Chapter One- Welcome to Reality

A sigh filled the room, and then slowly dissipated into silence once again. A girl of no more than sixteen years sat at a desk, with a blank piece of paper before her. She nervously tapped her pencil on the smooth, white surface of the desk.

"What is wrong with me?" she pondered aloud, staring miserably at the forbidding piece of notebook paper.

She sighed again. She was desperately trying to think of something to write. Anything to write.

She stared dejectedly out the window, twiddling with her curly, brown hair, barely noticing a sudden movement of black flash before it. She did, however, notice how low the sun had become. She glanced at the clock and groaned. It was seven o'clock. She had been sitting there struggling with her writer's block for almost an hour and a half.

"I give up," she muttered, crumpling up the piece of paper and throwing it at the light blue wastebasket next to her desk. She missed. It was two feet away from her and she had missed. She stared at it, lying so casually next to the wastebasket, as if it had always intended to land just where it did. So, that's why she never made the basketball team. Huh. Go figure.

She got up, picked up the crumpled mass of paper, and tossed it into the wastebasket. She then walked over to her bed and sat down on the edge of it. After a few minutes, she simply laid back on the bed, her head landing on a pile of lacy, cream-colored pillows.

As she rested on her floral-covered bedspread, she tried to keep back a yawn, but it came out anyway. This caused her to glance at the clock again. It was now only four minutes after seven o'clock. She really shouldn't be tired, but for some reason, she was.

She desperately fought to keep her eyes open, sleepily arguing with herself that she had absolutely no reason to be tired... but apparently her body thought otherwise. Her eyelids slowly closed and she felt her body relax as it prepared for sweet sleep to overtake her.

"This is no time for a nap," a voice proclaimed. She sat up, gasping at the sudden intrusion of her privacy. Her gray eyes widened when she saw a man standing before her bed. This alone was cause for alarm, but add to this fact that he had two glistening fangs, and perhaps one could understand why she began to panic.

She tried to open her mouth to let out a scream, but she couldn't move it. She couldn't move anything. Adrenalin surfed through her veins, her body frozen in panic.

"Oh, my God. I'm going to die. This man is here to kill me," she thought wildly, close to hysterics.

"Now, don't worry. I'm not going to hurt you," the voice stated, seemingly knowing exactly what she was thinking. But as the intruder casually walked around her room, acting as if he had every right to be there, she realized that he had more than fangs; he had a lump underneath his white, striped shirt that looked alarmingly like a gun.

"Who are you?" she asked, now able to speak but her voice sounding as if it were rusted over.

"You silly humans. Always so many questions and all of them so trivial." He paused, as he walked over to her cedar chest, at the end of the bed. He began flicking his fingers against the cool, porcelain heads of her many china dolls that sat on top of its polished wood. "The important thing is not who I am, but what I am," he continued, after several seconds in which the only noise was that of his long fingernails tapping against porcelain.

"Wh-what are you?" she asked, failing to disguise the note of panic edging into her voice.

He walked over towards her window, and started toying with her lacy, cream curtains. "I, my dear, am a vampire," he said, speaking aloud for the first time during their encounter. "My name is Val."

"Now, are you going to ask what you are?" he asked, a slight smile flickering across his face, as he continued to toy with her curtains, flipping the long material back and forth across his pale, bony hand.

She stared at him, somehow unable to process what she was supposed to do. Her heart was still beating rapidly in her chest and her head was pounding, making her unable to concentrate. Some vague part of her knew she should just ask the damn question, but the other part hesitated, not even quite sure what the question was supposed to be... and partly afraid to ask it anyway. As she sat there, silently vacillating, Val stared back at her. Finally, she croaked out, "What am I?"

"Oh, uh..." he said, a look of surprise on his face. He resisted the urge to smack himself on the head as he realized that, due to her prolonged silence, he had completely forgotten what he was going to say. He quickly regained his composure. "I'm sorry. What did you say?" he asked quietly, tapping his index finger against his pale cheek, acting as if it was all a part of his plan.

"Um, what am I?" she half-stated and half-asked, still terrified of him.

"That's right! Okay, I remember now." Val paused, cleared his throat, and drew in a deep breath. He then fixed his deep, brown eyes on her piercing, gray ones and said, "You, Mariasha, are the Chosen One."

She stared at him for a second, caught off guard at being called an unfamiliar name. Then thrown off at the 'Chosen One' bit. This guy was obviously crazy. He had called her Mariasha, when her name was Heather. Plus, he thought he was a vampire. She wasn't sure which fact was crazier.

He sighed impatiently at her look and her prolonged silence. "Now, I know that isn't your actual name. But, Mariasha means 'the perfect one who is bitter with sorrow.' That's rather fitting, don't you think?" he asked, an impish smile spreading across his face.

Heather tried to smile back at him, desperately wanting to stay on his good side, but her smile was forced at best. Apparently it's kind of hard to smile at a psychopath with sharp fangs and a gun hiding not so subtly underneath his shirt. She forced herself not to look at the gun or to try to avoid his penetrating gaze.

Val sighed again, impatiently tapping his left hand against the side of his thigh. Then he started tapping his foot, making a soft thudding noise against her thick carpet. Finally, practically squirming with impatience, he asked in a wow-are-you-really-slow voice, "Are you going to ask what being the Chosen One means?"

