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Sometimes being a kid is very difficult. The adults are supposed to feed you and keep you safe, but they want you to deal with the world according to their views and not your own. They encourage you to have opinions, and if you express them, they will listen but they won’t hear. And when they give you a choice, it’s a selection of handpicked possibilities they have prescreened. No matter what you decide, the core choice has already been made, and you weren’t involved in it.
That’s how Kate and I ended up in the office of the director of Seven Star Academy. I said I didn’t want to go to school. She gave me a list of ten schools and said to pick one. I wrote the names of the schools on little bits of paper, pinned them to the corkboard, and threw my knife at them for a while. After half an hour, Seven Stars was the only name I could still read. Choice made.
Now we were sitting in soft chairs in a nice office, waiting for the school director, and Kate was exercising her willpower. Before I met Kate, I had heard people say it, but I didn’t know what it meant. Now I knew. Kate was the Beast Lord’s mate, which meant that Curran and she were in charge of Atlanta’s giant shapeshifter pack. It was so huge, people actually called it the Pack. Shapeshifters were kind of like bombs: things frequently set them off and they exploded with violent force. To keep from exploding, they made up elaborate rules and Kate had to exercise her willpower a lot.
She was doing it now; from outside she looked very calm and composed, but I could tell she was doing it by the way she sat. When Kate was relaxed, she fidgeted. She’d shift in her chair, throw one leg over the other, lean to the side, then lean back. She was very still now, legs in jeans together, holding Slayer, her magic saber, on her lap, one hand on the hilt, the other on the scabbard. Her face was relaxed, almost serene. I could totally picture her leaping straight onto the table from the chair and slicing the director’s head off with her saber.
Kate usually dealt with things by talking, and when that didn’t work, chopping obstacles into tiny pieces and frying them with magic so they didn’t get back up. The sword was her talisman, because she believed in it. She held it like some people held crosses or the star-and-crescent. Her philosophy was, if it had a pulse, it could be killed. I didn’t really have a philosophy, but I could see how talking with the school director would be difficult for her. If he said something she didn’t like, chopping him to tiny pieces wouldn’t exactly help me get into the school.
“What if when the director comes in, I take my underwear off, put them on my head, and dance around? Do you think it would help?”
Kate looked at me. It was her hard-ass stare. Kate could be really scary.
“That doesn’t work on me,” I told her. “I know you won’t hurt me.”
“If you want to prance around with panties on your head, I won’t stop you,” she said. “It’s your basic human right to make a fool of yourself.”
“I don’t want to go to school.” Spending all my time in a place where I was the poor rat adopted by a merc and a shapeshifter, while spoiled little rich girls jeered when I walked by and stuck-up teachers put me in remedial courses? No thanks.
Kate exercised her will some more. “You need an education, Julie.”
“You can teach me.”
“I do and I’ll continue to do so. But you need to know other things, besides the ones I can teach. You need a well-rounded education.”
“I don’t like education. I like working at the office. I want to do what you and Andrea do.”
Kate and Andrea ran Cutting Edge, a small firm that helped people with their magic hazmat issues. It was a dangerous job, but I liked it. Besides, I was pretty messed up. Normal things like going to school and getting a regular job didn’t hold any interest for me. I couldn’t even picture myself doing that.
“Andrea went to Order’s Academy for six years and I’ve trained since I could walk.”
“I’m willing to train.”
My body tensed, as if an invisible hand had squeezed my insides into a clump. I held my breath. . . .
Magic flooded the world in an invisible wave. The phantom hand let go, and the world shimmered with hues of every color as my sensate vision kicked in. Magic came and went as it pleased. Some older people still remembered the time when technology was always in control and magic didn’t exist. But that was long ago. Now magic and technology keep trading places, like two toddlers playing musical chairs. Sometimes magic ruled, and cars and guns didn’t work. Sometimes technology was in charge, and magic spells fizzled out. I preferred the magic myself, because unlike ninety-nine point nine-nine-nine-whatever percent of people I could see it.
Collection copyright © 2012 by Charlaine Harris, Inc., Toni L. P. Kelner, and Tekno Books.
You thought your first day of school was scary? Prepare for an education in fear. Class is in session in An Apple for the Creature, as editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner unleash a school full of nightmares!
In this pulse-pounding anthology from the New York Times bestselling team behind Death Takes a Holiday and Home Improvement: Undead Edition, thirteen of today’s top authors go back to school for stories that’ll teach you about true terror. At the head of the class: an all-new Sookie Stackhouse story from Harris, in which the plucky Southern psychic must save a school from a deranged gunman.
Let bestselling authors Ilona Andrews, Mike Carey, Nancy Holder, Thomas Sniegoski and more teach you lessons you’ll never forget!
Hardcover Book : 352 pages
Publisher: Ace Books Inc./Imp Of Putnam Berkle ( September 01, 2012 )
Item #: 13-608718
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 13.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I really liked the 1 about Sookie & Hunter. Some of these are written by people who don't usually write paranormal at all so this is a different side to them. If you read the author introduction under the titles you can understand that this is their "walk on the wild side". Some are a little slow but so far I've liked each that I've finished. Still reading but am glad that I got it for my collection.
Not good. The Sookie story was short and not very good--the rest were just too weird to be enjoyable.
I'd recommend borrowing the book from a friend or going to the library. I am a fan of these short story books, but I was quite disappointed with this one. For most of the stories, I struggled to finish---and they're short stories!! Of course, Charlaine Harris' Sookie story was a good read. I wish Sniegoski did something more with his Remy story (a character that I enjoy--usually). In my opinion, there were only 3 good stories and that's not enough for me to buy a book. Wish I had known.