A teenage girl starts changing into a vampire. What will she do?
|Faith saw her mom murdered right in front of when she was five years old. But something else happens to her that night, something she doesn't remember, something that doesn't activate until she comes of age. Now she has two reasons to want to kill the mysterious individual who caused all of it. But she shows she can't do it alone. So when she finds a new friend, can he help her? Or is she going to turn him away?
I was 5 years old. I didn't know what was happening or where I was. I remembering hearing a gunshot and a pool of blood forming around my mother's body. When I try to remember who did it, every time I try to remember his face, I start to get dizzy and his face blurs. I can't remember what happened. I relive that memory every day because the image of my mother's body runs continuously through my nightmares, and I vow that I will not rest till I find who killed her that day. That won't be a problem for me because I don't sleep or eat. My body will never die. As for my soul, well, that died 11 years ago. Because on that day, that person also did something to me to make me like him... a monster.
I remember what happened perfectly the day the change happened.
I was 16 years old, waking up to my foster mom, Clara, making me breakfast that morning. She wasn't like most foster moms, who was just in it for the money. It seemed like she actually cared for me. Too bad that she wasn't the one who took me in the first time. I might've been more trusting to those around me if she had been.
When I sat down and looked at the bacon and waffles that sat on my plate, I immediately ran to the nearest bathroom and retched out everything that I had eaten the day before. When I sat back down at the table, I couldn't eat it. Just looking at the food made me want to throw up again. It felt like my body couldn't take it anymore. Into the trash it goes. "Faith Greene!! Don't you waste food like that! Since when do you not like waffles and bacon?" I mumbled something about not feeling well and got out of there as soon as possible.
So I went to school, ignoring the hunger pains shooting through my stomach. Once I had gotten to school, all my friends greeted me at the gate like always. As usual, I gave my friend, Serena, a hug but this time was different. I didn't want to let go. I held on to her and only because she smelled so good. No...good wasn't the right word for it. She smelled delicious. I breathed in deeply. My stomach began to rumble. I heard pumping right next to my ear, making me lean toward the sound.
Serena started trying to gently nudge me away, which only made me hold her tighter. No, I wasn't going to let her get away. Not until that delicious scent was gone. I turned my mouth toward her neck and inhaled. My mouth began to water. I had to taste her.
"Faith, you can let go now," Serena said. Let her go? No, not just yet. Now she was trying to push me off, but I was holding her too tight. Giving into the hunger, I sunk my teeth into her neck and instantly felt the blood pouring into my mouth. Serena began to scream from the pain, her screams slowly transforming into moans of pleasure. That alone made me want more. I felt Stephanie tearing at my shoulder trying to pry me off. When she finally managed, Serena fell to the ground, conscious but swaying, her blue eyes glazing over. Stephanie pushed me out of the way, her brown mane whipping around her shoulders, to check on Serena.
"WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!" Stephanie screamed.
"Huh?" I asked, still in a daze from the rush of fresh blood in my veins.
"WHY DID YOU BITE HER?!" Somehow Stephanie's screaming snapped me out of my daze, making me aware of the situation.
I started to feel the guilt of what I had done sink into now full stomach. Serena stood up and took my hand, holding me tightly as if she didn't want me to let go. Stephanie didn't like that very much.
"No! Don't touch her! Stay the hell away from her!" she screamed, advancing on me in anger.
Serena stopped her, holding up her hand, and said, "Stephanie, it's fine. I'm fine." Then she looked at me. "It's okay."
With that, she walked away from me, as if being bitten was just a normal day for her. Stephanie gave me a disgusted look and ran to catch up to Serena, leaving me alone. That's when the reality of what I had just done sank in, and I began to run.
I ran toward the only safety I knew, home. I couldn't believe what just happened. I drank my best friend's blood. Why? I slowed down, realizing that I couldn't go home. What if I did the same thing to Clara? What if I killed her? I couldn't let that happen, to the only mom I have.
I changed directions and began running to the park, except, this time, when I ran, it felt different. It felt like I was flying. I arrived at the park in seconds, only to see that it was filled with a bunch of toddlers and their moms. I just couldn't risk and possibly drinking someone else's blood. I couldn't do it again.
So I went home. Luckily, Clara was out and the house was empty. I went to the bathroom to wash off the blood on my face, shocked by the girl staring at me in the mirror. I had always had red hair and blue eyes (thanks genetic lottery!), but when I looked at myself in the mirror, it was like looking at a monster. Blood coated my face from my chin to my neck, and down my white shirt. My eyes, which had been a dull blue, now were a brilliant electric blue, but had a strange red ring around the iris. My normally coppery red hair now blazed like fire. What was happening to me? I began to frantically scrub the blood off my face, as if by scrubbing, I could erase what I had done.
I went up to my room, wanting to change clothes to take away the rest of the horror. If I was going to be a monster, I was going to look the part. I decided black was a good color ( and honestly, black goes with everything, even blood), so I threw on my studded skinny jeans, with my favorite black crop top. To complete the ensemble, I decided on my dark green, almost black, leather jacket, and my black knee-high boots.
