This is the struggle of a dhampir (half vampire half human) girl who is trying to become a Preternatural Investigator/Executioner. Her mother has been turned vampire and is forced to abandon her and her sister shattering her world. Victoria goes from being a good dhampir to one with the habit of finding trouble everywhere she goes on campus.
I sat alone in the chapel meditating on the trouble I had gotten myself into this time as I awaited the summons from Headmistress Twanley. The Priest moved around the room silently finishing his daily tasks giving me my space. I waited for him to leave before I approached the pulpit and plopped unceremoniously under the cross. My head rested on the side of the altar as I gazed heavenward. A small sigh escaped my lips.
"God I'm trying. I really am. I don't even know if you care or if you've wrote me off as a lost cause too. I'll be lucky this time if I'm not expelled. I feel like I ruin everything I touch," my voice echoed a little off the empty pews. My green eyes searched around the church that I sometimes sought sanctuary in.
It was a large building with equally large windows. Each window was made of stained glass which contained a picture of biblical figures. The pews were numerous and took up all the available floor space. A small second story balcony sat against the far wall above the doors leading out of the church. Above me hung a massive wooden cross with a crown of thorns hanging around the top and a green sash draped over the arms of the cross. Directly under the cross sat an altar that held an extremely large copy of the Bible. To the left side of the altar sat several confession booths that were used during the Catholic services each week. To the right of the altar was a small door that I knew lead back to some offices and the basement.
I felt the draft before I heard the door close at the back of the church announcing the presence of another person. I turned to see who the intruder was only to see a young man staring back at me. I assumed by his look and demeanor he was a new campus guardian. I saw him make a slight movement with his hand towards his ear and I knew he just given the other campus guardians the signal that I'd been found. I watched him boring holes into me from the doorway. I thought I vaguely recognized him as a recent academy graduate.
"I guess you're my summons to Headmistress Twanley's office," I half asked, half said standing up to get a better look at him.
"You're not in your dorm," he replied dryly.
"No. No I'm not," I said quietly. "But you still did not answer my question. Are you here to summon me to Headmistress Twanley?"
He stood silent for a moment and I thought he was going to ignore me. I noticed that he held himself with all the pride and dignity of a guardian. He was taller than me by a good amount. If I had to guess I would guestimate he was close to 5'10". Like most guardians his physique screamed that he worked out as did his tan complexion. He kept his light brown hair short on the sides which faded nicely to longer hair on top of his head with blond streaks in it. From this distance it was hard for me to see his eyes well even with my better than average eye-sight but I was betting his eyes were brown.
I noticed as I was observing him he also was observing me.
I put a hand on my hip and cocked my head back seizing the opportunity to be a smart ass, "like what you see?"
I could swear I saw him fighting a smile but instead of answering me he only responded, "No, no I am not here to bring you to the Headmistress."
"Are you here to drag me back to my room?"
He again stayed silent a few moments before answering, "No. I'm not here to drag you back to your dorm either."
My frustration finally getting the better of me leaked through as I asked, "Well, then why are you here?"
"I was asked to locate you and wait with you until the disciplinary board gathered," he said in a serious tone.
No longer considering him I threat I returned to my earlier position of sitting beside the altar. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him step back into the shadows at the back of the church and look around on alert. I shrugged off his presence and got comfortable. Pushing him as far from my mind as I could I opened my mouth and did what my grandmother taught me to do when I was troubled. I sang.
"Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, If you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart."
I closed my eyes and turned toward the altar. I put my while heart and soul into that verse again letting all my emotions flow into it. I belted out the next two verses until I had an uncanny feeling I being watched and not just by the guardian who was sent to keep an eye on me.
I immediately stopped singing and my face grew red. I was not good at singing with an audience. I turned slowly surprised to find a small cohort of people staring at me like they had just really saw me for the first time. Among the on-lookers were both Father O'Brian, who presided over the Catholic population, and Reverend Pritchard, who oversaw the Protestant Population, my guardian/keeper was also present. He was now joined by Director/Guardian Ian Douglas. I also noticed several students from the high school gathered around the group too.
