Chapter One

Exam Stress

Date: June 20th, 2012.
We've been recommended to start our logs now so that we'll be in the habit of it and to create a normal status for our partner so we can refer back to it later. Only a few hours to go until the theory exam. The joys of being a Trapper rather than a Chaser…
Clara keeps on laughing about how I have to take this written test, while she only has to focus on a practical that they don't have to prepare for at all. Knowing my sister, even if she could prepare for it she wouldn't.
So… anything unusual? Well, Tom's complained that the number of practice papers I'm doing is unnatural and Clara complained that doing any amount of work is unnatural.
Partner Status: Other than having a killer hangover, nothing seems to be wrong with Clara. Except for her general attitude, that is.
Location: IFTC Academy, Georgia
-Natalie Bennett.

Date: June 20th, 2012
Can't believe I have to do this stupid log. I HOPE YOU'RE READING THIS MILLER BECAUSE THEN YOU'LL KNOW HOW STUPID IT IS- I'M A CHASER, I LEAVE THE WRITING AND THINKING TO THE TRAPPERS. Although I am tempted to just leave it at that, this might actually be a good place to vent.
I'll freely admit that last night was a mistake, and I didn't even tell Natalie the half of what happened. I would never hear the end of it and would earn another lecture on responsibility from her. I know she's just worried about me but it kind of pisses me off that she goes on and on at me about responsibility when I'm the one who had to look after her sorry ass for eighteen years. Considering I didn't exactly have a great example of what a responsible adult should be like I feel like I did a decent job. So excuse me for wanting to have fun now that she's old enough to look after herself.
I guess that mom would try to use that as an excuse to justify herself; something along the lines of 'I'm sorry I dumped you here when you were two, but you had to learn to look after yourselves.' Not that our dad is any better- at least we see mom occasionally whereas I don't even know his name, let alone what he looks like.
Anyhow, there's really no point in doing this since the campus is way too well warded for anything to happen. The only evil thing around here is this headache.
Partner Status: Overworking with no end in sight. Honestly I think the best thing for her is to get some real-world experience as soon as possible.
Location: Where do you think?
-Clara Bennett

Guidelines for safe and successful Chasing/Trapping

1. ALWAYS work with a partner. Anyone reported to have been engaging a creature alone will be reported to the International Federation of Trappers and Chasers and their license could be suspended.
2. Always keep an eye on your partner- never split the group. Make sure that you are familiar with their regular behaviours.
3. Remember that a good Chaser is still almost worthless without a Trapper for research and the ability to ward areas of residence, not to mention creating traps.
4. Ward all entrances and exits of a room before sleeping, including windows and cracks in the walls.
5. Remember the 5 ESTABLISHING SIGNS that will separate a supernatural incident from human activity.
6. Do not wear your uniform upon initial inspection of a town; it may cause unnecessary panic.
7. Avoid working at night if at all possible, however if this is really unavoidable then make sure you have a source of illumination to hand AT ALL TIMES.
8. If there is a noticeable and unnatural change in weather CONTACT YOUR SUPERIORS IMMEDIATELY. You may be dealing with something which is far beyond the abilities of most Trappers and Chasers. DO NOT APPROACH.
9. Only kill a werewolf if there is no other option to preserve life, as many are ordinary people aside from during the full moon.
10. Follow these simple instructions on how to deal with the more common creatures:
- Vampire: Decapitation, natural light, stabbing through the heart, dismemberment, burning
- Werewolf: Decapitation, dismemberment (remember that the werewolf will return to its human state when the night is over), shooting in a vital area.
- Ghosts: Banishment, appeasement
- Wraiths: Banishment
11. Always ensure that you are travelling with the proper weaponry and equipment.
12. Handle all incidents with tact towards anyone affected by the creature in question.
13. Remain in constant contact with your nearest centre. Earpieces and devices will be distributed to all graduates.
14. If you and your partner find yourself in distress, or the creature is a greater threat than anticipated, CONTACT THE IFTC AT ONCE- safety is of the essence.
15. Keep a log of your progress at all times, updated regularly. If others have to take over then this will provide a useful reference. Also, keep a status update on your partner to ensure that nothing is out of the ordinary.
16. If, for any reason, you cannot continue with your present partner then report back to the nearest centre to have another reassigned. If this is because of a death, you will be given several weeks of personal leaves.
17. There have recently been reports of Fairy activity. If you happen to come across a Fairy CONTACT SUPERIORS IMMEDIATELY.

