Alexa Young was not in a good mood.
She also wasn't a patient person, and she had no qualms making this known as she audibly tapped her boot against the coffee table and chewed her gum as loudly as possible.
Sister Eleanor Bennett closed her eyes and asked the Lord for much-needed fortitude as she faced the girl before her. Alexa uninterestedly stared back at her through heavy eye make-up, arms and legs crossed as she continued kicking the table leg with her Doc Martens. Her homely image was completed with a uniform skirt so short it would've left nothing to the imagination if not for her black stockings.
As headmistress of Dovecross High School for Girls, Sister Bennett would not have allowed such an atrocity to continue in her school, but Alexa happened to be a special student. The girl knew it and always abused this fact, except today was one of those few days she hated being the odd one out.
The sister cleared her throat and forced out a cheerful smile. "Do you know why I've called you today, Miss Young?"
Alexa languidly blinked at her before dropping her gaze to the pamphlet on the table.
"I got your stupid pamphlet," she drawled, scowling. "Is this what this is about?"
Sister Bennett firmly clasped her hands. Patience, she told herself.
"Well, have you given it a read?"
Alexa heavily sighed and slumped back to her seat. This was going to be a long day.
"St. Adrian's Academy is a wonderful institution. You should consider taking the test."
Alexa didn't have to read the pamphlet to know that St. Adrian's was one of those posh schools that everyone wanted to get into. The last thing she wanted was to be surrounded by a bunch of spoiled brats.
"No thanks. I think I'll pass."
It was the sister's turn to sigh.
"Let me try again," she said in a firmer tone. "St. Adrian's is the perfect place for students like you."
Alexa slowly raised an eyebrow.
"I have taught you all that I know. St. Adrian's will be able to give you so much more."
The girl idly played with the hem of her skirt. "So you're saying it's where all the other freaks gather?"
The sister narrowed her eyes at the word. "If that's how you wish to call yourself, then yes. St. Adrian's also happens to hold an underground training facility for 'freaks' such as you."
Alexa did not say anything for a while, and Sister Bennett was relieved that she managed to pique her interest somehow.
To most people, Alexa Young was truly a freak of nature. Not everyone saw or spoke to ghosts, but there were beings beyond mere spirits that most humans were oblivious to. She had the misfortune to be able to communicate with such beings, but she decided to use her lemons for lemonade, training under Sister Bennett to become a member of the Crusades.
The Crusades were a secret organization founded by the Church to fight the Renati, the legion of the Undead. For centuries the religious army has been fighting to protect humanity from the terror and pestilence that the Undead bring—a reality that most humans consider mere nightmares and myths.
Like all men of the cloth, it was Sister Bennett's duty to find special children like Alexa to aid in the Crusades' cause. The child of a single mother, Alexa lost her only family to illness when she was twelve. Rumors of a strange case in social services reached the sister's ears, and upon discovering her abilities she took the girl under her wing ever since.
"Even if I wanted to," Alexa finally spoke, snapping Sister Bennett out of her reverie. "I have no money to afford such a fancy place."
"For acolytes like you it's free, as long as you pass the test. Besides," The woman scoffed. "It's about time you stopped dabbling with your blood magic and learned the right arts."
"My blood magic is stronger and you know it," Alexa snapped, disdainfully narrowing her eyes. "Oh wait, you wouldn't know."
"Well either way, I'm afraid you don't have much of a choice," The woman simply countered. "Once you leave this school you'll have nowhere else to go."
A wry smile formed on the girl's lips. "Tough love, Sister?"
Sister Bennett said nothing. Alexa dropped her gaze to the pamphlet on the table once more.
"Fine, I'll take the stupid test," she drawled, rising from her seat. "Can I go now?"
The nun intently eyed her before leaning back to her chair with a sigh. "Nothing more, Miss Young. I'll let you know when I've made the arrangements for your application."
As the door closed, Sister Bennett stared at the ceiling for a long time.
Dear God, it's time, she prayed. Please keep her safe.
to be continued