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Chosen Huntress -- Chapter 1
Emilie winced as a shooting pain came through her head. Groaning, she rubbed her temples with her finger. This had been happening for the last week or so. Probably just from the lectures and homework load, she figured. At least it’s Friday, and there’s a party tomorrow. That will take all this stress away, for at least one night. She smiled to herself.
She was in the middle of listening to a discussion over last night’s reading of The Odyssey when her English teacher, Mrs. Ott’s, school phone started ringing. She picked up the receiver, and before she could even manage a hello, the person at the other end began talking. “Okay, and will she be returning to her classes? Okay, I’ll tell her.” And without a goodbye or anything like that, she hung up the phone.
She turned around and looked straight at Emilie. “Ms. Hart, you need to go to the office. There is someone here to see you. Oh, and you need to bring your stuff; you won’t be returning to any of your classes today.”
Mrs. Ott paused for about two seconds before walking back to the front of the room and began to speak to the rest of the class about something that had happened in The Odyssey. Emilie had no idea what was going on in the book. Yeah, right, she thought. Like I had even bothered to read it; she always goes over the answers to her reading quiz right before the quizzes anyways.
She gathered up her things as quickly and quietly as she could. She mouthed goodbye to her classmate and close friend, Kaylee.
Lucky, she mouthed back.
Smiling, Emilie walked out of the class room and headed down to the office.
As she walked down the hall, she looked out the windows. The weather was beautiful. The leaves were just beginning to turn color, and they were rustling in the wind. The benches were a natural brown color, and there was a pond to complete the scene.
Then she walked past all the windows, and was just outside the office main doors. She put off actually going in a little while by reading the notices posted on the bulletin board on the wall next to the office doors.
In the middle of reading, she realized holding off won’t make it any better. She hesitated only a moment longer before walking into the office.
Inside the office, it was a little too warm. Emilie walked up to the desk with a petite woman with dyed blond hair and pretty blue eyes. She was reading an old issue of Seventeen. She was so intent on flipping through pages that she didn’t notice when Emilie came in the office; that or she ignored her. When Emilie cleared her throat, the woman looked up, startled. Then she plastered a fake smile on her artificially tanned face, and said, “Hi sweetheart,” in a fake happy voice. “What do you need?”
“I was, um, called in,” Emilie answered, although it sounded more like a question than a statement. “My name is Emilie Hart.”
A look of recognition hit the woman's face, and something else that looked almost like suspicion or pity. “Go down that hall,” she said, dropping the fake happy voice and pointing behind her. “The third door on the left is the one you are expected in.”
Emilie thanked her and walked down the hallway she was told to go down. She passed two doors, labeled Copy Room and Teacher’s Lounge, before coming up to the third left door, labeled Conference Room. She slowly opened the door.
At the long, oval-shaped table that didn’t really fit the small square room it was put in, two women were sitting, talking quietly. But when Emilie entered the room, they quieted and looked up at her. Emilie only recognized one of the two women: Dr. Martin, the principal and her late mother’s best friend.
Donna Martin was a young, small woman with soft, curly hair the color of cinnamon and hazel eyes with light eyebrows and lashes. The other woman was taller, with broader shoulders and leaner arm muscles than Dr. Martin’s. The woman’s hair was dirty blond, and hardly reached down to her collar bone. Her pretty dark blue eyes were framed by dark eyelashes that hid behind black-rimmed glasses. Both women wore knee length skirt suits; Dr. Martin’s was a pretty, light brown color and a bit more stylish, the jacket low cut with a white camisole underneath, while the other woman’s was simply black.
“Hello,” Emilie said politely.
“Emilie, it’s good to see you,” Dr. Martin greeted her, giving her a small hug. She stepped back and said, “I would like you to meet Ms. Olivia Johnson.”
“Hello,” the woman who was called Olivia Johnson said after she stood up to shake Emilie’s hand. The woman’s grip was strong, and the same with her voice.
“Hi,” she answered awkwardly. Ms. Johnson had let go of her hand, and now her arms hung awkwardly by her side.
“She has some information for you,” Dr. Martin told Emilie when she had regained her focus.
