I stood in front of the large double doors that led into the college that belonged to the small town of Forks, Washington. It had been two years since i had last stepped foot through those doors. But this time, i wasn't human. The cold winter breeze blew past me as i stared at the school. The winds force whipping my hair in all directions and making the trees groan in protest as they were bent and pushed. Not only had this place been my school when i was human, it had also been my home.
Back when i was human, i had been taken captive by these strange creatures, which today, i know are called darklings. I was taken deep into the forest, far away from civilization. It was like a horrible nightmare. All these creatures, in all shapes and sizes surrounded me. Then this giant spider seemed to appear out of nowhere, raising itself up on six legs in front of me, making me freeze up. The other two legs hovered in the air and in the middle of those two legs, large deadly fangs exposed themselves. As it leaned forward, I watched as it spread those fangs and something that looked like lava from a lava lamp, but black, slid out of its mouth.
Some unknown creature then came and grabbed the sides of my head, prying my mouth open. That's when the thing in the spiders mouth suddenly had small red snake like eyes. I yelled out as it jumped from the spiders mouth and squirmed its way down my throat. Pain suddenly shot through my body, like someone was taking a chainsaw and slowly cutting away at my body bit by bit. The next thing i knew, i was coughing up blood like crazy, then my vision blurred and i fell unconscious.
When i awoke, still in the forest, the darklings or shadow demons as some people call them were gone and everything seemed different. The world around me seemed closer...and in fact it was. I could see tiny ants in the grass like they were the size of green beans. My hearing was a hundred times better, to the point where i could hear a dog whistle. I felt different myself. My body felt stiff, and my throat...oh god don't get me started on how that felt. But as i looked around a second time, that's when i spotted them...Bj, Aaron and Nick. Three people who had mysteriously disappeared over the past few years. They stood there, dressed in black...like statues. Their eyes were the things that had my attention the most. They were the same as the darklings, but different colors.
It was then that Aaron stepped forward and told me what happened, and what i now was. A midnighter. He told me that it was too dangerous for me to continue my human life and that i needed to leave all that behind. They would teach me how to live...how to survive and be in control. And like a little kid that had been tempted with candy, i let them drag me away from my life. I gave up everything that instant...my job...my school...my friends...and most importantly, my girlfriend. Who I'd been dating for three years as of the day i was captured. I still remembered her tear stainded face when Aaron had gone with me to tell her that it was over between us and that she'd never see me again.
That had been the worse decision of my life, and everytime I tried going back to make it up to her and apologize, they'd remind me of why I had done it in the first place. And that would instantly stop me in my tracks. I was too dangerous to be around her. I was now the predator and she, the weak and easily scared human, was the prey...my prey.
Just hearing that had always been enough to keep me in our hind out, but the pain of the memory was always there. Tormenting me. And as I trained to get used to my new "partner" and how to work my new body, I couldn't stop thinking about her. And now, two years later, I'm in full control and standing here to get my miserable human life back. I'm breaking all the rules by doing this, but I don't care. Unlike the rest of them, I didn't choose to be a midnighter.
'Go ahead Caylob. They've taught us all we need to know. As far as I'm concerned, we're no longer a threat to them.' That familiar alien voice rang in my head.
About a week after I joined the midnighters, I started hearing a voice in my head and thought I was going crazy for the longest time. Then I realized it was the darkling that was living inside me talking. It was weird at first but now I was used to it and me and "him" were pretty good buds.
"Easier said than done, there Ambriel." I replied out loud, before pulling on my sunglasses, to hide my midnighter eyes from sight. Then, I stepped forward and walked into the building.
It was just my luck that the bell for class exchange sounded and students filled the hallways. A smug amused smile came to my lips as I watched them stop in their tracks, look at me and then step aside so I could get through. If I had my human mind still, I'd act the same way, the girls with their mouths dropped open and a dreamy look on their faces.
I was a peice of eye-candy to them. Fresh meat for the taking. The guys, looked at me with the intent to kill, their teenage horomones kicking in, wanting to fight me and see where I stood in the school rank now. Bring it on. But of course, I couldn't help but bring attention to myself.
