"Gone From Daylight"
"The Beauty and the Darkness"

The clerk suddenly made an attempt to scamper away from me in desperation, but it was all in vain, and there were no more games to be played. My body shivered with hunger, and I felt my hand wrap itself tightly around the clerk's leg. I dragged him, kicking and screaming behind the counter, and then dropped myself down on top of him in a flash! He kicked and struggled, but my strength overpowered him easily. He screamed and pleaded, but my hunger stopped his cries from becoming anything more than an annoyance. Before I even knew what was happening, I had straddled his chest, and thrust my head backwards like a cobra ready to strike. Then, without further hesitation, I slammed my head downwards into the side of his neck, and bit down as hard as I possibly could! The scream that came out of that clerk should have been enough to deafen me, and yet, it was music to my ears. A beautiful harmony between pleasure and pain. The nexus where life and death come together as one. I felt my teeth sink deeply into his flesh, getting at the warm, juicy nectar underneath. It was like biting into wax, his muscle contractions completely helpless against the sharp invaders. Hungrily, ravenously, I devoured him. My fangs sucking up the bloodflow faster than his quick beating heart could supply it. The taste, the energy...the utter LIFE contained in his blood! My God....it was orgasmic! I bit down even harder, causing a helpless whimper to escape his lips, and I could feel my body being replenished. Filling itself with life. His adrenaline rush made it taste even sweeter. I slurped loudly at his neck, and soon, his struggles began to weaken, his body finally giving into the shock of it all. I was killing him...and I was LOVING it!

Then, a brief flash, followed by another, and another. As his life flashed before his eyes, it also flashed before mine. And a small piece of my sanity returned. I opened my eyes, and saw a pool of blood spreading out generously on the floor. Spilling out over my lips and seeping into the carpeting. I could hear my own suction as his blood was absorbed eagerly into my system. Then...I saw his life. A girlfriend, a family, friends. He was going to school...he was going to be a lawyer. I saw his friends and how they had planned to take a road trip this summer. How he once played football in high school. How he came from a happy family, two loving parents, a kid sister...he was....he was...a good person. One who had never done anything to anybody. And the horror of that brought tears to my eyes as I fought to regain some control. I struggled to pull away from his jugular, but my body refused to stop. The taste of his fluids was too good, and the more I tried to pull away, the more the other half of me whispered in my mind, 'one more swallow. one more gulp. don't pull away, drink until the well is dry.'

Finally...my reality shot back into focus, and I ripped my fangs out of his neck. I sat up on his chest, looking at the mess I made, looking at the dark purple bloodstain that was thickening as the life gushed out of his neck in buckets. I was helpless to do anything but watch as he bled profusely right before my eyes. He was still alive. He moved his arms around slowly, his eyes half opened. He looked so pale, so fragile. Did...did I do this?

I looked over at Trevor, who was watching intently, and he gave me the nod to finish the job. I looked back down at this poor clerk, and my eyes watered up. I knew what I had to do. I had to finish him off, and at least give him the respect of a quick death. It was the only mercy that I could possibly give him at this point. I began to slowly lean down and put him out of his misery...but I hadn't noticed one of his flailing arms reaching through some of the litter that had fallen off of the desk during our struggle. And he had grabbed a pair of scissors, holding them tightly in his hand. By the time I saw the thoughts in his mind manifest into a course of action, it was too late. He used all of the remaining strength that he had, to slash at me with them! I felt the blade rip through me, and cut a long deep gash across my chest. I felt the pain, but only momentarily. I looked down in horror at what he had done to my body. Nothing prepares you for seeing yourself mortally wounded...invinceable or not. I stared at the wound in shock, not knowing what to make of it, and that's when he slashed at me again, and again, finally stabbing the pair of scissors right into my stomach! He rolled me off of him and ran for the door, limping into the street. I was stupefied! I saw my own blood leaking out of me, and I pulled the scissors out of my stomach, letting them fall to the floor. But through it all, I felt no real pain. Nothing like I should've felt, anyway. I looked over at Trevor, wide eyed.

"Well...what are you waiting for, soldier? Go catch him." He said. And at that moment, the small glimpse of sanity that I had...was gone. The taste of his blood in my mouth made me insatiably hungry for more. Only now...looking at my wounded body, knowing what this...HUMAN...did to me...did I get ANGRY! I could feel a hatred and rage like you wouldn't believe reach dangerous levels inside of me, and I sprung to my feet! I jumped over the counter in one leap, and charged out into the street. There was no one out there to save him, not at all. I looked down and saw a trail of blood leading to the East, and I took off running in that direction. I could smell him getting closer, and in seconds, I was able to catch up to him. It was so easy. I was faster than him, stronger than him, BETTER than him! I pulled him into an alley and covered his mouth to muffle his cries. And I sharply turned his neck to the side, puncturing his throat once more, and savagely devoured him...for the last time. My will belonged to my thirst now, and the warm blood put me into a frenzy. I was sexually excited, humping into his chest as I drained him dry. My whole body was tingling with new energy, with an essence that was a thousand times better than drugs, better than sex, better than anything that life had ever offered me. It was a religious experience that drove me wild with lust and fulfillment. I began to suck even harder at it, and it was then that I sensed the blood taking on a new flavor. One that seemed to taste cold, almost bitter. And it was then, that the clerk's struggles had stopped. His hands fell down to his sides, and one last breath left his lungs. 'Joshua'...was no more. And he died right there in my arms. I stopped drinking at that point, and I felt totally renewed. It was like being born again. I had more energy, more life in me, than I ever had before. The taste of his demise lingered on my lips, and I licked it off with my tongue. I never thought it would be so good.

As I stood up, I saw Trevor leaning up against a wall in front of me. The dim light of the alley wasn't enough to dim the gleam in his eye, or the blond splendor of his golden locks. "I knew you had it in you, kid. You are really going to be something someday." He said.

