This is my best friend, Ku. No, I'm wrong. She was my best friend. She never wanted to be a vampire, never wanted to either be changed or fed upon. But she was turned, by her older sister, Holli. Ku committed suicide two months before the blood ran out, and everyone was starting turning into vamp things. Two of my older brothers, Skylar and Joey, turned into vamp things (due to them giving me their blood rations) and were forced to go out into sunlight and... burn. My oldest brother, Roddi, was killed by vamp things.
This is Holli, Ku's sister. No, I'm wrong again. She was Ku's sister. After Ku killed herself, she couldn't bear it. Holli felt responsible for Ku's death because she was the one who changed her in the first place. She started biting herself, which speeds up the mutation into vamp things. She eventually became a vamp thing and went on killing other vampires until she was caught and forced into the sunlight. Wondering what happened to me? Well, let me tell you….
I was thrown down a worm hole, able to transport people into different worlds. Roddi was supposed to come with me, but I was the last one to ever use the worm hole. The only thing I had was a toy rabbit that my brothers got me for my fifth birthday when I was a human. As soon as it was my turn to go, a group of vamp things attacked and the last thing I saw was Roddi getting killed by them. That's when the keeper slammed the worm hole closed and I was suddenly in water.
I thrashed and tried to get a good sense of where I was. I still had my rabbit (I called him Cinnamon) and then I found a light. I knew it wasn't the sun because the light was surrounded by darkness and cool, evening air. Plus, I wasn't burning. My eyes adjusted to the dark and I saw that the light was on something… a dock! A shipping dock. I swam towards it.
I got to the bottom of it and knew I needed to find a way up it, especially since I didn't know what time it was and sunrise could've been very close. I swam along the bottom, feeling the wall for a ladder or something that I could use to get to the top. I heard noises on the other side. Humans! I stopped and quickly felt my ears. They were starting to point, a sign of the mutation into a vamp thing. I sped up my swimming and was finally rewarded.
My hands found small prongs cut into the cement of the shipping dock. I gratefully climbed it and soon came to the top. On the ground of the dock, there was a small cabin right in the middle. The noises were louder, the humans closer. But something smelled off. I quickly reminded myself that this was a different world and that I didn't have time to be picky about what blood I fed on.
I glanced at my hands. The bones in my fingers were growing more prominent and my skin was drooping a little. Another sign of the mutation. I ran, Cinnamon in hand, to the railing. I didn't even care that both me and my toy were soaking wet and the dripping water and wet cloths were making squishy sounds. I looked down over the railing and saw the humans all freaking out and fighting each other. Two cars were flipped over, on fire, and they were trying to get the other humans out. At first, I thought they were trying to help them, but that changed as soon as I saw one cram a human woman's throat to his mouth. Another one was coming up to take it and the one holding the human went nuts.
"SHE'S MINE!" he screamed. He pulled back his arm and punched the thief. The thief's head broke off and rolled away. The sound of stone breaking surrounded the air.
I crushed my hand to my mouth so that I wouldn't scream. These things were not humans. No wonder they smelled so wrong. I backed up from the rail. Then the smell of the human's blood reached me. The mutation signs turned up to high. I needed blood. Now.
I hopped up on the rail, turning for a split second to drop a wet Cinnamon, and then turned back to the freaks below me. Then I made my move.
I jumped down, barley an inch from the wall. When I was close enough to the ground, I connected my feet to the wall and pushed off, propelling myself forward. I landed lightly and dodged through a couple of the freaks until I reached the one with the human. I didn't have time to yank the whole body from him, so I grabbed the nearest limb, twisted it off the body of the woman, and turned and ran. Not fast enough.
I heard the freak snarl and felt him grab the arm not holding the human appendage. That made me angry and the mutation in me absolutely furious.
I whirred around and hissed angrily at him. He got a good look at my fangs and vampire eyes, and his expression turned into a mix of confusion, shock, even fear. He let go of my arm.
These freaks had never seen a vampire like me before. Big surprise there. I didn't have time to assess these apparent vampires with red eyes. I ran back at the wall, hopping onto one of the nearby dumpsters, and scaled the wall the rest the way up. Once on the rail, I grabbed Cinnamon, and dove right behind the cabin on the shipping dock.
I ripped the torn, bloody shirt sleeve off the severed arm and sunk my fangs into the still warm flesh. I lost track of time as I drank, the blood light and sweet. When the blood ran out, I chucked the appendage away from me and watched it as it rolled right off the side of the shipping dock, back down to the freaks below. I touched my ears. They weren't pointed anymore. I glanced at my hands and saw that they were back to normal as well. I curled up on my side and clutched my rabbit close to me. I listened to the freaks (that's what I'd call them) flip out, drink blood, and discuss me. Then some other voices registered. They were a lot more controlled and less savage. And more threatening.
"No, I have no clue," said a very expressionless girl voice. She also sounded very spoiled, even though it was only an undercut to the apathy. "Why do you think I would know?"
"I just wanted to know in general," said a grown man. He sounded as if trying not to upset the girl. "She must be a new kind of vampire that no one has seen the likes of before."
The "she" was me, I knew that much. I hugged Cinnamon closer to me. They had better leave me alone…
"We must find out more about her," said a different grown man's voice. This man sounded more polite and at ease. "And I think you'd better do that job, Alec. She seemed about yours and Jane's age."
"Yes, I'll do it," said the boy (Alec, I guess). "I don't know much about people, though…"
"Pretend that she's me," said the one called Jane. "Pretend that she's your twin sister." Oh, so they were twins. And they were freaks. Had they seen my fangs or my eyes? They knew I was a vampire different from them. Did they have any clue how different? If they did, then they needed to tell me, because I didn't have the slightest idea myself.
