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It goes without saying that I had a lot to think about as I hurried back toward my foster parents' house. Since I needed to get back before Bill woke up, I was cutting through the park. That would shave ten minutes off my trip, but it was going to give me less time to think about all the things that were asking for attention in my head. It made me wish I had a few extra brains to help me handle it all. A couple of things stood taller than the others in the demand for attention, so I focused on them first.
The first was the fact that I was about to voluntarily put myself back into a situation that had helped drive me to the point of suicide, and that I was doing it on the advice of someone I'd only known for an hour and a half of my life. The question of "why" kept haunting me, and I just kept telling myself "because you made a promise and because it's the right thing to do."
Second standing tallest for attention was, of course, Michael. Who was he? What was he? I couldn't get myself to believe that a normal average person could be the way he'd been, or do the things he'd done. The way he'd reached me to catch me when I was falling. The way he'd been able to reach me where I was completely unreachable at. The way he made it feel like I was talking to a good friend who cared about me instead of a perfect stranger. It was unbelievable.
I was about to give the third thing in line some thought when a noise caught my attention. Still jogging, I took a look around to see if I could see what had made it. I wasn't sure what it was, so I had no idea what I was looking for. When I didn't spot anything but trees, a few shrubs in the distance, and the metallic picnic tables, I figured it was probably a bird or something.
I was looking off to the left, so I didn't see the guy who had walked out almost in front of me from behind one of the trees up ahead until I turned back forward and saw him. My body liked to jump ten feet straight up into the air. My feet forgot for a second they were jogging and I almost stumbled. I managed to keep myself composed somehow and keep on jogging like I'd known he was there all along.
I didn't look at him as I passed, but I knew he was looking at me. I could feel his eyes staring right at me.
Not sure exactly why he was out there and if he was looking to cause some trouble, I kept my ears open for any sound that would point to him coming after me. When I didn't hear anything I got curious. Thinking I was far enough ahead of him I absently turned my to look behind me to see what the guy was up to. He wasn't up to too much. As the matter of fact, he wasn't even there.
My legs skidded to a stop before my brain even sent the signal to them. I had to do a double take, maybe even a triple. I searched the nearby trees, picnic tables, the big playground over to the right, just about any other place he could've gone. Nothing. It was like he'd just vanished into thin air. Just like Michael had back at The Bluffs.
I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck start standing on end, and my heart started to beat a little faster. I'm not one of those people who needs a lot of signs to tell them that something about a situation ain't right. What just happened was like a HUGE beacon to me that said: "nothing about what you just saw was natural, so if I were you, I'd haul ass out of here." I didn't have the slightest problem agreeing with that line of thinking.
As I turned my head forward and started running, a sharp yelp came out my throat and my body jumped involuntarily. That guy was right in front of me! I knew this was the same guy, I could tell from the clothes and his shape. I knew there was no way he could've pulled that off. Nobody was THAT damn fast. But tada! There he was.
The guy was taller than me, a bit more built up than me, and being only about five feet away from me, I could clearly see his features. I figured him about sixteen or seventeen, since his moustache wasn't real thick and he didn't have any hair on his chin. His brown hair was in that unruly wild look that I had seen a lot white boys wear and his eyes looked somewhere between dark brown and black. A quick sparkle of something in his left earlobe took my attention to a stud that was there. The jewel. It was just like the one Michael had in his stud.
In situations where I'm scared so badly I might piss all over myself at any moment, or in really stressful situations, my mind has the ability to work more accurately than normal. Already it was suggesting that I take off running and had come up with three different ways I could take in order to do that. I didn't see any good reason to disobey my mind and got ready to take off toward the right where the playground was. At least that way, if this guy was going to give me trouble, I could put some barriers between us.
I started the motion of turning to run in that direction, only to get the shock of my life. There was somebody standing to my right now! Now I knew for a fact that not even ten second ago NOBODY had been standing to my right. But just like the guy in front of me, this one was all of a sudden just "there". This new person on my right had black hair and looked the same age as the guy in front of me.
