(This is just a small portion of a chapter I started. I wanted to do a test run to see how well it was received, R&R greatly appreciated.)
"It all started over one thousand years ago, back when times were savage- Where lands were pitted against each other in meaningless battles all in the name of God. Wars ravaged countries, bodies began to pile up, diseases and plagues swept through cities and continents like a deadly black cloud. This is when they begin to emerge. The details of their origin are still unknown to us, how they began is a mystery. Rumors say that they sprang forth from the bodies left behind by the war, others say it was a mutation from plagues. Some even go as far as to say that the Lord of the underworld, known as Satan in man made religions, begat these creatures to wreak havoc on normal humans. Demons, monsters, ghouls is the names they've been given. But we all know the truth. They are in fact neither of these creatures. In fact, they are regarded in modern times as Vampires."
It was the same story over and over again that had been pounded into my head for the last ten years, ever since I was deemed old enough to enter the academy, myself and fellow classmates had heard this tale so many times that I was certain every single one of us had it memorized word for word.
"But as many as they are, thousands, millions for all we know. The one that we have been hunting since our Academy was first forged by our ancient ancestors goes by the name Mikel Van Buren."
Just as I was nodding off our professor smacked his ruler against the chalkboard, snapping me and three other students back to reality.
Stunned slightly, I tried my best to look as alert as possible, which was proving more and more difficult as time went on and I had to endure this boring story. But, this was my life. I was born into this life, having no choice being a sixth generation in the bloodline known as Amsel. My family originated from Germany, so I had been told. For hundreds of years our family consisted of one thing and one thing only.
It all started nearly five hundred years ago when a small village was attacked by a pack of vampires, everyone was slaughtered but for one man who eventually started our academy. Blah blah, interesting story right? Well, not exactly. At least, not for me and my other family members who were forced into becoming Hunters as well. But that was ten years ago that we started the academy, and now that I was almost nineteen, it meant myself and classmates would be graduating soon.
"Lorelei." The professor, who just happened to be my uncle said, turning and glaring at me. "I'm sorry but am I boring you?"
I heard a few snickers coming from some of the younger students in the back of the classroom.
"Actually yeah." I answered. "Sorry, Uncle, but this story is getting pretty lame. We've heard it a million times now and I'm pretty sure we've learned all we can from it."
"You think so, huh?" He arched a thick black eyebrow at me as his plastic glasses slid down the bridge of his nose. "Well you might not think it's so boring once you come face to face with Mikel Van Buren."
"Right." I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms. "Ok, so, when was the last time anyone in our family has actually seen this guy face to face, hm? What's it been? Three hundred years is it? Yeah, ever since that day three hundred years ago no one in our clan has seen this man. For all we know he's dead and we've been chasing a phantom for three centuries."
My uncle Kristian wasn't exactly a very patient man, at least with me- But I think that was because he always disliked me. My father, his brother, insisted that I join the academy even though I was dead set against it and ever since that day ten years ago I had been making Kristian's life a living hell.
"He isn't dead, Lorelei. If he was there would be much more blood-shed in the human world from his underlings. Don't you agree?"
"No, not really. Because according to what you and everyone else has been saying, the last few years the vampires have been striking against humans more frequently than the last century. If Mikel Van Buren was alive don't you think he would try to control his people a little more?"
"And if he's dead..." Kristian scowled at me. "How do you suggest he died? Because we surely didn't kill him."
"Then some other Hunter did. We aren't the only ones in the world you know?"
"No, but we are the most famed. The Amsel clan has been spoken of for hundreds of years."
"Still doesn't tell me that Mikel is alive. Show me some kind of definitive proof that this wicked vampire Lord isn't dead."
He was getting fed up with me already, but I couldn't exactly blame him. I usually picked arguments with him everyday and it was always about the same thing.
"Let's just get back to the story." Kristian turned towards the chalk board and pulled down a drawing rolled up in an old map. Instantly I let out an annoyed sigh. "This is the only likeness of Mikel Van Buren known to exist in the world. The very man to sketch this was our only ancestor to have seen the man. He was wounded grievously and spent the next three months in a bed recovering. Once he was well, he quickly sketched down this monsters appearance. Quite disturbing, isn't it?"