“What kind of information?” She asked curiously.
“Um, well,” Dr. Martin stumbled over her words. “Oh, just let her explain.”
“Emilie, you have been chosen for something extraordinary,” Ms. Johnson said.
“Something extraordinary? You mean like a scholarship or something?” Emilie asked.
“Not exactly; tell me, Emilie, have you ever seen anything out of the corner of your eye, but when you look it’s gone? Or has something ever happen to you that you couldn’t explain?” When Emilie didn’t answer, Ms. Johnson went on. “Have you ever had an out-of-body experience that you couldn’t explain?”
Emilie still didn’t answer. Not because she thought the woman saying all this stuff was crazy, because everything she was saying was true. It has happened to Emilie, for almost two years now, ever since the accident. But no way was she going to admit that to the woman. So Emilie just shook her head and made a face that she hoped made it look like she thought Ms. Johnson was crazy.
Ms. Johnson sighed. “I guess she isn't the one we were looking for,” she said to Dr. Martin. “Hayden could have sworn that the girl was here. I guess we’ll have to keep looking.” To Emilie, she said, “You are dismissed.”
Just as Emilie was about to leave, she had a flash. She scarcely felt herself falling to the ground, Dr. Martin helping her into a chair while Ms. Johnson left the room, saying something. At the same time as this was going on around her, Emilie felt her…soul or spirit, maybe? Well, whatever it was, she felt it leave her own body and enter another girl’s body, not much older than Emilie. She could feel the presence of the girl whose body she was in. When Emilie entered the girl’s body, she didn’t take over control, it was like she was watching a movie; she could feel the action, but she had no control over what was happening. It was still the other girl’s body, she was just a visitor. So much for me lying to Ms. Johnson, Emilie thought before the connection to her own body was cut off.
In this specific “out-of-body experience” as Ms. Johnson called them; the girl was in a club. It was dark with a lot of heavy metal music playing. It took all of a second for the other girl, Amy, she could tell was this girl’s name, didn’t belong here. A guy she met at the diner last night told her to meet him here. She had skipped last period and driven an hour and a half just to get here, and now all Amy wanted to do was leave. But she couldn’t, because he wouldn’t let her. Emilie knew all this because whatever Amy was feeling Emilie was feeling.
“C’mon baby, don’t be like that,” the guy said when she told him that she wanted to go home. “Do you not like this place? We could go somewhere quieter, if you want. Just don’t leave, not yet,” he pleaded.
“Fine,” Amy said reluctantly. “Where are we gonna go?”
“I’ve got an idea,” he said with a hint of threat that Amy obviously didn’t pick up on, but Emilie did. He grabbed her hand and led her outside into the bright sunlight. Amy had to blink to adjust her eyes to the drastic light change. He grabbed her hand and led her past the building of the club and took her to the alley behind the building. They walked all the way back to the chain fence, then he stopped. He slowly turned around to face her, grinning evilly.
Amy gasped. “What are we doing here?” He made a low chuckle sound, but didn’t answer her. “This isn't funny, Luca!” She yanked her hand free and ran no more than a yard when Luca appeared in front of her, looking furious. He grabbed her by the shoulders, and shoved her the distance she ran into the chain fence. “Ow!” She exclaimed.
He pinned her wrists against the fence, and she tried to push him away, but he was too strong. And the more she struggled, the more pressure he put around her wrists, forming bruises.
Then, right before her eyes, his whole face changed. His eyes, which at first were a nice emerald green, became the color of the midnight sky with flecks of emerald. His hair grew longer, and became the same emerald as his eyes used to be, only much darker. His skin, which at first was pretty tan, was now the sallow color of milk, and stretched across his face, showing more visibly his high cheek bones. But worst of all were his pearly white teeth. His top canines grew a couple inches longer, so that they were exposed over his bottom lip when he closed his mouth.
“I don’t believe it,” she whispered. Then she screamed. He had let go of her wrists and took a few steps back when he began to change, no doubt wanting a chase. And one he was going to get, because Amy dashed around him and sprinted towards the parking lot. But she didn’t get three feet when he appeared out of nowhere; he came from behind her but appeared to have jumped over her head.
