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"Becky, I want a taco."
Tearing my eyes off the road to take a look at my sister, I saw her batting her deeply set brown eyes at me. "Gloria, this is the third time this week that you wanted tacos for dinner. That's not even counting what you had for breakfast and lunch. Can't you eat anything else?" Returning my attention to the road, I stepped harder on the gas and scouted for Exit 93.
"If I want a taco, I'm gonna eat an effing taco." She smacked her hand against the dashboard for emphasis. "I'm not force-feeding you anything, so get off my back. I don't nag you about that nasty crap you drink."
I snorted. "Leave my lattes out of this. A little touchy, aren't we?" I stole another sideways glance at her.
She folded her arms and pouted. "When it comes to my tacos, I am. Hey, isn't that what we're here for?" Gloria perked up, pointing at one of the highway signs.
Turning the car toward the exit, I heard Gloria's stomach rumble. "Yo, Gloria, take it easy. When we're done this job, you can get as many tacos as you want. Just hang in there for the next few hours, 'kay?"
"A few more hours?" She whined. She scoffed, mumbling, "Fucking bastards, the lot of 'em."
We headed down a couple of country roads, our car bucking like an untamed horse. My car—er, our car—is a major clunker. Gloria's always complained about how we should get a newer model, but I can't give up Bessie like that.
Yeah, my car's name is Bessie. We've been through a lot together. She's a beautiful, dark blue eighty-two Buick and I'm completely in love with her. I'm not a car buff, but Bessie was my parent's, so Gloria can just suck it up and shut up. My sister hates her, but I think it's more because she's associated so many bad times with Bessie instead of all the good ones.
The further in we drove to the middle of nowhere, the less frequent street lights became until there were none left to guide us. I couldn't see very far with Bessie's old headlights, so I pretty much prayed all the while that there weren't any sharp turns coming our way.
"That's it, we're getting a new freaking car," Gloria hissed through her teeth as she pressed herself against the seat, digging her nails into my arm. "If we die, it's gonna be all your fault."
I sighed, drumming my fingers against the steering wheel. "I'm sure it's not too far by this point."
We continued the ride in silence until the asphalt road dissolved and turned into a rocky dirt path.
"I think we're here," I muttered, putting on the brakes and killing the engine. "Check the coordinates,"
Gloria brought out a map and a flashlight from the glove compartment, squinting at all the scribbles we had written all over it. "Yup, this is it. Count your lucky stars that you didn't kill us."
"Yeah, and all we have to do is survive this." I said, smiling wryly.
"Please," She sniffed haughtily. "Those things don't stand a chance against us."
I grinned more genuinely. "You got that right, sis."
A white blur flashed across my rearview mirror. We both saw it. Gloria shoved the map and flashlight back in the glove box, a look of triumph in her eyes. "So, you think that was another car, lost like we are?" She asked innocently, her eyes widening is feigned ignorance.
I shrugged, playing along. "I don't know. Maybe. Let's check it out."
We exited the car, our movements purposefully slow and leisurely. The dirt path seemed to continue to go on forever. We were surrounded by tall trees. Everything was super quiet, like it hadn't seen any visitors in a while. It was pitch black. I squinted in the moonlight.
Gloria popped open the trunk, getting out two water bottles. She tossed one over to me. "I'm thirsty. You?"
I caught it, nodding. "Where do you think that car went? I mean, it couldn't have been anything else, right?"
Gloria shrugged her shoulders, reaching into her cowboy styled boot to scratch her calf. "I guess. Maybe we were seeing things. Delirious from lack of tacos."
A tree branch from the distance fell, cracking against the dead leaves.
I placed my hand on my hip, my fingers yanking my gun from my back pocket. "Bingo,"
Gloria whipped out her weapon—a 1973 German dagger—aiming its edge at the sound, the blade gleaming coldly in the moonlight. "Come out, come out, wherever you are," She sang-song. "We know you're here. Won't you come out and play?"
"Ladies," A voice came from behind me, cooing. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you. I was wondering who the dashing young women were that've been following me."
