every sentence, a hundred times. Above the blog, my website logo flowed in a thick, curving white font -- "Secret Fates: The Sign Seer Blog" -- against a black background. Next to the title was an ancient mirror with an image of a city scene in the center of the glass. A simple, clean design. My straight hair fell forward like a veil on both sides of my face. I hooked the strands behind my ear before clicking to the browser homepage, clearing the history and the cache. Since launching the website two days ago, I'd taken every precaution to not leave any obvious connections between me and the website. Thanks to plenty of online articles, I was as secure as I was going to be keeping my identity secret, unless I became the victim of a very determined and experienced hacker. At the moment, I wasn't on anyone's radar and was protected enough by security software that if someone tried to follow my ISP, I'd know it. I'd even gone a step further and signed on to an anonymous proxy by a software program that replaced my real IP address with a fake one, so that if anyone read my service logs, I'd be technically camouflaged. Being this cautious was the only way I would allow myself to have this website. Just hoped I wouldn't end up regretting it. I grabbed my now warm coca-cola cherry soda, and took one last swig to finish it off. Tossed the can in my garbage tin and rolled my shoulders to stop the annoying itch at my back. Done. No going back. Standing, I pulled off my fitted black tee and threw it on my bed, then picked up the pink top laid out on my pillows and slid it on. The sudden low hum of the garage door from downstairs had me picking up speed to the oak-trimmed mirror above my dresser. My dark, shoulder-length hair was limp as usual. The soft beige of my complexion a little pale. Damn those dark circles under my eyes. Tools of disguise were lined up across my dresser. The brush came first, to quickly run it back through my tangled strands. A few dots of cover-up to smear on the darkness below my eyes. The gloss stick next -- a swipe of pale pink across my mouth. I'd always wanted to try a darker maroon, but then thought better of it. With my right hand, I smoothed down the soft material of the pink top. One of the many things Mom brought home after a trip to the mall. I saw this at Mervyn's and knew it was you. You love pink. I hadn't loved pink since the fourth grade. Grabbing my discarded tee, I stuffed it in a plastic bag that I kept in my closet. Myotherlaundry bag. The clothes I washed myself when Mom wasn't home. Then I grabbed the tall, thin silver thermos from my desk, the heat a comfort against my palm, and stashed it in a sandal shoebox. One more quick mirror check -- yep, the daughter my mother wanted me to be -- and I headed downstairs. The television was already turned on in the front room. A newscaster murmured the latest story at low volume. I strolled past, catching flashes of policemen and crime scene tape. Another murder, gang related. In the last three years, gang violence in Valdez, California (population 103,000), had boomed on the city streets. Even though an antigang task force had been formed in anParra, Kelly is the author of 'Invisible Touch', published 2008 under ISBN 9781416563372 and ISBN 1416563377.