"Um, okay." She nervously cleared her throat. "What does, uh, being the chosen one mean?" she asked quietly.

"It means that you are the only one who can save both the vampires and humans from the end of the world."

Heather stared at him. What? Then she squeezed her eyelids shut, trying to keep any tears from welling up. This guy was insane and he was probably going to kidnap her... or worse. She sniffled at the last part. Suddenly, her head seemed like it was about to break open and her heat was going to explode. The adrenlin pumping through her was screaming at her to do something. Fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight... but she couldn't do either.You can't fight someone with a gun and you can't flee from someone who's paying attention to your every move... and who has a gun. Still, her mind was flitting around, trying to find something she could do.Yet, she came up empty. Fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or...

"I said that you are the only one who can save both the vampires and humans from the end of the world," he repeated slowly. "Do you have anything to say about that?"

The look on his face was that of a child on Christmas morning. He looked like he expected her to be overjoyed at his statement. That's when something inside her head just snapped. No longer was she on the edge of hysteria. Nope, she was about ten miles over the edge, now bordering on madness. "You have got to be kidding me," she stated, laughing uncontrollably.

"No, I am not kidding you. I am completely serious," he stated, somewhat edgily, putting his hand on his hip.

"When will I wake up?" she groaned, clasping her hands against the sides of her head, as if that might help her head stay intact.

Val simply looked at her, his deep, brown eyes seeming to bore into her mind. "You're not going to, Mariasha. This isn't some dream. Welcome to reality."

"Reality? Oh, really? This is reality?" Again with the frenzied fit of laughter, which eventually tapered off into giggles. When she saw Val's astonished look, she tried her best to sober up and get a grip on reality. But as soon as thought about the word reality, she broke into another giggling fit. Finding none of this quite as funny as she did, Val glared at her, his face a mottled red.

Finally, Heater's laughter faded away, leaving her gasping for air. When she finally managed to regain her composure, she began to speak. "Okay, so let me get this straight. There's a "vampire" standing in the middle of my room! Not only that, but I'm supposedly going to save all of the vampires and humans from the end of the world! I couldn't even keep my goldfish alive for more than a week and yet you expect me to save the world? Uh-huh. Sure, pal," she spit out as her anger, shock, and denial quickly replaced her fear of him.

Val simply looked at her, his suddenly calm eyes never wavering for a second. "Are you done with your little temper tantrum yet?" he asked evenly.

All of Heather's anger suddenly vanished, leaving her as quickly as it had come over her. At his cool tone, she felt another spurt of overwhelming fear race through her. Oh, dear God. She had just laughed at and then insulted the very dangerous, very insane man standing in her room with pointy fangs and a vampire complex. And a gun. Let's not forget the gun. Smooth, Heather. Real smooth.

"What?" she asked, surprise audible in her voice.

"I asked you if you were done throwing your trivial temper tantrum," he stated, his eyes dancing as he resisted the urge to smile at the look upon her face.

"I, uh, I mean..." she paused for a couple of seconds, at complete loss as to how to respond to such a question. Oh, shit. She had really messed up now. Number one rule of dealing with crazy people: only piss them off when they're safely locked away in a white, padded room where they can't hurt you. Unfortunately, the room he was in was not white, nor padded and it happened to be her bedroom. Whoops.

"I guess so," she finished lamely.

Val flashed a broad smile, momentarily allowing his long, gleaming fangs to show.

Good dentistry work on those. Really good. They looked... razor sharp. Oh, Lord.

"That's good, because we have much more important matters to attend to: the first, obviously, being grabbing a change of clothes."

"For what?" Heather asked confusedly.

Val raised an eyebrow. "For you, of course. You'll need a change of clothes for tomorrow, until I can buy you some new clothes." She stared at him blankly, her mind numb at the implication. Thinking she hadn't understood why she needed the clothes, he expounded. "We have to leave here. Saving the world cannot be done from a human's house in the middle of the Midwest United States. You do not have the necessary resources."

Oh, dear Lord. He was going to kidnap her after all. She shut her eyes, terror and then resignation showing on her face. Eventually, Heather sighed. "Fine. I'll go get my stuff."

She walked over to her bed and bent over to retrieve a medium-sized bag from under it. Then, she made herself start packing some clothes and a few necessary items into it. Her mind raced, trying to figure a way out of this. He had a gun and really pointy teeth. So what? No big deal, right? She could still overtake him. Of course, she had dropped out of karate only two weeks into it and couldn't run more than twenty yards before she was wheezing... but, hey, no problem. The good guys always win, right?

She pushed back the slightly hysteric tone to her thoughts, reminding herself that if she did want to get out of this alive that she had better keep it together. She'd figure out something, some way to escape or leave a clue for her parents to find when they got back from dance lessons.

In the meantime, she'd just hope that she would suddenly wake up, covered in sweat and her heart racing, but still safe and sound in her own bed. Oh, please, God... let her wake up from this nightmare. Please.


I decided to redo this story, seeing as how I was never quite happy with it in the first place and I haven't updated it in over a year. I think this new version is a lot better and I hope you do, too. :) So, please, tell me what you think!

Daphne