'Red Generation' is a protected and published work. (Printed version ISBN: 978-0-646-50318-9)
Published in 2008 and distributed by Lulu Press & Bookpal. This work is copyright protected under the 'Australian Copyright Act 1968'.
Please feel free to read and enjoy online, however any unauthorised reposting or reproduction either online or in print, intact or edited is strictly forbidden.
Just like everyone else, I had good days and bad days.
Today was a bad day.
"Lucian you have to come help us get Celeste to the infirmary!" A classmate of mine ran up to me and began yelling in my face, her features were contorted and panic-stricken. I looked past her to see what all the commotion was about, and instantly regretted it. The girl named Celeste lay curled up in a ball on the outdoor gym mat. Blood had begun to pool around her from the wound on her forearm. It was split wide open, white bone glistening in the sunlight. A compound fracture.
I felt the blood leaving my own face as I stumbled back a few steps. This was not good.
"Lucian please! She needs urgent attention!" The girl continued to plead.
"No… She needs an ambulance!" I managed to yell back, getting caught up in the panic. I didn't want to get any closer to the scene. The smell of blood was already getting to me. I fumbled around in my pocket for a phone. Yes, it was against the rules to use them during school hours but I really didn't think anybody would cause a fuss in a situation like this.
I called the emergency department and told them the school's address and what appeared to have happened.
"It's a sporting accident, compound fracture, moderate loss of blood." I reported in an unsteady voice to the lady on the other end of the line. "At the Liabrooke College on Bachman Avenue." By this time quite a large group had gathered around the wounded student, the school's nurse had come running out and dropped beside Celeste to commence first aid procedures. "We'll have an ambulance over to you within ten minutes." The lady replied in an almost automated-sounding voice. I disconnected and decided that this would be the best time to make a quick exit.
I managed to find my way to a male bathroom and now stood hunched over the wash basin, my fingers gripping tightly to the white porcelain. I felt a wave of relief wash over me when I realised there was nobody else was in the vicinity.
I've only been in this school for about a week. I transferred here after a hairy experience at my previous high school. I was actually quite surprised that people knew my name already. I could hardly remember a single person out of the whole week I've been here so far. But then again, I do stand out. I'm tall with an athletic build, jet black hair and brown eyes that seem to reflect a heavy tinge of red, making them appear almost burgundy. Needless to say I get a lot of unwanted attention from the girls. But in all honesty all these teenage girls look and act the damn same to me.
I looked up into the mirror. The florescent lighting could cast bad shadows but I knew I was looking pretty bad. My face was a deathly shade of white and my eyes were encased in dark circles of fatigue. I could feel my entire body begin to shake and I slumped down onto the cold tiled floor.
Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's not that I'm squeamish about seeing blood. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You see… I'm actually what humans call a vampire. However, contrary to popular belief, vampires don't turn into bats, they don't melt in the sunlight or live for thousands of years, and personally, I love using copious amounts of garlic in my cooking.
We do have heightened senses though, and are capable of almost super-human strength. This could be extremely difficult to disguise during sporting activities sometimes. We heal much faster than your average human and don't fall prey to common diseases.
There was one other thing that the common stereotypes got correct though, our insatiable thirst for blood. It's this very factor that has me sitting on the bathroom floor right now suppressing an overwhelming urge to rip apart the first unfortunate person to walk through the door.
Speaking of ripping people apart… that's partially the reason why I had to leave my old high school. Only a diminutive percentage of the world's population are aware that we even exist. To them, vampires are nothing more than creatures of fantasy that only appear in books and movies.
If we vampires were to co-exist peacefully among normal humans, we must be able to exercise a profound sense of restraint. Which I don't seem to be very good at…
The sound of echoing footsteps down the hall warned me that people were fast approaching. I managed to pick myself up off the floor and stumble into the nearest stall. I fumbled the lock over to 'engaged' before sitting on the lid of the toilet seat. I was feeling very ill now. The smell of human was everywhere in this place… I needed to get out. I felt around my mouth with my tongue. Good, my fangs hadn't emerged yet.
After a few calming deep breaths I stood up and smoothed out my uniform, trying my hardest to ignore the light-headedness gnawing away at me. I unlocked the door and calmly exited the bathroom with a composure I was certainly not feeling inside.
As soon as I got into the hall I was knocked off my feet, landing hard on the linoleum floor. This really wasn't my day.
"Awww Lucian! Are you ok?" Two girls whom I had never met were instantly at my side trying to help me up. I completely ignored them and assessed the situation. Another girl lay sprawled out before me. Nobody attempted to help her to her feet.