Swiveling, I pointed my gun at the voice's source. Standing before me was an ugly but harmless-looking old man. He had skin the color of a dark chocolate Hershey bar, his hair a silvery-blue and his eyes a golden brown. He was dressed head to toe in a white tuxedo, like the ones I've seen grooms in advertisements wear more and more often. He slumped over slightly, smirking cockily at us.
"Yeah, we've been waiting to hit it up with you." Gloria said, her voice steady and strong.
"I think we've been in a bit of a misunderstanding—GAH!" The man began screaming, his skin dissolving in some areas, steaming in others. Gloria had popped off the lid to her water bottle and squirted him with it.
"You bitch," He shouted, stomping his foot like a child. "That's so unfair! I wasn't expecting you to outright attack me with holy water! That's so sneaky!" The steam emitting from his body disputed, his flesh repairing itself. "And that makes it so much more fun." He jutted his fangs out, lunging for me.
I shot at him four times with my gun, watching him crumple to the ground. I hated hurting them because they looked so much like us, like humans. He wasn't even one of those cool vamps that you could just chill with and have them drink cow blood or something. He was a sadistic whackadoodle, like a lot of the vampires prowling around today. Sure, that's horrible and despicable, but what was worse was that his killings made it into a lot of the papers, which would risk his kind as well as mine.
I kept my face blank as I heard him moan, blood leaking from his chest and torso. Horror and confusion twisted his features as he coughed up black gunk mixed with the red of his blood.
"The bullets I shot you with were silver and coated with dead man's blood." I explained, his face smoothing over into an expression of detached understanding and serenity. Gloria and I both watched in silence as he lay there, not moving. He wasn't dead yet, but he was at the moment unconscious.
Gloria waltzed over to the vampire's side, swinging her dagger high above her head. With amazing force and swiftness, she severed the vamp's head from his neck. She rose, wiping sweat from her forehead. "Well, I guess it's time to do our thing."
We gathered our supplies from the trunk—shovels, gas, matches, and salt. We dug a shallow grave a good distance away from Bessie and rolled his corpse into it. We drenched his body in gas and poured salt on him. Gloria handed the matches to me. "I think it's your turn. I did it last time."
I took the matches, nodding. "Sure," I lit one and flicked it into the grave, whispering a prayer. Gloria watched the fire grow, her head bowed and her expression solemn. We didn't consider ourselves overly religious people—you kinda couldn't with this job—but we did have our faith, and we liked to handle our jobs knowing that we did our best to not ruin something's afterlife, or our own—you know, just in case.
The fire slowly died. We stood, not looking at each other in a heavy quietness. We were always like this after we killed something. I didn't consider it a sadness really, and not even a queasiness or weakness. However, it was always dark and serious after we did a job. I mean, human or not, evil or not, we still took lives, and it was near impossible to just act all stoic like we totally didn't care that we chopped someone's head off and watched the light fade from their eyes.
"Sparkly freaks," Gloria growled. "That Stephanie Meyer chick is next on my list."
I forced a smile. "We can't do anything to her. All she did was make them cuddly for preteen fantasies."
Gloria kicked some loose dirt into the grave. The vampire was just a pile of stinky ash, now. "And more akin to glittering fairies."
"Like I said, fantasy." I stuffed my gun back into my pocket. "C'mon, it's taco-time, my treat."
"Girl, how much of that crap do you drink in a day?" Gloria said around a mouthful of taco shell and shredded cheese.
"Whatever keeps me going." I took a giant slurp from my cup, savoring the taste of strong, black coffee—and enjoying the nice kick it had that hastened my heartbeat. "Mmmm, caffeine." We were sitting in the car, just outside of some no-name Mexican restaurant. We had the seats lying down, so we were facing each other cross legged and stuffing our faces.
Gloria belched wetly. "Soda, tea, and hot chocolate have the same affect, you know. You don't need to keep downing that crap. Oh, crap." Gloria made a face at her food, pulling a long dark hair from her mouth. "I'm shedding again." She whipped her black hair over her shoulder, returning to her food. "Sometimes I think you're so lucky to have that hair of yours. Then I like to laugh at how people mistake you for a boy."