"Do you think she'll come out of her hiding spot? Or do you think she's too scared?" Alec asked a twinge arrogantly. I wanted to hiss. I knew they were ignorant as to if I could hear them or not, but I'd never been one to let anybody talk about me demeaningly. And had they not seen me just go and steal from the crowd of freaks below us? Just for a pride thing, I stood up and walked back over to the railing, ignoring the tame freaks.
Now that I knew they were there, I decided to get a good look at them. Or at least see what I could from behind my curtain of dark, thick hair. I didn't want them to know I was trying to watch them. There were four of them, two small ones (Jane and Alec, since one was wearing a long, black dress) and two big ones, the grown men. I turned back to the scene of wild freaks below me.
They were still trying to fight one another to get the blood. It reminded me a lot of the vamp things.
Suddenly, I was so overcome with pain and longing for my brothers that it brought me to my knees. I dropped Cinnamon and folded my arms in a self hug around myself. Then I opened my eyes and , before I knew what I was doing, I pulled my black shirt sleeve back to expose my snow white forearm. The idea shocked me as much as it intrigued me. I wondered what this world would do with a vamp thing. All I had to do was bite….
But I couldn't do it. I just owed too much to both Ku and my brothers to go out that way, the way Holli, Joey, and Skylar did. If I died in this world, I was going out fighting or hunting. I stood up and kept my eyes locked on the actual rail, rather than the chaos below me.
"Well," said the Jane girl suddenly. I hurriedly cast my eyes in their direction, still keeping hidden by my hair. "I'm going inside." Jane hurried toward the cabin, the two grown-ups following her.
"I want to stay out here a little while longer," Alec said. Jane shrugged, not looking back.
"Suit yourself, Brother," she said, going through the door. Great. Now Alec was supposed to interview me about my life and what I was. I did not want to explain to anyone, especially a freak, about myself or my past. So I planned to ignore him the best I could. I snuck another look at him through my hair.
He was staring at me, nothing on his face but polite curiosity. Maybe he'd leave me alone…
Nope. "Hey," he called over to me. My body instinctively froze, my eyes staying wide open, focusing on the rail again. "Hey, girl."
"Whatdoyouwant?" I asked in an impolite rush. I heard him make his way over to me.
"What's your name?" he asked gently. I didn't buy it for a second.
"Jyewel," I responded so inaudibly, I wouldn't have known what I said myself if I didn't know my own name.
"Jyewel," I said, clearer and louder. "My name is Jyewel. You know, like a precious gem."
"Okay, so Jyewel," Alec said, "are you a human?" I expected questions like this. I didn't answer him. Why wasn't he smart enough to see that I wasn't human? Better yet; Why should I explain anything to him? "Jyewel," Alec said his voice somehow even gentler. "You can trust me. You have nothing to fear." Yeh, okay, Alec. Well, it was plain that he knew I was no human, so I really didn't answer that question. Why didn't he just admit it? Maybe freaks were more complicated than vampires like me.
"Jyewel?" Alec asked. "I know you can talk." I was now out of patience.
"What do you want from me?" I said. "Is it not clear to you that I am not a human?"
"Then what are you?"
I was so angry! Alec was ignorant, like a child! I hissed and looked at him straight forward, making sure he could clearly see my fangs and eyes.
"What do I look like to you?" I shouted at him. Alec gasped and took a step back, shock on his face. I whirled back to looking at the rail. "I'm a vampire," I whispered. I wanted to cry. Now that I had told him that, he'd ask me all about my life and my world. I didn't want to tell anyone from this world about my life. "I'm a different kind of vampire." Even though I didn't want to tell anybody anything, I didn't see any point in trying to keep my past to myself anymore. And if I was going to have to tell him about it, I was going to at least feel like I was acting out of my own freewill.
"My past is a bit complicated…" I launched into my story, telling him everything. About the world being turned vampire, and about the humans who ran and the ones who got caught and were farmed for their blood. I told him about Ku and Holli, and how Ku killed herself and then Holli went mad and turned herself into a vamp thing. I told him about the blood running out, and how if we didn't get it, we'd turn into the vamp things. I even threw in that my kind didn't show up in mirrors, either. I told him about Joey and Skylar and Roddi, and how they died. I told him about the worm hole and how I got into this world.
"I told you, it's complicated," I said when I finished. "Do you understand it all?" Alec only nodded. I looked at him. He looked a little overwhelmed. "Do you believe me?"
"I'm…I do," he replied, running his hand through his hair. At that moment, the wind blew right at us. That move was why I started questioning my relationship with Mother Nature. It blew a scent in my face. A very sweet, very appetizing scent. "You can trust that."
"But you can't trust me," I snapped in a rush. I gripped his shoulders, dipped down, and dug my fangs into his neck.
"Oh!" Alec gasped. His body tensed up and his breathing was coming in shocked, heavy pants.
Me, my whole being was consumed by the blood. It was so thick, rich, and sweet. Very, very sweet, the best thing I'd ever tasted. Not even human blood tasted as good. Eventually, I subconsciously noticed that Alec had relaxed his body and his breathing was even.
Then he moved his arms, trying to grab hold of my wrists or something. I wasn't having that. I griped his shoulders tighter.
"Jyewel," he said in a controlled tone. "I think I'm done." Done? What did he mean by that?
I pulled away from him, and saw the mark of my fangs in his neck. It was so weird. There were only those two, clean puncture marks. No blood anywhere, not like when I had bitten the human's arm. But of course, it was freak blood, not human blood, so it was much thicker. And this freak was probably really old. I was nearly thirty in human years myself. I guessed the vampire aging here worked the same as it had in my world.
Alec felt my fang scars with two fingers. "That felt very odd," he commented. "I wonder… Jyewel, what did it feel like to you?" Well, that wasn't a question I would have asked after being fed upon. But then again, this was a freak. A weird freak, as if that was a contradiction in and of itself.
"Well, it felt"- I shrugged-"good, I guess. I mean, you tasted fantastic. Absolutely delicious, really." I laughed at saying it out loud. It was just so wrong telling someone that you just drank from what they tasted like. "I'm so weird."
