Chapter 6. Where grace and light meet.

Gracie woke up with a start. Shaking her head, she tried to remember. Who where those girls on the bank? She felt so compelled to warn them away from the darkness hovering above them.

Why couldn't she warn them? The words where there; they were always there in her dreams, but these poor girls were different. They looked so small and scared. She swore they actually saw her too. She had to find them and soon… The darkness around them was so strong, especially around the elder of the two; they needed her light to come out of it safe. How they had survived this long was lost on her. But where would she find them… Think Gracie, think… There was a lake, and trees… it could have been anywhere.

She hadn't had a dream this real since her mother died some 90 or so years ago, the day she met her father – Michael. "It was just a dream" she told herself – always dreaming – warning. She would meet them soon enough. She always did.

She was a first generation witch after all, half angel, half human. And while at times, her life seemed lonely, she was always meeting and saying goodbye to fascinating people, and there was always her father to talk to, even if it was from afar. Gracie knew she had a purpose in this world – to protect her distant cousins and other humans from the darkness her uncles had infected it with during the war. She was her father's light. Smiling, Gracie got out of bed and got ready for her day. She only had 20 minutes if she was going to open the garage on time.

Gracie was fortunate - a regular lily in the valley; she had always been blessed with divine grace and intervention by her father and God. They always made sure she found nourishment when needed and a place to lay her head at night. As far as she knew, she could not die until they decided it was time to call her home. She knew this, yet she was still humble. It was her nature after all, how she was made; her purpose to show light in the darkness. Granted at the age of 168, she understood people better than most; watched them come and go; have families; laugh, love, hurt, greave. Even if she decided not to obey her purpose, she couldn't. Where most humans had complete freewill, Gracie only had half. If you could call the choices she made that. Most days she had the body of a 20 year old, but she was always changing her hair and eye color to suit her mood and current occupation. But no matter, where she went, how much she changed how she looked, she always ended up changing others lives and fighting the darkness. But despite her lack of choices where her destiny was concerned, she was happy.

Currently she lived above the auto, body shop she worked at on College Street in Baton Rouge. Five years ago, Gus, the owner had taken her in after seeing her working in the parts – pull it dump, selling off the parts to the various shops in town for extra cash. He was always telling her and his buddies, "And there I was looking for a fender for the old camaro, and I sees this tiny little blond thing with grease on her face, already working to get it separated for me. I just couldn't help myself; I offered her a job on the spot. The way I figure it, if she could take 'em apart, she can put 'em together."

She knew he was proud of her. Already she had proven to be his best mechanic in years. He was always claiming how he taught her everything she knew. Poor Gus… He had such a hard start in this life, taking care of him and his sister when they were little, making sure they had food and shelter, and like so many others he made due with what he had and treated others with kindness, never letting them know the hardships he faced. Gracie knew his end was near. Part of the reason she was there was to give him peace of mind during his last year. It always helped people to let go of this world if they were at peace of mind at the end. Since Gracie had started at the shop business had tripled. Gus even let Danny, Gus's nephew, start working hours in the shop after school along side her. Danny would take things over once Gus was gone; naturally neither man knew it yet, but things would work out that way in the end. Neither would admit it out loud, but they both knew they loved each other dearly. Danny's mother, Gus's sister had died of cancer when Danny was 16. No one knew where his father was, and they were all sure it was for the best. Gus took him in, having no wife or kids of his own, he didn't let it worry him. The boy needed love, and Gus gave all he had. Danny had just finished his degree in business at Louisiana State this past spring and was now working on getting his master mechanics certificate through the vocational school. He would be well prepared, and before long Gracie Ann would be but a distant memory.

Gracie smiled thinking about the man who had treated her like the daughter he never had and his nephew that she herself was very fond of, while turning on the lights and opening the doors and windows to the shop. She could already tell that it was going to be a bitter sweet week. Saying goodbye to one life and moving on to the next was always a little sad, she would miss the family who had taken her in, but she knew she would find new people to take her mind off them and love just as much soon enough. Gracie felt the power in her bones intensify. It was only a mater of time. She would need to be strong and vigilant if her dream was any indication to the fight to come.