Lost and Found
I let my eyes flutter open. Everything around me was blurry and tinted a bluish-green colour. I blinked a couple of times before registering that I was underwater. I was lying on the rocky base of the ocean, and I had no idea how I'd gotten there. Kicking my legs, I swam up God-knows-how-many miles and broke the surface of the water. A light drizzle was falling, creating a mist over the water. All I could see for miles around was water. How had I gotten here? How long had I been down there? Horror swept through me as I realised that I didn't even know who I was.
I looked around desperately for an answer. Was I alone? Or was there someone around who could explain things to me. I forced myself to calm down. I had a name - I must have a name, right? What was it? I must have tread water for a good ten minutes trying to remember my own name before finally admitting defeat.
The logical thing to do would be to form a plan. What was I going to do next? Well, getting back to shore would be a start, wherever shore was. If I swam in one direction for long enough, I had to find land eventually, right? The sun was completely covered by clouds which meant I had no way of telling which direction I was going, so I just swam the way I was already facing.
I swam at an inhuman speed, but it still took me hours before a sandy beach surrounded by cliffs came into view. It was completely deserted as I swam the last mile towards the shore and dragged myself out of the cold salt water and onto the wet sand. My clothes and hair were dripping as I walked up to the dryer part of the beach. I looked around at my surroundings trying to get any clue as to where I might be. I found none.
The beach was small, in the shape of a crescent, and surrounded by tall jagged cliffs. The sun could just barely be seen behind the clouds that littered the sky, and the wind whipped around me with no mercy. Evergreen trees stood proudly along the top of the cliffs and there was no sign of any wildlife in sight. I closed my eyes and listened, before correcting myself. There was something, a little way off. A heartbeat. No - two...three, maybe. Whatever it was, it was close by.
I looked around, searching for the source of the heartbeat, but I couldn't see anything. I sniffed the air, trying to work out what kind of animal it might be. My nose was met with a revolting smell - so bad I staggered backwards a few steps. Had it smelt like that a moment ago?
"What are you doing here, leech?" A stony voice asked from behind me. I spun around and was faced with three tall men. They were tanned, with dark hair and eyes, and all three of them were massive. I blinked at them a couple of times.
"Hu?" Was my intelligent reply.
"Who are you?" The man in front - he was the one who had spoken before - asked. He was ever so slightly larger than the two men behind him, and looked to be in his twenties.
"I..." I trailed off, not sure of what to tell him. Who was I?
"Answer me leech!" The men demanded. Why did he keep calling me 'leech'?
"I don't know." I opted for the truth.
"I say we just tear her apart right now." The man to the left of the first man said coldly. My eyes widened.
"Don't kill me, please!" I said, "I haven't done anything wrong!"
"Just come here to sightsee did you?" The second man asked.
"I don't know why I'm here!" I said, my voice becoming desperate, "I just woke up at the bottom of the ocean with no idea how I got there or who I was and I swam to shore and ended up here!" The three men looked doubtful. "It's the truth!"
"She can't be trusted." The second man said.
"Sometimes newborns forget their human lives." The first man said, "She could be telling the truth."
"If she's a newborn then she's even more dangerous." The second man said, "She should be killed immediately."
"Maybe you're right." The first man said.
"No!" The third man spoke for the first time. He stared at me with dark brown eyes as he carried on. "She's not a newborn - look at her!"
All three men stared at me and I stared back, wondering what the hell they were talking about. After a moment of silence, the second man spoke again. "Newborn or not, she's dangerous - she could kill us all!"
The third man shook his head, "Look at her eyes. She's one of The Golden Ones. She won't hurt humans."
"She doesn't drink their blood," The second man argued, "That doesn't mean she won't hurt them."
"Enough!" The first man, who was obviously the leader of the group, said loudly. He turned back to me. "What is the last thing you remember?"
"Waking up at the bottom of the ocean." I told him.
"Do you know who you are?" He asked. I shook my head. "What you are?"
"What kind of question is that?" I asked.
The second man laughed, "She doesn't even know what she is!"
I glared at him, and to my surprise the other two men glared at him too. The third man spoke. "Shut up Hakan."
"We should take her to the elders and see what they think." The first man said.
"Take her back to the village?" The second man - presumably Hakan - asked, "Are you out of your mind Koda?"
"That's an order." The first man - Koda - said. Hakan glared at Koda and then at me. Koda turned to me and spoke. "Follow us."
They turned and I saw no choice but to follow the men. Koda and Hakan walked in front, but the third man stayed by my side. At first I thought it was to make sure I didn't run away or something, but then he started speaking to me. "You really don't know who you are?"
"No." I said. He stared at me for a moment.
"I'm Elan." He said eventually, he gestured to the two men in front. "That's Koda and Hakan."
"Why do they want to kill me?" I asked. I didn't know if I could trust this man, but he seemed like the friendliest out of the three people I'd met so far.
