Note: This was written when I was 12 years old. I can't remember if Twilight existed at the time, but I certainly hadn't heard of it.

Title: Aluka
Author:
Amy B. R. Mead
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy

Prologue

I hung outside the hospital, disguised by the pitch-black of night. The medic had just left the room, shaking his head. It was time to move.

Two boys lay near the end of a long line of beds; they were my objective. I'd been searching for them for a year.

I hissed as he entered the building; the reek of sickness was overpowering, mostly obscuring the scent he was looking for.

I didn't worry about being seen by the patients; those who weren't comatose yet were delirious. Even they didn't trust their eyes anymore; to their keepers, their ramblings were nothing. I moved on, a pale shadow in the dark ward.

As I walked, the faint scent became stronger, though still obscured by the sheer number of diseased humans. This odd plague was taking its toll; there were enough afflicted that half the hospitals' occupants lay on makeshift cots.

The boys were young, hardly more than children. The elder looked like he might be my age – nineteen or so – but the other couldn't have been much over fourteen. I knew that decades ago, I would have regretted trapping one so young into a vampire's life, but now... now it was necessary. And these two were meant for our life. It was in their blood; I could smell it.

Finally, I stood over the two. The elder boy's eyes were open; his brother's were squeezed tightly closed, as if in pain.

"Who are you?" the older human whispered. "I know I'm not crazy this time, I know you're here...who are you?"

I couldn't answer, and the human would have no idea what I meant if I could, so I didn't speak.

"I'm taking you away," I said finally. "And your brother."

"Where?"

Hell, I thought. "Home," I said.

And I leaned over the human and pierced his throat. He was too weak to scream, and seemed almost resigned, though fear showed in his face. I shuddered with disgust; the disease had gotten far here, and the boy's blood was tainted with it, but the taste of aluka blood was evident beneath the sickness. I had been right.

But as I sank my razor fangs into the other boy's vein, I paused. I knew this was the brother of the human I'd just bitten. Why, then, did I not taste the underlying flavor in the blood?

I withdrew and cursed. I had been so sure. But we had one, at least.

I brought my own wrist to my mouth and opened the vein.

"Drink." I offered it to the boy in whom I had tasted the aluka strain. The human looked at me in shock. He shook his head. I grimaced; I'd hoped to avoid this.

"Don't leave him," the human said weakly. I blinked. "I know what you're doing; I know what you are. Don't leave my brother here to die. We'll go with you."

I considered. The aluka boy was attached to his brother; leaving him behind would reduce the chances of adapting into their life. And it couldn't hurt to swell the ranks a bit more, even if the younger human wasn't aluka.

There was a click, and I swore again; I'd thought the ward would be empty for a little longer. I grabbed the two humans, one over each shoulder, and ran, managing to escape the notice of the man who entered with his back turned as he talked to a nurse. I darted out a back door, grateful that the hospital was crowded; these two would not be missed.

I ran a few blocks before I slowed and turned into an alley closer to home.

"Drink," I said again, before realizing that both humans had now lost consciousness. I pushed my still-bleeding wrist into the older boy's mouth for a few moments, letting him take in the blood that would begin to change his body. He stirred weakly, and I gave my blood to the other.

They opened their eyes simultaneously, never to truly sleep again. The younger boy's eyes were normal for a new vampire: jet-black irises, not a hint of the scarlet lining they would acquire later.

But the aluka awoke with eyes of crimson, the color of the life he would take from our prey. And our enemies.

I almost smiled.

End Chapter