Chapter I

After my release from the hospital, and the "Okay" from my doctors, I was able to go back to school. The following week, I was walking up the steps of my high school with my best friend, Seth Blake. As we entered the school, it became suddenly quiet as people stopped to stare at us, me in particular. I haven't been there in over a month because of my almost demise and already I feel like a stranger again. We've lived here for about five years now, my parents, plus Raevan and me. Anyway, it took awhile for the kids and adults to warm up to us. There's still isn't very many people who actually talk to me, err, I guess I shouldn't really say that… Some of them tried to talk to me but I never really wanted to talk to them so I was rude and told them I didn't want to talk to them. Even if really pretty girls came up to me and tried to strike up a conversation with me, I'd just tell them to knock it off and to leave me alone. One girl even ran away with tears in her eyes. I felt so guilty that I even tried to apologise to her. Her friends wouldn't let me anywhere near her and I guess I deserved that. Sigh.. Well, even with that, people still kept trying to talk to me and I've been asked out a bunch of times by some of the girls here and even a few guys; but my answer has always been the same: no.

It's not that I don't like them or that I don't think any of the girls are pretty, because, boy, are they! I've even had a crush on one but she didn't want me. It's not any of that. It's just that I feel like it's not me they want but Seth, my best friend. I know, I sound paranoid but I can't help it. I mean, Seth is gorgeous, even someone like me can see that. Seth is about five feet and six inches tall, two more inches taller than me. He has brown hair that shines gold whenever sunlight hits it right and with eyes to match. Most would call his eyes hazel, and who knows, maybe they still are, but his eyes are more unique than that, and introverted. They are a molten gold as the base color and with flecks of light brown and green. They even glow when his emotions are extreme like with excitement or anger, though he hates the last part. He hates being angry, feels like he'll turn into his dad and lose his temper. He's so terrified of that. Anyway, I know he's gorgeous, I can clearly see that, can admit that. But make no mistake, I'm not gay, not that there's anything wrong with being gay. I'm just not into guys like that. I can't see myself fucking another guy or him fucking me. Nope, I just can't see it.

Either way, love is love, you shouldn't feel ashamed if you end up in love with the same sex, doesn't mean you're less than a human being. Plus, I can admit that even I think some guys are hot out there. Doesn't mean I want to fuck them or anything, like I said before.

Anyways, where we live, we have to be cautious, paranoid even; or you could get yourself into some serious trouble, like being killed. That wouldn't be very fun, would it? Oh, right, I was killed, wasn't I? At least, undead? Did I even die? Fully die? Did I really come back to life? I'm so confused on how this all works. All this sounds strange coming from a guy who almost die-did die?-nearly a month ago. I was careless and let my fearlessness get in the way. I don't regret it though, because I was able to save a girl from a possible worst-case scenario. I'm protective over my family and friends, and she reminded me a helluva lot like my older sister, Raevan. I couldn't just stand still and do nothing, my mother raised me better than that. To stand up for the weak.

I went in and tried to put a stop to it. I'm not sure, but while the bad guy was bothering with me, while he was taking the time to "slit" my throat and bleeding me out on a cold ground, I hope she got away. I'm also positive that I wouldn't have been found very easily in such a remote place.

The doctors told me I was lucky to be found when I was because I could have easily been mistaken for garbage. Gee, thanks, Doc. Really.

The doctors said that I was lucky to survive because of all the bloodloss. Meaning, they'd have to of been there in a matter of seconds within the time frame my throat was slit, if those criminal T.V. shows were correct. They told me my heart stopped beating, twice, and that I stayed in "critical condition" for over a week. They were sure my body would give out at any moment, but then something miraculous happened; something that would have been impossible to happen four years ago: The cells in my body started regenerating, fixing themselves at an abnormal rate. The doctors were all stunned and wasn't sure how to deal with it so they had to bring in a "Specialist" of some sort, who apparently dealt with the "abnormal". The Specialist, a woman named Dr. Hanabi, wouldn't explain anything of what was going on to anyone, not even my own doctors.

It was all so frustrating.

The only words I could make out by herself-mumbling was the words "register" and "signs of turning". At the time, I didn't understand. I couldn't understand, and by the worried expressions of my family, they didn't either. We didn't know what was going on, but I knew for certain that none of it was going to be any good, and that terrified me. Was I sick? Did I end up with some fatal disease? Answer? I did, but little did I know that that "disease" turned out to be vampirism, a very incurable disease. Later on though, when I thought about her words, it finally clicked. Why my doctors were so puzzled about my condition. It was punctured, two clean holes on my carotid artery, which bled profusely. I realized the truth, which they failed to relay to me and my family.