Seeing that that way was blocked, I got ready to go to the left. There wouldn't be anything I could use as a barrier that way, but at least I could hop the fence and run into the condo complex that was next door to the park and maybe get someone to help me or at least be fast enough to loose them. I turned...and freaked. Another person was "there". This one had short red hair and looked like he could be my age.
Moving nothing but my head this time, I looked behind me. Another incredible appearing person was present.
From out of nowhere four very different people
had just popped up without a sound and without being seen. They'd
cut off all possible ways for me to escape, as if they knew I'd been considering
it. My stomach started knotting up and I felt a huge lump form in
my throat. I was trapped.
"Isn't it past your bedtime, kid?" the guy in front of me said. The tone in his voice was enough to let me know how he was intending this situation to go. And it wasn't to a happy place.
I didn't know what the hell was I going to do.
I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to keep my mouth shut and try to get
out of there, or to answer him. My quick mind was starting to falter
and it must've taken me longer than I thought because the guy in front
of me spoke again.
"I asked you a question! Answer me!" he growled.
I tried to swallow the lump in my throat down
and prepared to make myself at least sound like I wasn't as scared as I
" Look, I don't know what this is all about. I just want to go home." I started out in a strong, regular tone. By the time I reached the end of the sentence I was sounding weak and damn near whispering.
The four of them laughed.
"Hear that guys? He just wants to go home." the blonde haired guy behind me said in a young sounding voice that to me sounded like he was trying to make it sound deeper and tougher than it really was.
"Well, we could let you do that, but where would the fun be in that?" the red-haired guy who was on my left answered me.
"Aw, come on, guys, we should at least give him chance. How about a ten second head start?" the black haired guy to my right suggested, making me more afraid because now it was like they were playing with me.
It also made me wonder why in the world they were
doing what they were doing to me in the first place. I didn't know
these guys, and they sure as hell didn't know me.
"Ten? That's too easy. How about twenty?" the guy, or rather kid, behind me threw in his suggestion.
"Why don't we make it a real challenge and just go for thirty? The guy to my right wagered in, and a couple of seconds later the guy on my left and the one behind me agreed.
"Well, seems the vote is unanimous. You get a thirty second head start to try and make it home. You make it there before we get to you, big congrats and you'll never hear from us again. You don't make it there and...well, you'll just have to find out." the guy in front of me told me.
He didn't even give me a chance to say a thing.
After he said what he had to say, he lifted up his wrist to look at the
watch that was on it and said,
"And that thirty seconds starts..."
A few moments of silence before he smiled brightly
I was gone before I even knew I'd taken off. None of them moved to stop me either, which let me know what they'd proposed was legit. Their bad. They should've whooped my ass or whatever they were going to do to me while they had the chance. `Cause with a thirty second head start there was no way in the world they were going to get me, and no way in the world I was going to let them get me.
I counted in my head as I tore across the park, heading toward the front of it where the sidewalk began. I was confident that if I could make it there it would take a miracle (or an automobile) for them to catch up with me because I'd be a good ways away from them.
At "one" I was gone. "Two" through "ten" I was halfway across the park. By "fifteen" I glanced back over my shoulder to see if they were coming after me. I could still see their figures standing out against the darkness and the spot where everything had began. "Twenty" to "twenty-five" I was pushing myself as hard as I could. I was almost there. Just a little bit more and I'd be at the edge of the park and homefree.
"Thirty." a familiar voice whispered right into my left ear.
Suddenly I felt myself flying through the air. I mean literally flying. I was moving and my feet were not touching the ground...or at least they felt like they weren't. I wasn't moving forward, though. I felt like I was moving backward. Everything around me went whizzing by like I was on a ride at an amusement park. The next thing I knew I was slammed against what felt like something very thick, the wind was knocked out of me. I took two deep breaths, trying to get my breath back, and I opened my eyes. The guy who had been in front of me a few moments before was still there, only now he was holding me by the collar of my shirt. His three friends were also there; laughing like all this was funny.
This wasn't happening! This. Could.
Not. Be. Happening! I'd seen them way back behind me
when I checked to see if they were following me. Unless they had
that automobile, whatever miracle I was thinking about they needed in order
to catch me they must've had. I don't care how fast any of them could
run, there was no way possible they could've caught up with me in that
short an amount of time. There was no way a human being could be
that damn fast. And yet...