I began packing my stuff. Being a foster child, I had learned to only keep what I could fit in one bag. When I was done packing, I lifted the bag, testing the weight. For once, it felt like I was carrying nothing but air. Throwing it on my back, I left the house, looking back one last time, before I started running, picking a direction at random.
I vowed never to return here again, not only for the safety of my friends and family but for my own sake as well.
I ran all night. How I managed without sleep? I had no idea, but I was grateful for it. With everything happening to me, I couldn't wake up to my nightmare containing the gruesome memory of my mother. Victoria Greene. Like me, she had copper red hair, but her eyes weren't blue. I must've gotten that from my father. I don't even remember the color of my mother's eyes. The last image I have of her, she looked like she was sleeping. I never saw her eyes again. But I couldn't think about that until I could make sense of what was happening to me. If only I could be rid of that horrid memory.
I didn't stop running until I saw the sun rise again. At first, I was nervous, having remembered all the legends about vampires. I didn't know what would happen to me. When the sunlight hit my skin, I was relieved to find that I didn't catch on fire...or sparkle. But it did irritate my eyes but only to where I could tolerate it to keep going. I stopped and slapped myself in the head. Of course, I wasn't allergic to sunlight! I just went to school yesterday and didn't burst into flames. Now I had to figure out what to do. I looked around trying to think of a plan. I saw that I was near a park far from where I was familiar.
"Okay, Faith, think. What do you need right now?" So far I had figured out that I had to drink blood. Remembering the taste of Serena's blood made my throat dry. I was hungry again. I found myself sniffing around, catching wind of a delicious scent. I looked around hungrily, unsure of what was happening, but my instincts decided to kick in, making me search for something. I followed the scent and found a man lying on a bench, dressed in rags, dirty and unshaven. It was obvious he was homeless. Bending down, I sniffed him again. At least, his blood was clean. Could I tell that Serena's was clean earlier? I decided not to think about that. I was hungry and needed to feed.
As I grabbed him, he began to struggle against me. I was strong enough to hold him down and get close to his neck. Of course, this caused him to scream. This only made me desire him more.
'Fuck! He's going to wake someone up!' I did not feel like playing games. 'WILL YOU JUST LET ME FEED!' Suddenly the man stopped screaming. I sank my teeth into his neck, the blood pouring into my mouth like sweet ambrosia. I didn't realize how hungry I was until I started drinking. I kept drinking more and more. I felt my victim get colder but paid no attention to it. I was only focused on getting what I needed to satisfy my hunger. Then the blood stopped flowing and the man stopped moaning.
Realization came over me. I just killed a man. I drank someone dry.
I looked at the man lying on the ground. I couldn't leave him there. What if the police found him? Would they come find me? I could only imagine telling the cops that I killed someone by sucking his blood. When I went to pick up the now dead homeless man, a voice stopped me.
"I would not move him. It is always best to leave the body alone after you have drank them dry."
I turned around, dropped on all fours, crouching and... growling? When I realized what I was doing, I quickly stood up and mentally shook my head. Since when did I become so... feral? I could swear I was turning into a monster.
"Do not worry. The police will not find any evidence of you. They will pass it off as an animal attack."
I looked up toward him and was immediately in awe. Before me was a young man, with jet black hair and emerald green eyes with a ring of red around the iris. He was about 6 feet tall and well built.
"Who are you?"
The man shook his head. "You are not in the position to be asking questions. You just killed a man in my territory. That alone gives me every right to kill you." He sniffed the air. "You are a fledgling." He said, astonished. "Come with me. I will help you."
I almost laughed. First, this complete stranger says that he wants to kill me. Then, he wants to help me because I'm a fledgling? What does that even mean? Who was this guy? "I'm not going anywhere with you until you tell me who the hell you are and what the fuck a fledgling is."
He looked at me enigmatically. "You do not even know what you are."
I shook my head. "All I know is that two days ago I was a regular 16-year-old girl. The next day, I was drinking my best friend's blood; now I'm here, and I just killed him!" I gestured to the homeless man lying dead on the ground beside us. "What's happening to me? What the fuck is going on? I want answers!"
Suddenly, he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder.
"What are you doing? PUT ME DOWN!"
"Be quiet." He started running, except faster than I was earlier. Even at that speed, it seemed at least a couple of hours until he stopped. He put me down.
"Why are we at the edge of a boat deck? Why did you take me here?" I demanded. He looked impatient. "Jump in the water."
"No thanks." I started to walk away but he blocked me.
"There is a place that we can swim to. There, I will answer any questions you have."
Was he crazy? "No."
"Fine." Once again, he picked me up and ran with me in his arms, jumping into the water. Even when were in the water, he didn't let me go. Instead he started swimming to what looked like an opening of a cave. Entering through the opening, we ascended to the light shining through the water. He let me go and climbed out of the water. He looked back at me, expecting me to follow. I did.