"No, not really," Alec said, shaking his head. "Just a vampire, right?" I nodded. Then I got an idea.
"Hey, can I hang with you and your crew for a little while?" I asked him. "Just until I get the swing of this world and learn how to hunt? I know its odd asking, considering I just drank from you, but…" Alec smiled.
"Of course," he replied. "I don't mind at all. I even kind of like you, believe it or not." I smiled (something I hadn't done in a very, very long time) and looked back at the rail. I felt happy, for once. I had made a friend. Almost.
"I believe you," I murmured. "Just one more thing; what time is it? You remember what I told about my relationship with the sun?" Alec nodded.
"It's actually almost sunrise," he replied. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I could have just burned trying to get that human's blood… "See? It's already starting to get lighter." I looked up. Alec was right.
Everything was dappled a grayish- blue. I needed to get inside. I glanced at the cabin that Jane and the two men disappeared into. It was closest, so that was where I planned to go, no matter what anyone had to say about it. I'd rather deal with angry freaks than an angry sunbeam.
Alec laughed. "Of course you're staying with me. Er, us I mean." I felt a little embarrassed that I doubted that Alec would let me stay with him and his friends. He said that I could, anyway. "Let's go."
I followed nervously behind him. Was his crew going to be okay with me? I told myself it was stupid that I was scared of not being accepted because Alec would stand up for me if they didn't want me around. Plus, I'd already had my resolve: I needed to be shielded from the sun and they'd just have to deal with me until nightfall if they didn't all like me.
Alec opened the door to the cabin, which wasn't very big at all. Just two beds on opposite sides of the room and a bed stand pushed up against the far side of the room and a round throw rug on the wood floor. Jane was sitting on the bed on the left and the men were on the other bed. They all looked at us when we walked in. Alec put his arm around my waist.
"This is Jyewel," he introduced me. "She's going to be with us for a while." He gestured to his sister. "This is Jane. Those two are Demitri and Felix." Jane stood up.
"Why did you bring her here?" she asked, not at all friendly. I decided right then that I didn't like her. They wanted to learn about me, right? Well, here was their chance and she was mad at her brother. It was so backwards.
"She had nowhere else to go," Alec replied. "She can't take the sunlight." Jane was about to say something else, but I interrupted.
"Let me tell you what I told Alec," I said quickly. I recited my story from the beginning, where everyone was to make the change, and finished at when I got to this world. "That's it. That's my story." They all looked stunned and were silent. Then Jane did a double take at her brother and broke the silence.
"What is that?" she snapped. She took a step towards Alec and touched where I bit him. My fang marks…
Jane whirled toward me and glared furiously, bearing her teeth. "You tried to kill him!" she roared.
"No! I didn't!" I scrambled my thoughts to try to explain. I hadn't been trying to kill him! Well, not really. Alec stepped in between me and Jane.
"She wasn't trying to hurt me in any way," he snapped back at her. "She needed my blood, I didn't. I let her bite me." Okay, so he was lying. Partially. I had bit him unexpectedly, but he hadn't pushed me away or even tried to make me stop, but it still wasn't like he had offered. Jane looked past her brother to me, obviously trying (and failing) to control her expression.
"How?" she asked. She didn't add more to the question, but I knew what she meant.
"I…I don't know how," I answered honestly. "I just… bit. I smelled it, the blood, and…" I didn't know how to explain it further. "I just… I don't know. I couldn't help myself." I waited for Jane to scream at me some more, but she surprised me by laughing.
"I must say that I find that interesting," she smiled. She was playing it happy, but I wasn't an idiot. I could tell she was thinking about throwing me into the sunlight. Or setting me on fire herself. Her eyes made that much clear. "A new kind of vampire! We must take her back to Aro."
"Aro?" I asked. I didn't want to meet any more new freaks, not now. Especially one the horrid Jane wanted me to see.
"Jane," Alec said cautiously. "I'm not so sure that's the best idea. How can we get her back to Itali without running into sunlight somewhere along the way?"
"Well, we have to get back home sometime, don't we? And you want her to come with us. So, the way I see it, she has to stay in one place. That's great for her, but we can't. We've got a job to do."
What a selfish little girl. Well, I wasn't going to make Alec choose between staying with me and staying with his sister. I knew what he would choose anyway.
"I can go," I shrugged. "I just need to wait till the sun goes down. No big de…"
"No," Alec interrupted. "You're staying with us, like I promised." He glared at Jane. "I said she was staying with us. Yes, we have a job to do here, but we're going to be here a while"
"What about when we're done?" Jane threw back at him. "What will you do with her then?"
"I'll stay with her," Alec said, his tone hiding an undercut of threat. "Just live with her staying us." Then he saw that Jane was getting upset and he softened his tone. "I'll figure something out. I'll find a way to get back to Itali. It just may take some more time than you. Jyewel needs shelter from the sun, and I won't leave her."
I felt so helpless and more than a little confused. Why was Alec doing all this for me? We'd just met! And I had drunk from him! And here he was, dodging bullets so that I could be safe from both the sun and that psychotic sister of his. Maybe he was just a good person, but I had a feeling it ran deeper than that.
"Why do you want to be with her so bad?" Jane asked the question on my mind. I threw a look at her, which she either didn't see or just ignored. I quickly looked back at Alec, wanting to hear what he had to say as much as the freaks in the room with us. Alec shook his head in some sort of frustration.
"Because I promised her," he said. "Is that too hard for you all to grasp?" He sent accusing glares around the room. The smaller of the men (Demitri, I think) stood up.
"Of course, Alec," He said. "We will find some way for to stay with us. We understand promises." He glanced at the big freak (Felix).
