Chapter 3

The next few days passed in a blur. Michael watched from the sidelines as his best friend became a complete and total stranger. Sometimes, if he looked closely, he could see remnants of the Addison he loved lurking just below the surface but then he would blink and whatever he'd seen would vanish. What he couldn't understand was why this had happened to her. Everything had been fine the week before but now…now she was different. He'd known she'd change eventually but he'd never expect it to happen this quickly.

He rounded the corner, leaving the school building before the last bell rang, desperate to get out of there. He needed to breathe, to walk, to think. Up ahead, he could hear laughter. Or at least, he thought it was laughter. Maybe he was wrong. He kept walking, the voices getting closer with each step. Oddly, they sounded familiar. Especially one in particular.

He turned another corner and came face to face with Addison, Vanessa, and a few other kids he'd never met, only seen in the halls. From the looks of things, they were drunk. Why didn't that surprise him? Of course they were. Addison was never sober anymore. And if she showed up to school, that was a miracle.

Vanessa turned and spotted him, tapping Addison on the arm and whispering something in his ear. Surprisingly, her words came through loud and clear. That was strange, he thought. No one else seemed to have heard them.

Addison smiled and walked over to him. "Hey Michael," she slurred. "Want to join us?"

He shook his head mutely and she pouted.

"C'mon Michael. It's just one drink. What will it hurt?"

He brushed past her, shaking his head in disbelief. Vanessa stepped in front of him.

"Just join us," she said with a smile, touching his arm lightly. "Nothing's going to happen."

As much as he wanted to, he couldn't resist that smile and, strangely, he didn't want to. There was just something so…compelling about her. A little voice in the back of his head told him to be careful but he didn't listen. All there was in that moment was Vanessa, Addison, and their friends. It was just one drink, right? What could it hurt?

Michael didn't come out of his room the next day, nursing a hangover from the night before. What had started out as just one drink had turned into a whole lot of other stuff. To be perfectly honest, he wasn't really sure what all had happened. Addison and Vanessa and their friends had left early to go get ready for some sort of party and he had headed home.

The strange thing was, though, he didn't get back home until around midnight. He scratched his head, trying in vain to remember. Did he go for a walk? No. Go over to a friend's house? Definitely not. Actually…wait. He had gone to someone's house. Addison's. He'd known her parents would be gone and decided to take a look at that strange yet fascinating mirror. He spent hours that night trying to figure out what it was about the mirror that had changed Addison so much in such a short time but had come up empty handed, as usual.

The only thing he had discovered was how much he hated what Addison had become. He liked her better when she was his best friend not some partier who never came home. He liked her when she'd been human. Now she was a monster, a vampire, a freak. And he had to destroy her.

Wait…destroy her? Where had that thought come from? He couldn't destroy her. She was his best friend. They'd grown up together. And yet, in the back of his mind, he couldn't help but feel like he had to take her out. She was different now and he didn't like it. What choice did he have?

What choice did he have?! There was always a choice. He couldn't do that to her. He wouldn't. Or would he? Would he do it if she told him to? If there was no other way? He wanted to say of course he would but that was a lie. He'd never do that. Not even if his life depended on it.

He continued to lay there on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He really needed to get up but his roiling thoughts wouldn't let him. He was so conflicted right now. After a few minutes of laying there and feeling his temper rise, he got up and threw on some clean clothes. He knew what he needed to do. He needed to hunt.

He smiled, thinking of the damage he could do. Yes. Hunting would be fun.