He took her by the shoulders and shoved her, again. In less than a second, she was in the same position against the fence as she was earlier. He grabbed her hair and pulled, exposing her neck. By this time, Amy was sobbing hysterically, begging Luca not to do what she knew he would. But, of course, he didn’t listen. He bent over her neck as she screamed and bit down. It felt like bee stings, at first, but it got worse the more she struggled and the longer he drank….
Emilie opened her eyes and sucked in a deep breath. She looked around. She was back in her own body, sitting in a semi-comfy chair with a wet hand towel folded over her forehead. Cautiously, she reached to her neck to make sure the skin was unbroken. She relaxed a bit when there were no puncture wounds. Then she realized there were people watching her.
She looked over to Ms. Johnson. “Yes,” she said in a strained voice.
“What?” Ms. Johnson asked, her voice breaking. She looked as pale as Emilie felt, and even more horrified.
“You asked me earlier if I see things out of the corner of my eyes, but when I look they are gone. My answer is yes.” Emilie carefully stood up and took the towel off her head. Dr. Martin handed over a plastic cup of water, which Emilie drank greedily. “You also asked if I have out-of-body experiences that I can’t explain. And, well, I’m pretty sure after all this, you can answer that one for me.”
Ms. Johnson took off her glasses and, taking a piece of cloth out of her pocket, wiped them off. “Yes, I suppose I can,” she answered quietly, putting her glasses back on and the cloth in her pocket. “So, what exactly did you see?”
Emilie told her and Dr. Martin what had happened between Amy and Luca. “So, was he…I mean, could he have been…?”
“…a vampire?” Ms. Johnson finished for her.
“Yeah,” Emilie replied weakly.
“Yes, he was a vampire,” she said, sounding sure, and even more strangely, unimpressed by the possibility that vampires were real.
“But, how? I mean, I thought they couldn’t come out during daylight. Aren’t they supposed to burst into flame or combust or something?”
“Well, some would catch on fire. But others have a special coil tattoo that wraps around their ankles that can save them from burning.” When Emilie gave her a questioning look, Ms. Johnson added, “The ink of the tattoo is a homemade brew of a certain family of witches, which holds the, well, not exactly the cure to the curse, but sort of like an antidote that lets the vampire walk in daylight.”
“Witches,” Emilie echoed, astounded.
Emilie looked over at Dr. Martin, to see what she thought of the turn their conversation had taken. She couldn’t read her face; it was like a mask was concealing her emotions. She turned her attention back to Ms. Johnson. “So what do I have anything to do with witches and vampires?”
Ms. Johnson thought a moment, trying to figure a good way to word what she was going to say next. “Tell me, Emilie. Do you ever find yourself thinking about how different you are from the other girls here?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, kinda. Why?”
“Because you are different. You have a different destiny from most of the others. You are destined to be a Hunter.”
“A Hunter? You mean I have to hunt animals?” Emilie asked, horrified.
Ms. Johnson chuckled. “No, that’s not the kind of Hunter I am talking about. What I mean to say is the Hunter that I am talking about is a human, or any supernatural creature for that matter, that hunts evil creatures.”
“So you’re telling me I have to hunt creatures like Luca, the guy from that club? I don’t think so; he looked really strong. Even if I could get a clear shot of his heart with a stake, I don’t think I could kill him.” She thought just a second. “That is right, thought, the killing with a wooden stake?”
“Yes. And I don’t expect you to be able to kill him, not yet at least. I can help you, train you, to know the easiest ways to kill different creatures. You see, I am a retired Trainer for Hunters. I only come and help with training when a special Hunter is to be acquainted.”
"Wait, I can’t be a Hunter! I can hardly stand to see my older brother hit another car when he is driving. And that’s something that isn't alive. No way can I kill another living thing, or an undead thing, for that matter.”
“But you are a Hunter, and a special one at that. After all, you have the gift of foresight. Haven’t you been having headaches or a strange feeling behind your right shoulder?”
“Well, yeah, but I have been training for volleyball, so that might explain the so-called ‘strange feeling.’ And I have been stressed lately, so that could cause the headaches.”