"Sure," Felix grinned and shrugged. "I don't care if she stays. I want to see those fangs, though." Well, that was an odd request, but these were freaks. I stepped around Alec and took a step closer to Felix. I smiled, showing my teeth. Felix laughed. "She could pass for a Cullen if she didn't have those!"
"A what?" I asked. Alec rolled his eyes.
"Cullen," he said. "Definition: A family of vampires that chooses to hunt animals instead of humans, so their eyes are a golden color, like your's." Animals, like rabbits…
"Cinnamon!" I shouted. "I forgot him outside!" I lunged at the door, but Alec grabbed me before I could reach the handle. "I have to get him."
"Jyewel, not now," Alec reasoned. "Not in the sun."
"But what if a human comes by and takes him or throws him away or takes him home and gives him to his kids?" I listed my fears. Alec ran his hand through his hair. I knew I couldn't take the sun, so it wasn't smart to go get my rabbit, but I also couldn't imagine leaving him outside for something to happen to him. He was all I had of my brothers, my old life, my old world!
"Let me go get him," Alec said. He moved to the door, but Jane put a hand on his shoulder.
"You know…" she started to say. Alec shut her up by flipping up his hood and giving her a look.
"Felix, stand in front of her," Alec said. Felix did what he was told and Alec opened the door. I closed my eyes.
In almost the same instant, the door was shut. At first I thought Jane was still mad at Alec and had locked him out. I was about to push Felix out of my way and give her a piece of my mind when I heard Alec say, "Here's your rabbit, Jyewel." Felix moved out of my way and Alec handed me Cinnamon.
"Thank you for going to get him," I said sincerely, taking my rabbit from him. He smiled serenely at me.
"Happy to help," he replied. I caught a glimpse of Jane over Alec's shoulder. She looked peeved. That was okay with me. I liked her about as much as she liked me, so we were on the same page. "Now all we have to do is think of what we are going to do about getting you back to Itali."
"We could always take a boat or something," I suggested.
"How well can you swim, Jyewel?" Jane asked. I actually couldn't swim at all, but I wasn't giving this psycho any ideas. I shrugged.
"Pretty good," I lied. "I'm no athlete, but I can. Why?"
"Oh, if you can swim, you can swim back to Itali," she said in such a fake sugary smile. Alec rolled his eyes.
"Jane, shut the hell up," he snapped. Jane's smile faded and she flopped back on the bed.
"It was an idea," she protested. "You need all the ideas you can get. I'm trying to help."
"You're doing a horrible job."
Jane just rolled her eyes and turned her head to stare at the wall. I knew she was still seriously considering throwing me out to burn. I scooted a little closer to Alec. Then I had my thought.
"You'd better start being nicer," I grinned. Jane turned her head to me.
"Oh?" Jane said back sharply. "And why's that?"
"Because, if I drank from your brother, I can probably drink from other vamps from this world, too, including you." I smiled at my explanation. Jane narrowed her eyes at me and Felix burst into laughter.
"I like the way this little girl thinks," he grinned. "We defiantly have to keep her around, as if that wasn't already decided." I smiled, and then yawned.
"This has been such a long day," I said. "Wait, that's an understatement. It's been a very, very long day." I yawned again.
"You… sleep?" Alec asked. I rolled my eyes.
"I know it's kind of early to go to bed, but like I said, long day."
"He means, do you actually sleep?" Jane said. "We don't." I could tell my expression was confused.
"You don't?" I asked. "Then… how do you keep going?" Jane shrugged.
"It's not like we have it down to an absolute science like your kind does."
I wanted to ask more questions (after all, we had been discussing only the kind of vampire I was, not what kind they were), but I was just too tired. I guessed I hadn't noticed my exhaustion because of the drama of the night and the mutation symptoms.
"I need to sleep," I mumbled, rubbing my face. Demitri stood up from the bed he was sitting on. I smiled my thanks to him and laid down on it, covering myself in the thick wool blanket. It smelled like a human had been sleeping in it not too long ago.
"I have a question," I said.
"I have an answer," Alec said back.
"Where are the humans who were here?" I heard Jane giggle happily.
"Probably at the bottom of the ocean, by now," she replied. I sighed. How sadistic was this child? I was certainly glad that Alec was so fond of me and wouldn't let her kill me in my sleep. I laid my head on the pillow and it didn't take long for me to just drift off.
It was hard to keep asleep. I didn't dream, but Jane's constant rants kept waking me up.
"Stop that," She snapped, in a poor excuse for a rasped whisper.
"Stop what?" Alec asked, clearly annoyed. "I'm not doing anything."
"You are staring at her! Stop it, will you?"
I could almost see Alec roll his eyes. "Shut up! Jyewel is trying to sleep."
"Oh, 'Jyewel this, Jyewel that.' Why do you like her so much? She drank from you!"
"Jane, I told you; I let her. Drop it!"
"Oh, ok, great. You love her!"
"Where are you pulling this from? Love? Are you insane or paranoid or whatever?"
"No, but you are! You…"
"As much as I'm, um, enjoying this Jane-Alec pain fest, it's getting annoying," Felix said, somehow sounding even more annoyed than Alec with the whole situation.
"Yes," Demitri agreed quickly. "With all respect."
Respect? That ship had sailed a long time ago. I sighed and sat up, still clutching Cinnamon. Even though I was still exhausted, it was evident I wasn't getting any sleep. Alec grimaced then glared at Jane.
"Look at what you did now, Jane. You woke her up," he snapped. Jane was about to shout something back at him, but I cut in.
"No, you both did," I said. "Share the blame, for goodness sakes, you two are twins." Alec grinned.
"We still fight," he shrugged. "Didn't you ever fight with… oh, never mind."
I shrugged, even though I still felt a stab of pain. I tried to play it off. "It's alright. Yeh, we fought a little, but we were always more protective of each other than anything."
"What about your parents?" Jane asked. "What happened to them?"
