We are excited to announce the winner of our contest to win an advanced, hardback copy of Burned: A House of Night Novel by P.C. & Kristin Cast. There were some really great entries and it was a tough decision — so tough, in fact, that I chose a second-place winner … though the second-place prize is TBA. (I’ll come up with something cool, promise!)
Without further ado, the first-place prize goes to Cassandra W. for her fictional story about being chosen to join the House of Night. Here is her story:
Labeled by Cassandra W.
I wonder if things would have been different if I had been an outcast. If I hadn’t fit in at school and if I hadn’t been a blossoming member of the People of Faith. But the truth was, I loved my human life. My Mark tingled under my fingers as I traced the outline again. The only thing I was happy about right now was the fact that I had stopped feeling like I was going to cough up a lung. And by only thing, I mean, there was not a single other thing about being here at the House of Night that felt right. There was nothing that I loved more than spending an afternoon sitting by the ocean with my mp3 player and a good magazine.
I covered my head with a pillow and resisted the urge to scream into it. This was not something I had been expecting. Nor was it something I was looking forward to. My friends had all turned their backs on me when the handsome man came into my British Literature class this morning and Marked me. Although, I suppose it didn’t help that I went to a private school funded by the People of Faith. Goodness knows, if it had been anyone else, I would have probably shunned them the way they had just pushed me out of school.
My life, as I knew it, was over.
The only saving grace of this whole thing has been my mother. Thank goodness, (or perhaps I should be saying Goddess now), that my mother is as much of a free spirit as there ever was. When my father realized that he couldn’t stifle the spark out of her, he quietly divorced her and practically pretended that she had died for the majority of my life. But my mother was more excited about me being in the House of Night then I could have ever imagined. She packed my bags with me and promised to visit me as often as she was allowed.
“Trousseaux? Are you alright?” I lifted the pillow off my face to see my new, and disturbingly pale, roommate peeking over at me from above her Vampyre Sociology book. Yet another reminder that my sun-kissed days were officially over.
“Not really.” I admitted quietly.
“Would you like something to eat? There is a lot of food downstairs.”
I pulled the pillow under my head and stared up at the ceiling, biting my bottom lip and resisting the urge to ask if it was O negative flavored. My stomach rolled at the thought and the bile crept up my throat. How the hell was I supposed to turn into this… vampyre when as a human I didn’t even eat meat? How could I abandon my morals and beliefs to not only eat meat, but raw meat and… drink blood? My mind couldn’t even comprehend that one.
“Not hungry,” I lied, hoping that my stomach wouldn’t growl and give me away.
My beautiful Nebelung kitten jumped up in my lap then, pushing her long, grey body against my hand until I began scratching her. Being able to bring Ember with me was the only thing keeping me from going crazy and I gently stroked her until she purred.
“You’re from California?” Zafrina asked, closing her book and setting it down beside her.
I nodded. “I am a master at surfing. Probably not a talent that will come in handy here.” I sighed and shook my head. “No tanning booths or anything here either, huh?”
She made a face. “There is a reason that the Goddess chooses us all. I am sure the reason will reveal itself to you in time.”
“I guess my collection of sunglasses can be passed on to my god-awful step mother. She’s always had her eyes on them.”
“It’s really not bad here,” Zafrina said quietly. “It’s just… an adjustment.”
Maybe she was right. But being thrown into this world so quickly was hardly something I had been expecting. And growing up in a strict People of Faith family, this lifestyle was not what I would have chosen for myself. I knew how my father felt about this place, and unlike most high school girls my age, I was more interested in church than in rebellion. I cared more about my father’s approval than flirting with boys.
I nodded. Maybe this was just the push I needed. My mom was always telling me that it was imperative that I break out of my shell; make some friends with people who aren’t involved in the People of Faith. Expand my horizons is the phrase she always used.
I swallowed hard and then sat up with a new determination. I cleared my throat and looked at the crescent moon shape that mirrored my own. “Food actually sounds pretty great right now, Zafrina. I’m starving.”
She smiled and got up from the bed, extending her hand to me. “You’re going to fit right in here, Tru.”
In second-place, Jessica T. sent us this cool drawing of a House of Night tattoo. Here’s her drawing and what she had to say about it:
The tattoo is meant for the back. I’ve had this design in my head for a while, and this contest was a great way to make me sit down and actually draw it. It has the symbol of the moon to represent the Goddess Nyx. On either side of the moon are strands that sort of form wings. There are a few strands that go around the body and can be seen from the front, such as the ones as the very top, the ones from the lower back that go around to the front of the lower abdomen, and the ones right below the underarm, that go to the front. I shaded it with charcoal to give it that “tattoo” feeling.
Congrats to both Cassandra & Jessica.
Bummed you didn’t win? Don’t worry — we have LOTS of contests going on right now at Novel Novice (and more in the works). Check them all out here.