Chapter 2

Catie didn't why she wrote that. She wanted to erase it or cross it out or something but she couldn't bring herself to flip over the pencil and erase the word from her paper. Instead, she flipped her paper over and handed it to Mr. Magnus as he was passing by. He gave her a look and she bit her lip,. She was worried that he might have caught on to something, but he turned away.

Catie pulled out her book, pausing to glance at the clock, then flipped it open to her page. At his desk, Mr. Magnus turned over Catie's paper and began reading. After a moment, a slow smile spread across his face and he nodded.

Catie was just getting into her book when the bell rung and interrupted her train of thought. She left the classroom and wandered the hallways, searched uselessly for the friends she was looking forward to seeing. Her second period was Adv. Science with Mrs. Gilliam so she knew where she was going, but it still stressed her out that she had not yet seen someone she knew.

Second period went by in a flash. Mrs. Gilliam spent the period explaining class procedures, which bores most students and gave them an oppurtunity to daydream.

The real fun came with Acc. English. Catie had Miss Britt, who was a fun 30-year-old. As it turns out, a lot of Catie's friends were in Miss Britt's Acc. English, including her best friend Maddie. Catie and Maddie sat together, worked together, even went so far as too answer the teacher's questions together. The whole class knew they were best friends.

Of course, some of her other friends had made it into Acc. English with Miss Britt and sat with Catie and Maddie. Sarah and Troy both sat with Catie and Maddie at their table by the teacher's desk.

English was a block and they had lunch right between third and fourth period. Fourth period was Adv. Choir for Catie, Maddie, and Sarah. Nothing new there, just the same first day procedure.

Sixth period, Catie's last period, was only shared with her friend Sarah. They had Acc. Math with Dr. Simeon. It flew by as well.

At the end of the day, Catie trudged back to her locker in contentment. She was walking home with Maddie as soon as she got her stuff, and they were going to meet at the front of the school.

Catie hurried to pack her various binders into her small rainbow backpack. She shouldered the heavy pack and shut her locker silently, as to not disturb the teachers. The hallway was nearly empty, so Catie walked through it with no trouble and made her way through the Courtyard to get to the front of the school.

As soon as she had made her way out of the maze of a courtyard, Catie scoured the front of the school until she spotted Maddie. She was easy to find, with her long brown hair streaked with a bright red and striking hazel eyes. Catie skipped up to her friend with a bright smile.

"Maddie!" Catie sing-songed cheerfully, much to her friends chagrin. "You know, we survived the first day! Just another year to go!"

Maddie rolled her eyes but smiled at her best friend. The two were roughly the same height, give or take, but Catie was born two days before Maddie.

"Hey Cat," Maddie began, using the affectionate nickname she often used when the two were alone. "what happened to your necklace? I haven't seen you without it since, well, ever."

Catie pursed her lips. Her beloved necklace had tumbled from her shoes when she had made her unorthodox escape from the boy who had bitten her neck. For all she knew, her necklace could still be there, nestled in the stones. The thought made her sad and she wished to have the familiar silver laying heavily on her neck. For a moment she contemplated confiding in her dearest friend and revealing the incident that gained her two puncture marks. She knew, though, that Maddie wouldn't believe her.

"Lost it." Catie replied simply. Her answer was quick and sharp in a deadpan, emotionless tone. Maddie's eyebrows furrowed in confusion, as she is unused to her best friend speaking without some emotion. Even when Catie was upset, she managed to make everything she said have some dramatic effect. She hated to see anyone sad, and that effect intensified when someone was sad at her expense, so she brightened even her sad statements.

"That's too bad." Maddie said. She meant for it to come out sympathetic but it was ended up being devoid of emotion and with some surprise. Catie bit her bottom lip and averted her gaze.

For a brief moment, Maddie could have sworn she saw Catie's canine teeth, which were poking out as she bit her bottom lip, extend just slightly. It became a pointed fang for one quick moment, and then in was normal again. Catie turned back towards Maddie and stopped walking.

The two had been gradually walking towards their neighborhood for the last few minutes, but Catie's sudden stop put their journey to a halt. They had paused just as they were crossing a small strip of desert that served as a shortcut between Hellen High School and their homes.

Maddie tilted her head, exposing the side of her neck. Catie's eyes locked on the exposed flesh and she entered a sort of trance. The only sound she could hear was Maddie's steady heartbeat and the blood pulsing through her veins. The thick vein on her neck seemed to breathe, almost as if asking to be drained of it's sweet, thick blood.

No. What was she thinking? That she could suck blood? That was ridiculous. There might be two puncture marks on the side of her neck but that didn't mean she was a vampire. Right?

