a/n: Just a preview here. I just wanted to get some feedback. The story is kinda a different take on the whole vampire business. I just realized that in every vampire book, the vampires are rich... Why? Is it a cosmic rule?


Aiden awoke long before the sun had set, but remained where he was, lounging across bags of rotting garbage and staring at the crack of bright light where the dumpster lid didn't quite meet the green metal wall. He rubbed his itching eyes with the palms of his hands and sighed, his stomach giving a loud grumble at the same time.

"Someone's hungry," came a snicker from the opposite corner of the dumpster.

"How long have you been watching me sleep, Max?" Aiden questioned his ebony-skinned companion.

"Just about as long as you've been staring at the sun," Max retorted, his teeth shining brightly in the dim light as he gave his friend a playful grin.

Aiden chuckled and pulled himself into a sitting position.

"Ready for the fight tonight?" Max asked, throwing Aiden a partially eaten and severely browned apple.

Aiden caught the fruit with both hands and inspected it for a moment before taking a bite out of its bruised exterior. "What's tonight?" he asked with his mouth full.

"Haven't you heard? Nuke's challenged some Pure bastard." Max's violet eyes shown with anticipation. "It's gonna be a great fight."

Aiden's face fell. "Don't tell me… It's Jude again, isn't it."

Max nodded, the wooden beads in his dreadlocks clacking together and making a sound like bones.

Aiden sighed again, angrily, and threw the apple core over his shoulder. It hit the side of the dumpster with a loud clang and fell softly into the pile of garbage bags.

"Nuke might actually have a chance though," Max assured his friend. "He's a pretty big kid."

"Yeah," Aiden agreed, rubbing the back of his neck. "But he is just a kid. Size has nothing to do with it. Jude is ruthless. He'll tear him to pieces." He thought back to one night a few weeks ago when Nuke had helped him take out and extra feisty gang-banger who thought he was special just because he had a gun and all they had were their bare hands. As it turned out, that was all the needed to tear the guy's head off. "Nuke is too good a kid to be caught up in all this shit."

Max shrugged his shoulders and reached for the garbage bag closest to him, pulling open the drawstring tie and selecting a moldy slice of pizza from within. "Yeah. Ramona is pretty pissed about it. But Nuke can't back down now. Especially since it's his challenge." Max picked a pepperoni off the pizza and casually flung it aside where it stuck to the dumpster with a sickening splat.

"What exactly did Jude do to make Nuke go off and do that? Nuke always seems so…"-he searched for the word- "level-headed."

Max took a bite of pizza and chewed it a bit before saying, "Jude killed Maria."

Aiden grimaced sadly. "Oh… no…"

"Yep." Max took another large bite. "Ripped her stomach out, baby and everything. Left her there on a pile of trash in the alley for Nuke to find later."

"And there was nothing Ramona could do to save her?" Aiden's heart filled with something he could only suppose was empathy.

Max shook his head. "She had been dead for a few hours before Nuke found her."

"That's terrible."

Maria was a human girl that Nuke had taken a particular liking to. She couldn't have been more than sixteen, but was already six months pregnant. Her older boyfriend had raped her, but her father didn't believe her story, so he threw her out of their apartment. Maria's boyfriend and his gang were beating her up when Nuke came to her rescue. She never really knew what made him so special that only he could get them to leave her alone. If she ever knew, she probably wouldn't think he was so special after all.

After much convincing on Nuke's part, Ramona had allowed Maria to take shelter in one of their safe houses until the baby was born. After that, her only option was to join the gang. Nuke had been counting the days until then.

"Why did he kill her?" Aiden asked solemnly.

"I don't know." Max shoved the last bite of pizza crust into his mouth and swallowed it. "My bet is he's just hungry for a fight. It's been a while since the last one, and I guess he figures Nuke is the best fighter besides you…"

Aiden rolled his eyes and stood, reaching his hands up to the dumpster lid and pushing it open, the last few rays of daylight making Max flinch and blink his eyes rapidly as they adjusted, turning from light violet to black.

"Hey! Warn me next time!" he shouted as he scrambled to his feet.

Aiden snorted and pulled a pair of dark sunglasses out from his jacket pocket. "Relax. It's not like a little bit of light is going to kill you."

xxx

Aiden hadn't always lived this way. Once, he had had an actual bed with actual sheets and actual pillows. He had had an actual family with actual parents who seemed to actually love him and an older sister who was more or less indifferent towards him. And there used to be a time when the only monster he knew was himself.

But he had always been a little bit frightened of the daylight.


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