Authors Note: So I apologize for the format of this chapter before, it was brought to my attention that there was no spacing between chapters so I am very sorry. This should be a better format.
Lights danced across tree tops in various colors. Sirens roared in cycles leaving faint traces of fear in the ears that listened.
Tamsin stood in the shadows of those tree tops, bathed in the red and blue of police flashers. She knew this scene all too well, schools were few for her but sadly common. Her job entailed the collecting of souls, she never got a choice on the ones she took, whether they be children or grown men, she took them.
She walked past the cars and barriers with little trouble, they couldn't see her, like they couldn't see the helpless floaters in the confines of a middle school. The halls were dimmed with half of the lights turned on.
The first was a girl, Hailey, she was fourteen. Tamsin kneeled next to the girl laying her palms against Hailey's abdomen. The collections were easy, the conditions weren't. Hailey's hair was spread across the area around her skull, what was left of it. The fabric of her red dress clung to her skin with bloody stains from the hours prior.
Tamsin's eyes turned the color of ash and smoke during a fire as she claimed the soul of the girl laying in the middle of the hallway. She was safe now, she would be transported to Valhalla where she could live for years beyond the ones wasted in the institution that claimed her.
Tamsin continued through the halls, the next was a young boy, Scott, he was fourteen when he was shot point blank in the skull by another boy. Tamsin knelt once more, repeating the ritual she had done since she had been his age.
Her first was a girl, Mara, she was ten when her father took her to the shed that rested on grass in their backyard and stabbed her with a pair of shears. Tamsin couldn't get the image out of her head, the girl wore a light blue dress with a fresh stain in the hems where she had attempted to bring coffee to her father and failed. If only her balance was better, maybe she would still be laying in bed with a slight rise and fall of a breathing chest, with a heartbeat pumping life through her. If only.
Tamsin shivered at the memory of Mara, it haunted her. But Tamsin continued, she took the souls of ten within the school. Ten boys and girls that had never danced with each other, never drank alcohol, never experience life beyond schooling. She sat on the curb outside of the school, listening to the police talk about the boy that had brought a gun to class.
Tamsin sighed, cradling the necklace of one of the girls in her palm, the carvings ancient. It was most likely from her family's crest, given to the girl when she received her powers. The chain fell from her hand as she faded into the shadows, leaving behind the souls of the humans inside.
Tamsin delivered the souls to the gates of Valhalla and returned to the garden outside of her house. The grass wiped the blood from her shoes as she walked to the door, picking up the mat that lay before the entrance and retrieving the key. Tamsin rolled it in her palm for a moment before she inserted it in the door knob.
"Acacia," she called, "I'm going to my room. It's been a long day."
Acacia peaked her head from behind the refrigerator door, "You alright kid? Want a beer?"
Tamsin walked into the kitchen, watching Acacia remove the tops or two beers and hand one to her. "Thanks," she spoke, taking the drink from her elder.
"You look like shit Tam. Who'd you collect?'
"Kids again. Why do schools keep letting kids carry guns, don't they know it's dangerous?" Tamsin leaned in front of the microwave that sat on the counter, examining the faint reflection of herself. Her hair was hanging in its usual loose curls but had been faintly stained with blood. Tamsin grabbed a paper towel and began massaging the locks with cold water to remove the blood.
Acacia took a deep breath, "It's not their choice Tamsin, it's the kids. They get a little messed up and blame the people around them, no matter the justification." Acacia was greeted with a stunned look from the young valkyrie. "What? I know what happened, you forget that i used to wear your shoes."
"Whatever, your ancient ass couldn't touch these kicks," Tamsin motioned to the bright blue boots that hugged her feet. Tamsin took a long swig from her beer and took a deep breath, laying the bloodied rag on the counter. "Does it ever get easier?"
"Easier? Nah, never gets easier, but it gets easier to deal with. The kid ones are rough, the warriors not so much. You'll get the hang of it once you're on the battlefield, those dudes chose to be there."
Tamsin huffed, "Thanks 'cacia. I think I'm gonna go shower the smell of dead kid off me."
"As you should, your rat ass doesn't need more nasty, i think your face has that covered."
Tamsin scowled at the older woman who stood leaning against the counter, drinking her beer.
Acacia simply smirked at the girl, "Just kidding T. Hey, don't forget you have school tomorrow," Acacia yelled through the hall as Tamsin entered her room.
Tamsin stopped in her doorway, "I thought that was a joke. Acacia, you're not serious right?"
"Serious as a valkyrie bond," Acacia raised her right hand, "Scouts honor."
"But we're valkyries, doesn't the whole school thing stay with the humans and other fae? I mean we collect souls."
"Yep we do Tam but that doesn't mean we can be stupid."
Tamsin crossed her arms ,"Fine, but do I get time off from the soul catching for homework?"
"Nope, gotta do both," Acacia sipped her beer, "It's in the handbook."
"Theres a handbook?"
"Hell's no but that would be useful. Now get your ass clean and go to sleep, gotta big day tomorrow," Acacia laughed as she heard the door slam to Tamsin's room.