"You shouldn't be running in the hall!" I snapped at her with a little more anger than intended. I suddenly regretted the outburst. She slowly picked herself up and wiped her nose on the sleeve of her blazer. Tears were streaming down her face as she bent down to hastily pick up the books she had dropped during our collision. The girl looked to be about my age, a senior. She had long blonde hair that flowed down to her lower back, her fringe was wet with tears and clung to her face. Her deep brown eyes were bloodshot and puffy. It was obvious she had been crying for quite a while before bumping into me.
It took me a few moments to regain my senses. All previous thoughts of sucking the life out of the nearest human had completely left my mind.
"You're so rude Lisa." The girl to my left spat venomously, a smirk playing across her lips. "Why don't you apologise to Lucian? Cat got your tongue?"
The other girl leaned into her friend. "Oh my god that was so harsh!" She whispered fiercely. However, she too appeared to be sniggering.
What on earth was wrong with these females? It was clearly obvious that this girl... Lisa, was having a rough enough time as it was. I got up off the floor and extended a hand to aid her with the massive pile of books. Lisa didn't even make eye contact with me as she hurried past and continued at a swift walking pace down the hallway.
I watched her retreating form for a few moments before being interrupted by one of my entourage. "Don't worry about her. That's Lisa Monroe, the silent oddball." informed the girl who had demanded the apology. She flipped her short orange hair and looked up at me with bright green eyes, hidden behind a mask of freckles. "My name is Anna by the way. What are your plans for this afternoon?"
Anna's friend pouted. "Hey! That's not fair, we all agreed that Lucian belonged to all the girls. You can't go asking him out like he belongs to you!"
Say what? They had the audacity to put down a fellow classmate for being an oddball and yet here they were arguing in front of me over who I apparently 'belonged' to.
"I'm sorry, but I really must be getting to sixth period." I said, feeling the need to excuse myself before they began clawing at me in a jealous frenzy.
I didn't give them any time to protest as I took off at a brisk walk towards the science labs.
Biology was my final subject for the day. If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have skipped this period... But no. I suddenly found myself with a scalpel in hand, hovering over a dead rat. It had been strung out on a dissection board, looking a lot like a miniature crucifixion.
"Hurry up man." My lab buddy was beginning to grow impatient with me. "Feel free to make the first incision sometime today. I got a bus to catch at three you know."
Smart arse. I was the one with the sharp implement here. I brushed his impatience aside and took my time easing the blade down the centre of the rodent's belly. For a second time today I felt all the blood drain from my face. It's just a rodent. I kept repeating to myself as I continued to slice away and pin the skin aside. Rodents were completely different to humans... right?
"Hey are you alright?" This time my lab partner was looking at me with genuine concern. "You're looking real pale."
I didn't doubt that for a second, my mental coaching was failing miserably and I felt myself fast falling prey to a new wave of bloodlust.
"You know what? You're absolutely right." I said to my partner as I calmly placed the scalpel back down on the lab bench. "I feel like shit. I think I'll just step out for some fresh air." Then without another word I was gone.
I made my way swiftly down the empty hallways and stopped by the lockers to pick up my schoolbag, instantly realising that I had left all my science textbooks back up in the lab. They could stay there as far as I was concerned. No way was I going back in there today. Since the keys to my motorbike were held by administration till three, I found myself with half an hour to kill. Perfect.
It was windy. The door to the stairwell slammed shut behind me as I stepped out onto the roof. It was always so relaxing up here. The roof of the main building was off limits, but it was a place I could sneak up to when I needed to clear my head.
I sat down on the western ledge, facing the sunset and began rummaging in my bag for a pack of cigarettes. Can't deny a vampire of ALL his pleasures.
I spied the crumpled packet at the bottom along with my transparent green lighter and pulled them out. Damn, only five left. I wasn't in the mood to go to the shop either. The wind was making it extremely difficult to light the cigarette and I found myself pulling up my blazer to form a wind break in an attempt to calm the wildly flickering flame.
After a few minutes of swearing and burning my finger I finally managed to get it lit. I took a drag and sighed inwardly. It wasn't as good as biting into someone's neck but it curbed the blood cravings a little bit, and that was a good thing.
