"Rowan!"

A lot of men in orange suits with large and bright flashlights were walking around in the forest. The woods were large though, and the child they were looking for was tiny. Normally, the woods were a place the children were allowed to play in. In the center of it, the forest was thick and dark. Dangerous in a way small kids did not understand. Even experienced hikers stayed away from it. Because of humidity and a lot of rain, the ground was caked in mud and occasional rivers, making the place a hazard for bad falls and even drowning.

The outer fringes were perfect for playing in. Because of worrying about children wandering off a decade or so earlier, there was a fence in place to keep anyone from going further into the dark trees. After that, the open forest had been filled with small playgrounds and wooden cabins for the kids to play in.

Now though, the whole town was in panic. In such a little town, nothing ever seemed to happen. The worst tragedy there had been for many years had been that one time the Hendersons had found termites in their house, and had been forced to move away. The lack of experience, of knowing what to do, caused chaos. Chaos that made everything ten times more difficult, because no one knew what to do, so everyone was walking or running around without any plan or direction.

A small preteen was missing. Rowan Solis, ten years old. Parents found them missing from their house early this morning. Most of the day had gone by looking around town, hoping the minor had simply run off somewhere to have fun. It took hours before it was even considered that this was serious, that they might not find Rowan.

A small boy, aged eleven, was also looking for Rowan. His approach was slightly different than the collected experts brought in though. He wasn't walking with the organized effort. No, he was running around in panic.' Cause he actually had something to lose if they didn't find Rowan. His life would never be the same.

The men in the orange suits did not care, not really. They had a job to do, they got paid for this. Brought in from the closest big city. They didn't even know Rowan. They didn't care that when Rowan was younger, they couldn't pronounce their own name, that Rowan was given a pink dress for their birthday, and had wanted to cut it apart with scissors. That when the class had been forced to read something from an ancient guy named Shakespeare, he had called some people them, no matter whether they were a boy or girl, and that Rowan had begged Steve to call them that. That Steve had been confused, but complied anyway, because it had made Rowan happy. They did not care that Rowan was the best friend Steve ever had. They did not care that he felt like he would die without them.

Rowan wasn't their best friend. They were his, and they couldn't be gone. Couldn't just vanish. He couldn't lose them.

They had to be somewhere. Anywhere. Somewhere he could find them. Anywhere he could find them. They had to be. They had to be.

The mud was slippery, due to the rain that had kept drowning the ground over the course of the past week.

Steve had slipped four times already. He didn't care. He couldn't. It did not matter. It couldn't matter. If he was going to let every fall affect him, then he would...

Then he'd never find them. Ever.

He'd be all along again, with his mother and all her bottles of poison, and all her cruel men. That couldn't be all there was. Not again, never again.

And if he so fell and broke every bone in his body, it'd be worth it if Rowan just came back to him. He'd probably sell his soul to the Devil his mother talked about for Rowan. But the Devil did not show himself, and so Steve had to keep going on his own, with his soul. Without help.

Darren was probably looking for her too, with his parents. Even if Darren had never been especially close to her. Darren and Rowan just didn't fit together. With Darren's proper parents, he didn't dare get too close to Rowan. Too weird, he'd told Steve once, though there was no malice in his voice. Steve didn't mind. A small part of it was even happy, that he didn't have to share Rowan and Darren with each other. They got along well enough when they were both with Steve, but they had no connection outside of him.

Darren had other friends, while Rowan didn't, they only had Steve. That made them closer to each other automatically. They were the only one for each other. They needed each other, one could not just leave the other, because then they would both be alone.

And now Rowan had left him anyway and Steve was all alone. The grief isolated him later, and Steve hated the pitying looks people gave him. To most people, he was just the boy who was friends with the kid who disappeared. He hated that. So he covered it up, everything that wasn't anger. Anger and rebellion and mischief, that was all he was post-Rowan.

Most nights he still had nightmares about it, about Rowan crying and pleading for his help. He never found them, not even in his own dreams.

A/N: This is the first chapter of my new story.

Thank you for reading!

Loosely book and movie based, I guess.

The vampanezes will have normal skin colour, and only slightly purple eyes.

UPDATE: I still do not have the inspiration to continue the sequel to this story yet, but after looking things over I have decided to re-write the whole story, as my writing has gotten considerably better now. But I have not read the books since I wrote this story in the first place, so please point out any mistakes I might make. Rowan is non-binary, and is most comfortable with they/them pronouns.

Disclaimer:I do not own The Saga of Darren Shan, and I get no profit for writing this. I do, anyhow, own Rowan. Please, do not steal them.