The Infernal Archives
Book 1- Saturn Academy
After surviving a fatal car crash, Seraphina Alexandre starts seeing things she isn't supposed to. Determined that something's wrong with her, her stepmother sends her to Saturn Academy, a boarding school for troubled teens. But upon arrival, it becomes very clear that the students of Saturn are far more than just "troubled." She finds herself surrounded by fairies, vampires, nephilim, dragons, werewolves, witches and more… and they all seem to think she's just like them.
Here at Saturn Academy, they're supposed to learn how to harness their powers, control their magic, and blend in with the human world. But how can Seraphina do that when she doesn't know what she is? Caught between a brewing threat that seems to be fixated on her existence and distracted by a black-winged nephilim with green eyes, Seraphina Alexandre doesn't have much room for error.
How long until her time runs out?
"Do you think this is a joke?" Her father's voice carried over into the kitchen, rough with displeasure and exasperation. His words dragged through the rooms like tossed knives. "Is this funny to you?"
It probably is, Seraphina thought to herself as she opened the fridge. God knows she doesn't take anyone seriously anymore. The sixteen-year-old rummaged around for the can of soda that she'd smuggled in the night before. Her temples throbbed with a headache, and the angered voices that spilled from the living room only made it worse.
Her parents were at it again. Not that, of course, the argument would last much longer. Seraphina's throat tightened, refusing to cry as the mist from the fridge flowed over her face. She mentally braced herself as best as she could, feeling her emotions fortifying, feeling her heart turn to porcelain, to ivory, to steel.
Today was the day, probably the suckiest day of her life. And that was really saying something. It seemed to her that in the past year alone, she had accumulated enough sucky days to break a world record. Between surviving that wretched car accident, acquiring a winged follower, Charlie breaking up with her, and her parents announcing their divorce- sucky barely even covered it.
"Where are my socks?" Her father's angered growl launched into the kitchen, snaked around her ears, and curled over the half-empty carton of vanilla almond milk.
His socks? Seraphina pressed the can of Coke to her forehead, the coolness a relief to the flush of her skin. What the hell?
"What in the world would I do with your socks?" Her stepmother's chilling voice responded in lacking tandem, ever so nonchalant and icy.
Seraphina glanced out towards the patio, where she had seen her stepmother half an hour earlier. There, hanging out of a potted plant, were a pair of bright white socks, freckled with soil and fertilizer. Her father's socks.
Ugh. Seraphina shoved the soda back into the fridge, shut the door, and moved to stand in the doorway. Maybe if either of them saw her standing there, they would realize that they were being ridiculous and would, for once, stop arguing. Maybe they would, for once, let her be the kid.
Her father stood in the middle of the foyer, gripping a handful of socks and underwear as he aimed a harsh sneer and a pointed finger at his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Even despite the darkness of his skin (the same shade that Seraphina herself shared), his cheeks were visibly flushed. "You need psychological help," he bit out with vengeance.
Seraphina couldn't help but agree. She studied the woman who sat on the front room sofa, sipping from her mug of steaming tea as she watched Sebastian Alexandre berate her. Eva didn't even seem phased. But she never did.
Her stepmother did need help. So why was it that Seraphina had to sit and speak with a therapist three days a week? And why was her dad- the man who everyone swore would bend over backwards for his only daughter- moving out today and leaving Seraphina behind?
She couldn't blame him. Not really. Evangeline Alexandre was the resident Ice Queen. The part that hurt was that her father wasn't taking her with him.
Sebastian spun on his heels and returned to the bedroom, not evening glancing at his daughter. Seraphina stood stiffly and stared at her stepmother, who had by now pulled out some work files to look over while she enjoyed her tea.
"You have to do something," the noirette girl pleaded. She hated the way her tone felt against her tongue; thick and heavy with emotion. A lump had shoved its way into her throat, and speaking around it nearly hurt.
Her stepmother didn't even look up, her light brown skin glowing beneath the sun rays that filtered in through the window. "Do what?"
"Change his mind. Apologize for planting his socks." She frowned, biting her lip for a moment before pressing on. "I don't know. Anything. I really don't care, just don't let him go."
