Here is my first chapter. I own all of this story, so please don't steal it. I have to warn you: the beginning is a bit slow, but after a few chapters it begins to speed up. I'm also not sure how fast I will be able to update. Right now, I have the second chapter done and the third chapter about half-way done. Past that, all I have is an outline. I hope to post steadily, but I'm not sure if that'll be possible.

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Listen to them - children of the night. What music they make.

-Dracula, by Bram Stoker

The man—slightly balding, about five-ten, with a massive beer belly—stood at the podium on the scuffed black stage of the auditorium, addressing the room of nearly four hundred freshmen. His voice rumbled through the room, amplified by the microphone he was speaking into.

"Welcome to your first day at Charles Darwin High School. Club sign-ups are tomorrow during every lunch period. Check for the clubs that give credits. The spots fill up quick, so if you want to sign up for them, do so as soon as you decide."

Allyson sat in the back row of the auditorium, hoping her editor had remembered that she was starting school and wasn't trying to call her. It wasn't likely, but—

Ring. Dammit. So much for remembering. One of the teachers standing behind her walked up to her and stuck his hand out, obviously waiting for her to give him the phone; around her, people glanced towards her, smirks on their faces.

Allyson glanced down at the called ID, then up at the teacher. "I'm sorry, sir," she whispered. "It's a family friend"—with a loose interpretation of family, and friend—"and she's been sick"—yeah right—"so she didn't realize I had school today." Only the last part was true; it was her editor. "I'm sorry. She usually only calls when something important is going on."

The teacher nodded, looking slightly chagrinned. "Take it outside and tell her she can't call again during school. I won't confiscate your phone right now, but this will not be tolerated again." He straightened out and backed up to his post against the wall; Allyson stood up, grabbed her backpack, and hurried out of the room, pulling her phone out of her pocket.

"What is it?" Allyson demanded, not even bothering to greet the editor. "I'm in school."

There was half a second pause, and then a calm, firm voice crackled through the cell phone speakers. "You got a movie offer. Warner Brothers."

Allyson's editor was faintly reminiscent of a cat, with the personality of a bulldog. She was tall and lean, with amber-brown, almond-shaped eyes, and long black hair that was always pulled into a sleek ponytail.

"That's great," Allyson told her, "but I really have to go. Please don't call me again during school. Sorry."

She could practically see her editor nod. "Bye, Allyson. And remember, you have to finish your draft soon." And then her editor hung up. Allyson sighed and shut her phone off, snapping it shut; she stuffed it into her ragged gray backpack, studiously ignoring the bruises lining her wrist. All of the bruises were somewhere between dark purple and a sickly yellow-green.

Throwing her backpack over her left shoulder, she hurried back into the auditorium, shutting the door as quietly as she could. Only a few people looked at her as she took her seat.

The principal was almost finished. "Remember that fighting will not be permitted. Any person with a grade lower than a 65 or 15 or more demerits will not be permitted to participate in any club or sport. You will all now report to your homeroom."

He walked off the stage, and all of the freshmen rose, stampeding out the auditorium doors and into the wide hallway. Allyson struggled to make her way to her homeroom, which somehow seemed to be in the opposite direction from the one everybody else was going in.

Finally, she reached it and sat down in one of the back desks. A schedule was shoved in her hand by a tall, well-endowed girl with short dark hair streaked through with about eight different colors.

Schedule of Allyson Rose Matthews

1. AP Biology—Room 206

2. Gym—Room 126

3. Honors English 1—Room 164

4. Computer Science—Room 243

5. AP U.S. History 1—Room 226

6. Lunch

7. Honors Pre-Calculus—Room 189

8. Chinese 3—Room 210

9. Creative Writing and Literature Analysis—Room 153

She knew most of that already. All she hadn't known was the order. For her, everything before fourth period was going to be a joke, and the only interesting classes would probably be 4th, 8th, and 9th period.

At that moment, the bell rang, and the homeroom teacher hastily shouted, "Go to third period," to the class as they streamed out of the room.

Allyson glanced at her schedule, then walked the fifteen feet from her homeroom—room 161—to her English class.

When she walked in, there were about four other students lined up against one wall, chatting with each other. A preppy, blond girl was talking to her look-alike, and a boy was staring at the girls' butts.