"Cheerful reading, isn't it?" Clara Bennett yawned, tossing the red booklet onto the floor. She had been lying upside down on the sofa with her mousy hair spilling over the front of the chair, wincing every so often from the splitting pain in her head.
Natalie only rolled her eyes at her sister's behaviour before continuing with the practice exam she was doing. Two stacks of tests were piled on the table next to her- the larger half having been completed and marked earlier that day; all showing excellent grades.
"You could try helping me instead of just sitting there and complaining about the work you don't have to do." The darker-haired sister pointed out, rubbing her eyes as she surveyed a particularly vicious question on the correct way to handle dealing with malevolent fairies.
"Like I have time for that." Clara scoffed, stretching her arms out so that they scraped along the blue carpet of her sister's room, "Besides, we all know that I just need to ace the practical exam."
"Yeah, but for you even that might be hard. I can't believe you went out last night when you have no clue when your exam is going to be! If you fail this then you'll be held back for a year and we won't be able to be partners."
"Don't remind me about last night. I already regret it." The older Bennett groaned.
"No you don't. Anyway, what is the correct means of capturing a sprite?"
"Er… leave a trail of shiny objects or food to lure it into a trap?"
"That's actually right- I was just making sure you're able to think cohesively."
"You're one to talk. What about when you first started going out with Tom? You wouldn't talk about anything else for weeks; I was starting to consider moving out of your place."
"Well it would considerably lower the amount I spend on headache medication." Natalie noted.
"Piss off."
"When you stop making me spend more on you than I do on food every week. And besides, I stopped talking about it when we realised that it wasn't working on. You're avoiding the issue here- your total lack of responsibility!"
"Ok, ok- I promise when we're out on the road I won't do it. But until that time…" She added, grinning.
"You are impossible. Now shut up before I find out if there's a ward that will seal your mouth shut." Natalie retorted, tossing a textbook at the woman so that she was forced to dodge.
"Ha! See these reflexes? No way am I failing the practical. Hell, I could probably do it right now and still do better than most of the people in my class!" She smiled smugly as Natalie sighed again and turned her attention back to the question she was on.
"I wonder what they'll give us for our first job." Natalie pondered as she looked up from her work.
"Most likely something so easy it'll insult both of our skills." Clara shrugged, repositioning herself on the sofa so that she lay with her legs wrapped around the back. "I'm guessing…. disappearing potatoes… a cat with mysterious indigestion? Or maybe they'll give us a good old-fashioned wild-goose chase which will turn out to be a regular burglary and not anything that we should be wasting time looking into."
"Who knows; we might get something good. After all, we've been here since you were two and I wasn't even walking so they've had time to get to know what we're capable of." She stopped as Clara lifted a hand to her forehead again and squinted in obvious discomfort, "But of course in your case that might not exactly be an asset to us."
"Are you going to sit there and make cracks about the fact I actually have a social life, or are you going to keep on learning your Trapper-crap?"
"I can multi-task." Natalie smirked as she turned back to her work.
A few minutes later and the door was opened and Maria- one of Natalie's friends- walked in, looking totally at ease with just wandering into a friend's dorm and not looking surprised to see the older sibling lying down and massaging her head.
"Still revising?" She asked, eyeing the pile of papers.
"And Clara's still doing nothing?"
"That just about sums it up."
"Hi Maria." Clara plastered on an overly sweet smile.
"Hi slacker." She responded. They both stared at each other for a moment before breaking into laughter. At least until Clara winced and raised a hand to rub her temple.
"What's the matter?"
"She got trashed again last night. Amanda and Jason already did their practical exam so they went out to celebrate." Natalie cut in, looking disapprovingly at her sister.
"The night before your exam? That's pushing it." Maria raised an eyebrow.
"Still regret nothing!" She exclaimed.
"Clara, there's a reason they went out after they had their exam. You know, so stuff like this wouldn't happen." Natalie said.
"It was a pre-celebration." Her sister defended.
"For an exam that you're going to have trouble doing with a hangover." Maria finished.
"Ok, will you two stop going on at me about it! I told you: I'll be fine!"
"I guess you can't screw that one up." Natalie conceded. The practical exam wasn't at a set time or even place: you would just be walking around the campus like usual and several of the combat teachers would attack you to simulate a real-life surprise attack. You were permitted to be carrying around practice weapons and guns loaded with paint pellets. "Although I nearly had a panic attack when my one started."
"I know, but you passed." Natalie said encouragingly.
"Just barely- managed to get a quick shot at the last one and they weren't paying attention to me." He reminded her. When a practical exam started it was usually in a remote part of the campus so that it was only one or two people. However, news travelled quickly and the entirety of the school that had free time came to watch.

After lunch, the three journeyed down to the exam hall on the other side of the school; the other two to wish Natalie luck before she entered the exam hall. The sun was shining gloriously, casting a warm glow on all of the lower years that still had at least another year until they would graduate and were lazing about on the grass or practicing unarmed combat on one of the dummies throughout the campus.
As they waited outside until they would be called in to sit down, Natalie mumbled all of the facts and advice she could remember about the various creatures she would, hopefully, soon be facing. Next to her, Clara was still rubbing her forehead and looking distinctly uncomfortable. Before the younger sibling could shoot her an 'I told you so' look, the hall door was opened softly and the old examiner stood in the entrance. She called out all of their names in alphabetical order.
"Tom Adams."
Natalie watched Tom walk up and looked away uncomfortably. It hadn't been long since they had broken up and there was still a degree of awkwardness that verged on hostility at times.
The examiner moved through the names until she reached:
"Natalie Bennett."
With a deep, shuddering breath Natalie stepped into the building and made her way to her assigned seat.

Two hours later and the sun was still shining. Clara was outside to greet her, looking much better than she had in the morning, and the two walked back to the dorm while Natalie filled Clara in on the exam.
"The only one I really had a problem with was the vampiric activity one. I couldn't remember where they usual bit victims and whether they left bodies behind or not." She said, "I definitely got the one on ghosts attached to a natural object or area, though."
"Well sis, there is an easy answer to what you can't remember enough to write essays about for when we're on the road. It's called the internet." Clara grinned as the younger Bennett rolled her eyes for what felt like the hundredth time that day.
"Now all we need to worry about is your practical. As long as you're sober for it then you should be fine."
"Nah, I don't think I even need that much to pass it. At least I don't have to study for this."