No one made a sound. We had seen this drawing a million times. It wasn't shocking or awe inspiring anymore. In fact, it was pretty laughable in my opinion. For one, this ancestor of ours obviously had no art skills what so ever, it looked like a five year old grabbed a piece of charcoal and decided to try and draw a man. It wasn't even a full frontal view of him- But a peripheral one. His hair was shaggy and shoulder length, his nose long and pointy and a set of two inch fangs hanged down over his bottom lip. Last but not least a set of long claws protruding from his skeleton like fingers. Nothing at all like a perfect description of an actual vampire. For one, they weren't that unattractive and two, their fangs weren't visible to the naked eye unless they were feeding. In the mean time they were hidden underneath their gum-line. And three, they didn't have claws. For gods sakes they weren't werewolves.
Basically this was why vampires were so hard to find now a days. Because they appeared to be so normal. A little on the pale side but that wasn't very uncommon living in London. It was rainy and cloudy more than sunny so almost everyone walking the streets was in good need of a generous spray tan. When I came to live here ten years ago I had come from Florida, where it was sunny and bright everyday. It didn't take long for my dark complexion to fade and match everyone else living here.
"Does anyone have any comments on the drawing?" Kristian asked and immediately I raised my hand. "Anyone other than Lorelei?" He added.
I huffed but kept my hand up waiting to be called on, he waited a good thirty seconds before he looked to the desk next to mine, where my cousin Felix sat.
"Go on." He said, pointing to Felix.
"Well." He said, and I knew what was coming. If anyone was going to back me up it would be him. "I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks this drawing is a little on the dramatic side. There are several inaccuracies depicted there. The most obvious being the claws. Vampires don't have claws."
I smirked slightly while Kristian scowled.
"We have no idea what Mikel is capable of. He is the first of the vampire lineage- It's quite possible that he very well could have claws."
"But there's no proof of that." Felix protested. "We're basing this information on the deliriums of a man that was attacked and nearly sucked dry three hundred years ago. You know how active imaginations can get over something so traumatic. He wasn't in his right mind when he sketched this man, to him the creature that attacked him was a vicious beast of a demon. He would have drawn him to be such when in actuality he probably didn't look any different than himself, or any other man walking the streets back then. Think back to all of the reports of Sasquatch, the Moth-man, and other mythological creatures. A group of people all witness the same thing but each one has a different description of the creature. One man says the beast was eight feet tall, the next one said six feet and covered in scales. Another person says there were big red eyes or hair, the next one doesn't recall seeing that. Basically what I'm trying to say is when someone sees or witnesses something the mind cannot process- Then your imagination can run wild. Combine that with a dark atmosphere, rain, fog and panic well then you're just asking for a monster of King Kong size magnitude when in reality it was probably something easily explained, like a bear, a large dog, maybe even a horse or cow depending on the mental state of the witnesses."
Kristian didn't look at all happy, while myself and several other students continued to snicker. But he wasn't about to argue or pick a fight with Felix, seeing is that it was his son.
"Those are all valiant points, son. But we aren't talking about other mythological creatures that haven't been proven to exist. Mikel and his underlings, do."
"That might be so, but we are basing our information on the description from a late ancestor who died hundreds of years ago. Since no one in our time frame has caught sight of him, or even a whiff of him, there's no way of knowing whether or not he even exists any longer. He very well could have been killed by another Hunter, which could explain why his underlings have been going on so many killing sprees all over the world."
Kristian grabbed his stool and sat down, making himself comfortable.
"Alright. If you are so insistent that this description is inaccurate, then if you could- How would you describe the man?"
Felix smiled and stood from his desk, waltzing over happily to the chalkboard and the copy of the drawing. He grabbed a marker from his Father's desk and pointed to the claws.
"First and foremost I would eliminate the most obvious flaw, which would be his hands. Not only are the fingers long and skeletal, but the claws are just flat out ridiculous." He started scribbling on the drawing, muting out the claws with black ink. "We all know vampires are physically well built, not gangly and thin, Mikel would not be shown as bones draped over with skin." He then went on to doodle outer edges to his fingers and then the small part of his face that could be seen. "And, this is mainly just a shot in the dark, but judging by his heritage, which is of German descent as we've all been told, this nose is completely inaccurate. Not to diss any Irish or Scottish heritage folks among us, but this nose is more befitting of an Irishman, not a German." He scribbled some more until the long pointed nose was shortened and the hump on the bridge flattened out. "Last but not least, going by eye witness accounts before our ancestor met Mikel, he was described as handsome, blue eyes and either light brown, or golden hair. Not long black stringy strands."
He clicked the lid back on the marker, feeling his point had been made. While the drawing still looked hideous it was slightly more on target.