"What the...h-how did you..." I stammered through attempts at trying to get my breath.
"Gotta love the ones that start stuttering when we get to this part." the red-haired guy who had been on my left a few seconds ago remarked.
"That's how you know they're really scared." the blonde haired kid who'd been behind me said.
The black haired guy who'd been to my right looked
me up and down slowly.
"Been awhile since we've had one this scared though."
"Just makes the chase all the more worth it." the red-haired guy said.
"Guys, I think we're being a little rude here. He asked us a question and nobody's bothered to answer it." the guy holding me by my collar said to his friends, before turning to me and asking, "What was that question again, buddy?"
I had my breath back by this point and didn't
make the same mistake of taking too long to answer him this time.
"How did you catch up to me?"
The black-haired guy clapped his hands together
"The million dollar question." he said.
"You wanna know how we all caught up to you?" the guy holding me asked.
I started to answer, but my voice died out somewhere
between my voice box and my mouth. I nodded a couple of times as
best I could. A smile like none I'd ever seen broke across his face.
It wasn't intimidating, scary, or funny. It was the kind of smile
that I could only associate with one thing. Evil. He leaned
in close to me slowly, turning his mouth to my ear.
"`Cause we're vampires. That's how we caught up to you."
I almost laughed. Yep, after all the shit that had just happened I almost busted up laughing. I mean what kind of an answer was that? "I'm a vampire." That would be like stopping robbers from robbing a house and then telling them "I'm Batman" when they asked who I was. It looked like somebody had been tearing up the crack pipe before they'd come out to harass me.
That's when the guy showed me his face. At first I thought I'd hit what I was assuming was a tree harder than I'd thought, because it looked to me like his eyes were changing. It began as the pupil lit up from its dark black color to a bright yellow and the iris of his dark colored eyes lightened to become an icy shade of blue.
My eyes opened wide and my body tensed up so badly I thought it was going to snap in half. Fuck denial. Fuck trying to say that what I was seeing wasn't real. I'd just watched it happen right before my eyes. My mind didn't even try coming up with a way to explain what my eyes had just seen. All it could tell me based on observation was that this guy was exactly what he'd told me he was. A vampire.
My reaction only made the guy enjoy the moment even
"What's wrong, kid, I thought you wanted to die?" he said, sending a horrible chill into me.
What the hell?! How did he know that? Sensing that his words had struck a chord with me and smiled that wicked smile of his, only wider this time. Unlike last time, I noticed that his two teeth, the canines, were longer than they should've been. Long as in fang-length long.
This was too much for my mind. Where it had
been going with what appeared to be concrete fact a minute ago, it switched
directions and immediately went to work on an explanation for what I was
seeing. The fangs could've been fake. The guy could've put
them in when I couldn't see his face. And his eyes? Contact
lenses that could've also been put in during the time I couldn't see his
face. But no. No, his eyes had changed. They'd changed.
I'd just watched them do it. That still left the fangs.
The fangs that were gleaming at me like sharp specially crafted blades.
"It's too bad. I actually wanted to see if you had the guts to jump." he continued, "But I guess this way is better. `Cause you get what you want, and I get what I want!"
With those final words he turned my head harshly
to the left and dove toward my neck, preparing to bite deeply into it.
My eyes clamped shut, my mind trying to spare my already waning sanity
from becoming complete madness and I braced myself for the oncoming pain
that I knew was going to soon hit my body.
"Get off him, Eric!" I heard a voice yell suddenly.
My left eye opened. That voice. I knew it. My right eye opened and immediately went searching for the owner. About seven feet away from the guys that were packing me was a person that instantly put the name to the voice. It was Michael.
The guy who was about to attack me, Eric's,
head snapped angrily toward Michael's direction. The attention of
the other three guys was also on him as Eric said,
"Well, well. If it isn't my old pal Mikey. How's it been hangin' buddy?" he said in a sort of mocking tone.
"Let go of him." Michael ordered him in what had to be the sternest voice I'd ever heard a person speak with.