Was it me? Or was it the madness inside? I'm not sure, but something made me move forward, quickly, lustfully, and all of my senses were on fire. They told me to 'celebrate' my rebirth, to release the incredible energy surging through each and every fiber of my being. And in just a few steps, I found myself next to Trevor, eye to eye. The overwhelming feeling of excitement gave me a fever that radiated from me in every direction. Trevor was there, looking me in the eye, and I couldn't hold out any longer! I grabbed both sides of his face, bringing him close, and I kissed him hard on the lips! The sexual energy within me was out of control, and I just couldn't STOP! I couldn't think, I could only react. I could only do hold him closer, kiss him harder, hump my aching erection into him as my body craved for a way to lose the exccessive amounts of sexual electricity that spilled out of me. I kissed him passionately, breathing hard, my tongue forcing its way passed his, and he held me tight against him. He returned my lustful advances, and it made my actions even more aggressive. I ran my hands all over his back, grinding myself into him as hard as I could, pressing him into the wall. He ran a hand up the back of my shirt, and I clutched tightly at his round firm globes of ass, squeezing them hard and pulling him deeper into me. Our kissing was animalistic and vulgar, our hard members wrestling with one another through our pants. Trevor struggled to turn us around, putting my back against the wall, and began unfastening my pants as quickly as his fingers would allow, our kiss still going hot and fast. I felt him grab my erection with his fingers and he stroked it with a tight grip, almost making me cum immediately. The orgasm was on its way, and that only made me kiss him even harder. I moaned outloud, and he did the same. I stuck my hands into the back of his jeans, and as his hands traveled lower, past my tender nuggets, he reached under to slide a wet finger a half an inch into my hole. He began to tease it with his finger rapidly, making me gasp, and just before I exploded, I opened my eyes. The blood, the madness, the savagery...this was real. Only moments ago, it seemed like some weird kind of surreal nightmare, but it WASN'T! I was kissing Trevor! I was letting him touch me! I had just murdered someone, and now I'm getting ready to have sex with someone I don't love in an alley next to the body of my first victim!

Trevor's hands were busy all over me, but I was coming to my senses, and this had to stop. I don't know what came over me, what could make me do all this? My orgasm was almost at the point of no return when, out of nowhere, my mind reading ability switched on. And as if it knew exactly where to look, I saw Trevor...years ago...standing on a rooftop with Taryn.

I saw him making promises, seducing him...kissing him. It hurt to see it, it caused my heart to sink lower and lower, and I wondered if I should let this happen. If I should listen to my body and allow Trevor to have his way with me, body and soul. But as I searched deeper, I saw Taryn breaking the kiss, and stepping away from him. Trevor tried again, and Taryn wanted so badly to give in, I could see it in his eyes, but he didn't. He moved away again, and rejected Trevor's offer to turn him. He REJECTED him! As I felt Trevor's kisses travel further down my neck, I looked deeper into his memories to see what really happened, and what I found shocked me. He offered Taryn a paradise, one that he was reluctant to take, and he shied away from Trevor's many sexual advances towards him. Trevor persisted, taunting him, tempting him, touching him in the most intimate ways. And everytime Taryn opened his mouth to protest, Trevor kissed him again, his tongue snaking his way between Taryn's lips. His hands were groping Taryn's young body all over, but he pushed his hands away. It was like...sex of any kind was forbidden to him.

"You'll live forever..." Trevor told him. "You'll never feel any pain. No more hunger. No more sickness. No more death. You can have all the money, all the acceptance, all the sex you could ever want, for all eternity. I will never abandon you, Taryn...never." And it was then that I lightly traced my fingers over the small medallion Taryn had given me before I had left. I remembered the band on my arm, our symbol of love, our bond throughout all eternity. Trevor was biting down on my nipples through my shirt, and I tried to pull myself out of his grasp. Trevor lied to me. There was no sexual relationship between them, there was no love. Taryn was 'guided' into it, promised the sweetest fruit, all to satisfy Trevor's greed. In my mind, I saw Taryn finally give in, almost brainwashed, teary eyed as Trevor exploited the weakest moments of his life. Convincing him to abandon everything that he loved...even the sun. And then, for some reason that I couldn't quite uncover in the swirling images in his head, Trevor whispered, "He won't ever be able to touch you again...you're safe here...with me." That said, he sank his teeth deep into Taryn's neck, and injected him with the toxins that made him one of us. Right there on that rooftop where he took me after my first bout with my hunger pains. And Taryn, as a vampire, was born. Not out of love, but out of lies.

"Stop....stop..." I said, but Trevor continued, getting more into it. "No...stop!" Then he lifted his head, kissing me on the lips to shut me up as his hands worked quickly on my stiffened organ to bring me off before I pulled away. He knew...that once I had reached my climax, he'd use it to break things up between me and the boy I loved. He was waiting for it, hoping to make it quick and sinful, praying that I would come to my senses too late. It may already be too late. But I knew this had to stop, and fast. "Get...OFF of me!!!" I yelled, and pushed Trevor up against the wall.

He looked at me, a grin on his face, his mouth covered with the leftover blood that I smeared on his lips with my kiss. "Have a change of heart, cutie?"

"You're a liar."

"Am I?"

"You tricked him...you tricked Taryn into becoming like you. He was going to say no, but you wouldn't let him."

"Ahhh...now what would make you come to that particular conclusion, my friend." He said, stepping closer to me. I didn't say anything, and made a step to walk away, but he blocked my path. He squinted his eyes a bit, analyzing me from head to toe, and then whispered, "You really are special, aren't you?"

I backed up, but I had probably already said too much, "Stay away from me."