I stuck my tongue at her. Gloria always had really luxuriously soft, ridiculously long hair, even when we were little kids. I used to have long hair until I turned ten—that was when IT happened to our parents, and I had to cut it all off. I had cried over losing my hair. I couldn't imagine having it short. It sounds stupid, I know, trust me, I've told myself that enough times. But the funny thing was, once it starting growing back, let's say just past my ears—I couldn't stand it. I thought that was too long. I can't imagine growing my hair back to Gloria's length. People used to mistake us as twins and as legit relatives, but we never really saw how we looked anything alike. Sure, we spent plenty of time together, we were practically attached at the hip, but we definitely weren't related. Not by blood, anyway.
Let me explain: Gloria and I aren't related. We're not real sisters. We don't look that much alike (much to the protest of others).
But we're the only family we have.
Let me tell you my sob story. Don't worry, I'll only tell it once, then you'll never have to suffer through it again.
Okay, picture it: Gloria and I, best friends. Both sets of our parents, best friends. We're kids. She's twelve and I'm ten. We're playing with our Barbie dolls (which is something I can admit to now that I'm so much older. If any other kids around our age at that time knew we were still playing with dollies, we would have gotten our booties whooped) in the living room at her house. Our parents were in the dining room, sharing a few drinks, chatting merrily. Gloria had a brother, and his name was AJ, which was short for Anthony Jr. He was younger, and was thus dubbed "uncool" by us, so he was chilling in front of the TV, which was in the den, watching cartoons. We were firmly planted in our fantasy world when Gloria suddenly piped up, "Becky, you hair's weird."
"No, it's not," I gasped, highly offended. "What makes you think yours is any better?"
"It is, too. I read in a book that red-heads are vampires." She said matter-of-factly, in complete seriousness.
"I'm not a vampire." I said hotly, twisting my fingers in my long, fiery strands. "You read really dumb books."
She gaped at me, obviously not convinced.
I smirked devilishly. "Actually, I am a vampire, and I VANT—TO SUCK—YOUR BLOOD!" I tossed my dolls to the side and pounced on her, pushing her onto her back.
She screamed bloody murder. She kept us separated my jabbing her knees into my chest, fighting off my hands that I had curled like claws. I was practically lying on her shins, her legs keeping me elevated, but still on top of her. She was older and taller, and even though I was small, I really liked sports and was really strong, so we were at a stalemate.
"Get. Off. Me." She said through gritted teeth.
"Give. Me. Blood." I replied in a similar tone, mocking her.
She growled in frustration.
Then we heard shrieks coming from the dining room.
We both froze, like our minds were put on hold and couldn't process what we heard. At the same time, we both scrambled to our feet and rushed to the dining room. "Mom, Dad?" We said simultaneously.
Gloria was the first to scream. I was a close second. Blood was everywhere. Something in the room stank. Everyone was dead—my mom and dad, her mom and dad—the only person that wasn't there was—
"AJ!" Gloria screeched. "Where are you?!"
"I'm here," we heard him sniff. We peeked around the corner that led to the kitchen and saw AJ—he was about four years old at the time—bloodied and sticky. "A monster came and killed them all." He whispered, on the verge of crying.
I felt sick. "Where—where did it go?" I asked, my voice shaky and almost inaudible.
AJ shrugged. He probably couldn't bring himself to speak anymore.
Gloria, who had long ago protested her resentment and rivalry with her baby brother, reached her arms out and got on one knee. "C'mere, AJ," She said, tears streaming down her blanch face. "We're going to be fine. We just need to call the police and—"
AJ's eyes changed color.
It was so quick that I barely thought it had really happened. It wasn't like they changed color from the light—they looked like they turned completely black, like his pupils enlarged and spread out enough to block out the whites of his eyes.
He slowly walked toward her, his arms reaching for her. "Gloria, I'm scared."
But she had seen it, too.
