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Zeta laughed as her little brother Zack made his famous fish-face, blowing out his cheeks, crossing his eyes, and sticking out his tongue. He looked charmingly ridiculous. Zack grinned a gap-tooth smile in triumph that he was able to make her smile. Zeta and Zack were a Christian, church-going, regular American family, and had come to spend the summer vacationing in Santa Carla.

Since it was only six P.M. their parents had suggested that Zeta take her brother to the boardwalk, see the sights and tell them what it's like. Zeta had bought her ten-year-old brother a big bag of cotton candy, he polished that off, and was now on his second caramel coated apple. The boy could eat."Zeta! Look!" He yelled, pointing excitedly at the bright lights of a spinning carousel several yards away from them.

Zeta smiled."You wanna go?"

"Heck ya!" He shouted, sprinting towards the colorful ride.

Zeta ran after him, afraid to loose him in the crowd. Her parents trusted her, and she had put a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. She would never forgive herself if something happened"Zack! Wait!"

The boy wasn't listening, he was already climbing on a big brown pony. The crowd blocked her view of him. She bit her lip, frantically trying to get there. When her path cleared again, she was disappointed to be separated long enough for Zack to strike up a conversation with a random stranger. She knew she was just being paranoid, but she didn't like how this tall, bleach-blonde stranger was looking at her little brother...as if he was something to eat.

The heart-breakingly handsome stranger looked up, his curious eyes the color of the Mediterranean Sea, made her stiffen as they pierced her own. He gave her a small smile, walking away from a preoccupied Zack without another word. Zeta jogged the remaining yards to the carousal, stepping up on the platform next to her brother."Stop running away!"

Zack cringed slightly, and gave her an apologetic look."Sorry."

Zeta nodded, letting it go."Who were you talking to?"

Zack dropped his voice dramatically."A stranger."

"What did he want?" Zeta asked, looking back at the young man's retreating figure.

"You!" Zack teased, laughing at his own joke.

Zeta rolled her eyes, as the carousel slowly started spinning. It was obvious that she wasn't getting any straight answers from him right now. Maybe later. She clutched onto a gold pole to stabilize herself from the spinning sensation, admiring her pearl purity ring as it caught the lights making it glow an icy rainbow. She could not help but feel as if someone was watching her. She tried to shake of the horrible, obnoxious feeling. It was eerie.

Zack started hooting loudly, whooping as the carousel spun faster and faster. Zeta clung harder to the pole, trying to block out the annoying, bell like music. The fine hairs on the back of her neck stood up, like she was shocked with electricity. She allowed herself a tentative look back. She turned her head slowly, her eyes locking with a pair of oceanic ones, the same that she had seen earlier.

He was standing without the help of a pole for his balance, his feet planted securely on the shiny gold platform. He was dressed in a black trench coat, a shocking contrast with his bleached, almost snowy white, blonde hair. He was wearing black, leathery gloves, his fingers wrapped around a small Bic lighter, his mouth parted by the burning cigarette.

He looked about twenty, two years older than herself, with a strong, muscular form. He was surrounded by his peers, mostly men, and a few beautiful young women, they looked like they were the cause of the staring sensation that she had felt earlier. She blushed, and snapped her head back to the front, mortified by the sound of loud, raucous laughter that followed her gesture.

She only wanted to go home as soon as she possibly could. When this ride was over, she was pulling Zack off of his metal horse and dragging him home, kicking and screaming, by the belt loops of his Levi's. She hoped that he would go nicely and quietly. She could hear the large, menacing group whispering behind her, the sound of their voices, unfortunately, were not drowned out by the horrid music. She had a feeling that she was the object of their discussion.

She looked up at the sky in a silent, pleading prayer. She was scared, her knees quaking from fear. The large group was intimidating, beautiful, but intimidating. They looked like bad news. She knew that you weren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but this cover was pretty obvious. Finally, finally the stupid ride stopped, and she did as she planned, yanking her little brother off of his fake aluminum pony.

Her prediction was correct, he complained."Hey!" He cried out."Did I do something wrong?"

"No." She answered simply, leading him through the crowd."We're going home."

"Why?" He whined, totally bemused.

"I don't feel good." She lied, tugging her white sweater tighter around her body.

"Oh." Zack murmured quietly, surrendering to her. Zeta was glad that she had won him over.

The fine hairs on the back of Zeta's neck stood up again, and she could not shake that feeling. They had walked quiet away from the loud, noisy carnival, it's bright lights fading in the distance. Zeta twisted her neck and her head spun back. It was the blonde boy, walking slowly several yards behind them, his footsteps muted even on the gravel.

Adrenaline pumped through her Zeta's veins and she picked up her pace. Th man didn't even notice her, his eyes were dead-set on her little brother. What did he want from him? Why did he have that vicious, drooling look as he stared at little Zack. She would protect her brother at all costs. She looked back again, but strangely, the man had vanished.

Zeta frowned, could it possibly have been her imagination? It probably was, but the mist of doubt did not rise, the sensation that someone was following her did not go away. She prayed softly again, and her brother took notice."What's wrong?" He asked in alarm.

Zeta kept a steady pace in the darkness, flashing him her most bravest, fakest smile."Nothing."

Zack changed the subject like weather."Race you home!" He shouted, breaking off in a run.

"No!" She shouted. But he did not listen. He rushed forward into the alley way they had taken on their route to the carnival boardwalk. It was fine in the daylight, but when darkness fell, one could not know what might be lurking there.