I laughed breathily. "It's been years since I even thought about them. In the beginning, when everyone was forced to become vampires, they decided to run, like many other humans. They didn't let us go with them because that would've meant certain death as soon as a vampire spotted you, even if you were in the sun. I don't know what ever happened to them. We never heard from them again after they left. There are three possibilities of what happened to them, though. Either they got caught and farmed for blood, they are still on the lamb, or they died of natural causes. I don't know which, but dead is more likely than alive. But I wouldn't really know."
"You sound like you don't feel bad for them," Jane noted. I shook my head.
"No, I loved them very much, and still do, but I blocked out their memory so much in the beginning, that I started to forget them. Like who they were, what they liked to do, who they were friends with. That's the thing I wish I'd known back then. When you block out a person's memory, you start to forget that person."
"I never got to ask this, but what's it like being your kind of vampire?" Felix asked.
"It sucks," I replied. "I don't hate it like Ku did, but I was never exactly overjoyed to be one." I shook my head, remembering the intense anger I felt when one of the vampire officers bit me and changed me into a vampire. I touched the long-since healed fang scars on my neck. I could still feel that anger, so I looked back at Felix.
"What's it like being a freak vampire?"
They all gave me questioning looks. Except for Jane, who just glared.
"That's what I've decided to call your kind of vamp," I said defensively, mostly to Jane. She rolled her eyes and sat down on the other bed. "Tell me all about it."
"Well," Demitri started. "We have to be changed by another vampire, like you had to. And it is the absolute worst pain imaginable. No, I'm wrong, you can't imagine pain like that unless you've been through it."
"I'll gladly let her experience it," Jane said, smiling. I couldn't keep the horror off my expression.
"Hell no, you won't," Alec snarled at her. All of the twins' fighting had to stop. I hadn't even given Jane a good reason to hate me so much, so whatever her issue was, she needed to suck it up or get over it. Alec looked back at me. "Yes, it's hell to become a vampire. During the first year, when vampires are called newborns, that's when the thirst is hardest to control, as well as temper and instincts. It gets better the more you practice control and the older you get as a vampire. Once you are changed, you're frozen at that age, also like you. As for the sun, well I'll show you how it affects us sometime."
"It doesn't burn you? At all?" I asked, my eyes wide. Alec smiled and nodded. "Well… that's good. That's great!" I wondered what the sunlight really did to freaks. Maybe it didn't do anything, but if that was the case, Jane would've already been gone and into the journey. They had a job to do, anyway. A job I wanted to know about.
"Why are you all here in the first place?" I asked. "What job do you have to do?"
"Should we tell her?" Felix asked.
"No!" Jane shrieked. "That Alice vampire might see her!"
"Alice? Who's Alice? Is she here?" I asked.
"No, but she doesn't have to be," Jane said. "She can have visions of the future. Some of our kind gets special powers when we become vampires. Like Alec and I."
"You two have special powers? Like, besides speed and strength?" I asked.
"Yes," Alec answered. "I don't think they will do anything to you, though." His tone sounded like he was trying to discourage his sister.
"Let's try it out," Jane said anyway, smiling darkly.
"NO!" Alec snarled again. "I won't tell you again, leave Jyewel alone!"
"Then you try it," Jane growled through her teeth. "I just want to see if we work on her. I doubt it will do anything, too, but we should try."
"I will try it, then, not you. At all," Alec snapped. He looked at me, visibly trying to calm himself. "Do you mind if we experiment a little, Jyewel?"
"Depends on what you can do," I answered, feeling cautious. Obviously Jane's power was no joke, and if Alec was unhappy about it…well, he'd been right about everything else.
"It's like cutting off a person or vampire's senses. Cutting them off all together, total sensory deprivation," Alec explained. I didn't like the sound of that at all.
"What can Jane do?"
"Doesn't matter. She's not the one testing you."
"Well, none of you are if losing my senses is all you have to offer."
"Trust me; it's better than Jane's gift."
"What is this horrible gift? That's all I want to know." I knew it would be horrible, because Jane was a horrible person. But it was worth figuring out.
"My gift is the ability to create an illusion of pain," Jane answered. "Still want to try it?" As long as I was being honest with myself, Jane's gift sounded better than Alec's. I didn't want to be clueless as to what was going on around me. What if Jane tried to kill me? Or, if Alec tried to stop her, what if she hurt him?
"I choose Jane's," I said decidedly. That took everyone off guard, even Jane herself.
"What?" she said in disbelief. "Really?"
"Demitri is a tracker," Alec said weakly. I ignored him. What would tracking do to me anyway?
"Yes, really," I nodded. "I want you to test your power on me."
"Can I say something?" Alec said.
"No!" Jane smiled enthusiastically. "Let's do this quick, before she changes her mind!"
"Shut up," I told Alec. "I'll be fine." He gave me a disapproving and almost worried look, but stayed quiet. I looked at Jane. "Ok. Show me what you got." All Jane did was smile and stare at me. The oddest sensation came over me then. I felt a sort of pressure, like I knew she was trying, I felt it, but it wasn't doing anything else. Unless freaks were serious wimps and couldn't take anything at all, but I knew that wasn't the case.
"I can feel that you're trying, but I don't feel any pain," I reported. "It's like a pressure, but nothing else." The pressure disappeared and Jane looked serious.
"Don't get mad…" Alec started to say in a warning tone, but Jane held up her hand.
"Hush up, I'm thinking," she said. After sitting like that for a while she simply said, "Tell her."
Alec smiled at his twin. "You didn't completely go on a rampage when your power didn't work. I'm proud of you."
"Eek, don't remind me," Jane said, disgusted. "And wipe that smirk off your face."
Alec just smiled wider and looked at me.
"We're here because our kind have rules to follow," Alec began. "The newborns, the vampires you…stole from, they aren't exactly legal."
"What's not legal about them?" I asked. "How do things work here?"