Eric glanced back at me. His eyes had changed
back to their normal color and his fangs were gone.
"Let me think about for a second."
He pretended to do so for a couple of seconds,
looking up toward the sky, his eyes looking up and off toward the right,
before he looked back down at me and said,
"Um...no. See, he's not even supposed to be alive right now. But he has you to thank for that, doesn't he?"
Again with the "how did he know that" moment.
Had this freak been watching me since I'd walked out to The Bluffs or something?
"What you did, Mikey, that's a no, no, no. You know just as well as I do that you aren't supposed to interfere with the taking of a human life by human hands." Eric continued.
Surprise. I think that's what it was.
It was on Michael's face for a split second. If I would've blinked
I know I would've missed it. The original look on his face returned
and he said,
"Since when did you start following the rules?"
"I'm just sayin'. If word gets out what you did, you'll be in pretty deep with the..."
He stopped suddenly and turned completely around
to face me again. For a second he seemed puzzled about something.
Then he leaned in slowly toward me. My eyes shut instantly and I
tensed up and braced myself again as an automatic reaction. I heard
him inhale deeply.
"Wait a minute..."
His nose was right up against my neck. I could
feel it as he inhaled deeply a couple more times, like he was trying to
catch a scent or something. I didn't move.
"Holy shit!" he exclaimed suddenly. "Did you know about this? Wait...does he know about this?"
My eyes were back open. What was he talking
about? What didn't I know about?
"I've already asked you once. I won't ask anymore after this. Let him go." Michael ordered him.
That evil grin spread across Eric's lips again.
"You didn't use the magic word. Guess I'll have to punish you."
It's really hard to describe exactly what happened after Eric said that. What it looked like as far as my eyes were concerned was like Eric's body glitched. One second he was in front of me, the next half a second his body looked distorted, and when the other half of a second came to make a full second, his body looked regular again. Whatever happened had some kind of crazy effect on Michael because the next the I knew he was flying (yes, flying) across the ground and directly into a tree that was a good five feet behind him. It was almost like something had hit him VERY hard. Even his body reacted like he'd been hit. It doubled over forward like he'd been nailed in the stomach.
I was about to call out to Michael when Eric's
hand grabbed me tightly and roughly around the neck, holding me even harder
against the tree.
"You two hold him back." he ordered his red and black haired friends. "You get his shirt off." he ordered the blond haired one.
They quickly did as they were told. By
the time Michael recovered from the collision with the tree, the two guys
were already on him, standing on his left and right side and holding him
back against the tree.
"I'm not just going to let him go, Mikey. I'm gonna set him free." Eric said.
The blond haired kid reached up with both hands
to the collar of Michael's black shirt and pulled, ripping the thing apart
almost perfectly right down the middle.
"Let's give our friend here a little taste." Eric suggested.
The kid nodded and raised his index finger so that it was exactly over the place where Michael's heart was. He was too far away for me to clearly see what happened, but somehow he was able to cut Michael deep enough to the point that he started bleeding. It wasn't a huge amount like he'd been stabbed, more like a small incision that had him bleeding just enough to tell he was actually bleeding.
The kid collected some of the red fluid on his finger
and came over toward my direction again. Eric turned to me as the
"Open your mouth!" he ordered.
"Evan, keep your mouth shut!" Michael objected a second later.
"Oh, you're gonna open your mouth."
I didn't even know he'd punched me in the stomach until I felt the dull pain in my gut and I let out a harsh gasp. In that moment my mouth was completely open. That was all the blond haired kid needed in order to shove his blood covered finger into my mouth and remove it before I realized what he'd done and tried to bite it off.
I know what blood tastes like. I'd bitten my tongue and busted lips, and had teethed pulled enough times to know its warm, nasty, and salty, and if a person swallows too much of it it'll make them sick as hell. That was exactly what I was expecting from Michael's blood and was just about to spit it out when the flavor sank into my taste buds. It didn't taste like blood. Well it did, but that taste was overshadowed big time by something...sweeter I guess. Whatever it was, it did something to me. `Cause when I swallowed, this crazy feeling went through my body for a few seconds. It was like this calming, tranquil kind of feeling.