I bolted past him and jammed my hand in the closest drawer I could find—the silverware drawer. I plucked out a carving knife, glancing back at Gloria. AJ didn't pay me any mind. He was focused on his sister. Gloria looked past him, her eyes right on me. She was pleading with me. "Becky, don't leave me." She cried, her voice desperate and sad. "Help me,"
AJ kept walking toward her, his voice not sounding like his own. "I'll never leave you, Gloria. I love you." He stopped directly in front of her, his hand reaching for her face. "And it'll be quick. I promise."
I leapt toward him, dealing blow after blow after blow into what was no longer AJ.
He wasn't bothered at all by what I was doing. Blood didn't pour out of where I wounded him, and there weren't even puncture marks in his skin. He turned around to face me, a big smile on his face. "That's not very nice, Rebecca. You could've hurt someone!"
He growled at me in a creepy, animalistic way, reaching for my hair. Then, he howled like he was experiencing the worst pain imaginable, tugging a fistful of my hair from my scalp. I screamed from both pain and terror as his head turned completely around, screaming at his sister, "You ugly slut!"
Gloria didn't waver. She had a cross necklace on and she depressed into his skin, smoke rising from the cross, the smell of burned skin following it. The area the cross touched made a revolting sizzling sound.
"Leave my brother alone!" She shouted. "Go away! We're stronger than you!"
Gulping down the last bit of numbness I had left in me, I starting yelling the Lord's Prayer, the twenty third psalm, and some random Bible verses that were crammed into my head since the day I entered Sunday school.
AJ was kicking and screaming, panicky and wild. He screamed obscenities, spouted off in different languages, and vomited. Then he was limp and soundless.
Hearts pounding and gasping for breath, Gloria continued to hold the cross against him as I continued to mutter prayers and verses, sometimes mixing them together. After twenty more minutes of just us, panting and praying, we stopped. We looked at each other, then gaped at what was—or wasn't—her brother.
"We killed my brother," She said, her eyes vacant and her voice flat.
"No!" I protested, my voice hoarse and my throat scratchy. "That wasn't your brother."
"Yes it was. Something else was inside him. But he was there. And we killed him. You stabbed him. I made him twist his neck…you killed him." She sobbed. "I killed him! I killed my own brother!"
Red and blue light flickered across the walls, deafening sirens accompanying them. There was a loud banging on the door, then five large men in odd-looking armor appeared. We weren't arrested though. The way AJ died-well, the thing inside him-they concluded that two preteen girls simply weren't strong enough for that kind of damage, and they concluded that he hadn't died wasn't from the blows or the fractured neck, but from immense internal stress. That means the demon inside AJ tore him apart when he was banished from his body.
Yup, so that's my boo-hoo saga. After that, we were sent to live with one of my aunt's—which really sucked. She already had ten kids running around; five of them were hers, five of them were adopted. It actually worked out because Gloria had no family that they could contact (apparently she a had a large family….but they must've been major hermits because she couldn't even name one of them) and since our parents were so close, her mom and dad had had something stashed away that declared that she would go to my parents if something were to happen to them. Furthermore, since something happened to both of them, we just stuck together and got the first willing relative to take us in. Needless to say, we blew that joint as soon as we could.
I had to shave my head since AJ ripped a gigantic chunk out. A lot of people mistook me for a boy, and sometimes they assumed I was a child fighting cancer. So, for a while, people thought Gloria and I were brother and sister. I still am sometimes mistaken as a boy, but I don't find it offensive anymore—I think it's kinda funny.
The doctors said that AJ had some epileptic seizure, but Gloria and I knew the truth. We didn't know exactly what we had encountered that day, but we knew it wasn't AJ and we knew it was evil. His autopsy said he was already dead for a few days. But that's impossible, it must have been a blip of some sort.
But like I said, Gloria and I knew the truth.
And we weren't afraid to talk about her brother like that, so out in the open. We spent hours of research to figure out what happened to him—how did he first die as Anthony Jr.? Why didn't he bleed when I stabbed him with a knife? How could a four-year-old kid become capable of killing two strong, healthy men and women? A four-year-old, couple-days-dead AJ didn't kill them. A demon did.
That's when our hunting days began.
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