I first became aware of what was becoming an alarmingly familiar noise. The incessant beeping that monitored my heart rate was high pitched in the silence of what was undoubtedly another hospital room. That noise that reminded me I was alive, was a relief, yet not, don't get me wrong, I was glad to have survived. But waking up like this after an accident meant that it had all been real, it hadn't been some kind of vivid dream I had nearly convinced myself.
Everything had happened so fast, I just wanted to leave, to go back to my normal life. I was still in high school, why couldn't I just worry about those problems? No, instead I had vampires on my ass. I had a unknown organisation called SID wanting to keep an eye on me too.
Wait, Mum and Mark had been in the car with me. Almost instantly on that thought my eyes snapped open, then nearly closed again at the bright light that was on. I twisted and felt the tug of an IV in my arm, the beeping got louder and a hand pressed on my shoulder, pinning me to the crisp white mattress beneath me.
"Easy now, try not to move around too much, you're still in recovery."
That deep voice had my eyes opening again, and they didn't narrow because of the glare of the light, but because it was Dante who was now standing by my side, his hand that was still firmly gripping my shoulder.
"You? Where did you come from? Where's my mum, where's Mark?" My voice was raspy, but the urgency clear.
Dante finally let me go and crossed his arms over his chest and in all honesty he looked angry at me. As if I had done something to earn his wrath. Well maybe I had, by leaving and not telling him and his boss. But I never asked to be dragged out of my blissfully ignorant human world and attacked by a vampire.
"I saved your life, I was watching the hospital when you left and I followed you. I lost you for a bit on the road when you left your house, and by the time I found you again Jerry had already flipped your car. You're lucky I got there just in time to save your life."
Relief washed through me, Dante had arrived to save us, all was okay now. I heaved a sigh. "Can I see my mum? Is she in another room?"
Dante glanced at the door then turned back to me, I noticed his shoulders tensed and his hands flexed on his forearms. "No, you can't. Your mother and her partner, Mark, died in the crash. I said I saved you."
Maybe if this had been a movie, time would have slowed down as I absorbed what Dante had said, but rather it came full force at me and slammed into my chest. It felt like the impact moment when the car had slammed into the ground. I felt jarred, my world had flipped and rearranged again in what felt like only a few short hours but had actually been a day or so.
"Dead? No, they were in the car with me, I survived, so did they. Don't lie to me!" I was shouting and leaning forward…. To do what? Throw myself at Dante and shake him till he admitted this was a sick joke. Or maybe I simply wanted to break something in retaliation of the universe. And I was normally never violent.
I raised a hand to my face and felt the trickle of tears on my palm, it was normal to cry, I must be inhuman to not cry at news my family was dead. Oh god, my family. I blinked teary eyes at Dante. "I just found out she was pregnant….I was going to have a brother or sister….why did they have to die? Why couldn't I have died with them?"
My head fell into my hands as sobs tore painfully from my chest and I started rocking, as if the motion would lessen the ache in my heart. I couldn't not see Mum again, she always smiled and laughed with me, she had held me and taught me to be a decent person. Her coconut smell when I hugged her, the feel of her as I kissed her cheek. Even Mark, even though we hadn't gotten along, he was still a major part of my life. And that unknown brother or sister, gone, before they even had a chance at life. All because I had run, because I had been scared. It was all my fault. My fault.
Even if Dante had an answer to any of my questions, he didn't get to voice them. The door opened an in walked Michael, the other vampire I had met. He took one look at my tear stained face and turned on Dante with anger.
"You, out now. We'll talk later about breaking news gently to somebody. Honestly you can be such an asshole." He snaps.
With a shrug of his shoulders Dante walked to the door. "It's not like delaying would lessen the blow. At least now she realizes how serious this all is."
If Dante hadn't walked out right there and then, closing the door behind him, I'm not sure if Michael would have hit him or killed him for that comment. He took a few deep breaths before walking to my bed and gently lowering a hand to hold one of mine. He felt warm, his flesh scalding against my numb cold skin.
"Thea…..I'm so sorry for what happened. Dante shouldn't have said a thing."
I shook my head in denial. "No he's right. It's my fault, I tried to run, and it got my family killed." Fresh tears ran down my cheeks, I suppressed the sobs. Really, what good would crying do? It couldn't bring them back, I had learned that the day my father had died.
"But how did Jerry find us? I thought you had him locked up."
Michael shifted and he looked guilty. "That was our fault, he escaped. I'm sorry, I should have explained things more clearly to you."
Rage burned in my gut, a deep ugly thing that had me grinding my teeth and smacking Michael's hand away. "If you'd done your job none of this would have happened! Why couldn't any of you leave me alone? Just leave me alone!"
It took me a minute to realise that my fingers were wrapped in his shirt, nails ripping through the fabric and digging into his skin, drawing a few red lines of blood. I blinked stunned at my volatile reaction, and sprang back, banging against the headboard of the bed. The monitor started beeping erratically. "What the…I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't know what came over me."
Michael gave me another sympathetic glance. "Thea, you're part of our world now. Maybe I shouldn't tell you this now, but it needs to be said. Dante gave you some of his blood from when you were attacked, then when Jerry attacked your car you were severely injured. You died on the transfer to the hospital but were resuscitated. If it wasn't for the vampire blood you had ingested, you would have been dead on the scene, as were your parents. But….."
He trailed off, and I hardly took notice. Maybe I should have paid more attention, what he was going to say was important, but the fact was bouncing around my brain. I had died, if I hadn't drunk vampire blood, I would be dead….with my family. Did I owe my life to Dante? Or did I resent him for saving me a second time? I think at that moment, I resented him for not letting me die.
"But we ran some tests, you're DNA has altered. Its rather fascinating really. When somebody is turned into a vampire, they need to die with vampire blood in them, so when you died, the change started to take effect. Yet when you woke up, it ceased, for all intents and purposes, you are half vampire."
Well, that was a bombshell I hadn't been expecting. My mouth opened, but words failed me. Half vampire? Me… part of the monster that had destroyed my life? Now I hated Dante, I was perfectly happy being an ignorant human, when did things go so wrong?
"Half… vampire?" I mumbled.
Michael nodded. "Which is why you're here, this is a SID medical room, we've never had this happen before. Which is why, you are now under the state and protections of SID, until we find out if these changes are permanent, you will be classed as part of our world and subject to our laws."
I gulped a mouthful of air, that seemed to weigh as much as a rock, the monitor had gone eerily steady, the beeping to calm. Surely it should flat line with the shock I was in. Surely, I was dreaming and none of this real. Because not only was my family dead, but I was no longer me, no longer human. Would my life ever go back to normal? Would I ever move on?