I looked in amazement at the scene before me. Expecting some disgusting, moss-ridden hellhole, I was shocked by the opulence of my surroundings. Thick, red velvet curtains covered every inch of the cave walls, hiding the walls entirely. Candles helped contribute to transferring the cave into something grander. They were everywhere, flames casting flickering shadows over the velvet. Ledges carved out of the rock decorated one wall of the cave, displaying artifacts that went back centuries or more, the light from the water reflecting off their gleaming edges. At the exact center of the cave, a fire pit sat, it's embers dying, illuminated only by a piercing beam of sunlight shooting straight down from a hole in the ceiling. Chairs designed more for comfort than appearance were scattered around the pit. It looked like a hideout for the Forty Thieves, or something.
I turned back to the person responsible for bringing me here. "Alright. You may have helped me get away with murder, but you still kidnapped me. You grabbed me, threw me on your back, ran to God-knows-where, and dragged me underwater until I ended up in this cave. I deserve answers and you're going to give them to me. Who are you?"
I watched as he walked off and went by the fire pit and lit it. He sat down stoking the fire until it started to blaze.
I got out of my daze real quick, marching over to him.
"Wait a minute, don't think I'm done. I still have a lot of questions and since you are the only one who can give them to me, then you're the one I'm going to ask. So don't try to ig-"
"I am not going to ignore you," Emilio interrupted. "I know what it is like to need answers. You are a fledgling. Every vampire has been through it - unless you are born a vampire, in which case you have grown up to learn the proper ways to feed, blend in with humanity, and protect yourself."
I stared at him. Did he just say vampire?
"I'm sorry but what did you just say? I am not a vampire."
"Did you or did you not drink the blood from that man?"
"How did you travel here?"
"For how long?"
"Do you think there is a human that exists that can run for that long without water or even a break? No. You are what you are. A vampire." He chuckled, mirthlessly. "I do not feel sorry for the man, however."
I looked at him after some moments of sinking in the new information. "Feel sorry for him? How could you not? I killed him. I drank him dry!"
Emilio shrugged. "True. It happens to most of us. But at least he was killed by a fledgling. If I had done it, he would not have been as lucky. At least he was killed by a bellisima."
I almost immediately started to blush but held it in. I simply smiled and said, "Well someone thinks he's charming."
He laughed without it reaching his eyes. "So where are you from, nuova?"
I rose my left eyebrow as his little nickname. "Springfield, Illinois. What about you?"
"How about you tell me what you were doing in that park first? Then, perhaps, I will tell you about myself." I looked at him. He continued, not taking no for an answer. "How did you end up in South Bend?"
"South Bend? As in Indiana?"
Emilio nodded. "I crossed a state border in one night?" I asked, incredulously.
Emilio nodded again. I just shook my head. I put my hand over my face, not wanting to look him in his eyes. "I bit one of my best friends. I was afraid I was going to bite someone else, so I ran away."
Emilio nodded once more, but this time more slowly, as if he was understanding what it was like. "Well, you failed."
I stared at him like he was a complete idiot. "Thanks. I got that."
New voices started.
"YO, EMILIO! YOU IN HERE?"
"YEAH, YOU HERE?"
I turned around. Behind me were two more guys and a girl. And they were... beautiful.
Emilio grinned at them, saying, "Si. Where have you been?"
One of the guys looked at me. Curiously. "We were hunting. I see you've brought a new friend, Emilio. Care to explain?"
Emilio smiled. "Calmati, Kyle. She is one of us. I found her in the park not too far from here. She had drank a man dry."
"E 'un neonato, fratello?" the girl said. She also had black hair but her eyes were fully red with a slight blue in them. (How old is she, brother?)
I saw Emilio nod. "Due vecchi tempi, sorella." (Only two days, sister.)
The girl nodded, understanding.
Kyle also nodded. "Is she staying here?"
I answered for myself this time. "I don't have to. In fact, I was actually dragged here." Yes. I was still ticked off about that.
Emilio disagreed. "Kyle, I cannot allow her out on her own. It was obvious in the park that she was not ready and has had no training - which is expected from a fledgling, yes, but we have to show her how to live. Otherwise, she will expose us all."
Kyle nodded. "What's your name?" he asked me.
"You got a last name?"
"I'm a foster kid, so I don't care for it. In the system, you're nothing but a number anyways."
Kyle looked at his little group. "So, how about we give you one?"
I was confused. "You want to change my name?"
"Why not? In our world, you're more than a number. You stand out for who you are," the other guy said. He had sandy hair and a slight southern accent.
Emilio agreed. "Why not?"
"How about I think about it? Just, for right now, you can call me Faith." I replied, nervous from all the eyes on me.
They all nodded and dispersed, going to sit by the fire pit and began talking amongst themselves. I turned around and stared at the glistening water in front of me. I had always loved the water.
