Sixteen years. For most girls, their sixteenth birthday means a big party with family, friends and a crap-load of presents.

On my sixteenth birthday, I chose my first victim.

I've never seen a kill. My parents have never let me see one. Even now that I have to choose who dies.

They must be young and healthy. And beautiful. They're chosen like the vampire's prey in the books I read. Why all these requirements for someone who's gonna die anyway? It has something to do with Her. She likes teenaged boys too. Last night, I brought her my lab partner.

I can still hear him screaming.

I'll be walking through the mall and the first thought that crosses my mind when a cute boy smiles at me or a handsome young cashier brushes my hand is how much She would like him.

I suppose my father was lucky it was his family that served Her, and not my mother's. He'd be dead.

The screaming won't leave my head. Earlier this afternoon I blared my Good Charlotte CD to drown out the noise. My father came in and told me I was disturbing Her. Wherever She may be.

A crazy dead girl. My life is ruled by a crazy dead girl.

Oh, God, the screaming.

My older brother, Kieran, told me that it goes away after a while. He also told me I was a fool for choosing someone I knew for the first kill- in a kind, brotherly way, of course.

But that didn'tget rid of the screaming. All my life I have heard the screams coming from down the hall, and it had never fazed me. Yet knowing that I caused the screams, knowing that it was my handsome, funny, smart chem partner screaming in pain- it was all too much to bear.

Kieran kept me sane during those longest five minutes of my life.Our little sister, Amelie, tried to help too, but she won't understand for another three years, until it her her turn.

I ramble. My parents have tried to cure me of that habit, in case She ever calls me before Her.

Three years ago she called Kieran to her. He didn't speak to or look at anybody for three months afterward.

Before that he had stopped bringing her prey, as he calls them. Not once afterward, even during those three months he was dead inside, did he even consider not bringing her prey.

Speak of the devil. I look up as Kieran enters my room.

"Mother says she'll drive you to the mall." He says softly.

"What for?" I frown.

"To find a new victim." He answers, avoiding my eyes.

I feel the pit of my stomach fall out. "No. No, Kieran, I can't. Not again."

"Mackenna." His eyes seem to glaze over. "You don't want to disobey Her."

I know he is not talking about Mother. "How horrible do you have to be to do-"

"Shut up, Mackenna."

"What?"

"Shut up or she'll hear you." He growls. After waiting a moment, as if expecting something, he continues. "You have seven days to get the prey up to her. I suggest you find one now. You need to earn its trust."

I glare at my brother's retreating back. "So that's why we never see your girlfriend anymore." I shout after him, hoping for a reaction.

He stiffens and pauses, but then shakes his head and continues on.