Everyone knew me here and anyone of them could tell you how much I've changed due to being a host. Back when I was human, I had short messy black hair and light blue eyes. I was on the chubby side and wore jeans, t-shirts and carried myself lazily. And the reason they were all staring at me now was because I was completely transformed.
I now had spikey silver hair with the tips of the spikes colored red. I had those special midnighter eyes but mine were bright green and hidden behind my sunglasses at the moment. I was also muscular and carried myself up straight and proud as people would put it. And I wore black leather pants with a black tight fit t-shirt. My leather jacket was flung over my right shoulder.
And just as I placed my hand on the office doorknob to go inside, I saw her...Hailey Gram...my ex-girlfriend. She had just appeared out of the crowd with two friends, who were staring at me like all the other girls. Hailey however held a frown on her slightly surprised face. My smug expression had disappeared as soon as I had caught sight of her.
"Caylob Renalds. Why, what do I owe this unexpected visit for?" The principle of the school asked, coming up from behind Hailey and making his way towards me. Everyone went dead quiet.
"Good morning Mr. Lipshitz. Good to see you again as well." I replied. Murmurs from the viewing crowd went around.
"Indeed. I see you've changed alot. Love the new look." I could hear the sarcastic tone in his voice and smiled playfully, turning around on my heels, in a circle like I'd seen all the preppy girls do.
"Do you like it? Really?" I asked in a girlish voice, before getting serious. Everyone laughed and that's what i wanted. Even Hailey and her friends were smirking. "Actually, I wanted to join school again. Start where I left off. My disappearing was do to a lot of stress." I stated.
'You're such a smart ass.' Ambriel said, making me smirk again. Damn straight I was.
'I get it from you my friend.' I answered back mentally, making him laugh.
"Let's talk about it further in my office, shall we?" He asked, opening the door and motioning me inside. I gave him a teasing bow before walking in.
"Such a gentlemen." I said in that girlish tone again. He pushed me inside before closeing the door. Getting my balance back, I turned to him and stuck my nose in the air. "How rude." I said, throwing my jacket back over my shoulder.
He led me behind the counter and back into his office, where he closed the door behind me, and then sat down behind his desk. I took a seat in the chair in front of his desk and leaned the chair back on two legs. I watched the principle shuffle his papers before locking his hands together and sighing.
"So, tell me the real reason why you dropped out and disappeared." He started.
"I already told you that. I don't like repeating myself." He sighed again.
"What happened to you Caylob? You were such a good, nice kid. And now..." He started, then moved his head up and down. "This isn't you at all...this new look of yours." He finished looking back down at his desk. I frowned deeply.
"I woke up," I replied. "I realized that life wasn't all fun and games. We have to grow up sometime; I just decided to grow up faster than the others." I replied, staring out the window.
"I think it is something else." He pointed out, making me glance over at him through my sunglasses. "The day you disappeared...was also July 16th." My body tensed up at once when he said the date. That date...the worst day of my life.
"It wasn't because of that..."I stated. "Am i allowed to join up again or not?" I asked changing the subject quickly.
"I'll let you back in, but the trust of your fellow classmates, you'll have to earn back on your own." He told me, filling out some paperwork, then handing me my schedule. "Good luck kid."
I got up and headed for the door without a word. I knew what he was talking about. The day before I disappeared, was the Championship of the Swim Team. It was the first year out town had ever qualified for it. I had disobeyed Aaron and had gone to the meet that day, and that was the day I realized fully that I was indeed a threat.
So when it was my turn to go, instead of going, I walked out of the arena and because of that, I sent my team into an automatic disqualification. It had cost them the Championships. So I didn't blame them for wanting to knock me into the next century, cause I'd be pissed too.
I glanced down at my schedule when I was halfway down the hall and stopped in my tracks with a deep frown. I had English, History and Math. But the one that stood out the most, as if it were printed in size 40 bold print, was my fourth period class...Swim Team.
That sneaky bastard. Sighing in frustration, I had to control myself from going back there and kicking the old man's ass. But instead I just crumbled up the peice of paper, and threw it out before heading for my locker. This was going to be a long hard year.