Someone tapped my shoulder. It was the dude with the sandy hair.
"You aren't thinking about running away, are you?"
I laughed lightly. "No. Just thinking. What's your name?"
"Ben. Unlike you, I wasn't a number in a system. It wouldn't bother me, though. Or at least, I never thought about it. Is that how they treat you in the homes?"
I shook my head. "No. It's how the government treats us. It's because of how they transfer us from home to home."
Ben shook his head. "Wow. I'm sorry."
"No worries. So where are you all from? I noticed you had a slight Southern accent."
"I'm from Arkansas. But I've been around long enough to lose my accent."
"How long has it been since you've been like this?" I asked. Now that I know I'm a vampire, I'm curious about his answer.
"Fifteen years. So I'm pretty young. You don't get acknowledged as an oldie until you're, like, over a century old. The only one close is Emilio."
"How old is he?"
"No one knows, except his sister, Lara. But even she won't tell us."
"Where are they from?"
"Italy. Swam here after they turned, at least that what everyone thinks. They met up with Kyle and a few others and lived on their own for a little bit. Then they grew apart, but somehow still kept in contact with each other."
I smiled. It sounded nice to have someone be there for you when anything happens. No one was there for me during my tragedy. I was alone until a policeman found me a day later, but I was only a child then. Everyone thought I was human; and so did I, until two days ago.
"So what about you?" I heard Ben ask.
"What's your story?" he asked.
I thought about my mom and what happened that day. I still couldn't talk about it without shedding tears because it was still in the back of my brain. I was still hopeless and I couldn't stop dreaming about it every night and replaying it in my head every minute of the day.
"Faith?" He pushed, questioning.
"Don't ask." I whispered.
"What did you say?"
"I don't want to talk about it, okay?" I snapped. I felt bad for getting an attitude with Ben. He didn't do anything, but it just bothered me.
Looking at my face, he jumped up, holding up his hands and took a step back. "Okay, okay." Then he looked toward the others. "Kyle! Emilio!"
They were at his side in an instant and looked at me. Emilio grabbed my arm and marched me to the back of the cave and pushed through one of the curtains. Behind it was a room with a bed and even an armoire for clothes. He pushed me in and opened a mini fridge hidden between the bed and armoire. Inside were bottles of red liquid. Blood.
He handed me one. "Drink." He commanded. I did as I was told but crinkled my face at first. It didn't taste as good as it did when I drank from that guy.
When I finished, Emilio looked at me again, then handed me another one. I drank that one. After another look, Emilio finally looked satisfied.
"Why did Ben freak out?" I asked.
"As a fledgling, you have to drink more than usual vampires have to drink. Ben did what he did because of your eyes. They were fully red, which meant you were thirsty and about to attack." He sighed. "It can also happen if someone gets you mad. We have seen it happen to others many times."
I thought about how Ben kept asking me about what made me this way. It usually bothered me when people asked and that was probably what happened back there.
"I should go apologize to Ben. He just asked me a question and it bothered me, so I got an attitude. I guess it made my eyes go red."
I got up and was about to leave when the curtain opened, and in came Kyle. "How are you?'
I nodded. "According to Emilio, I will be fine. But I just happened to figured out that I have to drink at least two bottles of blood a day." I was slightly irritated. I hoped my eyes didn't show.
Kyle nodded. "Yeah, sometimes it can suck to be a fledgling. So, is this your room from now on?"
I looked around. "Is it taken?"
Kyle shook his head. "No."
I nodded. "Then yeah, I'll take it."
"Cool. I'll have Lara go to the store and get some bed stuff and clothes."
I nodded, then thought of something I had wanted to ask, but Kyle had already left. So, I asked Emilio. "Is there another entrance besides the water?"
Emilio nodded. "Si, it's deeper into the cave, but it leads to a small entrance not far from town. When we go out at night, we go that way. During the day, we use the water or the cave exit. It just depends on what we need to do."
"Okay." I yawned. "Gosh, I'm tired."
"It is only your second day as a vampire. You cannot expect to be as strong as us within two days. You can sleep in my room until Lara comes back with the stuff. I will wake you then."
I nodded. "Okay. Yeah." Emilio led me out of my new room and, two curtains down, he opened one and gestured me in. I went in and saw how much stuff was in his room. I looked at the really big bed and realized how tired I was.
"Go ahead and sleep. It will be fine. I promise."
I took off my boots and laid down on the bed, scrunched up into a fetal position, and fell asleep, not even hearing Emilio leave.
My one nightmare came back like it always did. I realized that, vampire or human, I couldn't be rid of it. Not even Emilio could keep the nightmares away.
I woke from my nightmare to complete silence. I looked around and realized I was now in my new room, changed, and tucked in. Who did this? Emilio? I shook my head, deciding not to worry about it.
