Growing up as a human aware of the supernatural is nothing short of terrifying. Knowing that the monsters are real, but they’re not under your bed or in your closet. They’re out on the streets, in our schools, in the supermarket and there’s no way to know who they are, because they look just like humans do.
The only advantage I have, is that I grew up knowing there’s quite literally an Archangel watching over me. He is the stuff of legend in the world of the factions. All shudder at the thought of the Archangel of War. Leviathan. The greatest warrior to ever live.
Me though… I try not to resent the oath my family made to him longer ago than I care to think about.
My family. Now there’s a fucked up story. Don’t even get me started on the whole, descended from an Angel thing. We got nothing from it but a life of servitude. And yet, not one person in my family line has ever complained.
My family line that has been entirely women, each blessed with just one daughter. Each daughter automatically pledged to the oath of the bloodline. To serve the Archangel. To keep the secret of the factions. And to absolutely never reveal our history.
Yeah, apparently that little nugget will get me killed.
Me, I’m just a seventeen-year-old girl trying to live my life, but my mother… she has different ideas. I grew up in the manor built by the Archangel, which means I’ve never been able to have people over. Not that that’s an issue, since friends aren’t all too easy to come by when most of your life is meant to be kept a secret.
“Everly, are you nearly ready? I’ve got to get to the market, so I can drop you off to school on the way.” I roll my eyes at my mom’s shrill voice. Apparently, me being late to the first day of senior year just isn’t going to happen.
I run a brush through my hair and grab my backpack before making my way down the stairs in our wing of the house. The help’s wing. Because when the Archangel does deign us with his presence, he stays far from us. I mean, I haven’t seen the guy since I was ten. But the sight of his dark hair and dark wings haunted my nightmares for a good while after he left. All I really remember about him was how grumpy he was. How he was searching for something… someone… but then something happened and he was gone.
So, Mom keeps the manor running, just in case he decides to pop up again. Nothing more than a glorified housekeeper. That’s my future. It makes the idea of school kind of pointless. My entire life is already mapped out for me.
Find a guy, have a kid, and when it’s time, take up the mantle of my family.
Except nothing in my life is that simple.
“Oh good, you found your way down. It’s going to take us long enough to get to Salem’s Bay as it is, Everly. You could at least have been ready on time. I mean, really. It’s the start of your senior year, this is meant to be the best year of your life.”
“Sure, Mom. The best year ever. When I can’t get close enough to anyone to make friends with because of the secrets we keep. So friends, memories, all the things that make senior year the best year ever aren’t exactly on the cards for me.”
“Oh Everly, you’re exaggerating. I managed to have friends just fine, always so dramatic. Now come on, let’s get in the car. I don’t want to be late.”
“Sure thing, Mom.” I sigh, grabbing a pop tart and heading out to the car. Another thing owned by the Angel, that we just borrow. Everything we could ever want or need is provided.
Except our freedom.
Salem’s Bay High.
The place where dreams go to die. Or as we like to call it, high school. I climb the steps to enter the wood framed doors to the halls full of people that don’t even know my name. The cliques here are just like in the movies, and it’s enough to make a girl gag. You’ve got the jocks, who are followed around by the cheerleaders. The kings and queens of the school and of course, the QB, Denny Bennett, and the head cheerleader, Emily Langford, the leaders of the mean girls and jerk offs.
They stand by their lockers, surrounded by people as if holding court. I roll my eyes as I walk by, unseen as ever. Nate Winchester and Maddie Bovington walk towards me, wrapped up in each other. Best friends of said king and queen, oblivious to the world around them. It’s enough to make me want to gag.
I turn the corner and head towards my locker, when the outcasts approach. Marie Laveau and her friends. They’re definitely… different. I’m not sure what it is about them, but if I had to call it, I’d say they’re Witches. There’s just something about them that screams supernatural. But what do I know? I’ve lived in the manor my whole life, sheltered from the real world beyond this school. For all I know, they’re just the goth kids.
They pass me by without so much as a glance and I sigh as I open my locker.
Good to see nothing is going to change this year.
I pull my books from my bag and put them in my locker just as the bell rings. I tuck a strand of my dark hair behind my ear and check my schedule. Starting the day off with English with Mr. Davenport. What a joy.
I make my way through the halls, weaving in and out of the sea of people, keeping my head down. While I might complain that I’m lonely, it’s also easier to be alone. Can you imagine trying to explain my life to humans? They’d lock me up in an institution and throw away the key forever. There’s a reason why Mom’s biggest rule is don’t let the other humans know. I get the feeling there’s a story there from somewhere in the past, but it’s not one I’ve been told, and I don’t care to push to find out.
I slide into the room, still mostly empty, and snag a table in the far back corner by the windows. At least I can daydream about being outside and exploring the world while I pretend to learn. The room fills up with familiar faces, but the desk next to mine stays empty.
Being an outcast is contagious, apparently.
I roll my eyes as Emily, Denny, Maddie and Nate all enter the room. Denny looks straight at me and sneers. Worse than being ignored by Denny Bennett is being the object of his wrath. I shrink into my chair and look away from them. It might make me a terrible person, but I’d rather be invisible and let him torture someone else, thanks. Even if we do share a surname, I want nothing to do with the guy.
Mr. Davenport glides into the room with the second bell and I swear half the girls in here swoon. His floppy black hair and his matching black eyes seem all mysterious, and along with his sharp jaw and lean figure, I get it but still… he’s our teacher. Gross.
“Good morning ladies and gents, welcome to your senior year. It’s good to see you all back here and raring to go.” He stops as a knock at the door precedes it opening, and in walks a guy I’ve never seen before. He looks like he just stepped out of a magazine. Jeans, black t-shirt, blonde hair that falls into his eyes, which are hidden by dark glasses. Needless to say, all eyes are on him.
“And you are?” Mr. Davenport asks, and the guy grins at him. I swear to the Angels my heart skips a beat, and the room goes up a few degrees. No guy should smile like that, ever.
“My name is Luc, sir. Luc Noir. I’m a transfer student.” The guy lifts his glasses and his gaze sweeps the room, lingering on Emily. Not even close to being a surprise.
“Well, Mr. Noir, welcome to Salem’s Bay High. You’re late, let this be the last time. There’s an open seat in the back by Miss Bennett. Take it, it will be yours for the year. I assume you have your books?”
“Yes sir,” Luc tells him, watching me as he does. I look down at my desk letting my hair hide my face. I hear his footsteps as he walks towards the desk, whispers flare up around the room.
“You must be Miss Bennett?” he asks as he sits.
“You shouldn’t talk to her,” the girl sat in the chair on the other side of him says. “But you should definitely introduce yourself to me. I’m Kate.”
“I’m pretty sure I can decide who I should talk to for myself,” he says, frowning as he looks back at me.
“I’m Everly,” I tell him quietly as Mr. Davenport’s voice booms across the room again. I open up my book and try to focus on the lesson.
Maybe this year won’t be quite as predictable as I thought.
* * *