"So our little Justin DOES have secrets afterall. I was beginning to think I had you all wrong when you didn't try to read my thoughts in the park."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"I had my suspicions about you from day one. The accelerated crossover, the visit to see Tim, your extras becoming functional almost instantaneously, Bryson worrying himself so much over your development...I knew that whatever it was, it had to be something big. And guess what? I was right."

"Like I said, I don't know what you're talking about." I moved the other way, but he blocked me again.

"Save it kiddo. The vamp's out of the bag. You read my mind. And without my consent, tsk tsk tsk. That's a no no." He set up the trap, and I fell right into it. "All I needed was some time alone with you, away from your circle of 'protectors'. A few angry instigations and a little curiosity thrown into the mix...I knew it wouldn't be long before you cracked. Absolutely incredible. An actual 'reader'...right in front of my very eyes."

"Trevor...don't tell anybody. Please?" Asking for his silence was all I could do. He knew. There was no way to hide it from him now.

"Tell anybody? Oh, I wouldn't think of it. Not to worry my little blond cupcake, your secret is safe with me..." A wide sinister smile crossed hs lips, "...as long as you're willing to do me a simple favor in return."

"What kind of favor?"

"...teach me to do what you do."


"I've waited a decade to get access to someone like you. With the power you possess. You could teach me how to read, how to become better, stronger. I can read desires, but reading the actual thoughts is the other piece of the puzzle. Combined, the two sides make for an unbeatable union between the conscious and subconscious of every vampire on the planet. And you, my friend, can patch me in." Trevor looked at me with eyes of admiration as he walked circles around me. Whatever he had plans for, he was making me the key to it all.

"I've...I've gotta get back." I said, trying to avoid saying yes.

"Fine. Think it over. Take your time. But I WILL be watching, and I'll be waiting for your decision. The second you learn a any new tricks, you're going to teach me everything you know. Because if you don't...then Taryn's going to find out about your little 'display of affection' tonight. I'm also going to make sure that Bryson finds out about your 'hidden abilities' here. And you know how much he absolutely despises readers. In order to protect the rest of us from you and your dangerous extra, he'll toss you out of the lot so fast, it'll make your head spin."

"Bryson wouldn't do that..." I whispered.

"No? Look at how easily he was going to toss you out for refusing to feed." I searched my heart for a loophole, a way out. I knew that he was lying, probably making most of this stuff up just to frighten me and make me do what he wants. But...I couldn't find the strings attached, and I couldn't be sure that he wasn't telling the truth. He was manipulating me, by using my love for Taryn and my need for acceptance against me. This dysfunctional family of mine, as much as I hated to admit it, was all I had left. God forbid if I had to fend for myself. Trevor wiped the blood off of my lips, and lightly brushed the hair out of my eyes. "I think you and I are going to get along rather nicely from now on." I pushed his hand away from me, and fastened my pants back up. But his smile never faded for a second. "I'll be patiently awaiting my first lesson. Now that you've been replenished with your first taste of living blood, your extras should be developing much more quickly. I've studied vampire evolution quite extensively, Justin, and I know that your crossover's 'puberty' stage is just about over. It's time for the big leagues now son."

"What do you want me to do?" I asked.

"Why don't we cross that bridge when we come to it, ok? Right now, we have a celebration to attend. To commemorate your very first kill." As he said that, I peeked back over my shoulder to see the lifeless body of the clerk, Joshua, laying in a pile of trash in that dark alley. I turned away in disgust for what I had done. "Oh, don't worry about the body. 'Slag Hunters' will take care of everything."

"What's a ...?"

"Le's just say, they help to clean up our little messes and fix things so we can continue to stay underground. My guess is, they'll doctor up the body and make it look like a robbery."

"Who's going to believe that someone robbed a Kinko's in the middle of the night?" I mumbled sadly, silently mourning this dead stranger.

"Who's going to believe that he gave his life to feed the growing population of vampires in the inner city?" Trevor said with a smile. "They'll take care of it. Trust me. Forget about him, what's done is done. Let's go home." How could he do it? How could he remain so heartless, so cold.

I started to walk away, but my feet refused to move. When he saw me still standing there he walked back. "I said, let's go. And keep in mind, that even if you COULD get enough courage to tell Taryn or Bryson the truth about you or what happened here...it will sound SO much worse coming from me. I can make the truth sound downright venemous when I want to. Remember that." He gave me a quick sneaky kiss by surprise, and then laughed to himself as he started walking back to the lot. He had me covered on all fronts, and I felt a piece of myself die as I walked out of the alley to follow Trevor home.

I didn't say a word on the way home. Even when Trevor stopped to talk to me. All I saw was the clerk's first bright red gush of blood, and the piercing scream that came out of his mouth when I first bit into him. I replayed the events over and over, and it just didn't seem like me at all. He was innocent. Completely innocent. I will never forget that face, those eyes, that scream. I didn't feel worthy of the tears dripping from my eyes. Dripping down onto a shirt covered with bloodstains. I clutched tightly to the medallion around my neck, and prayed that I could somehow find a way out. Somehow find a way to keep my secrets. They were the only things that were keeping me from being 'different'. I didn't want to be an outcast again. A complete reject in the eyes of the people around me. I was so tired of being unlike the others, of being hated, or feared, or disliked. For once, I fit in some place, and I didn't want to give that up. Not ever.

When I got back to the lot, I saw Taryn waiting for me at the gate, a look of hope in his eyes. He looked down, and saw bloodstains covering my shirt. He could sense my rebirth, he could smell it on me. My transformation had already begun, my loss of humanity, and my, now unavoidable, fall into eternal darkness. I walked to the gate, and took the medallion off, handing it back to him. As we stood face to face, I could barely look him in the eye. How would he see me, now that he knew what I had done? He didn't know whether to smile or cry or merely comfort me. I felt my emotions rise to the surface, and as I began to sob softly to myself, he slowly reached out his arms to embrace me. He held me so tenderly, that nothing short of the womb could have brought me more of a feeling of safety and love. I cried in his arms, feeling the emotions overflow and suddenly the dam burst. I was almost in reaching the point of hysterics, but it felt so good to let it out. All of it. His tears blended with mine, and at last, I knew it was over...at least for now.