I got up and walked out of my room and looked around. There was no one about. I sniffed the air to be sure. Then I listened very carefully only to hear the even sounds of breathing. Everyone was sleeping. I went near the entrance of the cave to where the fire pit was, and sat in one of the chairs. What was wrong with me?
I thought about why I should even stay here. I thought about my old life and how all I was back there was a series of numbers. Every time I went to a new home, I saw them stamp it onto my file before handing it to my new foster parents. At every home I ran away, only because I knew in a couple of days I was going to be that kid that everyone just put up with. That's how it always was. How do I know it won't be the same here?
I know I should leave. I had to leave. I didn't belong here.
But, everyone here was just like me. They had been through the same thing I'm going through. And Emilio said he would help me with it. I tried to think of what my mom would say. I know I was young when I last saw her, but I could still hear her voice in my head.
"Everything's going to be alright, Faith. Just wait. Great things will happen to you before you know it. It's your destiny" she said.
I jumped up out of the chair and turned around quickly. Behind me was Emilio, and he looked like he had just waken up.
"Emilio! I'm sorry if I woke you. I didn't mean to, I swear." I tried to cover up my thoughts. This was all still new to me, so I didn't know what other secrets could still be out there.
Emilio shook his head. "Do not worry, nuova. You did no harm. I always wake up at this time."
I laughed slightly. Then I recognized what he called me. "Hey, Emilio? What does that mean? That n-word. You've called me that twice already."
"Nuova? Maybe I shall tell you one day. I like to keep some things secret."
"Are you trying to be mysterious about it?"
"Would that be a bad thing? Maybe I want to keep you on your toes."
"And why would you do that?" I realized now he was much closer than before. I backed away, suddenly aware of his proximity to me.
"I have my reasons." With that he simply walked back to his room, but came back out a second later and threw something at me. It was my pack. "Lara found it yesterday while she was at the market. She said it had your scent all over it."
I opened it up to see all of my stuff. I pulled out my cellphone, and saw that I had a ton of messages from Stephanie and Serena.
Suddenly, my phone was plucked from my hands. I looked up to see Emilio holding it, and going through it.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"These are people that are going to miss you? Try to find you?" Emilio asked.
I slowly nodded. Then he smiled and chucked my phone into the water.
I sat there shocked. "Why did you just do that?"
"You are a vampire now. People have to forget about you. You have to disappear. No one can know what you are, do you understand? If they do, they will come after you and try to kill you. You do not want that to happen."
I slowly nodded, understanding. I did understand, but I was still upset about my phone.
Emilio took my pack and started going through it. He took out a big black book with plain white paper and I immediately recognized my sketch book. I tried to take it out of his hands but he wouldn't let me.
"Give that back. It's personal." It was where I drew my nightmares and what I wished were my dreams.
Emilio, being a nosy little fuck, opened it and looked at some of my drawings. "You are very good. In Italy, this would be exquisite."
"Thank you, but give it back." I tried to take it out of his hands again, but somehow I ended so close, our faces were almost touching. We locked eyes and I couldn't help but get a fluttering sensation near my stomach. We stayed that way for a moment or two.
Then I pulled my gaze away from his magnificent green eyes and took back my sketch book. I ran back to my room, so he didn't have to see the blush that I knew was coming to my face. Why was this happening? And with him of all people?
I decided to let it go, walking back to my bed and lying back down. Restlessly, I went back to sleep, praying the nightmare would not return.
I woke up again what I thought was a couple of hours later, but was actually a whole day later.
"A WHOLE DAY?" I yelled at Emilio. "Why didn't someone wake me up?"
We were standing near the fire pit in the middle of the cave. The flames of the fire were dancing against the wood placed beneath it. I always loved fire; one of the Earth's best elements. Emilio, Lara, and Ben were all sitting around it. I was now standing in front of Emilio, wondering why the hell he let me sleep till the next day.
"Let me tell you something, nuova," Emilio started. "If you get a close look at a new vampire, you could easily mistake them for the undead. You looked like that for the past couple of days. I thought you could do with a day's rest. If I were you, I would be grateful."
I sighed. That's a good way to tell a girl she was ugly as hell, Emilio. I laughed at my own thought. But I soon realized that Emilio was looking for some kind of retaliation. "Okay. Well I am grateful; just not used to it."
Kyle then came out. "Hey everyone." He looked at me. "You were right, Lara."
I was confused. "Sorry, what was she right about?"
"Oh! Yesterday, Lara said that she was thinking of Emilio's little nickname for you, and I thought that it was appropriate."
"Lara, would you mind telling me what Emilio's little nickname for me means exactly?"
Lara laughed. "Non hai ancora detto la sua, Emilio?" (You have not told her yet, Emilio?)
Emilio put on a smirk that I couldn't help but admit was dead sexy. "Vorrei godere i miei segreti, se non ti dispiace, Lara." (I would like to enjoy my secrets, if you do not mind, Lara.)