I reached the locker, letting my fingers open it by feel. The tricky part was not thinking about the numbers, that cleverest and most dangerous of human inventions. It was hard enough when my fingers faltered, and I had to start over, forcing my way through the sequence number by number, like some freshman on his first day at school. Success on the first try.
I heard the tiny click of the last cylinder lining up and pulled the locker open happily. But distracted by my thoughts of numbers, I realized to late that someone had crept up behind me. A familiar scent swept through my nose, setting off old alarm bells, fearful and violent memories suddenly rising up.
A fist struck the locker, slamming it shut again. The sound echoed through the now empty hallway as I spun around.
"What's up Caylob. Lost your fat, I see." Jason Hudson. He had been Forks biggest bully back in the fourth grade.
As sharp as any flash of darkling memory I got from Ambriel, I recalled being trapped behind the school one day by Jason and friends, punched so hard in the gut, that for a week, it hurt to piss. Though it has been years since Jason had done anything worse than slam me against a wall, the tightening in my stomach remained knot tight as it has ever been.
"Yeah I did," I replied. "It's called working out. You should try it sometime." I mentally kicked Ambriel for making me say that. The little pest had a habit of making me say things I normally wouldn't.
Jason grinned and stood closer, making me turn my head to the side, as the smell of sour milk sharp on his breath entered my nose. "You calling me fat? Huh? The funny thing is, saying that, only makes you look like a bigger retard."
"If I'm the retard here Jason.."I coughed past the smell. "Then how come I passed senior year of high school my first time, and it took you three?" I argued, a smug smile on my face. Jason didn't like that at all. He reached out and ran one hand through my hair.
"And a new 'do'," Jason shook his head sadly. "You think to look tough? Like everyone doesn't remember what a little pussy you are." I found myself staring at Jason's throat, where the blood pulsed close to the surface. One shallow rip through the frail skin and life would spill out, warm and nourishing.
"Think your little extreme make over makes you Mr. Cool, don't you?" Jason went on. I found myself smiling at his words. What had happened to me, was so much more extreme than anything Jason could imagine. "What's so funny?"
"Your weakness." I blinked. The words had just popped out of my mouth. Jason took half a step back, blank faced with shock for a moment. He looked one way down the empty hallway, then the other, as if checking the reaction of some invisible audience.
"My what?" He finally spat. I nodded slowly. I could smell it now, I realized, and the scent of weakness had triggered something inside me, something that threatened to spin out of control...Ambriel.
He was a darkling after all, and the scent of weakness was driving him crazy. My mind grasped for some way to master myself. I tried thinking about all the training I, no we, had gone through. But they had all flown out of my brain. All I had left were words. Maybe if I kept talking...
"You're the kind we cut from the herd." Jason's eyebrows went up.
"Say what, retard?" He asked.
"You're weak and afraid."
"You think I'm afraid, Caylob?" The boy tried to put on an amused smile, but only half his face obeyed. The left side seemed frozen, taut and wide-eyed, his fear leaking out into his expression. "...of you?"
I saw his heart quickening, his hands shaking. 'Weakness' Ambriel hissed in my head.
"I can smell it on you..."The words faded as I finally lost control. I watched the rest of what happened like a passenger in my own body. I took a step forward until my face was as close as Jason's had been a moment ago.
The fear in my stomach had changed into something else, something hot and cruel that surged through my chest and up into my jaw. My teeth parted, lips pulling back so far that I felt them split, baring my teeth and half an inch of gums. My whole body grew as taut as one long trembling muscle, swaying for balance like a snake ready to strike, arms and fingers bent in rigid claws.
I made a noise then, right in Jason's face, a horrific sound that I had never heard before, much less produced myself. My mouth still wide open, the back of my throat cinched tightly closed, a breath forcing its way out with a long shuddering hissss...a mix of fingernails on a chalkboard, the shriek of a hawk, and the last rattle of a punctured lung.
The noise seemed to coil in the air for a moment, wrapping around Jason's shuddering frame, squeezing the breath out of him. The hiss lingered in the empty hallway like the echoes of a shout, disappearing into the buzzing fluorescent lights. Jason didn't move. The twisted half smile stayed on his face, muscles frozen, as if some careless surgeon had snipped a nerve and he was stuck with the half-formed expression for the rest of his life.