"I love you Justin." He whispered.

"I love you too." I answered, and we stood there at the gate, his warm and loving embrace bringing comfort to the horrific images inside of my mind. That's when I felt another hug come from behind. It was Dion, and soon Jenna joined in, and so did Dylan. As I looked further into the lot, I saw Trevor whispering into Bryson's ear, and he was evidently pleased. Bryson nodded his head in my direction, to let me know it was ok. And I turned away, hiding inside the hugs of my friends for as long as they were able to hold me. I saw Trevor pull Michael back towards their dark private corner of the lot, Trevor looking back at me with a wink. Michael was more than happy to have Trevor back in his arms...but didn't hesitate to look back at me as well. As though my eyes would give away the details of what happened that night. I'd like to think that I had Trevor's relationship in the palm of my hands too...but somehow, I knew he wouldn't care. It might sound bad to say it...but I think I had more to lose than he did.

Everything felt so different to me, everything from the air I was breathing, to the ground I was walking on. My body was still tingling from the nourishment it had received earlier, but I wasn't just back to normal. This was...super normal. I can't really put it into words, but it felt like my body, my mind, my heart, was finally realizing just how strong it could be. My body took on an inflated ego of its own, and it felt as if I was coming down from a powerful orgasm. That comfort, that relief, that wonderful feeling of complete bliss. I wasn't sure if I wanted to accept this sensation, but I couldn't deny that it was there. My body had absorbed the very life essence of another human being, and it was converting that life into an unstoppable sense of immortality. Energy in its purest, most concentrated form.

"Come on hon...we'll get you all cleaned up." Taryn said, gently pulling me away from the others before they could drown me with questions. The feel of his hand delicately wrapped around mine forced a smile onto my sullen and emotionless face, and I was willing to follow him anywhere. As we were walking out of the door, I saw the Kid leaning up against the fence, watching me. I slowed down a bit, and then, as he looked into my eyes with childlike innocense, I took a chance. I reached out a hand, and playfully ruffled his hair. He didn't really react at first, but he didn't pull away either. Then, as if by some sort of magic, he grinned. He actually GRINNED! A silent, sigh-like, giggle came out of him, and he backed away in a ticklish response. He actually let me touch him, and for some reason, that became the one thing that made me feel like one of the group. A part of the family...at long last. Taryn smiled, and tugged gently at me again to guide me to our destination.

"How do you feel?" He asked.

"Hehehe...I don't know. I mean, good, I guess. Weird actually."

"It was your first feeding, it's natural to feel that way. It's almost like being pregnant, in a way. You just feel the life of this other person inside of you, giving you all of their strength, all of their attributes...and over time, you'll just keep collecting more and more. Every donor will be different. You'll see."

"Yeah...it does kinda feel like that. Um...except for the whole 'pregnant' thing! Hehehe! Sicko!" I giggled. I thought for sure that the statement would get a chuckle out of him, but instead, I just got a teary eyed smile. A smile as wide and as bright as I have ever seen.

He looked at me for a second, with a gaze of utter astonishment and wonder. An admiration that displayed the depth of his feelings for me entirely. His eyes spoke volumes. "I am so glad to have you by my side. Sigh...Justin, you enchant me. You really do." And he reached over to hug me, kissing me softly on the cheek. When he backed up, he was actually blushing, as though we hadn't done this all before. It was so cute to see.

"So where are you taking me anyway?" I asked.

"I know this old church a few blocks from here. It's a place where we can go every now and then to wash our clothes, shower, watch some tv if we want to. Hehehe! Some of the comforts of home that we took for granted until we were living in the lot."

"Sounds good. Lead on, cutie pie." We made it a few blocks away, and got to the old church in minutes. Evidently Taryn knew some of the residents there, because they were all eager to speak when he came through. They were all homeless, some of them drifters, some just down on their luck. It was an odd situation, but I could feel a completely different 'vibe' coming from them that I hadn't felt with any of the other humans I had seen. It was like these people weren't a part of the 'big waste', as Dion called it. They didn't take their lives for granted the way the rest of the world did. They actually were...'happy'. Happy to be alive, happy to not have to go to bed hungry, happy to be inside out of the rain and the cold. They cared about each other. They talked, shared pieces of their lives with one another...it was beyond refreshing. In fact, it almost seemed 'alien' to me. These people were thankful for every blessing they had gotten, even when society beat them down. They possessed a pride that even they weren't aware of, and I found such beauty in that. I guess, in many ways, these folks were just like us...cast out from society. A secret to be swept under the rug. But they were alive, and still had the strength to smile. Never whining about what they didn't have or how somebody was 'better off' than they were. Never complaining about 'unfair' this, and 'I need more' that. It made me smile.

Taryn walked me down to the basement where there were some public showers, and he turned on a couple of faucets for us. I took my jacket off, revealing the deep purple stains from my abominable act, and a wave of guilt rushed back into my system. But Taryn was quick to redirect my eyes to his, keeping my mind distracted from the stains long enough for him to slowly lift it over my head. His eyes met mine, and I was lost in their jade green brilliance. We undressed each other, bit by bit, and once naked, I was able to stand back and look at the slender, smooth, tight body of the boy that I loved more than life itself. I felt my heart beating at a whole new speed, and I was rock hard before I even noticed it. "Hehehe...aren't WE frisky this evening?" He giggled. I bashfully nodded my head, blushing slightly and turning my eyes to the floor. He stepped closer, kissing me deeply on the lips, and he slid his fingers between my legs to cradle my manhood with an angel's touch. My sack was tightly drawn up, ready to blow at any second, and he simply let his fingertips lightly tickle the small wrinkles underneath. He rubbed it tenderly, and then used it to lightly pull me under the running water of the faucet. The water created a lubrication, and his nurturing grasp became even more erotic. His fingers slid up and down my shaft, painfully slow. His motive was not to bring me to climax, but to just make me feel good. He let go of me while I was at my hardest, and a boyish whimper left my lips.