Lara nodded to him, then turned to me. "Emilio says that I should not tell you. That he would rather enjoy his secrets. I believe he finds it a game. As your mentor, he has every right to not tell you." I was rather surprised by how thick her Italian accent was. Thicker than Emilio's, that's for sure.
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks, Lara." I said sarcastically. Emilio must be full of games.
"So, Faith?" I turned to Ben. "You still thinking about running away?"
I was taken aback. I didn't think that he would ask that in front of everybody.
"Was that what you were going to do earlier?" Emilio asked.
"Non sarebbe bene, Emilio - per non parlare, cassetta di sicurezza." Lara said in Italian. I wish she spoke more English. (That would not be good, Emilio - let alone, safe.)
"Non vorrei che lei se avesse cercato, sorella." Emilio responded. "Faith, why would you run away?" (I would not let her if she tried, sister.)
I turned away and walked back to the water. I didn't know what I was thinking. I just knew that I couldn't stay here. But I couldn't stay out there either. I mean, who knows what my family and friends would think of me - especially after they heard that I had killed somebody. I was still beating myself up about that.
I thought of my mom again. I thought of what happened to her and who could have done this to me. I couldn't accept the fact that the man who did this to me was most likely the one who murdered her as well, and that I had no good choices in this situation. What the hell was I supposed to do? I couldn't very well tell them, 'Hey guys. I didn't want to be this way in the first place, so I'm packing it in.' However, I couldn't tell them what happened that day. Then that would lead to what happened with my mom and I was not talking about that. I already didn't want to remember, but I did, every night and day. Just the memory put me in a bad mood, but at least, when I was human, I could control my own damn feelings.
"Faith?" I turned around and saw Emilio behind me.
"I don't know what I was thinking yesterday, or the day before. I was trying to think of what happened if I did leave, and what would happen if I didn't. I don't exactly feel like I should be here in the first place, Emilio. You guys have already done so much for me, and I don't want to ruin what you have here."
Emilio stayed silent for some time, as if considering his words. Finally, he spoke. "I would be lying if I said that I know exactly what will happen. In my experience, not having a plan never ends well. The truth, however, is that you didn't just drop in on us. I brought you here. You have a place here with us as long as you need, and we can help you. You have to give us a chance first, though." He sighed. "I could tell that you were troubled about all of this and I want to help you, but you have to let me." With that, he walked away.
When Emilio walked away, I couldn't help but think that maybe I should tell them what happened. But I didn't know how to even begin. Every day when I laid down, the images kept replaying in my head. The blood, what my mom looked like lying there on the floor, the smell that permeated the house when nobody came that first day; it was a gruesome scene and I didn't think I could share that with anybody. I never even talked to Stephanie and Serena about it.
But Emilio brought me to the cave and gave me a place to stay. Lara got me my clothes and bedding. Ben was the first to try to get to know me. And Kyle made sure I was taken care of. I already felt a part of something here, but I'm scared to see what it could be. I was determined to give them a chance, though.
Laying down in my room, staring at a blank page in my sketch pad for, I don't know how long, I felt lost. I wanted to draw something but I couldn't think of anything besides my own guilt.
Yes. I felt guilty. I felt guilty for biting my friend. I felt guilty for not accepting what happened to my mom. But I mainly felt guilty for even thinking about leaving the four people who wanted to give me a home, food, shelter, and what I wanted the most: family.
I gave out an exasperated sigh and put down my sketch pad. Before I knew it, my body was standing outside my curtain door, watching Emilio, Ben, Lara, and Kyle talk around the fire. Being a family. Something that I always wanted and seriously needed right now.
Kyle saw me first. "Faith! Hey! You alright?"
I gave a small smile. "Yeah. I'm alright. I was just thinking." I walked down to the fire pit and sat in one of the empty chairs.
"Have you made a decision?" Emilio asked. Leave it to him to know what I was actually thinking about.
"Yes." I said.
"Yes, what?" Ben asked. "Obviously, the rest of us aren't in on this conversation."
I looked at Emilio who nodded his head. Then, I looked to everyone else. "Yes. I'm going to stay."
Everyone but Emilio and I clapped and whooped. Kyle then stood up and walked to a table covered in alcohol such as whiskey, vodka, and what looked like bourbon. He came back with four glasses and a bottle of blood. "Well, then. Let's propose a toast to the newest member of our motley coven. To Faith." He gave Lara, Emilio, Ben, and himself glasses, and tossed me the blood. "To Faith."
"To Faith." Everyone said. Then they all raised their glasses and clinked them together. I just watched. This was sort of bizarre. Families didn't normally toast new members.
It was somewhat of a long night after that. I had learned that vampires could indeed get drunk, which was surprising, especially when Kyle passed out on the ground. Then it was Ben's turn. Lara only had a couple of glasses and Emilio didn't drink at all.
"Faith?" Lara said.
I looked at her. "Yes?"
"What made you decide to stay?"