"Vampirism is supposed to be kept secret from humans," Jane chipped in. "The rules, that all vampires are expected to follow, are what keep our vampire world in tact. Disobeying or breaking them is punishable by death, more often than not."
"So, what are the rules?"
"We don't have many, but the main thing is: Don't tell the secret."
"Being a vampire has to be kept a secret?" I couldn't wrap my mind around it all! This world was just so different from my own world. I mentally checked that and listened to what Jane had to say.
"Yes and the new vampires down there haven't been keeping a low profile," she said. "They've been too conspicuous. That is the reason we are here."
"To… kill them?" It just didn't make sense to me! Jane nodded. "But that isn't fair!"
"How is it not fair?"
"Because! How can they know the rules? Have you even told them about it? Don't they get any warnings or anything?" Jane laughed once without humor.
"No. They don't," she said. "Ignorance is no excuse. And the secret is too valuable to risk anyone that isn't a vampire to find out about it. The secret comes first."
"Okay, that makes sense, but do you really have to kill them?" I asked. "I mean, if you were a human and you noticed all the deaths of other humans, would you really start to think of vampires? This isn't the 1600's. Humans are above accusing mythical creatures for murders and killing sprees."
"But we aren't mythical creatures, now are we?" Jane shot back. I only glared at her. She sneered. "That's what I thought."
"But humans don't know!"
"Because we do our job! And, how long do you think it will take for these newborns to really slip up? Why wait until the humans do find out about vampires?" Jane whirled to Alec. "Nice move." She rolled her eyes sarcastically
"With what?" he snapped back.
"Bringing her here. She's a great little asset to our cause."
"It's not like you're the patron saint of knowledge, either."
"Stop it!" I shouted. "Stop fighting! Please, brothers and sisters shouldn't fight like this. Especially twins." I couldn't take all of the outbursts from them. My brothers and I had never fought like that. Was this how things worked here or did Jane and Alec hate each other? "I…"
"Maybe you should just go back where you came from!" Jane snarled at me. "I don't care if you do get killed by those mutations!" I knew Jane hated me, but I never truly realized just how murderous she felt towards me until that moment. Well, the sun was just out the door…
"Yeh, well, neither would I!" I snapped back. I snatched Cinnamon off the bed. "And don't worry; I'm leaving as soon as the sun goes down! There. Now you're getting your way."
"Jyewel, don't leave," Alec almost pleaded.
"I'm tired of you two ripping each other's throats out because of me. It isn't a big deal. I'm a fast learner, anyway."
"But how can you learn without someone to teach you? You don't know this world!"
"How different can it be?" Then I laughed out loud. I was a good liar; I could even lie to myself sometimes, but not this time. I was fooling nobody. This world was like the moon to me. "Just stay out of the sun, don't get noticed, and hunt inconspicuously. Easy." But hunting would be a problem in and of itself. I didn't know if I could kill someone without remorse. Ouch.
"I wish you would stay," Alec said.
"I don't belong," I whispered. "I won't let this happen again."
What was the point of all of it anyway?
You have to lie now, Jyewel. I thought. I couldn't stay; Alec must've known that somewhere inside him, but he needed help finding it. Well, I'd always been helpful.
"Okay. I'll try," I lied smoothly. Alec smiled contently.
He wouldn't be thanking me for long. I planned to run at night…
I took a little nap after lying to Alec about staying. I didn't sleep long, but it was still better than no rest at all. When I woke up it wasn't as late as I'd hoped, so I kept making Jane sneak peeks out the door to see if it was dark out there yet.
Jane kept her eyes locked on me. She knew. She knew I wasn't staying.
"What time is it?" I mouthed to her.
"6:15 p.m.," she mouthed back. One thing I could count on this witch for: She loved the idea of getting rid of me, so she was helping me out as much as she could.
"Look outside again," I mouthed back.
"It's not going to change in three minuets," she said out loud.
"What isn't going to change in three minuets?" Alec asked.
"My mind," I smiled at him. Alec smiled back.
"Okay Jyewel," he said. Technically, I wasn't lying that time. My mind was going nowhere, except for out the door and into the night, along with both my future and, temporally, Jane. Alec went back to talking to Demitri about something I hadn't been paying attention to. Jane moved to the door and cracked it opened the slightest bit. No light came into the tiny cabin.
"It's time," Jane mouthed to me. I nodded and stretched out my arms.
"Whelp, I'm still thirsty," I said. "I don't know about you, but we other worldly vamps need blood on a more than regular basis"
"Do you want to drink from me again?" Alec asked. For a second the thought tempted me, but Jane spoke up first.
"Ew, no, don't want to see it,' she complained, squeezing her eyes shut in a disgusted expression.
"I agree with her,' Felix added. "It's just too weird."
"Yeh, I'll just go hunting," I said. Okay that was a total lie, too, because I doubted I had the blackness inside me to kill a human myself. I didn't want to leave that part of my humanity behind. I'd save that for if I turned into a horrible vamp thing, which I didn't count on happening.
"I'll go with you…" Alec started
"No, I want to go with her," Jane cut in. Alec raised his eyebrows at her. He looked at me, and I shrugged, playing it clueless. Jane rolled her eyes. "Well, if she's going to stay here, we might as well learn to get along with each other, right?" Alec glared at her.
"If Jyewel comes back dead…"
"Please, Brother!" Jane laughed. "If I kill her, I'm leaving the body." Alec snarled. "I'm joking, I won't even touch her."
"Maybe I should…"
"Alec, we'll be fine," I chipped in. "I can fend for myself, believe it or not." Alec grinned.
"No doubt about that," he said. "Just keep safe, and be back before sunrise, okay?"
"Okay, Alec, we will," Jane said, moving out the door, pulling me with her. "At least one of us will," she whispered so softly when she shut the door that I almost didn't catch it.
I didn't look at her, I just took off running. On the east side of the shipping dock was a forest of thick fir and pine trees. Then I realized that my hands were empty. I skidded to a stop.