"Hehehe....you are so cute when you beg." He whispered, and his arms snaked up over my shoulders, and into my hair as he kissed me deeply on the lips. A kiss that defied the very idea of eternity with its timeless flavor. The warm water ran down my backside, and I held myself as close to him as possible. Our slickened bodies were slipping and sliding against one another, and I was almost reaching a point where I knew I had to have him. And that's when we heard the door open in the background. We broke the kiss, and turned our erectons to the wall instinctively as a middle aged man came in to the showers with his ten year old son. We grinned at each other, and then broke into a fit of giggles at the thought of almost giving that poor kid the shock of his life that night. We finished our shower, cleaning every nook and cranny, and were gone by the time our visitors had finished undressing all the way.

We didn't stick around for too long afterwards. The shelter had some rooms and a television, but we figured we would save it for another time. We walked back to the lot, and before the night was over, Taryn, Dion, Jenna, and Dylan...joined me around a trash can fire in the center of the lot...as I burned the bloodstained shirt from my first kill. It was my choice to do it. Somehow, washing the mark out wouldn't be enough. It would always be there, reminding me of the first time that I abandoned my humanity, and lost my soul. It almost hurt to throw it into the fire, because it was like finally saying goodbye to my life, once and for all. And everything that went along with it. It was now coming to the part where I was supposed to 'forget', and give myself over to a whole new experience. Body and soul. I felt tears streaming down my face, watching the ashes float away into the night sky. I couldn't figure out if it was the end of an era, or the beginning. I guess, when you really look at it, it was both. The flames died out shortly before sunrise, and with them...any chance of going back to the so-called 'real world'. Those were my last thoughts, as we all split up to go to bed that night.

That night, as I lay in bed at Taryn's side, telling him all about the awful hunt and how much I hated every moment of it, he held me close and placed baby kisses on my forhead. He understood every word, like no one else on Earth ever could. He had this uncanny ability to just tune into my heart's frequency and receive a clear signal while everyone else got static. Such a caring boy, so young, so forgiving. To think that he had been suckered into all of this. To think that he wanted to say no, that he wanted to live, but allowed Trevor's lies to deceive him. It brought a striking reality to his words on the dock that one lonely night.

"You should never act on any impulse that requires hesitation."

It made me wonder, did he break his own rule the night he was bitten? Or was that night the birth of that rule altogether? As he kissed me tenderly on my lips, I wished that I could have given it all back to him. His life, his family, the sun...all of it. If only I could rescue him from this life, the way he rescued me from mine. The dawn was approaching fast, and we soon started to get extremely drowsy. We hugged each other tightly until we just couldn't hold our eyes open anymore, and the last whispers that I heard escape his lips were, "I'm so sorry, Justin. I wish I could've been there for you."

And I guided his fingers to my chest, placing his hand over my heart, and I whispered back, "...You were." And we passed out.

The next evening, I woke up with Taryn's kiss sweetly gracing my lips. "Hello beautiful." He said.

I smiled, and leaned forward to kiss him deeply. It was strange, but all of last night seemed like some terrible nightmare. And it faded away just as easily. Should that worry me? That I had the blood of an innocent man on my hands, running through my veins, and everyone knew about it...yet I can wake up next to my boyfriend and smile as though it never happened? I could go mad thinking about it, not that I'd be able to do anything else for a while. "Mmmm...what was that for?" I asked.

"Sigh...for looking so pretty when you sleep."

I used my finger to trace a line across his baby soft cheek, and twirled a few of his reddish brown locks around it. "And what do you get for being 'pretty'?"

"I get to make you smile." He grinned.

"That hardly seems like enough."

"No? Well, then we'll have to think of something more 'rewarding', won't we?"

My heart never gave in so readily as it did to Taryn's beauty. I touched noses with him slightly, rubbing them back and forth as we traded a few more delicate kisses between us. Trevor would never be able to reach the level that the two of us had climbed to. Whatever energy was surging through me the night before when I kissed him...it paled in comparison. Thank goodness I had enough sense to see past it in time. I'd hate to think of breaking my angel's heart.

"I thought, maybe we could take a trip to the lake tonight. And just spend some quiet time away from everybody. I'm sure you don't need a bunch of questions from the others about...well...you know." He said.

"Yeah. That...that sounds cool. But actually, I've gotta take care of some business first. I promised."

"Business, like what?"

I sighed to myself, but figured that, maybe if I break him into it slowly, a little at the time, then I could tell him. Taryn could keep a secret, I know he could. And there's no reason that I should keep this from him. Maybe now wasn't the time to spring the whole thing on him, but I should at least begin the process. "I'm...I'm going to visit Tim."

"Oh. Well, how come? I mean, you checked out ok and everything, right?" Taryn asked, smiling, but still a bit worried from the looks of it.

"Yeah, yeah. Everything is...just fine, as far as I know. I just...I have some questions about a few things. That's all."

"Questions?" His eyes tried to hide the nervous sensation that was rising up within him, "Justin...if anything is wrong...you...you can tell me. You know that, right?"

"Yeah...I know." He knew I was holding back, but restrained his need to pry. Seeing that in his eyes, caused me to kiss him again softly before sitting up in the bed. "I love you, Taryn. And I want to share everything with you someday. Just as soon as I figure out who I am."