Her protesting thoughts disappeared when Maddie leaned forward. Catie felt her own head tilting and her mouth opening slightly. Maddie's inquiring questions of concern fell upon deaf ears. To Catie, the world seemed to fall away. She couldn't control her own movements. Her arm jerked upward in a fast, graceful movement and her hand gripped Maddie's wrist.

Almost instantly, Maddie's body froze up. Her other arms stuck to her side, her head stopped turning and staying at the point were her neck was exposed, even her legs stopped moving. Maddie's deep brownish green eyes stared, emotionless, at nothing, her mouth still slightly open as if she was going to speak. With the absence of resistance, Catie leaned down.

Her canine teeth extended out of her mouth. The longer teeth were pearly white, but thin and fragile. They were almost like the wing bones of a bird, not sturdy enough to be a full bone but not fragile enough to break. The bone like teeth poked at Maddie's skin, pressing down lightly before breaking the skin and puncturing her vein. The feeling was exhilarating.

Just like when the boy had bit her, it was as if new blood was coursing through her veins. Catie felt unstoppable. The fangs absorbed blood like a sponge and rejuvenated her whole body. Her vision became sharp and her senses were enhanced. She couldn't believe the feeling, like pure power was flowing through her veins instead of blood. Blood. Oh, was blood fantastic! Catie couldn't believe she was just now noticing! And to think, all this time she'd sworn off meat! What was she thinking, becoming vegetarian!

Vegetarian.

The word rang through her skull like a bell. Almost instantly Catie pulled her head away, blood still dripping from her fangs. Vegetarian. It all came back in a rush: becoming vegetarian, and Maddie supporting her every step of the way. Maddie helping her out with social problems, Maddie standing up for her when a popular girl (who was decidedly not at all attractive) called her ugly. How could Catie be so inhumane as to hurt someone who meant so much to her?

To Catie's horror, Maddie fell limp in her grasp. Her eyes fluttered closed and her skin was pale. Catie panicked, and swung Maddie into her arms, bridal style. Maddie was slightly heavier than her, yet she was as light as a feather in Catie's arms.

Catie, her mind fogged with guilt and horror, started running in the direction of Maddie's house. Her vision was still exceptionally sharp, so she saw the familiar driveway as though it was right in front of her. In a few seconds, however, it was right in front of her.

Catie didn't have time to wonder how she had reached the house when they weren't even halfway to the road. She laid her best friend, still limp and pale, on the moist grass of Maddie's front lawn. The tree above cast a shadow on her pale face. Catie tried not to focus on how pale Maddie was and instead focused on fishing out the emergency band aids she keeps in her bag.

After finding a band-aid, albeit smaller than she wanted, Catie pressed it to her friends neck. The bite marks were only just covered but nonetheless they were now noticable.

The guilt was overwhelming. Her heart was stuck in her throat, even though she was beginning to doubt she even had a heart because she had bit her own best friend. She was a terrible person. Breaking News, Catie Williams is a cold blooded killer who doesn't deserve to have friends.

Catie's eyes prickled with tears. She took a shaky breath, but it exhaled as a rough sob. Catie hiccupped and placed her hands on Maddie, her head bowed. Her hair fell forward hazardously but she didn't notice. Tears dribbled down her cheeks and landed on Maddie's shirt. Catie wished she hadn't done it. She wanted to take it back. The guilt - it was too much. Maddie was going to die. She couldn't lose that much blood and live.

Catie's nails dug into the fabric of Maddie's shirt and more tears splattered against the fabric. Catie's chest heaved with uneven breaths, hiccuping and sputtering, praying to whatever god was out there that Maddie was alright, please let her be aright, don't let her die.

Just as Maddie's soft, uneven breathing started to fade, Catie pressed her palms against the wet fabric of Maddie's shirt. Her lips formed a word, an unfamiliar word that she had never before uttered.

"Halrios!" The word flew from her lips like she had been saying it her whole life, though the word was unfamiliar. The effect was instantaneous. Maddie sat up with a jerk, gasping. Her eyes were so wide it would have been comical, had the situation not been so dire a few moments before.

Relief washed over Catie like a tidal wave. She threw her arms around her best friends neck, knocking them both back onto the grass. Tears still steamed down her cheeks, though now they were tears of sadness. Her sobs turned into laughter as Maddie awkwardly patted Catie's back.

Catie pulled back, her eyes red and her lips stretched into a smile. Maddie smiled too but with confusion.

"What just happened?" She asked. Catie laughed, a few more tears falling off her chin.

"You tripped and hit your head. I was really worried there." Catie lied flawlessly, the familiar guilt creeping up in the pit of her stomach. Maddie looked like she didn't believe her, but nodded anyway.

"I'm sorry I worried you."

"No, I'm sorry." Catie muttered. Maddie frowned, but didn't press for answers. She leaned back against the cool grass. Catie sighed and looked down at her hands. After all that had just happened, only one thought crossed her mind.

What am I?