The truth? I'm turning into a vampire.

I might have been a bit obsessed with vampires as a kid, and I never would have imagined myself as an actual vampire when I grew up, but now, let's face it, it's completely possible with the outing of vampires all throughout the world.

Let me explain.

We live in the middle of the 21st Century and during this century, there were three major changes-

Numero Uno: Donald Trump became our next President. That was a big upset for a lot of people. All I have to say on that is, Get The Fuck Over It. Instead of derailing him and the possible good progress he could make, just support him, and trying to make the world a better place. Maybe we could accomplish something good and everlasting, together.

Numero Dos: Three years ago, the existence of vampires was proven true to the whole world. That was a bigger shock than Trump becoming President of the United States of America. Vampires are Creatures of Legend, Myths, Folklore; beings who were undead who survived solely by feeding on the blood of living creatures, humans being their favourite. The only known ways to kill them from the Legends, Myths, and Folklore, were by driving a wooden stake through their hearts. Some said direct UV lights, aka Sunlight. They'd instantly burst into flames, some said they'd just turn to ash or mummify. There was mention of Holy Water, water blessed by the Gods, or High Priest or Priestess. Holy Water is said to melt their flesh right off their bones. Crosses and Garlic are used as a some sort of Vampire Repellent. Crosses being a Holy Artifact; Garlic being, um, how does Garlic repel a Vampire? That just doesn't make sense. Sense? Is it the strong odor they emit? Hm, Vampires do have a strong sense of smell… Well, you get the picture. The lot of these were proven to be false by an interview with a Vampire. It was live on the News Channel two years ago.

Numero Tres: The third major change, was a Law passed by both Congress and the President, named "Registration". It's basically an Identification Card for Vampires. It's not required for every citizen to have one. Its separate from a State I.D. and a License, but it's basically the same except for a few additions. Where it says 'Race', it'll have 'Vampire' inscribed by it. Vampire or Human, those are the options but, we all know, those aren't the only races that exist, considering vampirism. With this new Law though, comes a serious drawback, being, if a new vampire hasn't "Registered" by the end of their "Turning" period, or when an adolescent vampire hits puberty; it means certain death for them and anyone who tries/tried to protect them. Having "Registration" papers is basically like a "Birth Certificate" for newly turned Vampires. Except they're condemned to death without them. Another example would be like having papers on a dog, like a purebred. A Pitbull, for instants. Pits are considered to be a dangerous species of dog because of their ability to lock their jaws, but they are actually kind hearted and very lovable animals who deserve to be loved and to love. To be happy. Anyways, "Registration" is Law, and all Laws must be obeyed or suffer the consequences, right?

Those are the Three Major Changes of the Past Two Years. Which means, when I'm fully a vampire, I'd have to "Register" and do it before I'm caught. Else, it could probably mean my for-real death. But, hey, at least I still have about a month left, right? I think… I should probably check… Ugh, being a vampire is so complicated.

How do I even go about "Registering"? Without my people knowing? My family and friends? How would I get-sustenance? Plus, how long does the actual "Turning" happen? They say it varies between individuals. Some could be a week, two, maybe a month. Some were known to take longer for the full effects of vampirism to take effect. Well, if that's the case for me, I might not have to panic just yet.

But still…

I'm worried.

What do I do? What do I DO?!

Who am I kidding? I'm a fucking vampire! There's no "easy" way out of this. There's no way I could calm down. There's no way to alleviate the stress this will cause me or my family, now or in the near future. Because I'm turning into a vampire. At least the pain hasn't started yet… They say the "physical transformation" is excruciating. Oh, I just can't wait for that one.

Okay, dude, you got this, you got this, I tried to calm myself. You've got time, you can figure this out. Looking over at Seth, I was thinking, maybe he could help me. Should I tell him? No, no. I couldn't possibly put my best friend in danger...could I? If he found out months from now, I think he would be really upset with me for not telling him when I was going through it. He's my best friend, and I can trust him my life, with Raevan's. Yea, I should tell him.

The next chance I get, I'll tell him.

Lost in thought, I hadn't noticed Seth watching me until after we reached our lockers, which, luckily, were beside each other. I had 239, he had 240. The others were more spread out. I hadn't noticed him periodically watching me during the walk from his house. Considering how intuitive he is, he probably noticed my distress. Seth quietly whispered my name so as not to bring attention to us.

"Yea?" I answered, just as quietly, but with a little nervousness added in.

Seth and I have been best friends since I moved here. We met a week after my arrival, after my schedule was completed, and we were put into the same biology class. We were made partners since he was absent the week before and everyone else already had theirs. We clicked instantly. He's the only person here that I can honestly say that I trust. It's not like I know he won't betray me, I mean, it is more of a feeling, but he's just not that kind of person who'd betray someone. Not willingly, at least. He's also pretty damn stubborn which sometimes clashes with my stubbornness. Haha, I think we make a pretty good time.