Eva looked at her. Her dark eyes peeled away every emotion that Seraphina felt and laid them bare on the wood flooring. Strip by strip, until the noirette teenager felt much too exposed; indecent and vulnerable. She shivered. After what felt like three days, her stepmother's pursed lips dropped open to form the three blank words Seraphina had grown to despise. "You don't understand." And then, as if she'd never looked up in the first place, Eva turned back to her papers.
Right then, her father shot out of the bedroom. Suitcase in hand, he pushed right through the front door and Seraphina followed him out. The late afternoon heat was sweltering, the mid-August sun hanging in the sky as it threatened to sink beneath the tree line. School was going to be starting soon, which was the only upside to anything. School starting up again equaled less time spent at home in her mother's company.
"Take me with you," she frowned at him as he popped the trunk. Her father met her eyes, taking in her displeased face, and looked away. Once upon a time, he'd do anything to keep her from frowning.
Oh, how times change.
Sebastian shook his head as he dumped his suitcase in the back of his car. His thick tangle of greying-black kinky curls shined with scented hair oil. When he turned back to Seraphina, he had the decency to display a sliver of emotion in his brown eyes. "You don't understand, Sera."
You don't understand.
She felt herself scowl at that, and dug her hands into the pockets of her denim cut-offs. "Why do you two always do that?" She demanded. "Say that I don't understand. Well then, help me understand. Tell me the big secret and get it over with already."
He stared at his toes before sighing and hauled his attention towards the cloud-streaked sky. They looked like ichor-dipped feathers, smeared across the arches like meticulously applied paint."Your mom," he began after some time. "She needs you. Dorian needs you."
"Needs me?" Seraphina laughed without humor. "C'mon, Dad. She barely even wants me. And Dorian doesn't talk to anyone anymore. Neither of them need me."
And neither do you, she realized with a jolt. Seraphina's breath paused in her lungs as she stared at her father. He didn't need her, he didn't want her. That's why he was leaving, why he was leaving her behind.
She swallowed down a fresh wave of tears and looked away. And that's when she saw him again. Not her father, but Wing Guy, her newly-acquired stalker. He was perched on the roof of her neighbor's pickup truck across the street, his black wings folded and stationary. As always, he appeared to be fresh out of some sketchbook: a vision of long and nimble limbs, black leather, and tattoos dressing his arms, trimming the sides of his neck.
Seraphina had noticed him way back when summer had begun to encroach, the day she'd woken up from her coma after that damn car accident. Wing Guy had never spoken to her- had never got close enough to- and she'd never spoken to him. The first time their eyes had met he had given her a look of surprise, as if he was shocked she could see him. But that was then. By now, he was used to it. By now, he only ever stared through narrowed eyes. Ever motionless. Ever perched like an elegant crow.
But then she made the mistake of pointing him out one day, and when Eva hadn't been able to see him, Seraphina's already shitty life got even shittier. Her stepmother, aloof as always, assumed that at worst, the car accident had messed with her head, and at best, that she'd been making it up for attention.
Either way, that predicament, coupled with the sudden return of Seraphina's night terrors, had landed her weekly scheduled appointments with a therapist.
And now there he was, staring at her like she was going to pull out a weapon and kill someone. Seraphina wanted to scream. Wanted to yell to her dad that Wing Guy was right there and that she wasn't losing her mind, contrary to popular belief in the Alexandre household. At the very least, proving his existence to her parents would maybe save her from having to talk to Dr. Mikaelson every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Ha, as if her luck would ever turn out that well. When Seraphina turned back around, her father was already gone, leaning into the front seat of his car as he got ready to leave for good. His fraying denim jeans matched the easy paint on their front door, calm and soothing and nothing like the emotions that flurried within her.
She stared at him, felt the betrayal weighing in on her chest. When Sebastian resurfaced, he took one look at her, and moved in for a hug. His arms were warm and sturdy as they caged her, and he smelt like scented hair oil and peppered wine and the interior of a glasses case. "I'm only a phone call away, Sera." He whispered against her braided hair, lips skimming her ear with a final kiss.
And then her father got into his car, revved the engine, and peeled out of the driveway. Seraphina, dejected and sullen, watched the silvery sedan shrink as it hummed down the street. Then she remembered and checked to see if Wing Guy had pulled his usual disappearing act.