"I need to go back and get…" I stopped as Jane handed me my rabbit. "Thanks."
"Oh, save it, Jyewel. I got it so that my brother won't have a reminder of you."
"I don't care," I replied, cuddling Cinnamon. "He's all I've got left"
"Come on, Jyewel!" Jane ran ahead of me and I took off after her. I caught up with her easily, and we both leaped over the railing and dropped to the hard earth below.
We ran into the trees and kept on going until Jane suddenly stopped.
"Okay, you good with me leaving you here?" she asked. Then she laughed. "As if I really care!" Then she got serious. "For my brother's sake, keep yourself safe and out of trouble."- She pointed forward-"Up ahead a little ways is a town. Find some humans. I'll leave learning how to kill them with no one noticing up to you." Jane turned to leave. I grabbed her arm. She whirled back around angrily. "What?"
"I can't do it!" I argued. "You have to show me how! I've always just bought blood when I needed it. It was easy as going into the kitchen and getting some from the fridge." Jane groaned. "Or do you want me to just stay with you? I'll do whatever permits me to live."
"Okay, okay! I'll show you how." Jane shook her arm free of my grasp. "Come with me." We both started walking.
"One other thing," I said hesitantly, "I've never killed anyone." Jane snorted.
"It's a good thing you aren't staying with us, then," she said. I didn't want to ask how they killed the humans. "Couldn't you hunt animals, like those Cullens Felix told you about?"
"Do you not remember the blood substitute some of the vampires were trying to create that I told you about?" I shot back. "Animal blood was what they tested first. I wish I could hunt animals, but it just doesn't work like that."
"What about mixing them together? Human and animal blood?"
"That solves neither problem. I…I don't think I can kill a human."
"Why not? Vampires kill humans all the time. Even in your world. You told us yourself about what happened to the humans who didn't run or were caught."
"I had never actually killed one before. My humanity…"
"But you are not a human anymore, Jyewel. Why are you refusing to accept that fact?" Jane asked, sounding frustrated. "Perhaps we'd get along better if you weren't so…good." She added as a mutter.
"I know I'm not a human anymore! But humanity is different than just being human. It's a choice you make. And once you become a vamp thing, you no longer have that choice, so I won't waste it. If I turned into a vamp thing, I would lose the memory of my brothers and Ku and Holli and I would lose who I am. Only one thing would ever matter to me, and we both know what that is. I'm not letting that happen."
"Then how will you keep that without blood?" Jane was silent for a moment. "You're doing it for Ku, aren't you?"
I didn't answer for a second. It was a realization for me, as well. Maybe I was doing it for Ku. Ku and Roddi. And I also couldn't become a vamp thing because of Joey, Skylar, and Holli.
"Maybe I am," I finally said back to Jane. "Both her and Roddi. And I can't become a vamp thing for Joey, Skylar, and Holli."
"You can't keep one promise without breaking the other. And I think we both know which promise you'd keep first."
She was right. If I didn't feed on humans, I either died or turned into a vamp thing. If I killed a human, I was killing the exact thing Ku stood for. What Ku died for. How could I keep both promises? The answer was simple: I couldn't, like Jane said.
"What do I do?" I whispered.
"I don't know," Jane said her tone expressionless. We didn't say anything else as we kept walking.
Maybe I should have just planned to sunlight myself right then, but, even though I had nearly nothing to live for, I didn't want to die. And there was Alec to think of. Jane, her witchy self, had told me to be careful for his sake. A small voice in my head said "Why? He wouldn't know if you died anyway." But I was able to convince myself that it was the inner vamp thing state of mind saying that.
Soon I started to hear cars running and some loud, drunk voices laughing and joking around too loudly.
"Okay," Jane said, stopping suddenly. "You'll probably need to make up a story to get someone isolated and out of notice. That should be easy for you since, even though I hate admitting it, you are a good liar."
"Jane," I said wearily, "I…I don't think I can do this!" Jane rolled her eyes and muttered something I didn't understand.
"Fine. I'll go kill you one, but that's it. After that, I am leaving you to fend for yourself." She didn't say anymore just disappeared into the trees ahead of us. I sat at the base of a tree trunk, cuddled Cinnamon to me, closed my eyes, and rested my head on my knees.
I really hoped that Jane was fast about killing the human and that it was a lowlife, careless drunkie and not a good person. I clutched my rabbit closer and tried to think happy thoughts. I thought of a time me and Ku had actually snuck blood from a coffee shop.
It wasn't the blood running out that made us do it (it wasn't even close to that point in my world's history), we were just thirsty and had no money to pay for it. We could have just called one of my brothers or Holli, (who had been only a few feet away, getting tickets for taking the subway), but that just wasn't how we did things. Both of us had been generally good kids, but loved the thrill of taking risks. And causing scenes. Sometimes. Most of the time.
So, all we had to do was distract Macey (a girl we knew who worked at the coffee shop) get in and get out. It went a lot like this:
"Jyewel, can we really pull this off?" Ku asked in a whisper, holding in a giggle. (It was the beginning, when Ku still had some brightness left in her spirit).
"I don't know," I whispered back. "But what's the harm in trying?"
"Ok. Let's move!"
There would be hell to pay when Roddi got a hold of me, but I wasn't thinking about the consequence of it. I rarely did.
I hurried over to where a woman was standing. She was boney thin, in her 50s, and wearing a long fur coat, one from the 1920s that, more likely than not, had some sentimental value to it.
Her name was Sara Johnston and she was Ku and Holli's neighbor. She was pretty bitter, too, and hated kids, of which I was. Well, not really a kid, I was fourteen, but you just didn't mess with Sara Johnston. Unless you were me or Ku, then you didn't really care what she said to you. Plus, she had a temper. A bad one. A perfect one.
"Excuse me, ma'am," I said politely. Sara looked down at me in disgust.