I think my mood plummeted even more… I should really tell him...but how? Would he actually believe me? Wait, the whole world believes in vampires now, so he should, right? Right?

"Um…" I looked up as I heard an unusual hesitative quiver in his usually confident voice.

"Yea, what's up?" Does he somehow already know?

After gathering his thoughts, and clearing his throat, he finally decided on, "Huh-hum. I'm not exactly sure how to ask this of my best friend but, I was wondering how you would feel if I asked your sister out?" It finished as a question. "I mean, I know how protective you are over family, especially Raevan, with-"

"Hold up." I raised my hand up to stop him, mid-sentence. He doesn't know then. Somehow, I feel a bit relieved. "You like my sister? Since when?" I tried to think back on all the times Seth has came over or stayed the night. I couldn't really think of any meaningful encounters that would result in his liking of her. What did I miss?

"Yes, I like Raevan." Raevan, not "your sister". The difference is huge. It means he's serious. I certainly didn't see that coming. "As for when, it was during your stay in the hospital. During the time no one knew if you would pull through or not. She was crying so much. Hardly leaving your side. I didn't know what else to do but try to alleviate some of her pain. By the time-"

Just then, the bell rung for class, cutting him off. "Crap, we gotta get to class. Seth, I am protective of Raevan, for reasons you know, but she's a big girl, and I know I can trust you. If you like her, and she likes you back, then all I ask is that you make her happy. Now, that doesn't mean let her walk all over you or anything. You must stand up for yourself, too, though it might be hard in front of the person you love. Now let's go before Mr. Porter takes both our heads!"

"I swear on my blood as a witch," I vaguely remember hearing Seth utter as we left for class. I'm not sure if I heard him correctly, but I feel like my blood is humming. I dismiss that thought instantly.

Turns out, Mr. Porter was also late to class.

Since we're all seniors, Seth, Daniel, Jaques, and I left school for our lunch break. It was a privilege given to all seniors. It was also a huge responsibility and can be revoked at any time.

After we left the building, Jaques was like, "Hey, why don't we just go to your house for lunch, Vlad? We haven't been there in awhile. Plus, your mom is kinda hot." Jaques doesn't have a problem with blurting out if a woman is hot, even if it's my mother. Or anyone's mother.

"My house is closer. Mom also just went grocery shopping, so yea, okay." Seth was behind the wheel and he knew the way practically by instinct now. We were there in a matter of minutes. We climbed out and I unlocked my door as the car beeped. Jaques pushed in first and headed straight for the kitchen, ever impatient when it comes to food. He's a bottomless pit. Jaques already had the bread and lunch meat out on the counter as the rest of us walked in.

Jaques made himself two ham with cheese sandwiches and Daniel one. They each grabbed a Coke. Seth made a bologna with cheese sandwich and poured two cups of Sweet Tea, one for him and myself. I thought about making me a bologna sandwich, too, but for some reason, when I think about food, I feel nauseous. I look at the Sweet Tea and I wonder when I'll have to trade it in for some O Negative. After all, I'll be a vampire soon, won't I? Sigh…

Not noticing that sigh was audible, I looked up to find them all staring at me. Awkward silence. "What?" I asked cautiously. I could feel my face starting to burn a bit. I'm probably red in the face. How embarrassing. Ugh. I really don't feel like answering any questions right now. Please, please don't ask them, I silently begged inside my head.

"Dude, did almost dying make you not like Sweet Tea anymore or something?" Or something. Of course, Jaques didn't get the situation, but not surprising considering it's Jaques. He had to ask, didn't he? Eyes blanking, he added, "What, too soon?" I think it was meant to be a joke but, oh well.

"Seriously, though, how you holdin' up, dude? Being in the hospital and almost dying's gotta be pretty scary. It'd have any one shaken up."

"Jaques right." Daniel agreed. "Any one would be shaken up. We were all so worried about you, Vlad. Seth the most. He was there practically every day."

Clearing his throat, Seth added, "We should hurry and get back to school. Lunch break's almost over." I guess this is a touchy matter for him as well.
"Yes, I agree. C'mon, you two, finish on the way to school." We cleaned up our messes and while doing so, I could feel Seth's gaze in the back of my head. It was unnerving. I feel like he can see through me, like he knows what I'm thinking and feeling. I can practically hear him asking all these questions that I know he's anxious to ask about but won't because, unlike Jaques, he can read the situation. I also don't feel like answering right now. Would I even know the answers to these questions? Do I want to know? Great, I'm questioning myself now.