Dr. Martin whispered something in Ms. Johnson’s ear, who nodded at what Dr. Martin had said. “Emilie, would you come out in the hall with me for a moment?”
“Um, sure,” Emilie answered, pushing the chair she sat in away from the table and followed her principal into the hallway.
After shutting the door, Dr. Martin said in a low voice, “I know this is coming as a shock to you, Emilie. But I need you to listen to what I have to tell you, it’s important. And it might change the way you see your situation.
“About a year before your parents died, your mother came to see me. She knew I had a connection to this world, the Underworld. My youngest sister became a Hunter after her childhood friend was murdered by a werewolf—yes, werewolves exist, too,” she said after seeing Emilie’s astonished expression. “Anyways, your mom said that she was visited by a woman in her dreams that told her either you or one of your brothers would be a Hunter when they reached high school. Since Miles already graduated, I knew it had to be either you or Wyatt.
“Anyways, at first, Carley thought the dream was just that, a dream. But as the years went by, she saw you kids behaving strange. I don’t exactly remember what was strange about the behavior, but she seemed pretty sure that the dream was a sign. She told me to keep an eye out for you and your younger brother, make sure that whichever one of you turned out to be the Hunter, that I watched out for you. And somehow, the both of us had a feeling that you would be the Hunter.”
“So, Mom knew I would be a Hunter? Why didn’t she say something?” Emilie asked.
“Well, you were only a few years old when she had the dream, and it never seemed like it was the right time to tell you or your brothers. That was why she never told you.”
Emilie thought about it. Suddenly, the idea of her being a Hunter didn’t seem like such a surprise. She had always been the strongest and fastest in athletics, including the most of boys.
“I’m not saying you have to go along with it. You always have a choice. But just try it for a few weeks, see what happens. You never know; you might like the outcome.”
Dr. Martin led Emilie back into the room. Emilie went back to her seat, but Dr. Martin stayed standing by the doorway. “Olivia,” she said. Ms. Johnson got out of her seat and, smoothing her skirt, walked out in the hall, and before following her, Dr. Martin said to Emilie, “Emilie, feel free to get out your lunch and begin eating. You won’t be returning to your classes today.” She went out into the hall and shut the door behind her.
Emilie grabbed her iPod and lunch sack from her bag and laid them on the table, putting the ear buds in her ears. Listening to some rock music, she took a bite out of her sub sandwich while waiting for them to return.
Five minutes and half a sub later, they came back into the conference room, each carrying a small plastic cup filled with coffee. Ms. Johnson sat down across the table from Emilie, while Dr. Martin stayed standing by the door, her arms folded across her chest.
“Emilie, Olivia and I decided that you can choose if you want to live your life this way, the way a Hunter would,” Dr. Martin said.
“After a few goes of training and fighting some low-level creatures,” Ms. Johnson added.
“What do you mean, live your life the way a Hunter would? How does a Hunter live?” Emilie asked, looking from Dr. Martin to Ms. Johnson.
“Well,” Ms. Johnson thought a moment. “A Hunter’s life is similar to your life right now. All that would be different is training sessions a few times a week with either me or my son, Hayden. And, of course, killing as many creatures as you can,” she said, as if it was an afterthought.
“Of course,” Emilie said sarcastically under her breath.
Ms. Johnson handed her a piece of paper. “At five o’clock, I want you to meet me at the address on the paper.”
“Okay. May I go now?” Emilie asked as nicely as she could.
“Yes, but don’t say a word about this to anyone. Understand?”
Emilie nodded her head. “Yes ma’am.” Like I would, she thought, they would think I’ve gone mental. But she didn’t voice her opinion; she just smiled a small smile and began to pack up her belongings.
Ms. Johnson stood up, holding her now empty plastic cup in her hand. “I will see you tonight,” she and Emilie shook hands, and then Ms. Johnson turned to Dr. Martin. “Goodbye for now,” she said, shaking Dr. Martin’s hand.
“Say hello to my sister for me if you run across her,” Dr. Martin answered.
“Gigi? Come to think of it, I will see her at the retreat this summer.”
