Lesson 1: Nothing is ever what it seems…
In the town of Eden in northwestern England stands the exclusive boarding school known as Archangel Academy. Ancient and imposing, it’s a place filled with secrets. Just like its students…
For Michael Howard, being plucked from his Nebraska hometown and sent thousands of miles away is as close as he’s ever come to a miracle. In Weeping Water, he felt trapped, alone. At Archangel Academy, Michael belongs. And in Ciaran, Penry, and especially Ciaran’s enigmatic half-brother Ronan, Michael finds friendship deeper than he’s ever known.
But Michael’s only beginning to understand what makes the Academy so special. Ronan is a vampire—part of a hybrid clan who are outcasts even among other vampires. Within the Academy’s confines exists a ruthless world of deadly rivalries and shifting alliances, of clandestine love and forbidden temptations. And soon Michael will confront the destiny that brought him here—and a danger more powerful than he can imagine…
Michael Griffo is an award-winning writer and one of six playwrights whose career will be tracked by WritersInsight.com until 2010. He is a graduate of New York University, has studied at Playwrights Horizons and Gotham Writers Workshop, and has written several screenplays. Prologue
Outside, the earth was wet.
The rain had finally stopped, but it had poured hard
and long during the night, the sudden storm catching
the land unprepared for such a prolonged onslaught.
From Michael’s bedroom window he could see the dirt
road that led up to his house had flooded and the passageway
that could lead him to another place, any place
away from here, was broken, unusable. Today would
not be the day he would be set free.
Ever since Michael was old enough to understand
there was a world outside of his home, his school, his
entire town, he had fantasized about leaving it all behind.
Setting foot on the dirt path that began a few inches below his front steps and walking, walking,
walking until the dirt road brought him somewhere
else, somewhere that for him was better. He didn’t
know where that place was, he didn’t know what it
looked like; he only knew, he felt, that it existed.
Or was it all just foolish hope? Peering down from his
second-floor window at the rain-drenched earth below,
at the muddy river separating his home from everything
else, he wondered if he was wrong. Was his dream of escape
just that, a dream and nothing more? Would this
be his view for all time? A harsh, unaccepting land that,
despite living here for thirteen of his sixteen years, made
him feel like an intruder. Leave! He could hear the wind
command, This place is not for you. But go where?
On the front lawn he saw a meadowlark, smaller than
typical but still robust-looking, drink from the weather beaten
birdbath that overflowed with fresh rainwater.
Drinking, drinking, drinking as if its thirst could not be
quenched. It stopped and surveyed the area, singing its
familiar melodious tune, da-da-DAH-da, da-da-da, and
pausing only when it caught Michael’s stare. Switch
places with me, Michael thought. Let me rest on the
brink of another flight, and you sit here and wait.
And where would you go? the meadowlark asked.
You know nothing of the world beyond this dirt.
Nothing now, but I’m willing to learn. The lark
blinked, its yellow feathers bristling slightly, but I’m not
willing to forget everything that I know. Da-da-DAHda,
How wonderful would it be to forget everything? For
get that the mornings did not bring with them the promise
of excitement, but just another day. Forget that the
evenings did not bring with them the anticipation of adventure,
but just darkness. Forget it all and start fresh,
The meadowlark was walking along the ledge of the
birdbath, interrupting the stagnant water this time with its
feet instead of its beak, looking just as impatient as it did
wise. You can never start over. The new life you may create
is filled with memories of the old one. The new person
you may become retains the essence of who you were.
No, Michael thought, I want to escape all this. I want
to escape who I am!
Humans, such a foolish species, the lark thought. Dada-
DAH-da da-da-da. You can never escape your true
self and you’ll never be able to escape this world until
you accept that.
Michael watched the meadowlark fly away, perhaps
with a destination in mind, perhaps just willing to follow
the current—regardless, out of view, gone. And
Michael remained. The water in the birdbath still rippled
with the lark’s memory, retaining what was once
there, proof that there had been a visitor. Michael wondered
if he would leave behind any proof that he was
here when he left, if he ever left. Not that he cared if
anyone remembered his presence, but simply to leave
behind proof that he had existed before he began to live.
He turned his back to the window, the meadowlark’s
memory and song, the flooded earth—none of that truly
belonged to him anyway—and he gazed upon his room.
For now, this sanctuary was all he had. He was grateful
for it, grateful to have some place to wait until the waters
receded and his path could lead him away from
But that would not happen today. Today his world, as
wrong as it was, would have to do.