"Weaknessss," I said softly, the hiss still ringing in my voice.
My body softened then, Ambriel slipping back into me, departing as swiftly as he had come. My jaw relaxed, and my muscles lost their tense rigidity, but still Jason didn't move. He looked thoroughly frozen, like a rat that had just lost a staring contest with a python. He didn't make another sound, as I walked to the swimming pool, listening to Ambriel's laughter in my head.
'You and I are going to have a serious talk mister.' I growled mentally.
'Is that so? What for? Me having a bit of fun. That guy was pissing in his pants and you know it.' He replied with a laugh.
'That wasn't a bit of fun, Abe. That was torture. You don't use people's fears and nightmares against them.' I snapped. Ambriel stopped laughing at once.
'Hey! I'm a darkling! Just because I live inside you now, doesn't mean I'm going to listen to all your damn rules.' He hissed back. Yeah, he defiantly was a darkling.
'I don't care Abe. I don't want to be like the others, okay? People have enough problems with their fear and nightmares without some alien coming along and messing with them as well. Especially in school. What if people had been watching?' I asked him, heading toward the pool.
'I wouldn't have done it if people were watching, dumbass. I'm not stupid.' He replied. 'Plus, it's boreing inside your head. You've got nothing to do in here. I'm bored out of my mind. Throw a freaking Xbox or something in here will ya? And who cares about people and their nightmares, I know i don't.' He returned. I sighed.
'And that my friend is why; you're the one trapped and not me.' I countered, pushing the double doors open.
I could hear splashing from the pool and took a deep breath. Part two of my miserable day had just begun. Walking out into the light where the pool was, I saw the team lined up at the starters block, hunched over; one foot pressed up against the back board, hands resting on the edge of the platform. Their heads were hidden under dorky water caps, eyes covered with goggles, and should I mention speedos'? Ohhhh yes. Guys swim team is speedo 101.
When the gun went off again, they dove into the water and started for the other end of the pool. I watched as I walked down the side, heading for the man holding the gun, who was also the coach, Mr. Hopkins. Oh joy. I was surprised the old fart hadn't retired yet. The team flipped under the water, their feet hitting the wall and propelling them back in the direction they had started.
Mr. Hopkins was yelling orders at them. Either, "swim faster" this, or "tuck in your arms," that. Ah, the joys of swim team. I stopped walking when I was close enough to the coach without being in punching range. The swimmers touched the wall and took deep breaths as they took off their goggles.
"Well, on a good note, you all did well. And on a bad note, I expected more out of you all. I know you can do better and go faster than that! What the hell is wrong with you kids today? Huh? Anyone care to explain?" He snapped.
No one answered. They all looked down as he yelled at them. If they had tails, they'd be tucked between their legs. Mr. Hopkins just kept going on and on. Probably making them feel like ants. That was every coaches' job though, to make us feel like failures. Then we'd push ourselves to the limit and beyond so we wouldn't be failures.
"Well? Anyone care to answer?" He asked. In that instant, all heads looked up, and all eyes were on me which made Mr. Hopkins look at me too. An emotionless look crossed his face. "Well, if it isn't Mr. Renalds. And looking good." He stated. I just stood there. "What you doing here Renalds?"
"I'm in your class sir. Lipshitz idea." I replied.
"Oh, this should be good." One of the swimmers said. Irritation clear in his voice. It was David Manning.
The guy was the second best swimmer after me. Though he was probably the best now since my drop out. I'd change that quickly though. If there was one swimmer or person who could hate me more than everyone else, it would be him. He would've gotten into the big time swimmer meet, if we had won Champs. But I threw those chances out the door for him.
"We can't let him join back! He cost us everything last time!" David yelled.
"Oh put a sock in it David." Billy Bane said. "We haven't made it to Champs once since Caylob left. I hate him too, but letting him back in is our only shot at Champs again." He explained.
"Good point Bane," Hopkins replied. "Go get changed Renalds. We'll see if you even still got what it takes." I nodded and headed for the changing room
Yippy! I'm on swim team again. Ambriel laughed, knowing I was joking. The last thing I wanted to do was wear a speedo, let alone be on the damn team again. I hated everyone on the team, apart from Brandon. So yay me.