My cheeks still were tinged pink and I could feel the heat rising to my face. I hastily made my exit off the diesis and moved towards the doors to exit the church.
"Don't stop," Rev. Pritchard implored with a thick British accent.
I stood next to Director Douglas expectantly, "I think the disciplinary board is ready for me. Isn't that right Director Douglas?"
"It is indeed lass. Follow me," Director Douglas said in his gruff Scottish accent.
I never thought I would be thankful to be called to a disciplinary board but at that moment that was exactly how I felt. I fell silently into step beside Director Douglas with the guardian from the chapel walking on my other side. I let a small sigh of relief out as we finished crossing the Church courtyard. I saw a faint smile on Director Douglas' face as he hastily looked away from me.
"What's so amusing," I exclaimed indignant that he could find amusement in my discomfort.
"Lassie I am not going to apologize for my amusement at your expense. It is a mite ironic that ye'd rather face a disciplinary committee or serve an order of execution rather than sing to an audience. So ye'd best wipe the scowl off yer face," he said now openly chuckling. He placed a hand on my shoulder lightly and squeezed.
"Aye, I suppose yer right. Don't tell anyone it'll ruin my reputation," I said slipping into a slight Scottish accent I'd picked up from my Gran.
The guardian from the chapel quirked an eye at Director Douglas but kept his face otherwise blank. Realizing our social gaffe we snapped back into the world of the academy. We walked the rest of the way to the administration building in silence and I put a little more space between Director Douglas and myself.
Director Douglas paused on the steps eyeing me warily, "Victoria things are no' lookin' good for ye in here. I swear ye'll give me a full head of grey hair before ye go in. If ye get yerself expelled, what do you think that'll do to yer sister? What about yer cousins? Do ye really think they'll stay? Can ye live with yerself knowing ye stole the only real peace yer sister has found since yer mother went through the change? how do you think yer two younger cousins will fare droppin' out and followin' ye? Ye think they're ready? I am on the board so I must go in now. In ten minutes investigator Adams will bring you in. Think hard before ye enter lass," he gently squeezed my shoulder one more time and then departed.
I watched him go with tears starting to fill my eyes. I blinked them back unwilling to cry in front of a stranger. I felt angry at myself for letting things get this far again. I was upset for not having thought of my sister or cousins before now. I knew if they expelled me they too would join me in my exile. Director Douglas was right about my cousins not being ready and poor Katy-Jo would be miserable but she too would follow me to the ends of the earth.
"Damnation, the old man is right," I swore softly.
I snapped out of my thoughts to the realization that again I was being watched. Investigator Adams, whom I had previously mistaken for a guardian regarded me curiously.
"So what's your connection to Director Douglas. I can tell it is more than just a student he is concerned about. It is rare to see him display such emotion. He is a tough egg to crack," he asked me casually.
I thought for a moment on whether I should lie or not. We had worked hard to keep our relationship out of the public spotlight. Since Investigators did not live on campus or visit much I decided the truth wouldn't hurt. He would conclude his business on campus and depart soon anyway.
"I'm his God-Daughter. Since my mother was turned and my Gran passed he has stepped in as joint guardian with my aunt," I said quietly.
He nodded his head in understanding a small hint of surprise on his face. "Ah, I see. It makes sense. Well it's time. Shall we?"
He opened the door to the building sweeping his other hand forward indicating that I should precede him. I walked by him getting my emotions in check and putting on a mask of cool indifference. I led the way to Headmistress Twanley's secretary who signaled us to wait. Having been in trouble before I sat in the chairs she pointed out to us knowing that the room had to be set up and everyone in place before they would call us in. Sometimes that took a while. Especially on a day like today when the disciplinary board met with little notice.