Another minute and it's all cleaned back up. Jaques guzzled his Coke then tossed it into the Recycling Bin underneath the kitchen sink. "Alright, let's roll."

"Hey," I started, they all turned and stared at me. I feel like I want to shrink. Why do they have to stare so intently at me? "Thanks for worrying about me but I'm fine, really."

"Y'know, I heard when a girl says 'I'm fine', it really means 'I'm not fine'." Dammit, Jaques.

"Well, I'm a guy, so…" I should've just kept my mouth shut. "But, still, thanks. Now let's go." I ushered them all out and locked the door behind us. We piled in. Seth in driver's seat, me in the passenger's, and the others in the back.

I wasn't lying. I mean, I am fine. I'm no longer hurt or anything. I'm just going through some changes. Yes, changes, that could work. Like puberty, except I've already hit that… Another one, then? Maybe. Would they buy it? I know Seth won't. He has really good intuition and is usually spot on. To answer Jaques' question, I still like Sweet Tea. In fact, I love it. But almost dying kinda puts things in perspective. That's all that was. Just self-contemplation. Nothing too serious.

Does thinking about almost dying count as 'not too serious'? I hope not. Does vampirism count as 'not too serious'? Probably. Ugh.

Let's just shove that away for when the time actually comes to think about it… In the meantime, we've arrived at the school. "Guys, we gotta go. We have, like, five minutes to get in, get our stuff and head to class."

"See ya," Jaques yelled as he ran inside. Daniel ran after him and called 'see ya' to us. Seth and I continued to walk nonchalantly.

It took us less than three minutes to get to our lockers and one more to class. Luckily, we weren't tardy. Yayy!

My next class was Madam Rouge's French class. Luckily, Seth and I share it together. Like most of our other classes.

I'm so behind that I have no idea what she is saying nor what she has us repeat back to her. It's probably a greeting of some sort. I move my lips with the rest of the class but my words come out as an incoherent mumble jumble. I already want this class to be over. Why did I take this again? Oh, right, Seth asked me to. He wanted us to share at least one class together but we ended up with four instead.

"Seth," I whispered, "what she saying? I don't understand." I added in between phrases.

"Turn to page one-fifty in our textbooks and read chapter thirteen. Afterwards, do the Reading and Comprehension Check questions and it's due by the end of class. There are seven in total but we can skip the first question. If we do it, its extra credit. But don't worry, dude, I got ya." It seems we're also allowed to work with a partner. That's good at least, I thought, sighing with relief.

With the help from Seth, I answered the questions correctly. I usually had to work on them a bit more but for some reason, they're clicking quite easily; and no, he didn't just give me the answers nor did he just let me look off his paper. Seth's not for cheating and he views that as cheating. He explained the concepts to me and what some of the other stuff meant. He has the highest grade in this class and can speak in complete conversations with the teacher. All this info is just too much to soak in at once and seems to just get all jumbled up inside my head. So he said I could borrow his notes to study but I'd have to get the other stuff from the teacher. Urgh, do I gotta? She creeps me out with all that red.

It reminds me of blood.

Lost in thought, I barely noticed Madam Rouge called my name until Seth tapped me on the shoulder.

"Vladimir!"

"Y-yes?" Great, I stuttered.

"Come get your-" swears in French "-absentee homework and get out of my classroom."

"Geesh, I'm coming, I'm coming." The bell rung and the students hurried out of there. Seth and I went our separate ways and I once again had to go to my locker. I entered my lock combo and and suddenly there's a pink heart-shaped piece of paper fluttering to the floor - which never happened to me before. A love letter? I pick it up and began to read what was inscribed inside:

Dear Vlad,

I was told you had a crush on me. Which I think is sweet but I'm not allowed to date anyone. My father is really overprotective of me and my other sisters. I know this isn't what you wanted but, quite frankly, it isn't what I wanted either. You see, I've had a crush on you for some time now. I would love to go to the Valentine's Day Dance with you. It's in less than a month. My father finally relented and said I could go but I can't stay past midnight. That sucks but but at least I'll get to spend it with you. At least, I hope I get to. So, please say yes, because I know you usually say no to whomever asks you out. So please, say yes this once? I'll be awaiting your answer in the abandoned art room in a week.

Love, Vivienne Winters.

Holy shit! Did this girl seriously just ask me out? Did I seriously just get out the hospital in time for this? I can't believe it but, looking at this pretty heart-shaped dance proposal that probably took a long time to make, a girl seems to really want to go to this Valentine's Day Dance with me...and she practically begs me not to say no. How could I say no to that? Maybe this once I could say yes? Maybe? I should tell Set.

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