Dr. Martin smiled and held open the door for Ms. Johnson. “’Bye, now,” she said, giving a short wave and shutting the door behind the other woman.
“So, Emilie, how are you feeling?” Dr. Martin asked, turning around to face Emilie again.
“Um, fine,” Emilie answered honestly.
“Are you sure? You still look a little on the pale side.”
“I feel fine,” she assured the woman.
“Humor me. Go home, make sure you have everything you need for tonight, then rest up. If you want, I can have someone collect notes and homework from the classes you will miss and get them to you later.”
“That would be fine. Thank you, Dr. Martin.”
“Of course; anything for my goddaughter.” She smiled a small smile, then handed Emilie two pieces of paper. “Don’t forget the address. That other one is a note dismissing you from school. You drove today, yes?”
“Yeah, but I also drove my brother and Kaylee to school. How will they get back?”
“Kaylee will find a way, I’m sure. And I can call Miles and he can pick up Wyatt, if you are worried about him. Now, go home. Take the rest of the day off; you have a big night ahead of you.”
Emilie thanked her again and walked out of the conference room. She passed the fake blond at the desk, who had resumed reading her magazine, and left the office. It was a lunch period, so quite a few people were walking the halls. She found Kaylee in no time.
“Emilie!” Kaylee said when she reached Emilie. “What are you doing here? I thought they said you weren’t coming back to classes
“I just got out of a meeting with the principal,” Emilie explained.
“I’m going home now. And I’m really sorry, but you’re gonna have to find a ride after school.”
“Oh, no don’t worry about it. But what was this meeting about? Is everything okay?”
“Um,” she hesitated. “Yeah, things are fine. No one died, at least.” But then she thought about it. Had Amy died? Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, she thought
“Okay. Text me later,” Kaylee said before walking towards the court yard, where the two of them usually eat lunch together.
“Well, bye,” Emilie said to no one in particular, since Kaylee was too far away to hear. Shaking her head, Emilie headed for the doors to the student parking lot. At the very back of the parking lot, she couldn’t even see her 2004 Honda Civic. She looked around her to make sure no one was around to see what she was about to do.
Let’s see exactly how fast I can go, she thought, shouldering her bag. Then she took off, running as fast as she could towards her car. The wind in her loose hair felt nice, normal, even though she was far from normal, something that was made a fact today.
The student parking lot isn't very big, but it isn't small. It could probably fit around two hundred and sixty cars, and has around fifteen isles, so it isn't small by any means. And not very many people would be able to sprint the whole way and not break a sweat, especially at noon in October. Not Emilie, though, she made it the entire way and didn’t break a single sweat.
Wow, she thought as she got into the driver’s seat and dropped her bag on the passenger’s seat. I was able to do that without any training. Just think of what I could to if I trained as long as it seemed Ms. Johnson did.
And she did think about what it would be like after she finished the basis of her training. She would be able to do all sorts of things, and make sure no innocent girl like Amy got hurt, or, gulp, killed, by the…vampires. Yeesh, that’s still weird thinking about them like their real. That will take a while to get used to.
The drive to her house wasn’t a long one; soon she came up to a two story house with white paneling on the outside, with lots of windows and a front door made of white oak. There were medium-sized rocks and pink and blue flowers lining the sides of the driveway, and a large tree at the edge of their yard.
The first thing she noticed when she got home was that Miles wasn’t home. She parked the car in front of the garage and got out of the car, grabbing her bag as she went. She went over to the dial pad that controlled the garage door and entered the four-number combo. Miles car wasn’t in the garage either. Her older brother was a lieutenant in the next town over, and should be getting home soon.
She walked into the garage and opened the door leading to the house and entered, making sure to close the garage door behind her. She walked into the kitchen, threw her things on the table, and picked last night’s leftover chicken from the refrigerator. Three minutes and a warm piece of chicken later, she was stretched out on the couch with her plate of chicken on the end table in front of her, a cold can of coke in one hand, and the TV remote in the other.
Just as That 70’s Show was about to come on, Emilie had a flash similar to the one she had experienced in the conference room, with Ms. Johnson and Dr. Martin watching.
Oh, great, she thought sarcastically. Here we go again.