He was still there, this time fully seated on the roof of the truck. His long legs dangled over the driver's side window. He was still there, staring with evident suspicion dancing across his face. When the wind blew into the street, singing through the green blades of grass and the spindles of the trees, his wavy black hair ruffled. But he did not move. He did not look away.
Then Mrs. Lee, her neighbor and the old woman who owned the truck, shuffled out of her house to pick up the mail. She smiled at Seraphina kindly, as she always did when they ran into each other, but not once did she glance in the direction of the long, black-winged creature on top of her car, even when he was less than ten feet away from her.
So weird that when gusts of wind dashed through her hair once more, Seraphina felt an unnatural chill climbing down her spine, the same chill she had gotten when she'd heard the news about Elliot.
What the hell was going on?
An hour later- after her spilled tears had long since dried and her heart had been beset with crumbling stone- found Seraphina trudging down the stairs with her backpack slung over her shoulder. Her jaw was set in determination, her mind closing off the events of the day as best as it could.
She almost made it out the door without interruption, but her stepmother interceded her in the foyer, meeting her in the entryway. "Are you okay?" Eva asked. Her sleek hair- straightened, of course- hung around her shoulders, reminding her of sheets of silk.
"I'll live," she deadpanned. Seraphina didn't say anything more, not feeling that she was in the correct headspace for this conversation. She had places to be, had people waiting to distract her.
Eva glanced down at her backpack and her eyebrows wrinkled before smoothing out. "Where are you going?" Her words didn't inflect, her tone betrayed no emotion.
"You said I could spend the night with Lilly." The biting comment forced its way past her lips before she could stop it. "Or were you too busy planting Dad's socks to remember?" Seraphina clenched her jaw even tighter, regret pooling in the space between her heart and stomach.
Her stepmother didn't react to the last sentence. She ignored it, as she did with everything she found irrelevant. "What are you two doing tonight?"
Seraphina shifted her weight. "Blake Walter is having an end-of-summer party tonight." She was more than happy to celebrate the event. Thanks to Charlie dumping her and her parents divorcing and Elliot- don't think about Elliot, don't think about Elliot, don't think about Elliot- Thanks to a series of unfortunate events that had spanned all of three months, she was finally ready to leave the summer behind. She was more than ready.
Eva raised a poised eyebrow at her. "Are his parents going to be there?"
Seraphina kept her face neutralized. "Aren't they always? It's their house." Lying to her step-mother was easier than it should've been, but maybe that was a direct result of her witnessing Eva's lie regarding her father's socks.
Eva reached forward and brushed her arm, eyebrows again knitting together for a fracture of a shattered second before smoothing out. "What if you have another bad dream?"
Brushed her arm. That's all Seraphina could get these days. No hugs, no kisses on the forehead, no actual relationship solidified by any other fact than that she had married her father when she was two and had raised her since. Only brief touches that refused to linger, cold fingers drawing against her skin before pulling away and leaving her feeling even colder.
Seraphina sucked in a breath. "I warned Lilly that I might wake up screaming bloody murder. She promised she'd stake me in the heart with a crucifix and make me go back to bed."
A flicker of a smile. "Maybe you should hide the crucifixes before you go to sleep."
"Maybe," Seraphina drawled. Her attention landed on the front door. For a fraction of a second, she felt guilty for ditching her stepmother on the same day her father moved out. Dorian was visiting with family in Boston and wouldn't be back until September. Eva would be all alone.
But then she looked down at the Southeast Asian woman in front of her, who had long since washed out the streaks of red dye from her straight, dark hair, and she reminded herself that Eva was the resident Ice Queen. She'd be fine. Nothing ever bothered her.
Before walking out, Seraphina peeked out the window to make sure that Wing Guy wasn't sitting on her porch. When she found that he was nowhere in sight and thus deemed the yard free of stalkers, Seraphina rushed out the door, hoping that tonight's party would help her forget how badly her life sucked.
Hoping that tonight's party would erase the image of raven hair and looping tattoos over brown skin, of folded wings and long legs, of suspicious gazes and elegant perchings. Tonight, more so than ever, she needed to forget.