Chapter 1

Chapter 1

"Isaias, this will be your last chance," Mother Dalia says.  

I’m eager to get back in the field but I knew I would have to sit through this lecture sooner or later. She’s going to tell me I’m smart but don’t think before acting. I’m skilled, but rage dulls my effectiveness in the field. I can write the plan, and eagerness will make me throw it out the window. She’ll tell me why she expects me to do better, why my parents would be disappointed and how I raised better. I’ve been through this a dozen times before. I’m not sure if I’m still letting her down or she knows what to expect from me after all these years. She’s basically raised me as her own son.

“Isaias Jason Zadok will you pay attention to me. This is serious,” Mother Dalia pleads with me raising her voice.

“I’m listening, I just. It’s a lot to take in you know. I haven’t done this in almost a year,” I answer honestly.

“It would have been five years if I hadn’t put my behind on the line for you. This is the last time I can save you. I need you to take this seriously,” she says covering her face and turning away from me.

I’ve really let her down this time around; I’m sure of it now. Growing up I was a pain in the ass. She would never say it, but I knew that was the case. She was in charge of caring for all of us here. That’s a lot of kids to watch over during the school year. There’s a good number of orphans here at the temple, but me, I caused her the most pain. I always rushed into everything headfirst. That always came back on her. Never enough behavior correction.

“Isaias, just listen to me,” she turns back to me. “Look, you have been suspended so many times I can’t even count them anymore. But this is the last chance; the very last one. I know you want to do things your way, but your way isn’t the only way. Sometimes you have to stop and listen to others. We live in a community. You have to do what is best for the community and not just yourself.”

I’ve had her give me this same speech over and over again. I could recite it back to her. We live in a community. For a community to work everyone needs to work together. Everyone has to live up to a certain standard. If one person breaks that standard, the community as a whole, always falls into shambles. That’s always the same speech she gives me. Everyone in the monastery has their role to play and we must all play it. I just don’t like the roles I’m given all the time.

“Hey, Mother Dalia, what happens if I fuck up again,” I ask interrupting her.

“Mess up, if you mess up again, they will likely hold another trial. This time you could be suspended permanently or even excommunicated,” Mother Dalia takes a seat across from me. I turn my head away from her eyes.

“Have they ever excommunicated anyone before?”

“Yes, several this year. Maybe hundreds since I’ve been a child. Do you not know your own history?” I don’t answer her question, and she moves on. “Most end up dead within a year. They aren’t able to cope with life on the outside. Even if we give them a few supplies to start, they just don’t know what to do with themselves. The hunter lifestyle is not for everyone. Especially without the huge support network we provide.”

“Have any of them ever gone on to live good lives?”

“Good? No, I wouldn’t say good. You met Sam, right? At the bar when you snuck out on your 22st birthday. He was excommunicated for becoming a werewolf.”

“There’s other werewolves here, why would he be kicked out for that?”

“Because he did so willingly. He wasn’t born that way, nor was that forced on him. He made a deal. But, we’re not here to talk about Sam or anyone else. The issue at hand, is you. Your behavior. I need you to play by the rules tomorrow morning.”

“I’ll do the best I can to play by the rules,” I say offering her my best smile. I don’t smile often because I feel like I’m doing something wrong. But a smile has always been able to get Mother Dalia to forgive me.

“No, the smile is not good enough this time. I need you to promise me you will follow orders. Not, try, or do your best. Please, for me. I have never asked you for anything before,” she pleads with me taking my hand between hers.

“I promise you, I give you my word. I will do everything in my power to follow the rules. Just forgive me if I fuck, if I mess up. I can’t offer you any more than that. I try to do the right thing, I always have. I just don’t get it done sometimes. That’s not your fault, you always did the best you could with me and I know that couldn’t have been easy. So, thank you,” that was the only promise I can give her, even if I didn’t believe it in my heart.

I stand up and open my arms for a hug before leaving. She stands as well, but doesn’t embrace me. Instead, she walks past me and leaves before I do. I messed this one up for sure. I better not screw up tomorrow. The one person in the entire monastery that believed in me has lost faith. I don’t know what she did to get me reinstated. I hadn’t considered she probably gave up something really important to her, or had to do something against her character. Still, she did it.

Tomorrow I’m going to go out there, and I’m going to follow every stupid order. I won’t let her down this time around. I’ve done it too many times in the past. But this time, it seems like things are different. I’ll do what’s necessary. I’ll bite my tongue and follow orders.

I pick up a picture on Mother Dalia’s desk, a picture of graduation. My entire class, I wanted to stand next to her more than anything else. Since then, I’ve been an even bigger pain to her. I didn’t know she kept the photo. There’s been plenty of classes since I finished and I can only guess how many students. She’s been at this for a long time. I don’t know anyone else she’s gone so far to help; she probably never needed to go this far before either. I guess that just makes me one of a kind.


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