I just stared at her, trying to think of a suitable answer for what made me decide to stay. I looked down at the floor. "Lara, Emilio. I'm going to tell you something that I have never told anyone. Ever since my mom died, I have been nothing but a number in the system, bouncing from foster home to foster home, hoping someone would love me enough to adopt me. So, to answer your question, I stayed because, in the last couple of days, you have provided me food, shelter... and a family." I looked up to see Lara and Emilio giving me both looks of sympathy and understanding. "I wanted to give this a chance." And that is exactly what I planned to do.
Wanting to get out of the awkward silence, I stood up. "Well, I think I am going to turn in for the night." Then I started to walk away.
Just as I was at my curtain door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turning, I see Emilio standing there. "Yes?"
"I did not know that you felt that way, Faith. But I am glad that you chose to stay." he said.
I laughed. "You couldn't have known, Emilio. I never told anyone before now. But I wanted to prove that I was going to give this a chance. Maybe it will work out in the end."
Emilio smiled at me. "Maybe, la mia luce."
I didn't know what he said but I couldn't stop myself from smiling. "That's another one. What does it mean, Emilio?"
Emilio chuckled. "I am full of secrets, nuova. You are going to have to wait for them to come out."
"I guess I have to work on it." I sighed. "Goodnight, Emilio."
I then went into my room, took off my shoes, changed into some shorts and a spaghetti strap top that matched, and went to bed. I couldn't help but notice that this time, I had a smile on my face. Maybe the nightmares wouldn't come this night. Hey, a girl can dream.
I woke the next morning with the memory of my mother still in my head. But this time, something was different. The picture was starting to fade, my mother's face, the man's body; it was all going away. I was frightened. What if I was losing the memory? What if there was someone messing with my head? Could vampires even do that?
I didn't think too long about it because I knew it would make me think twice about staying here. And I remember saying I would actually try to be here with them; Lara, Emilio, Ben, Kyle.
I dressed in my straight black jeans and black button-up shirt with rolled up sleeves, a blood-red spaghetti strap underneath. Digging through my bag, I found my hunting knife at the bottom. I then had an idea.
I picked up my long hair and looked at the knife. Taking the knife, I grabbed a handful of hair and cut it off. I continued to do this until it was at least to my chin, framing my jaw and my face. Looking at the vanity that was effectively placed on my cave wall, I saw that I actually did a pretty good job. My red hair was now short, but cute and neat at the same time. Now here was Faith, not frail, human, Faith Greene.
Putting on my boots, I walked out and down to the fire pit. I got out a bottle of blood and chugged it down. I felt more awake, and more alive every time I drank it. It gave me energy and I could feel my senses heighten.
I heard footsteps behind me and the unsheathing of a knife. Suddenly, I was being pressed up against someone behind me with a knife at my throat. I stilled my body.
Breathing close to my ear, I heard "Give me your name, how you got here, and I will think about sparing your life." I recognized the voice as Kyle's and immediately relaxed.
"Kyle, it's Faith. Let go of me."
I was released and spun around by the shoulders. "Faith? What did you do to your hair?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I cut it. Do you like it?"
Kyle gave me an up and down look. "Yeah. I do, actually. It fits you. New haircut, new Faith, huh?"
"Oh! Come bello, Faith! Molto bella!" said Lara. Using her speed, she flitted down to Kyle and me. (Oh! How beautiful, Faith! Very Nice!)
I lifted an eyebrow. "Thank you?" I didn't really understand what she had said, but I was pretty sure it was a compliment.
"What made you cut your hair?" she asked in English.
I simply shrugged my shoulders. I didn't know what made me do it, but I liked how Kyle put it. This was the new me, the new Faith. Faith - one name. I felt like Madonna.
Soon, Ben came down and went on about my hair like everyone else had. Even though I loved all the attention, I couldn't help but feel that it wasn't the attention I was looking for. Or, at least, not from the right person.
Throughout all the commotion, I sensed a new yet familiar presence behind me. I turned around and looked up into, what I could've sworn, were the most beautiful green eyes that this world had ever created. Standing as close to him as I was now, I had the perfect view of his face. His hair was tied back at the nape of his neck and I could see that he was cleanly shaven. His piercing green eyes shone with amusement and his lips quirked into a mischievous smirk. What could be so amusing? Then I realized that I was staring at him. I quickly looked down, letting what was left of my hair cover my face, only to feel his fingers under my chin, lifting my head and my eyes met his once more.
"Assolutamente mozzafiato," Emilio whispered. (Absolutely breathtaking.) He took a piece of my hair and played with it in between his fingers before tucking it softly behind my ears. "The haircut; it suits you," he said normally.
I couldn't help myself but smile and blush before I said, "Thank you."
Emilio's smirk widened. "You are quite welcome, la mia luce." He chuckled. "It's a good thing you cut your hair, too. We are starting your training today."
I cocked my head to the side and looked up at him. "Training?"
Lara spoke behind me. "Yes. You will need to learn how to fight and how to control your abilities."