Allyson rolled her eyes, leaning against the wall next to a tall boy in glasses; he had short, spiky brown hair and light brown eyes. His backpack was brown, and he looked like he would win the contest for monochromia.

Within the next minute or so, another fifteen students filed in and lined up against the wall. Then, the teacher looked up from his desk and walked over.

"You will be assigned your seating. Every marking period, your seat will be switched. If you are talking when you are not supposed to be, your seat will be switched. Do you understand?" They all nodded, with varying levels of interest and enthusiasm.

He gave them seats based off of alphabetical order, and when they had all sat down, he stood in the front of the room, uncapped a whiteboard marker, and, with impressively neat handwriting, wrote his name on the board.

Then he turned to them. "I am Mr. Callosa. I teach all of the Honors 1 classes. I have been teaching at this school for five years. I will hold you to the highest standards; you will be expected to know, and to learn. You will not slack off in this class. Now, you will all go around the room, introduce yourself, and tell three things about yourself."

Mr. Callosa pointed to a girl in the front—Amanda Alectora—and motioned for her to stand. "My name is Amanda Alectora, I used to live in California, I love dancing, and my dream is to become a professional dancer."

Amanda folded herself gracefully back into her seat, and the next person stood—another girl. "I'm Sandra Bailey. Um, I want to be a fashion designer, I don't have a middle name, and I love the Shadow Walker Series."

"Oh my God," another girl squealed, "I love that series! It's—"

Mr. Callosa cut the girl off, his voice echoing through the room. "Quiet. It is not your turn, and you are interrupting the class with your babbling. The next person may go."

The next person went, and then the next, and then the next, and soon it was Allyson's turn. She stood, ignoring the eyes on her, and faced the teacher. "My name is Allyson Matthews. I am twelve years old, my birthday is January 3rd, and one of my goals is to write better than Adriana Rose." The person who had interrupted before snickered, but Allyson ignored her as she sat back down.

That girl was next. "I'm Catherine Mark. My favorite book series is Shadow Walker, my favorite author is Adriana Rose, the writer of Shadow Walker, and one of my goals is to meet Adriana Rose in person, once she reveals her real name."

As she was sitting down, the boy in the front of the next row stood. "My name is Justin Rogers. My birthday is March 18th, I play football, and I am currently single, so if you want to date me—"

"Inappropriate," Mr. Callosa told him, and Justin sat back down, grinning.

It was only a few minutes after they finished that the bell rang, and they all streamed out of the classroom and into the packed hallway. Allyson weaved her way to the nearest stairwell, then let herself be herded up the stairs; she pressed herself against the wall and fought her way through to her next class, which was in room 243. Computer Science.

"Hello. Welcome to Computer Science."

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Ninth period began at 1:52, and Allyson was in the room by 1:49. She was sitting in of the back seats, writing on a piece of loose-leaf paper, when the door opened, and two people walked in. One was the teacher—the teacher who had caught her with the phone during the assembly—and the other was a tall, raven-haired boy carrying a large black backpack. He was incredibly attractive, with short, sort of spiky hair and bright, sea green eyes.

The boy walked over to where Allyson was sitting and sat in the neat next to her, his nostrils flaring as he sat down. Without looking at her, he pulled a notebook and a permanent marker out, scrawling his name on the cover. Luke Carver.

A few more students filed in, and soon the room was filled. There were twelve in the class, arranged in four rows of three. The teacher walked up to the front of the room and smiled at the class.

"My name is Mr. Collins. I will be your teacher for Creative Writing and Literature Analysis. This class will be difficult, but all of you tested into it, so you should be able to handle it." He smiled in Allyson's direction, showing his straight white teeth. "You are not allowed to have any electronics in class; we will often be using laptops, though. In a moment, I'll pass out the rules and expectations. But first, I'll tell you about the first marking period project. It will be a three-part assignment that will be completed with a partner. If either of the partners do not do their share, they will both fail.

"For the first part of the assignment, you will each write a short biography of the other person, for the second part, you will together write a short biography of an author, and for the last part, you will together write a short biography and analysis of a book character. You will all get a paper on the assignment and your partners tomorrow."

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I hope you enjoyed, and I will post chapter 2 shortly. Please review.