"Mm, what do you want?" she asked impatiently. "I'm very busy and need to get the next sub train, so make it quick."
"Oh, of course, Ms. Johnston," I replied. "I just wanted to tell you that there was one hot vampire about your age and I think you'd work out together." Sara scowled.
"See here, young lady, I do not wish to be disturbed any further by you. Go away!" I knew I wasn't fooling Ms. Johnston, and that was the perfect way to go on with making her peeved and causing a scene, a distraction. By this time, a few people had stopped to stare and listen to us.
"But, come on, Ms. J! I wanted to…"
"Ms. Johnston. Never call me that name again!" Her voice was rising. It was the temper taking control, which was my goal. I made my expression confused.
"Which name? Ms. J or Ms. Johnston? Or couldn't I just call you Sara?"
"But why not? Sara's your name, isn't it?" By now, a lot of people were staring at us. Many people knew that you didn't mess with Sara Johnston, but I wasn't "many people", I was Jyewel Horizon.
"No! No! No! You may not call me any other name but Ms. Johnston!"
"It could be Mrs. Hot Grandpa Vampire, if only you'd listen to me!" Just then, the subway train pulled up. Now it was time to really distract her, and that was going to call for some temper-snapping things to say.
"Ms. J, you really need to broaden your horizon. And those icky, boney shoulders of yours. Nas-tyyyy."
Now I' really cracked something. I could almost hear the "snap" in her brain.
"YOU LISTEN TO ME! ARE YOU LISTENING? I SAID GO AWAY AND LEAVE ME ALONE! YOU RUDE, RUDE CHILD! I DID NOT COME HERE TO..." she stopped ranting as the sub train started moving out. She looked at it in some sort of horror and let out a cry.
"No! No, wait!" she shouted, running after the train. When Sara Johnston realized it was a hopeless situation for her, she whirled furiously toward me.
"Er, have a nice day, Ms. J!" I waved, turned and took off running, dodging through gawking people. I saw Ku grinning from behind the side of Macey's coffee shop.
"I got it," she mouthed at me. I laughed.
My head snapped up as Jane dropped the body of a human woman who looked to be in her early thirties. I looked away.
"Thanks," I mumbled. Jane made a huffy noise. I rolled my eyes. "How did you do it?"
"Well, she was pretty intoxicated, so it wasn't that hard," Jane replied. "Alcoholics and drug users are pretty much the easiest targets you can get." I nodded slightly. I still refused to look at the dead human.
"You can go now," I murmured. I heard Jane turn and, without another word, take off running in the direction we had come. I looked at the human.
She didn't look like an alcoholic to me. She was of medium height, a little thick, had long brown hair that was straight, and was wearing what a normal person would wear. Just a purple top and jeans with flats. I had a feeling Jane might have been lying about what this human had been doing before she killed her.
I looked away from her. I touched my ears and glanced at my hands. My ears were normal and my hands had no distinct bones showing. I didn't need blood just yet…
Maybe it was a bad idea, but I didn't want to feed on that human woman. I felt like I didn't want to feed on any human whatsoever!
I picked up Cinnamon and looked a direction away from where the city noise was coming from. I wasn't hunting, not just yet. I gave no other acknowledgment to the human. I ran into the trees and didn't look back. I knew I'd never really lose the city sight because I was running along side of it rather than truly away from it. But that didn't matter anymore. All that mattered now was that I didn't think about any kind of future for me. It was those last few minutes of thinking about Ku that made me make up my mind. I knew which promise I was keeping. And, somehow, I planned for it to be both of them.
Although I knew eventually I would have to break into a Red Cross center or a hospital or something, I knew I had to get blood. I was out to prove Jane wrong. I could get blood without killing humans, and I wouldn't lose my humanity by depriving myself of blood and turning into a vamp thing. I kept running, Cinnamon in hand.
I didn't know how close I was to a jewelry store or electronics store or whatever, but maybe I would dip in and steal a watch. I had to know what time it was. Judging sun distances wasn't going to be a very effective way to survive. Although, if I stayed in the shade, I would be safe. Indirect sunlight didn't harm me. I could also get a hoodie and jeans and walk around in the day. As long as no sunlight touched my skin, I wouldn't burn.
I slowed down to a walk. What was I running from? I didn't have anything to run from or to run to. I didn't particularly like the feeling, but it was better than feeling empty. The feeling was of knowledge, acceptance. I knew I had nothing to live for, but I didn't want to die either. Then, in that moment, I realized exactly why I didn't want to die.
The only way to die now was to throw myself into the sunlight, and, unlike Ku, I just wasn't brave or strong enough to do that. Maybe I just wasn't tired enough of life yet, but I had a gut feeling that that wasn't the case at all. Maybe, I wasn't living solely for Ku and my brothers and Holli. I was living for Alec, too. And, however selfish it may have sounded to anyone who thought they would have already given up if they were in my situation, myself. I was living for myself, too.
The feeling of power overwhelmed me. I felt so in control of my own life, a feeling I had never thought I would ever feel again, that I even felt a few tears spring to my eyes. I felt so… strong. I had been wrong. It wasn't that I hadn't been strong enough to kill myself, I was too strong to kill myself, and that felt so impossibly good. I smiled to myself.
I felt like I was getting Jyewel back. The Jyewel that had no problem causing scenes with Ms. Johnston. The Jyewel that still cared about her brothers and her friends. I still had a new somber quality about me that probably wasn't going away, but I was still myself. I kept on walking, listening to how loud the city sounds were.
"Oh, no!" I snapped out loud. I had forgotten to ask Jane where I was. That meant I'd have to ask someone. I took a deep breath and turned to walk toward the city.
I had to think a lie to make sure no one got suspicious. A lone fourteen year old girl wandering the streets of a city she didn't even know the name of did not make a very strong argument.
I was thinking all the way up until I realized the sounds of the city were getting louder and the trees were becoming fewer and fewer.