I got dressed, and opened the door to the van. It was a bit chilly that night, and a bit foggy. I took a few steps outside of the van, when I heard some scuffling noises above. Like footsteps. Then suddenly, I saw a pair of legs drop down in front of me and stop abruptly! I heard a sickening snap, and looked up to see Rain hanging by a noose positioned directly over my head! "JESUS, RAIN!!! You scared the living SHIT out of me!" I screamed, and I aggravatedly pushed her aside as she swung back and forth lifelessly in another one of her suicidal fits. "Go do that over in Max's corner or something, will ya?" I swore that I would never get used to seeing that, but maybe that was changing. A few more years of this, and I might become as desensitized to it as everybody else around here.

Everyone in the lot treated me with a little more...I don't know...more of a sense of 'brotherhood', I guess. Even Max, who still grumbled every now and then, but not so much in my direction anymore. Well...not ALL the time anyway. Jun was finally back to normal, every scar completely healed up and gone. His skin back to its initial, silky smooth, texture. It took him a really long time to recover from falling off the bridge that night, so long ago. But I suppose it was better than a one way trip to the morgue. I saw Bryson crawling up to the top of the van to cut Rain down so as not to draw any attention. Whenever she mutilated herself in one way or the other, she was usually knocked out for a few hours, and then her body would kick back into gear and she would wake up. Only giving her the opportunity to do it again. Something about her intrigues me, but she's so withdrawn that I suppose everyone has come to accept the fact that she wants to be left alone most nights. Except for Bryson, that is. Some nights, the two of them go back and forth like some weird married couple, arguing at the drop of a hat and letting that debate continue until dawn when we all run to get away from the noise. Like I've said a million times, we are an odd bunch of misfits.

I passed by Dylan's little habitat on the way out, an old Volkswagen with the front seats ripped out and enough paint, tape, and self made 'curtains' over the windows to block out the sun completely while he slept. He had a lot more room on the inside than you would think. He was kneeling just outside of it, praying quietly to himself as I passed. After reading the horrible past that he had been subjected to, I was surprised he had any religion left in him at all. He crossed himself, and rose to his feet, greeting me with a shy smile.

"Still keeping the faith, huh?" I asked.

"I never lost it." He replied, then nervously continued, "Um...it's not a church or anything, just a few candles and an old crucifix that my mom once gave me. But...if you want...I mean...you can come by and use it to. If...if you want."

"No thanks. It's...not really my thing." I saw a look of curiousity cross his face, but I smiled and walked away before he got any deeper into it. Frankly, my belief in all that had faded considerably over the years, and now I just didn't care to put forth the effort anymore. It hurt more to think that God was up there somewhere...letting me get beaten up, letting me get teased, and abused, and never once sent me a single sign to let me know that He was there. If I had thrown myself off of the Pier that night...would he have reached a loving hand down to catch me? If my faith had to be that strong...I would much rather believe in myself.

Doc rolled his chair around the corner, and called me over as soon as he saw me, "Hey Justin! Pan wants to talk to you dude!" I walked over and he handed me the laptop. I typed in a friendly greeting and Pan congratulated me on my first feeding. I thanked him to be polite, but I felt kind of bad accepting congratulations on taking another life. It wasn't plaguing my mind like I thought it would, but it was always there. Eating away at my conscience more and more everytime it came to mind.

"So I hear you wanted to talk to me?" I asked him.

"Yes. I've gotten some more information for you about 'Comicality'." He said. That definitely succeeded in getting my attention.

"SERIOUSLY??? Like what?" I typed excitedly.

"Well, before you get all juiced up here, I should tell you that this might be good news...but it might be BAD news too. You see, it appears that he has been seeking out vampires lately, mostly those who have just recently crossed over. Some of these vampires have been hidden away, possibly accepted as some kind of chosen breed. The information I got was sketchy at best, and most of my connections are keeping their mouths shut for fear of being found out by the elders. But I did hear mention of something called the 'Vampire Dawn'. Now what that is, I have no clue, but whatever it means, I think Comicality is preparing for it."

"Ok, so what happens to the vampires who he doesn't 'hide away'?" I asked.

"Um...that's the BAD news. Now, this is just a group of collected rumors from my street connections, but the similarities between stories are pretty concrete. The other vampires were apparently all found...disembowled and dismembered. Whatever did this to them, was really big, and incredibly strong, and since all of them were on Comicality's list of prospective people to visit, it's believed that he's the one responsible." I wasn't sure what to answer with after reading that. I just leaned back and stared at the words on the small computer screen. 'Diembowled'? 'Dismembered'? What the hell did this ghost of a man want with me? "Are you there?" Pan asked.

"Yeah....just a bit...shocked."

"Understandable, believe me. Listen, are you positively SURE that you're one of the chosen, and not another target?"

"I don't know!" I typed back, now trembling at the thought of having to come up against a creature with the mentalitly and the ability to do that to another vampire.

"Well...until you DO know, I suggest you keep a low profile and cease this quest to find him. I'd think you would be doing everything in your power to stay AWAY from him. He's dangerous, Justin. Be careful, ok?"

So that was it? Either find him, or wait for him to find me. Anything that heartless would have no problem seeking me out, I was sure of that. The clock was ticking, and I was either going to have to elevate to a whole new level, or make the ultimate sacrifice. I hope Tim has good things to tell me tonight. I said goodbye to Pan and signed off. Doc could clearly tell that I was shaken, but he didn't ask. It was the first time that I had ever seen him without a smile.

I started walking to the gate, when the Kid crossed my path again. He stopped. And he looked at me sideways, as though he were trying to figure me out. "How ya doing Kid?" I asked. Of course he didn't answer. He just cocked his head to one side and squinted his eyes as though he could analyze me from top to bottom. I began to wonder if he knew it was me who was trying to read his mind last night. He knew it was somebody, and as he stared deep into my eyes, I found myself trying to look away. To keep my secret for just a little bit longer. I cautiously walked around him to get to the front gate, and when I looked back...he was still watching. Everything was moving so fast, and here I was trying to keep it under control long enough to figure things out. Everyone was forming questions about me, questions that I didn't have the answers to yet. And they were overwhelming me more and more with each passing day.