"So this might be the only drawing, painting, or photograph ever created of Mikel Van Buren, but judging by the documents of the eye witnesses testimonies I think I have come up with something a little more realistic then this piece of crap." He looked at me. "Lorelei, would you grab my folder from my backpack please?"
I jumped up quickly and pulled a dark blue folder from his backpack and rushed it over to him. He waited until I sat down again before flipping it open and pulling out a piece of thick sketching paper. He then turned and with a magnet stuck it to the chalkboard.
"This is how I imagine Mikel to appear, at least- For the most part. It's kind of difficult to know whether or not there were certain aspects to his facial makeup that could be construed as odd or identifiable, such as a mole or some other sort of birthmark that would separate him from someone else. But, going by the documents and the hundreds of witness accounts, this is what I came up with."
He stepped back and every student there immediately stood and crammed their way to the chalkboard. We all knew that Felix had been working for months on creating an image of the famed Mikel Van Buren and were eagerly awaiting the reveal. Felix was a genius at almost everything he set his mind to so we knew we were going to be looking at something amazing. He was so talented that he had even been used by Scotland yard as a criminal sketch artist.
Everyone pushed and pried their way to get a close look, me being the first to examine it carefully.
Naturally he didn't let anyone down. His drawing was breathtaking. The man shown there was absolutely nothing like the hideous creature our ancestor had concocted. This Mikel looked as normal as you or me. His eyes were bright blue and slightly almond shaped. His cheekbones were high and nose strong but not overbearing. His lips were slightly full and a light beard was shadowing over the sophistication that would have shown through if he had been clean shaven. Instead of dressing him in attire fitting for three hundred years ago, he put him in something a man today would have worn. Which made sense, because what man would traipse about in 2013 dressed in an old fashioned suit? He wore a plain button up shirt and his hair was cut short and wasn't styled in anything flashy or eye popping.
"As you can see I kept it very casual. Since beards seem to be so popular now a days I took the chance of him having at least a light one. And, since he would want to go unnoticed walking the streets I gave him a normal short hairstyle and an everyday outfit. Nothing that would make him stand out in a crowd. People tend to imagine that a vampire Lord would walk around in either an expensive black suit, or drive a flashy car like a Ferrari or Porsche. But, if I were him and had been living for so many centuries, I can just bet that he tries his best to blend in with normal humans. How else would he have gone unnoticed for so long a time?" He stood back, eying his drawing with pride. "It's the same as serial killers. They blend in with the public and when they are finally caught, the one thing you always hear people say is- "He was so normal". That's how they survive for so long, by being normal."
I couldn't help but smirk as I eyed the drawing, knowing fully that Kristian would never admit that if anyone was going to create the most accurate depiction of Mikel Van Buren, it would be his son. I was just waiting for the shit to hit the fan.
"Alright. Everyone take their seats please." Kristian said.
Everyone except for Felix moved back to their desks as Kristian slid off the stool. He approached the drawing and eyed it carefully.
"Very interesting likeness, son. But how can you be so sure you're completely accurate?"
"I can't. Like I stated, I'm just going by the eye witness testimonies. There were dozens to read over and I examined each and every one more times than once. And nine times out of ten, the people to describe Mikel said that he had blue eyes, light hair and was relatively handsome. The female witnesses seemed to be more observant than the men, which would seem normal. A handsome man, even if he is a dangerous creature would naturally catch the attention of a lady, or this case, ladies. They were the ones to state that he had full lips, a strong bone structure and alluring eyes. Anyhow, I never said that this is exactly what he looks like- I simply stated that as of right now, it's the most accurate it can be. Until someone actually catches a glimpse of him, or manages to snap a picture, no one can be one hundred percent sure what Mikel looks like."
Kristian stared at the drawing for a moment before ripping it down from the chalkboard.
"And until the time comes that an actual photo of Mikel does show up, we are going to continue believing that he appears just as the drawing our great ancestor drew up. I'm sorry you've wasted so much time, son."
"You're being unreasonable, Dad. You've read over the documents yourself." He stopped and pulled more papers out from his folder, I knew instantly they were copies of the witness testimonies taken over the centuries. "Listen here. Blue eyes, blue eyes, blue eyes. Light hair, handsome, defined cheekbones. Are you really going to blatantly ignore facts and continue to believe a fantasy concocted by a delusional man?"
"And who is to say that these testimonies are any more believable then what our ancestor said?"
