Mrs. Collins paced, the scowl on her face revealing her frustration. "I'm a failure. They'll let me go now for sure. How could this have happened?" She muttered, glaring at Danika. "You're a disappointment young lady. You not only let me down, you disgraced the entire school."
Until now, Danika had not said a word. She merely sat watching Mrs. Collins, head mistress of Mystic Creek Manor, an institution for the gifted. She expected her to spontaneously combust at any moment. "I'm sorry Mrs. Collins. I promise to behave from now on." Danika stared at the floor, her long jet-black hair shielding her face. "May I go back to my room now? Please."
"No. Your parent's are on their way. They'll help clean this mess up."
"You called them?" Danika uttered.
"Of course I did. You do understand the seriousness of this don't you Danika?"
Her sapphire eyes still fixed on the floor, Danika sighed. "Yes."
Mrs. Collins slid her eyeglasses down to the tip of her nose as she shot Danika a harsh gaze. "I don't even want to think about what the head master is going to do when he finds out about this."
"We can keep it a secret." Danika whispered.
"Not likely. I am positive the news of what you have done is most certain to become tomorrow's headline in the school paper."
"Danika! What's going on?" her father Merrick bellowed.
"Now dear, give the child a chance to explain before you have her tarred and feathered," her mother Emily scolded.
Merrick sat next to his daughter. "So what do you have to say for yourself? How could you have lost control? You know better than to do this."
"She must be punished sir," Mrs. Collins interrupted.
"Leave us now!" Merrick snapped. "I will handle this."
Out of respect for his high standing within the close-knit community and fearing his well-known reputation of tremendous wrath, Mrs. Collins bowed her head submissively and left them.
"But daddy you always say I should follow my instincts. That's what I did. You don't want me to lose or deny the part of me that makes me like you, do you?"
"Danika!" Merrick shouted. "Don't be coy with me. This is not going to be easy to fix."
Afraid to face her father, Danika silently continued to stare at the floor.
"You better explain to your father Danika. Now, before he loses his temper." Emily warned.
"I think I better show daddy," she whispered.
Danika took her father's hand and tugged him behind her. Emily followed closely. They walked across the manicured lawn between the administrative buildings and the dorm rooms and entered the building that housed their daughter's living quarters. Whispers hummed and gaping mouths adorned the faces of those brave enough to peer out into the hallways. A quick glance in their direction by Merrick had them cowardly scurrying back inside their rooms.
Danika hesitated outside of the door. "Please don't be mad daddy. I know I was a bad girl but I promise I will be good from now on."
Emily smiled at Merrick. "Stay calm husband," she whispered in his ear and gently kissed his cheek.
An impatient Merrick opened the door and stepped inside. "Oh my Danika, you have been a very bad girl."
Both terrified and in awe of what his young daughter was capable of, Merrick's eyes roamed around the room. Blood splatter covered the walls and sprawled out on the floor at their feet, the lifeless body of the grounds keeper Henry laid in a crimson pool; the proof of Danika's inability to control that which she had inherited from her father.
Emily peered through the open door. The dread she felt gazing at the dead man caused her to gasp and take a step backward.
Merrick caressed his human wife's cheek. She was trembling. "Wait in the common area Emily," he instructed her. "I will help Danika clean this mess up.
Emily nodded. She cupped her daughter's face, kissed her on the cheek and whispered, "I love you", before hurrying out of the room.
"It is forbidden to take a human life." Merrick stated firmly.
"Yes daddy, I understand. What will happen to me?"
"I will not allow anyone to harm you." Merrick placed a firm hand on her shoulder. "You are my daughter, offspring of an ancient; the child of a vampire father and a human mother. You are a strong, powerful, and cunning dhamphyr but you must always remember you cannot kill humans, or any other species for that matter. We can drink from humans only when clear rational consent is given.
"But daddy he was a bad man. He tried to hurt me." Danika entered the bathroom and emerged with a torn bloody nightgown. "Look what he did to my nightie."
Merrick flew into a rage. "That son of a bitch. Did he…?"
"No daddy, but he tried. That's why he's dead."
Merrick smiled. "That's my girl."
by Quinn Cullen