It reminded me of when I was younger. That boy that we played football with in the park. That gorgeous, smooth, beautiful boy. It reminded me of how terrifying it was to know that the way I felt was somewhat different from how things were supposed to be. I understand my attractions a bit better now, accepting certain truths about myself that weren't going to just 'go away'. But when it first hit me...that first time that I actually had to confront my deepest desires...I was horrified. So scared, so lost. So afraid of being discovered and outcasted from my friends, my family. I didn't choose to feel what I was feeling. It worked on a level that I couldn't understand, much less control. I didn't want to be that way, I would have done ANYTHING to change it, to fix it, to deny its existence in my life. But my attractions stayed. No matter how 'wrong' or how 'sick' they seemed. No matter how much the rest of the world hated me for it, no matter how much I hated myself for it...the 'truth' remained. And it refused to go away. God, how I struggled with those questions. Wondering what I did wrong, why I was cursed, how I could hide it from the world. It's not right! I told myself. It's not SANE! The people around me would have thought that I was some twisted little basket case. Some pervert that sat at home, thinking of ways to touch every boy that I saw at school. They would have seen me as a person without any sense of control. That I just saw any and every penis in the world as a possible target, and that I would be desperate enough to continuously try to seduce every last one of them into giving me a taste. And for a long time...I believed them. By the 7th grade, I was masturbating just thinking of some of the boys in my classes, especially gym...and afterwards, I would cry tears of pure self hatred for being so sick. I wondered if they were watching me in the halls at school. If they knew my secret. If exposing that secret would cause me to be the most hated person on Earth. No matter what I did to be a good person, or how many good things I accomplished, or how much I denied myself sexual contact of any kind...they'd hate me anyway. Because the label would remain, and I'd be a menace in their eyes.

Now...I find myself at that same door. Looking for answers as to who or what I am, but so afraid to let anyone know what I was searching for. Afraid to let anyone hear me knocking on a door reserved for the 'other' kind. The kind that can't be trusted, the kind that you can't turn your backs on. God help them if I was to suddenly develop feelings for them! THAT would be the most awful, despicable thing in the world! How could they ever survive in a world where somebody actually 'loved' them? So...instead of learning to hold my head up with pride, instead of allowing myself to love anybody, I went into hiding. I turned my feelings inward, and refused to let them out. I never told anyone, and I lived in constant fear of someone finding out that I was different. Now...I find myself hiding again, being ashamed and afraid. I can't even tell the boy I love. Once again, I've had people tell me to lock it away, to put a gag in my mouth and never let a genuine feeling of love cross my mind...even for a split second. I must be an awful person to make them fear my affections so terribly. As I walked the streets that night, I sighed to myself and wondered if this secret would lead to a mirror image of my life before my crossover. If this hidden ability of mine would make me push everyone away, close myself off to them, unable to share my true feelings. And I began to think of what it would be like, if the people I called 'family' at the abandoned lot, would soon find themselves shooting spitballs at me too. Then I'd be all alone again. Same destined path, just for different reasons. They're the 'outcasts' in society's eyes...If even THEY won't tolerate the secrets I hold, even after understanding how hard it is to be different themselves, then how the hell am I going to survive? If that's the life I have to live...then I look 'forward' to being dismembered.

I reached Tim's place about a half hour later, and knocked on the door. John opened up, his boyish smile always causing a certain 'weak in the knees' feeling to all who saw it's brilliance, and he invited me in. "Tim will be with you in just a second. He's with a patient right now. You can have a seat if you want."

"Uh...yeah. Sure. Thanks." I sat down in a rather comfortable lazy chair in the corner of the room next to the bookcase, and John sat directly accross from me on the couch. The room got so quiet that the ticking of the old grandfather clock seemed almost deafening. It was then that I noticed John was staring at me, and it made me a bit uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry. It's just...wow. So...you're the 'mimic' right? The first one born in centuries. Tim told me about you. You'll have to excuse me if I'm a bit intrigued." His English accent added a delightful flavor to every word, I loved to hear it. At least I know that someone out there would accept me if they knew.

"Yeah, well don't be. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing just yet." I answered.

"So modest too. Not to worry, I'm sure you'll figure it out somehow. And so young, as well. I'm impressed."

Tim then walked into the room with a young boy, blood covering his shirt, and he was walking with a limp. "You're going to have to be much more careful about your debts, Gregory. I suggest you try harder to make your deadlines next time." He said. The boy nodded and walked out, aparently holding his arm in place to keep it from falling off. As badly as it was chewed up, he would have been better off letting it drop. Tim walked over to John, giving him a gentle kiss on the lips before smiling in my direction. "Justin...you are a bit late for your appointment. I expected you days ago."

"I ran into some problems. My hunger pains..."

"Yes, yes...well it looks like you don't have to worry about them anymore, do you?" They could both tell that I had finally feasted on the living blood of another. They must have been able to see it in my eyes. Feel it in the almost visible aura that surrounded me ever since. I still felt like a whole new person since that night. "Let's step into the other room. Char and Becca are waiting."

I rose out of the comfort of my chair. "Ok...say...what happened to that boy you were just helping?"

"Gregory? Oh, well let's just say that our blood dealing friend, Jeremy, doesn't like to be cheated. If you owe him money, I suggest you pay up. Otherwise I'll be re-attaching your severed arm in there too." How he could say that with a nonchalant smile, I'll never know. He walked me into a dim lit room and sat me down on what looked like a psychiatrist's couch. I looked up and saw two young girls, about 18 or 19, standing in lab coats at the other end of the room. I mumbled a shy hello, and Tim introduced us. "Justin, this is Char. She's going to use her extra to physically examine you and tell us exactly what kind of life you've had and possibly will have in the near future. This will help us know what kind of vampire you are, by using the knowledge of what kind of human you once were. Understand?"