"Because there's so many of them." I stated now. "Our ancestor was only one man, no one else lived to back up his claims. But the documents clearly show that dozens of people all saw the same thing. They described Mikel in the exact same manner each and every time. There might have been hysteria and fear with these individuals too, but at least they all got their stories straight and didn't describe a monster that doesn't actually exist."
Kristian went silent, but only for a short moment. It was bad enough that his son was contradicting these claims, but now that I spoke up it made matters worse.
"Ok, class is dismissed. Everyone go back to your rooms and study. There will be a small quiz in the morning, and then of course the field trip." Kristian said.
I suppose he figured it was better to dismiss his class early then to sit there and be humiliated in front of his students.
Felix snatched the drawing from his Father's hands and followed me out of the classroom and into the long hallway leading past the dozens of other classrooms.
This school wasn't even meant to be a school, from what I had been told it was actually a home for a very wealthy man a few centuries back. He was a very strong advocate of Vampire hunters and on his deathbed donated his home and grounds to our academy. Ever since then this is where our tutelage was held. Just outside of London in the countryside. To the outside world this was a private school, which was called Eldridge Academy. But what normal private school has lessons in weapon smithing and alchemic materials brewed for taking down a vampire? To my knowledge, there wasn't any other. No, this wasn't a normal school by any means. From the moment you stepped foot into its doors your life revolved around Hunting. I was almost positive that I could take down a group of vampires on my own if given the chance. Although, since I had come here I had yet to see a vampire face to face, unless of course, it was dead and on the dissecting table.
"Sorry it didn't go better." I said, as Felix walked beside me.
"I didn't expect him to agree with me. You know how Dad is. He's set in his ways and refuses to listen to hard evidence and would rather believe our insane ancestor."
"Do you even believe that he saw Mikel at all? How would he know anyways, I mean... It could have just been another vampire."
"I know. There is no way of knowing. But what I sure as hell do know is that my drawing looks more like the actual Mikel than that atrocity hanging up in the classroom."
"It's just shame that he doesn't appreciate your hard work and determination. You should be the one teaching that class instead of him."
"Yeah, well. Don't let him hear that or he might just flunk you again."
"Fine by me. In case you haven't noticed, dear cousin- I have no desire to be a Hunter. I believe that we should just leave well enough alone."
"You really think that?"
"I do. I think that Hunters only cause more problems. Before we were so great in number the vampires might have picked off a few people every now and then, but now over the last century since we've been coming after them, they're going on the rampage. I don't think that's sheer coincidence do you?"
"Probably not. But. There is talk of some sort of uprising. That the reason for so many attacks is because they're trying to turn more humans, add more soldiers to their fold."
"Well if that's true it definitely won't end well for us regular humans." I stopped at the end of the hall. "I gotta go meet Dad for lunch, I'll talk to you later."
"Seeya tomorrow." He started down the hallway but I called him back quickly.
"Wait a second." I jogged over to him. "That drawing you did of Mikel. What are you going to do with it?"
"Well, it's a rough draft if you want to call it that. I was rushed towards the end because everyone was so eager to catch a glimpse of it. I was thinking of adding some more details to it, or maybe even starting a brand new one all together."
"Then can I have that one?"
He stared at it for a moment like a precious artifact he wasn't pleased to be parting with.
"I guess so. But why do you want it?"
"Because it's such a nice drawing, and I figured that if you kept it. Your dad might just be vengeful and sneak into your room while you're not there and destroy it."
"Good point." He quickly handed me the sketch. "Well, take good care of it then. I might need it for reference later on."
He waved goodbye and started off down the hallway, dodging other students as they were leaving their classes.
Most of the students didn't pass a glance at me. Mainly because the majority of them I didn't know. There were only a small handful of my own family members living at Eldridge, the rest were children of former Vampire hunters that wanted to join the guild. Why anyone would want to join this place willingly was beyond me. No, the only thing I had ever wanted since arriving at this school ten years ago was that I just wanted to be a normal kid. I wanted to go to a normal school, have normal friends. I mean, a kids first memory shouldn't be learning how to properly clean and maintain a firearm, or how to dissect a vampire. But unfortunately those were my memories. And like it or not, this was the life I was going to lead until I had the misfortune of either being eaten alive by a vampire, or simply dying of old age.
Walking the halls of Eldridge academy was normally very overwhelming. Not only was it massive in size but the sheer amount of people flooding through them was enough to make someone want to scream. Needless to say I wasn't exactly a people person. I was content with my small group of friends which consisted of my cousin and two other students here at the school that weren't family. But we'll talk about them later.
(More to come later, depending on the outcome of this chapter being posted)