Eric knew what was happening inside me because he
slapped my lightly across the face and gave me an arrogant little smile.
"Good shit, huh?" he said, before moving closer so that his mouth was to my ear again, and whipering, "You want more?"
"No! No, no, no no!!!!" I screamed the words in my head and meant for them to be said by my mouth. Didn't happen. Instead, my head shook yes a couple of times slowly.
Eric let go of my neck and stepped over to
my side. That smile never left his face.
"Help yourself, buddy."
I was not in control of myself, something else
was. It made me walk away from that tree and over toward where Michael
was still being held.
"Evan, please listen to me. You have to stop. You don't know what it'll do to you." Michael pleaded with me.
"I...can't." were the only words I could say.
And I couldn't. I was trying as hard as I could but I just couldn't stop myself! I got more and more afraid with each step I took toward him. What was happening to me? What was making me do this?
That was the only time I saw true defeat in Michael's
eyes that night. That and a bit of fear mixed in. He must've
known I couldn't stop myself. He lowered his head and sighed.
"I'm sorry, Evan, for what's about to happen." the defeat was even in his voice.
I was at him by that time, my eyes locked onto the
gash near his heart that was still oozing fresh blood. I never even
got a moment for reconsideration. Whatever had a hold of me forced
my lips to the cut and made me suck in a little of the blood.
The next suck, was stronger and longer than the first, so was the next
one, and the next one. Michael trembled and a groan that sounded
like one of pain came out of him.
"Am I hurting him? Oh shit! I'm hurting him!" I thought to myself, once again trying to mentally overtake the force that had me. Still couldn't. If anything, my attempt to fight it only made it stronger and made it more ravenous for the blood it was feeding off of.
"Evan...please...s-stop." Michael pleaded with me again.
I could hear the pain in his voice. What
I was doing was hurting him. Badly.
"He can't stop, Mikey. You should know that." I heard Eric tell him.
Hearing that was like a que for the feeling to prove Eric was right. My hands clamped around Michael's waist and my nails dug into the fabric of his pants as the feeling intensified. It was making me crazy. It was hard to even think straight. My vision was starting to blur and my ears had started ringing. I was sucking as hard and as fast as I could now.
Michael yelled this time in sheer pain. His
body was trembling even more now. And all I could do was just be
privy to it.
"Dude, make him stop, Eric." I heard one of the guys say.
"Yeah. That's enough." another one added.
"Just a little bit longer." Eric said a moment later.
"He'll fuckin' kill him if he goes a little bit longer!" the one who'd told Eric to make me stop snapped.
Kill him? I was killing him?! No! No, I had to stop RIGHT NOW! I didn't care how strong or how powerful the feeling was. I was not going to let it make me kill another human being.
The burst of willpower that came from that was enough
to break the feeling's hold over me. I pushed myself away from Michael
and fell backward against the ground.
"No. I won't kill him. I won't kill him." I told myself over and over again, hoping that thought was keeping my willpower strong enough to overcome the feeling.
The ringing in my ears got louder until I couldn't even hear myself think...if I would've been able to think. My head started spinning and my eyes lost their ability to distinguish certain colors. Everything began taking on an orangish-looking hue.
At that moment I was probably more afraid than I'd ever been in my life. All I could think was that whatever it was that had taken over me was gearing up to take over again. Charging itself up to get stronger so it could crush my willpower completely and make me completely incoherent so that I wouldn't know I was taking somebody's life. I hoped not. I prayed not. Because this time I definitely wasn't going to be able to fight.
Then, everything swirled together and reality started fading away. My hearing was the first thing to go, leaving me alone in complete silence. My vision lost the ablility to distinguish color period and everything turned black and white, before the white faded away and everything became pitch black.
In those last few moments of consciousness, I thought about Michael. I thought about how he'd saved me when I was about to go over the edge of The Bluffs. I thought about all he'd done to try and convince me that death wasn't the solution to my problems. And then, how he'd stood up to this monster that hid behind a teenaged face in order to save me. All of that had been done in vain. Because now the tables had been turned and instead of me taking my life, it looked like I was going to take his.
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