Se dashed after him, shouting his name. Her only response was a high, blood-curdling scream."Zack!" She screamed, throwing herself into the alley.

By the dim light of the full moon, she could see the faint outline of her brother, someone's hand wrapped around his neck. She got closer to them, knocking into the kidnapper."Let him go!" She shouted, tugging at his hard arm. It felt like it was made of steel.

The arm pushed her down, hard on the gravel. The tiny rocks left small cuts on her palms and legs, tiny drops of blood oozing out. The large male figure stopped, as if sensing something, and dropped to one knee in front of her. He brought his face closer to hers, and she stifled a scream with her gasp, it was that same man she had seen talking to Zack on the carousel, the same one that had been following them earlier."Zack! Run!" She screamed, and the boy took off in a hard dash.

The blonde male was on his feet with the speed of lightning, his silver hair catching the moonlight. He grabbed Zack and locked his arms around him, throwing them both on the ground. Zeta rushed to them, trying to pry the stranger's fingers off of her brother. "Let him go!" She screamed."Let him go." She heard the audible snap of teeth, and she gasped as realization began to sink in.

She had read about them in stories. She had seen them in movies. They were only fictional characters only existed in fictional worlds. Not here. Not in Santa Carla. Not in California. Not in the U.S. Not in the world. Not in the universe. But there he was, that beautiful, yet frightening, dangerous being whose icy eyes were melted into fire.

A vampire.

He ignored her pleadings, trying to get an exposed patch of her brother's neck."Wait!" She shouted."I know what you are!"

The dangerous creature paused, cocking his head, his icy eyes shooting into her own."What did you say?" He growled in a low, musical voice.

Zeta's whole body shook as she glanced at the bottomless fear in her brother's eyes, still in the arms of the hungry being."Y-you're a v-vampire."

The blonde threw back his head and laughed, the beautiful, yet nauseating sound echoed and bounced off of the alley walls. He grinned, exposing his sharp fangs."What makes you think that?"

Zeta swallowed hard, trying to rid herself of the bitter taste."You're not real." She whispered. "You don't exist."

The blonde ran his tongue over his bottom lip. He approached her slowly, dragging Zack with him, cornering her against the wall. "I'll show you how real we are." He paused, inhaling her brother's scent."Your brother smells delicious" He cocked his head. Would you like a demonstration?" He laughed again, his perfect lips parting to expose his venomous bite.

Zeta remembered something that her mother used to say. 'There's always a way out, even when it seems hopeless.' There has got to be a way out of this one. Zeta's mind spun with memories of history facts that she learned at school. She could think of many times when it seemed hopeless for those people, but they made it; and somehow she would too.

Zeta dropped to her knees in front of the beautiful monster."No! Please! Take me instead!"

The strange being dropped her brother in surprise, arching one shapely eyebrow."You?" He scoffed."You realize I could finish him off, and come get you for dessert?"

Fresh tears spilled from Zeta's eyes, still on the ground, clutching at his long black coat."Please." She begged in a pathetic little whisper.

He grinned slightly, amused."Why should I?"

"Because he is my brother." She responded quickly."I know that that doesn't mean anything to you, but he means the world to me, and my parents, please, please I beg you, make an exception."

"Vampires don't make exceptions." He replied cruelly, his tone flat and dead."We feed."

She reached up and grabbed one of his cold gloved hands. He looked like she struck him with her touch."I'm begging you. Take me instead. I don't care what you do to me, just please let him go."

He cocked his head at the sky, the soft glow of the moonlight outlining his pale, perfect features. He pondered awhile, his hard, breathtaking eyes snapping back at her without notice."Take you instead." He repeated, watching her hold her breath."You know I could destroy you, or let you live a long, hellish life."

She nodded, her heart thumping loud enough for him to hear it."I k-know." She stammered, icy fear gripping her mind with thoughts of all the horrible things he could do to her.

"I've never seen anything like this before." He whispered, all trace of amusement gone."No one fought for the life of their loved ones when faced by me. They all ran away." He looked at her curiously."You're the first."

She could only look at him.

He reached out and his iron hand gripped tightly at her throat. He pulled her up roughly by her neck and slammed her against the brick wall."The boy goes." He growled venomously."But you belong to me."

She nodded, her hot tears falling down on to his gloved hand.

His hate-filled eyes tore into her own."Don't cry." He ordered, without a sense of compassion. He turned to the darkness."Marko!" He shouted. There was movement as another vampire, the one she had seen him with earlier, stepped out of the shadows, the moonlight glinting off of the fangs of his vicious smile."Take the kid home."

Marko closed his eyes and inhaled, opening them again slowly. The blonde vampire reached out and grabbed the collar of his shirt."Touch him and I'll rip you to shreds."

"Calm down, David." Marko chuckled persuasively, unwrapping David's hand from his shirt. He turned to Zack."Come, child."

"Zeta!" Zack cried, heavy drops cascading down his cheeks. He took a step forward to her, but David growled, crouching in front of her. Zack yelped and ran after Marko, staying as far away from him as he could.

Zeta broke down again, sobbing hard. David waited until they were out of sight, before forcing her up by the neck again."Zeta." He smiled venemously."What an unusual name." There was no comfort in his tone, as he parted his lips, his grin growing wider and wider until it wasn't a grin, but a horrifying barring of teeth.

It was a face so frightening, so unlike the beautiful, perfect face she saw at the carousel. Zeta gasped.

And fainted.

Merry Christmas! Review please.