"Um...I think so." I said.

"Very nice to meet you, Justin." She said, shaking my hand lightly.

Tim continued, "And this is Becca. She's going to be mentally examining your subconscious mind and memories. The reason every vampire's extra is different, is because it reflects the kind of people we were when we were alive. Therefore, by looking into your psyche, we'll determine what new surprises we can expect to see as your powers manifest themselves."

I extended a hand to greet her as well, but she didn't take it. "Not yet Justin. But it IS a pleasure to finally meet you."

"Her extra works with physical contact. She'll need her strength for the exam." Char said. "Are you ready?"

"To be honest...I'm not so sure." I said.

"Good. Honesty is exactly what we are looking for." Char walked up to me, and Becca took out a clipboard to jot down some notes. Char signaled me to remove my shirt, and then I saw her eyes begin to glow. Brightly. Almost bright enough to cause me to squint. "Now, I just want you to relax, and try not to analyze, object to, explain, or mask, anything that I say while we're in this room. Trust me, your physical properties won't lie. And we have no secrets here. No judgements. Understood?" I nodded. "Good, then let us begin."

Char lightly placed her hands on either side of my face, and let them travel down to my neck. Then over my chest, my shoulders, my arms, my hands, between each of my fingers. The room was silent except for my breathing. I could feel a faint sensation of heat coming from her hands. A gentle vibration that seemed to seep through my skin and go all the way to the bone. Then, she began to speak. "Ok...subject has just recently completed his crossover. Bloodflow is normal, although signs of stress indicate a long hesitation before his initial feeding." She could tell that from rubbing her hands over my skin? "Subject is approximately 14 years of age, average height, slightly less than average weight. Sandy blond hair, natural. Blue eyes, natural." Her fingertips traveled back up to my face, and she peered into my eyes. "Slight grooves under the eyes indicate traces of sleep deprivation in life. Tear ducts, well active. Many tears...chronic depression. Wrinkle traces in the rest of the face don't match the use of tear ducts. In fact, activity in both ducts go far beyond facial strain. Meaning frequent tears without reason, emotion, or motivation. Possible suicidal tendencies." What??? This was WAY too weird! I must have shown the surprise on my face because Char told me, "Justin, please try to relax. Just breathe...and relax."


"Shhh." Her hands moved back down to my arms. "Signs of repair to the right shoulder, dislocated at age 9. Scar on the right arm, just below the shoulder, possibly a deep gash, caused from broken glass. Healed skin abrasions and slight stretches in the flesh would indicate frequent bruising. The size and shape of the bruised tissue would allow me to assume the bruises are man made. Delivered intentionally by an adult, male, approximately 38 years of age. The frequency of the suspected abuse and the amount of markings on the skin indicate almost daily beatings. My theory is that the continuous markings came from a parent or guardian." It was at this point that I became extremely uncomfortable. She knew everything about me. She could tell all that I had been through, easily, effortlessly. And she actually spoke the words out loud. Even I couldn't do that. I suddenly felt exposed. Naked. As though all of my secrets were opned to her, secrets that I couldn't trust ANYBODY with. I had purposely hidden them away, buried them deep down where no one would ever discover the kind of life that I had lived. And she was able to dig through them like she was rummaging through a sock drawer. "Don't worry, Justin. It's almost over, ok? No secrets, remember?"

"Sigh...I'm trying."

"I know. Trust in me. It stays in this room." She walked around to the back of the couch. "Ok, now these markings here are fresh. Healed, but not completely. More of these markings appear on the chest and stomach area. This shows symptoms of a struggle shortly before the subject's crossover. Markings were made by what appears to be several teenage males, all at once. Harsh kicking and random locations of bruises indicate rage, anger. The deepness of the wounds show signs of passive resistance." Char walked around and unbuttoned my pants. I instinctively used my hands to cover myself, but she smiled, "I'll be quick. I promise." I did my best to relax, and move my hands away as she reached in and touched my most private places. "Signs of chronic masturbation before his crossover. Subject maintained his virginity...until recently," She smiled, "...and has had that encounter with another teenage male. Homosexual tendencies with no previous anal penetration. The gentle nature of sexual activity indicates that the subject is in love, and has only been active with two partners in his lifetime."

"One." I said.

"Excuse me?" She said.

"One other partner."

Char looked down again, and shook her head, "Actually, recent markings and faded finger impressions would show activity with a second partner."

"You CAN'T mean Trevor! I mean that was nothing. It didn't even COUNT!" I protested.

Char looked over her shoulder at Becca, who shrugged her shoulders. Then repeated, "Subject's markings show sexual activity with TWO partners in his lifetime." She zipped me up. "Genetalia size...average." I rolled my eyes and she made her final statements. "Conclusive evidence shows the subject experienced five years of parental abuse from the age of 8 until the age of 13. The sudden halt of this abuse would indicate spousal divorce, where the abusive parent was removed from the household. Homosexual tendencies and signs of depression add up, and increased shortly before his crossover. Subject was assumably bitten after preparation for a suicide attempt. Markings from teenage males and symptoms of daily stress connotate a rejection from classmates, possibly causing severe withdrawal. Passive resistance against an attack shows that subject had merely given up the fight, perhaps thinking he deserved it. Surpressed memories and ucomfortable reactions to my exam, especially on the subject of sexual partners. His vampire thirst was quenched within the last 24 hours, and his new found capabilities are expected to manifest and strengthen within the next 8 to 10 days." And with that, it was over. "That wasn't so bad, now was it?" She grinned. God, if she was able to embarrass and humiliate me with my phyisical exam, God KNOWS what Becca was going to do to me mentally!