That isn't my real name. But I'm an actress, and I'm used to going by other names. I was one of those child prodigies that make their way to the big screen from time to time and knock everyone's socks off. By the age of five, I'd starred in four feature films. People used to pat me on the head and tell me I was an "old soul." If they only knew.

The paparazzi have followed me on every date I've had since I was fifteen years old. On any given week, you'll find a full-length article about "The Real Mika." But all these people who make their living off of me—the reporters, the editors, the photographers—haven't even bothered to scrape the surface.

Here's something the gossip magazines don't know. Even though I was raised in New York City by parents of Irish descent, I speak Hindi. Fluently. I always have.

When I was just a baby, I could sing songs in Hindi. My parents had no idea what I was doing until someone on the street told them I was singing the title song of a famous Bollywood musical. That's when they took me to see the people at the Ouroboros Society. Padma and the others helped me discover the source of my talents and abilities. And I owe all my success in this life to them.

In my previous existence I was more famous in India than I ever will be in the United States. I'm cute this time around, and a little nip and tuck has made me even cuter. But in India, I was known as the most beautiful woman in the world.

Unfortunately, I died in a car accident when I was thirty years old. I have secretly visited with my old family many times. They accept me as their daughter and sister. They have to. I know things about each of them that would make you hair curl.


My name is Claus, and I grew up in Bad Homburg, Germany. When I was just a little boy, I had an imaginary friend named Fred Jones. I would spend hours whispering to him in English, a language which I was just beginning to learn in school. Fred and I always talked about another boy named Jonathan. Something terrible had happened to Jonathan and we didn't know who to tell.

My parents were both psychiatrists, and they thought imaginary friends were nothing out of the ordinary. They were a little surprised to hear me conversing with Fred in English, but they both spoke the language themselves, and they thought I had picked it up listening to them. From time to time I would also call myself Jake, and I'd talk about a town in Texas where I used to live. A town named Grape Creek. The name sounded so funny to my mother and father that they were certain I'd made it

As I grew older, I stopped talking to Fred. But my whole life, I felt like I was carrying a burden. I always knew there was something I needed to do.

I went to an Ivy League university in the Northeastern United States where I studied medicine. (I have always had a gift for it, but that is another story.) Late one night, I don't know why, I decided to find out if there was a town in Texas named Grape Creek. There was no Internet back then, but there were maps. And on one of those maps was a tiny village by the name of Grape Creek. Over spring break, I rented an automobile and drove all the way to Texas.

Grape Creek was so small that there was only one little motel, which was attached to the only gas station for miles. The owner seemed like a pleasant man, so I asked him if he knew anyone by the name of Fred Jones. He did. Fred had been the town sheriff for thirty years. He was old, long retired, but the man didn't think Fred would mind if I paid him a visit.

I recognized him the moment I saw him. He was seventy years older than my imaginary friend, but there was the same little twinkle in his eyes. I told him my name was Jake, and that I needed to talk to him about Jonathan. I said I had seen the three of us—Fred, Jake, and Jonathan—playing in the scrub on an abandoned farm. Something had happened to Jonathan, but we hadn't told anyone. I said it was time to tell the world where he was.

I have never seen a grown man cry so hard. Fred told me that we had been warned many times to stay away from that piece of land. The last owners had drilled a dozen wells, looking for water that wasn't there. And they'd left without filling in most of the holes. Jonathan had fallen into one of the wells. I had found a rope and lowered myself down to get him, but Jonathan was already gone.

It was an accident. But Fred was terrified of his father, who was a violent man. If he knew we had disobeyed his orders Fred would be horribly punished. So we lied. We said Jonathan had run away. But the truth was, he was never more than half a mile from his front door.

By the time Jonathan's remains were recovered from the well, most of his family had joined him in Heaven. Only his youngest sister remained. The story made the news all over Texas. It must have reached New York as well, because it wasn't long before I was contacted by Padma Singh at the Ouroboros Society.


Whoever said that young people should play the field was a one-timer. (That's what George and I call people who only live once.) When you find the right person, you'd be a fool to mess around. I knew George was the one for me the second I saw him. I'd been dreaming about him all my life. Of course all my parents saw was a skinny kid with no money and no future. And skin that wasn't the same color as theirs. But I knew George had potential. That and romantic side that would have put Casanova to shame. And what more could you want from a man? I mean really!

So I took all the money I was given for my eighteenth birthday and signed it right over to George. (You might be surprised by how much money some people get for their eighteenth birthdays.) Even then I knew three things: I was going to be a well-known botanist, I loved George with all my heart, and we were going to be very, very rich.

Well my parents nearly disowned me. We went through what's now known in the family as "the rough patch." That's a nice way of saying they didn't talk to me for two years. It didn't matter, anyway, because George and I had moved in together, and the money was already rolling in.

You see, George has this gift. I can't really go into details. Let's just say he's been working with money for twenty-two lifetimes, and he's can smell it a mile away. I know how to deal with a bad case of potato blight. George knows how to make people rich.

So today, ten years after our rough patch, my family loves George. And we tolerate them the best we can. But our real family is, and will always be, the Ouroboros Society.