I nodded, thinking it through, and decided that it all made sense. "Alright, then. When do we start?"
Emilio took my shoulder and led me to the water. "Right now." Then he pushed me in.
Once under the water, I quickly closed my mouth and held my breath so that I didn't choke. I slowly felt myself going deeper and I couldn't make my body react. I thought that I was doomed and that I was drowning. Then I felt arms wrap around my waist and I felt myself being pulled up towards the surface. Once we broke through, I quickly turned around in the water to see who had helped me out, only to see Emilio.
I immediately felt anger rush up my body. "EMILIO! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR???!!!!" I had raised my hand and swung to hit him, but I felt his hand catch my wrist. He brought it down between us, pulling us closer to each other in the water, our bodies almost touching.
"Listen here, nuova, and listen well. You would be very, very wise as to never raise a hand to me again. The last person who did so did not even get the chance to apologize before I ripped that hand from their body. I do not take being slapped or hit lightly. I find it very disrespectful. So I would advise you to watch yourself or you shall get his fate." Emilio had the most intense look in his eyes, and despite the really huge threat to end my life, I couldn't help but think that he was absolutely amazing in that moment. I couldn't help the shiver go up my spine as he talked to me, his tone lowering, the joking in his voice gone.
Not wanting to show my thoughts, I set my face firm and forced myself to swim back a little ways from him.
"I apologize. It won't happen again." And I meant it, but only because he was right. It was rather disrespectful, and I would probably act the same way. But he wasn't getting off lightly. "But I don't like that you pushed me in the water. And without fair warning!"
Emilio, with a solemn look on his face still, simply shrugged his shoulders. Then he smirked. "If I remember correctly, the first time I tried to get you into the water, I practically had to carry you in."
I had to laugh as the memory came to me. That was only a few days ago. Yet so much had happened since then. "Okay, but you could at least have said, 'Hey, you're going for a swim,' or count down or something."
"Now, where would be the fun in that?"
I couldn't help but smirk a little at that. Emilio said he would be my mentor, but a part of me wished he wanted to be more than that. He would never take it that far, though. Who was I kidding? Beyond the occasional joke, he had never shown anything but professional interest in me. He would be a mentor to me, and nothing more.
Wait? Why was I thinking about this? Emilio is years and years older than me.
'When did that ever matter? You are a vampire now; just like him.' I thought to myself. I wanted to agree with that thought so bad. Why couldn't I just give myself what I really wanted?
"Faith, did you hear me?" Emilio said.
I turned back to him. "Huh? Oh, no. Sorry, Emilio. What did you say again?"
"I said that you are going to practice staying underwater. You have to get used to not breathing. As a vampire, breathing is a habit; not a necessity."
"Let me guess? Because we are actually dead?"
"The ones who are made? Yes. But the ones who are born vampires are not dead. It is just one of their extra abilities."
Like in Twilight? I already hated that movie due to their sparkling vampires. I mean, seriously, what vampire sparkles?
"Vampires can gain extra abilities that deals with their stamina or strength. It just gives us an extra use of the natural changes to our body that already happened during our Change."
I nodded, thinking what kind of extra ability I might have. Maybe I'm faster than the average vampire. That would be cool.
"Are you ready, nuova?" Emilio asked, pointing down towards the water.
I looked down, thinking about not breathing. I wouldn't be holding my breath; I would cease my breathing completely. I looked at Emilio and nodded. I could do this.
"1, 2, 3!" Emilio counted.
I dived down into the water and swam down until I hit the ocean floor. When I got there, I let out the breath that I had been holding and waited. And waited. And waited.
I was waiting to feel the constricting of my lungs when I didn't breathe. To feel the pain of not breathing rush down my spine and force me to rush back up to the surface.
But it didn't come.
I closed my eyes at the relaxing feeling instead. I felt like I could stay down here forever and not have a care in the world. I wanted to. Opening my eyes, I tried to think of how long I had actually stayed down here for. Surely, Emilio would have come and gotten me if I stayed down here too long. But, then again, I didn't want to worry him.
Pushing off the sea floor with my legs, I swam back up to the surface of the waterhole in the cave.
There, on the cave floor, by the waterhole, sat Emilio with a pleased look on his face.
"Very good, Faith. I did not think that you would have stayed down as long as you did. I thought I might have had to go and get you, that you would have passed out from the shock of not breathing, or something of the sort."
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks." I lifted myself out of the water and sat beside him. "How long was I down there for?"
Emilio shrugged one shoulder nonchalantly. "About half an hour or so."
"HALF AN HOUR?! Emilio, that's enough time to fatally kill a human."
"Well it is a good thing that you are not human anymore, nuova."
I looked at him when he said that. "Why do I get the feeling that, maybe, you are actually happy that I am here and one of you?"
He looked at me and smiled. "You are going to have to answer that question yourself, la mia luce." Then he stood up and walked away, leaving me to try and figure out the enigma that was Emilio Valetora.