The sun had only just begun to set, and was casting a deep orange glow over the school grounds. Liabrooke College was much classier than any of the other schools I had been transferred to. The buildings were modern and artistically designed. There were three main buildings. Two of them were five storeys high. The one I was perched on was seven storeys high and housed the bulk of the basic classrooms. Massive Willows covered the campus grounds, which were immaculately groomed. The ancient trees looked as though they were regularly trimmed back to avoid branches intruding into the lower-level classrooms.
Pity I only had a few months here till I graduated.
The final bell rang out loudly through the classrooms. Students started flooding from all exits of the buildings in a desperate swarm, making their way home for yet another day. I watched for a while through the black bars of the railing as the crowd began to dissipate and butted out my last cigarette.
The door to the roof suddenly slammed shut behind me. I felt my body jump, startled at the sudden intrusion. Someone else had come up here?
I turned my head to face the newcomer. A girl with long blonde hair had stepped into the afternoon sunlight, the wind whipping her hair wildly about. I recognised her instantly from our earlier encounter. It was Lisa Monroe. She was either ignoring me again or simply hadn't noticed me. The young woman made her way to the railing on the far side of the roof and rested her hands on it, looking out towards the back of the school grounds.
I silently got to my feet and collected my butts to throw in the bin. I looked back over at Lisa curiously, and felt my heart skip a beat.
One foot was on the railing, followed by the other. Then in one fluid movement she hoisted her over to the outside of the metal barrier.
Don't do this to me… My mind struggled to process what was about to happen. Was this girl seriously contemplating suicide? Without thinking I made my way over to her before she did something stupid.
"Hey!" I called over as I approached from behind.
She gasped, obviously caught off guard and turned to face me. In the same instant her footing slipped and she was suddenly falling... The world was moving in slow motion, and instinct immediately took control of my mind. As soon as she had begun her descent I leapt over the railing myself and managed to grab her by the arm.
I couldn't recall much else. I landed heavily on the concrete, feet first. The impact ricocheted up my spine and I cursed out loud before falling to my knees in agony. Even a vampire had limits. Falling seven stories with a girl in my arms was definitely surpassing those limits.
I looked down at Lisa, she was still conscious but stared blankly through me, as though in a daze. "What the hell did you think you were doing?" I growled, standing back up and placing her down on her feet. My limbs groaned in protest with every movement I made. I hope I hadn't broken anything.
She said nothing and continued to stare at me… No, not at me… At my mouth. Timidly, she reached out with a trembling hand and touched one of my fangs. My fangs! Shit.When had they appeared? I recoiled and brushed her hand away.
A vampire's fangs only ever appeared on two occasions. One, when they were ready to tear into someone, and two, when they were really angry. I didn't think I was either of these, but the fact that this girl had just taken ten years off my life may have had something to do with it. Scared shitless must be the third occasion.
Her eyes were all glazed over and she looked as though she were about to cry. I ran a hand through my hair in exasperation and heaved a sigh. "Are you ok?" I asked.
She nodded, her deep brown eyes still threatening to spill like a waterfall at any moment.
"You seem pretty shaken up." I said, noticing her trembling form. "I'm taking you to see the nurse if she's still around."
We walked in silence through the main halls. I was limping pretty badly despite my best efforts to hide it. Every single step shot a hot rush of pins and needles up my spine. The school had cleared out long ago and the sun was quickly disappearing over the horizon. The temperature had noticeably dropped a few degrees. Winter was definitely on the way.
We stopped outside the door into the nurse's office. "You're on your own from here. Just tell her you started feeling faint all of a sudden" I said to her. "I'm not following you in there. The nurse is always on my case about… things." I turned on my heel and began walking back down the corridor. I could feel her staring at my back and it made me feel… uncomfortable.
The administration entrance was deserted when I finally came through to pick up my keys. I invited myself behind the counter and grabbed them off the hook before collecting my helmet and riding jacket from one of the storage shelves. They didn't fit in my locker.
It had suddenly become very cold outside. The crisp breeze instantly assaulted any exposed skin as I made my way through the car park to where I had parked my bike. It was a bright yellow 250cc Kawasaki Ninja. Sexy… but a bit lethal. It had thrown me off on more than a few occasions. I took off my blazer and folded it as best I could before stuffing it into my backpack. Next, on went the jacket, followed by my helmet which was the same yellow-submarine colour of my bike. You can't say I didn't stand out.
Lisa Monroe, the silent oddball. I found myself recalling Anna's words. At the time I hadn't felt the need to ask why she didn't speak. But the more I thought about it the more it had me curious.
I groaned as I swung my leg over and positioned myself comfortably on the bike seat. This was going to be an interesting ride home.