Chapter Four

Suddenly, I was thrown backwards and landed hard on the pavement. I groaned, rubbing my elbow, and was caught off guard as Isaac hit me with a trashcan lid. That got my attention. I scrambled away from him, wanting to say that a trashcan lid was not going to do any harm, but then I noticed the piece of wood in his hand.

"Hunter," I whispered. His eyes were narrowed in on me. How could I have not noticed? Maybe because they weren't supposed to exist anymore.

"You bloody, filthy creatures think that you can just wreak havoc on the world and get away with it," Isaac growled as he moved towards me. I managed to scramble to my feet and miss the next blow he delivered.

"In my defense, I did apologize in advance," I replied, backing up. I was afraid to turn my back on him. I had read the stories about hunters. They all cautioned to never turn your back on them. It was like turning your back to a wild animal that was about to kill you. Which, in a sense, was exactly what Isaac was attempting to do to me.

"Your apologies are empty, just like you," he said, lunging again. I darted backwards. The stake cut the front of my jacket. I was just thankful that it wasn't my skin.

"I'm not empty. You saw that," I replied, dodging him once again. "I have a soul."

"Bull."

It was me that lunged at him this time. I tackled him to the ground, sending the stake rolling off into a pile of trash. He grunted when he hit the ground, but didn't stop fighting me. He brought his knee up to my stomach, hard, and managed to roll us over so that he was on top. His hands held my neck in a vice grip. I brought my knee up to his stomach. He groaned and his grip slackened, but he still remained in control.

Isaac pinned my legs so that I couldn't move them. I tried to get his hands to release my neck before he managed to break it, but he, like in the stories, was stronger than I was. He was also much more skilled at fighting. My neck hurt. I had to get him off of me.

I thrashed beneath him, trying everything to get away, but he was prepared. He was a young hunter, but he was well trained nonetheless.

"Get off her, you bastard," a voice growled. The next few seconds passed in a blur. Isaac was no longer on top of me, but was instead pinned up to the brick wall by Cody. Mat was holding out his hand to help me to my feet as Cody detained Isaac.

"Come on, let's get out of here," Mat said as I allowed him to help me to my feet. Cody knocked Isaac over the head and I looked away as the other boy crumpled to the ground.

"Explain to me how you found the one hunter in Newster," Cody growled as he took my elbow. We slipped out onto the sidewalk and made our way back towards the graveyard.

"Just lucky, I suppose," I muttered.

"How did you find them?" Mat asked, falling into step beside of us.

"I just walked into a shop and there they were," I told him. "I didn't go looking for them, I swear."

"The better question is why are they here," Cody said as he began to cool down, although he still hadn't let go of my elbow.

"I don't know. Maybe we could have asked. Oh, wait, the boys lying unconscious on the ground," I replied. He rolled his eyes.

"He was going to kill you if I hadn't intervened."

"I had it under control."

"As if," he muttered.

"They're looking for someone," I mused. I could feel Mat and Cody looking at me. "I thought they were talking about a dog or something, but now I realize it must be a person."

"Who?" Mat asked.

"I don't know. They didn't even say if they were human or vampire," I replied.

"Guess we'll find out sooner or later," Cody said as we walked up the hill of the cemetery.

"I'd rather find out before it's too late," I told him. "If the hunters are back, then that's not a good sign and it means that something is going on."

"We should report this," Mat interjected. We were now making our way quickly through the woods. "If the hunters have returned and we have proof, then the officials need to know."

"You do realize we could get kicked out of school, right?" Cody asked. "We broke every school rule there is today."

"I didn't even get to feed," I muttered.

"That's beside the point. The fact is not only did we leave school in the middle of the night, day, whatever, but we also fed on humans without official approval, we didn't tell anyone where we went, and we also took the golden boy of the school with us. Our parents would kill us if they ever found out." I arched an eyebrow at him. "What?"

"Since when do you care about what your parents think about you?"

"Since they are the people I'd have to put up with if I got kicked out of school. I'm not doing that. Three months is enough."

"For the record, I came on my own," Mat told him. "You did not invite me."

"Yeah, and look where that got us," Cody said, giving him a dirty look. "If you hadn't gone, then we would have had even numbers and someone wouldn't have been able to go off on her own so easily. So, thanks, golden boy, for letting us get caught by the hunters."

"We didn't get caught. I got caught," I muttered.

"It's the same thing. Our species was caught by hunters. They know we're in Virginia," Cody replied. He wasn't happy, I knew that, but I wasn't sure who he was more upset with. Me or himself. Maybe even the hunter and maybe Mat. Although, I felt as though he was more upset with himself. He was always the one who looked out for me.

"Let's just regroup and then figure out what to do," I told him. It was only then that he released by elbow, but he remained at my side.

"Fine, but we need to talk about it sometime soon," he said. Mat, to his credit, remained silent. Maybe he knew that no matter what he said Cody was going to be angry with him.

The rest of the walk to the school was done in silence. Once back to campus, Cody and Mat made sure that I made it safely to the dorm before they went back to their own dorms. Amber wasn't in the room whenever I got there, but she was more than likely off with Jordan someplace. I was just thankful for the peace and quiet.

I climbed into my bed after making sure that the blinds and curtains were securely closed, but I didn't fall asleep. My mind was spinning from everything that had happened earlier that day.

When I was a child, my parents had told me stories of fierce and gruesome monsters that hunted vampires. Then, as I grew older, they told me that those had just been legends. There were no such thing as monsters and there certainly were not any such thing as vampire hunters. When I went to school, though, I learned that they had lied to me. In the past, there had been hunters. They were not gruesome monsters, but they were fierce humans who believed with all of their heart that our kind was an abomination, a threat to society, and something that needed to be stopped.

All of the vampires had once lived peacefully in Russia. Yes, we had used humans as a source of food, but there had not been a single human killed because of a vampire for over a hundred years. The hunters didn't care, though. They came for my kind and caused them to flee throughout the world. Now, Russia holds the smallest population of vampires while the United States vampire population grows each day.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the hunters returned to the States. Some rogue vampires were killing humans, but our kind was making sure that they were no longer a threat. Clearly, some people didn't believe that was enough. I wasn't sure how I felt about being hunted by these people. Being hunted wasn't something that made me feel good, but I didn't exactly feel afraid of the hunters. That was a weird thing to think about. I had never been hunted before. I was always the one doing the hunting.

Though, I wasn't sure if the best thing to do was to run and tell the headmaster and his staff. For so long, people have denied the existence of hunters. Why would they believe a group of rule breaking kids? I knew that the right thing to do was to report what we found out to them, but what if it back fired on us? What if all we ended up doing was getting ourselves getting kicked out of Bruster?

I didn't exactly enjoy going to school and I had been trying my best to destroy my old reputation, but, as Cody pointed out, if I was kicked out of school, then I would have to spend that much more time with my parents and they would not be in a very good mood if their only child was kicked out of school. They weren't exactly pleased with me as it was.

Last year, this decision would have been a no brainer. Abi would have reported her findings to the administration. Then again, that girl wouldn't have snuck off campus and broken curfew. Early last year I wouldn't have even dreamed about doing such a thing, but things happen. An event happens and your entire life does a three-sixty and you are left scrambling to pick up the pieces.

You can never put a puzzle back together, though, if you don't have the right pieces. I mean, you could, but it would never be the way it was supposed to be. It would be like breaking a plate and trying to glue all of the pieces back together. Once something is broken, you can never truly fix it. There's always something missing. Even a small crack can destroy everything.