Maya's P.O.V

Generally speaking, I'm a bit of a loner.

And that's fine.

I like it that way. I like being alone. I like to do things on my own. It just helps to be able to think.

That's why I hate school. Everybody always judging, always screaming at you...jeez. It's awful.

But one day, by my locker, everything changed.

I was simply filing books away, getting ready for my next class, when a group of prissy girls came up to me. "Hey, Maya," one of them said. "Nice hair."

"Where'd you get it done?" another sneered. "The Laundromat?"

"You know, that wasn't even clever," I said, not even looking at them.

"You're not very clever!" one exclaimed. I didn't get these girls. They weren't smart. They couldn't even make up clever insults. Why were they so respected?

"Bye now," I said, waving cheerfully.

As I was walking down the hallway, a tall, hooded man approached me. He stopped right in front of me, extending a hand.

"Hi...?" I said warily.

"Maya Frost, Night has Chosen thee!" the man exclaimed, and I knew what was coming. Everybody stopped and stared at me. I didn't even listen to the rest of the words.

This was a Tracker.

He touched my forehead and I felt a white – hot pain run through it. I fell to the floor, flat on my bum. The Tracker left as quickly as he'd come. I opened my eyes blearily. Everybody was staring at me like I was a freak.

Oh. Right. I was a freak now.

I touched my forehead gently. It didn't feel any different. But I knew that if I looked in a mirror I'd see the Mark of a Vampyre fledging.

I was in Tulsa. That meant I had to go to the Tulsa House of Night. I quickly went into the bathroom and phoned my Mom.

"Yes?" my mother said wearily, as if she didn't want to talk to me. Ever since my Dad died, she never wanted to talk to anyone.

"Mom," I said, "I've been Marked."

"Hmm," my mom sighed. "Okay, honey. The House of Night is only a short ways from your school."

"Mom! You're not even worried?" I exclaimed, practically shouting into the phone. A slight cough overcame me. Right – if I didn't get to the House of Night, I'd die.

"No, honey," she said. "See, your father died. You remind me so much of him. Maybe if you go away, I'll stop being sad. Bye, now."

The phone went dead with a click.

A slight tear escaped my eyes. But only one.

I left the school in a hurry. Nobody stepped in my way. They all made a wide path for me to walk down as I left.

My mom was right. The House of Night was a short walk. I tried to run there, but occasionally I was overrun by coughing and had to stop. I didn't even notice the people on the street, giving me hostile looks. Who cares?

There it was. The House of Night, in all its glory. I never thought Vampyres were strange. Then again, I'd never thought I'd be one. I guessed that I'd see.

Did I just go in? I was feeling more tired by the minute. Was I supposed to get sick this fast? Hopefully. Maybe I was rejecting the Change already?

That was a scary thought.

I didn't have to wonder about knocking. The doors were pushed open and group of Vampyres and fledging stepped out. Instantly, I knew this was a different bunch. One of them didn't look as old as a Vampyre, but her Blue Mark was filled in. One had a filled in Red Mark. Two girls were staring at each other icily. Two guys were holding hands happily. And there was a Red – Marked fledging. The last was a girl with a Red fledging Mark.

The girl with the filled in Blue Mark saw me instantly. "Guys," she hissed, "Look."

"Oh my god," one of the guys holding hands gasped.

"Her soul is purple," the red – Marked fledging girl commented.

"What?" I said, my voice hoarse.

"Come on," the girl who had spoken first said. "You need to be with Vampyres." I went towards her, but she said that so...cautiously, I couldn't help but be a little mad.

She led me inside a huge hall. I didn't really keep track of where we were going, only that she took me to a room with two other woman. They were both Vampyres.

"Zoey?" one of the women gasped. "Who's this?"

"Green?" the other exclaimed.

As soon as I entered the room, I felt better. Feeling very annoyed, I said, "Okay. What is up with everybody saying random colours?"

Everybody stared at me for a moment. "Sorry," the girl called Zoey said. "I had to bring you here so you'd feel better. Do you want to come with me to my dorm room?"

"Um, okay," I said, shrugging. "Why not?"

She led me down another hallway. We seemed to go through a million halls before she stopped at one of them. She opened the door, and we all filed inside. I sat on one of the beds. Zoey sat beside me. The rest of them sat across from us.

"What's your name?" Zoey asked.

"Maya," I replied. "Why's everybody acting weird?"

"Maya," Zoey said, "go look in the mirror."

One of the girls across from us handed me a small mirror. I took a quick look. There I was – plain features. My green eyes, my freckled skin, my too long nose. But when I looked at my forehead, I gasped.

The Mark was there. And it was green.