Elan ran a hand through his hair. "I think we should wait for the elders to explain that to you."
"Who are the elders?" I asked.
"We belong to the Nasena tribe." Elan told me, "We look to the elders for wisdom and advice. They're just the older people who live in our village."
I nodded and we didn't say anything else as I was led away from the beach and into the evergreen forests on top of the cliffs. After walking for a while we came to a small village hidden in the forest. The houses were mostly wooden and looked like scaled-up log cabins. A few people - all with tanned skin and dark hair to match the men I'd met - were walking around. They all stared when they saw me.
"Why are people staring?" I asked.
"They aren't used to seeing one of your kind around here." Hakan hissed from in front of me.
"What is 'my kind'?" I asked. Hakan just laughed again; I was seriously starting to dislike this guy.
Koda stopped outside a large wooden house and knocked on the door. It was opened by an old man with tanned skin and faded hair. "Koda, this is a pleasant surprise."
"Dasan." Koda said, bowing his head in respect.
"This is Dasan, he's our chief." Elan said to me. Dasan's eyes flickered to me and narrowed slightly.
"Why have you brought her here?" He asked, talking to Koda but not taking his eyes off of me.
"We found her down by the beach." Koda said, "I think she has amnesia."
Amnesia. That made sense. That would be why I couldn't remember who I was or how I'd gotten here. Or where 'here' was.
"She is a Golden One." Dasan stated.
"Yes." Koda said, "But she has forgotten who and what she is."
"She could be dangerous." Hakan said. What was that guys problem?
"I'm not dangerous!" I protested, and all four men's eyes snapped towards me. I cowered away from them a little. "I don't know what you want with me, or why you keep thinking I'm dangerous, but I just want to figure out who the hell I am and what the hell I'm doing here!"
Dasan turned to me. "You are a vampire."
My eyes widened, "What?"
"A vampire." Dasan repeated.
"As in a drinking-blood vampire?" I asked.
"Yes." Dasan said, "But you do not drink human blood. Most of your kind do, but there are exceptions. You feed off of animal blood."
"How do you know that about me?" I asked.
"You're eyes are golden. If you drank human blood they would be red." Dasan said. That would explain why they kept calling me a 'Golden One'.
"Wouldn't I know if I was a vampire?" I asked.
"Wouldn't you know your own name?" Hakan snapped.
"Hakan." Dasan scolded. He turned back to me. "What is the last thing you remember?"
"I woke up - I don't know how I was unconscious in the first place -" A vague part of me remembered that I couldn't sleep. Why? Was that something to do with being a vampire? "I was at the bottom of the ocean. I swam to the shore and then they found me. I don't remember anything else."
Dasan looked thoughtful. "Then you shall be called Marianna Voda."
"You're giving her a name?" Hakan asked.
"She will need a name if she is going to stay with us." Dasan said.
"She's staying with us?" Hakan asked incredulously.
"She poses no threat to our kind." Dasan said, "But if we let her wonder into the world by herself, without guidance, then she may become a threat."
"She's a vampire! She's always a threat!" Hakan said.
"I will not discuss this, Hakan. She is staying." Dasan said, and with that he turned away from Hakan, addressing Koda instead. "She can stay with you and Itzel. See to it that she has everything that she needs and I will come by and see you tomorrow."
Koda nodded and Dasan closed his door. The three men turned back to me now, Hakan glaring, Koda's expression guarded, and Elan - who had stayed quiet since we arrived at Elan's house - just watching me.
"Come on." Koda said, turning and leading the way again. Hakan seemed even more angry than he had been before and he stalked after Koda. I followed in a daze. I was a vampire. I was going to stay here with these people. So much had just happened so fast, I couldn't take it all in.
"Are you okay?" Elan asked from next to me. I managed to nod. "I guess you have some questions?"
"Uh..." I had a lot of questions, but I couldn't think what to ask. "Why did he give me a name?"
"I guess because you couldn't remember yours." Elan said with a shrug. "He named you after your first memory; Marianna means Star of the Sea and Voda means Water."
It was better than leech or Golden One. Or 'her'. I guess it was kind of a pretty name. Still, I would have preferred my own name, whatever that might be. Was my real name pretty? Was it long or short? Was I named after someone in my family? Did I have a nickname? I ran a hand through my hair in distress. How could I not know my own identity?
Koda led us down a path to another building. It was smaller than Dasan's, maybe a two or three bedroom place. Koda opened the door and led us through to the kitchen. Elan dropped into one of the seats, making himself at home, but Hakan stayed standing rigidly by the door.
"Marianna?" Koda said. It took me a moment to realise he was talking to me. It would take a while to get used to my new name, I supposed.
"Yes?" I asked.
"You can stay here with me and my wife Itzel. That's what Dasan wants." He said. I supposed it didn't matter what I wanted. Although, to be honest, I didn't know what I wanted anyway.
"Thank you." I said, though I got the feeling Koda didn't really have a choice in the matter. An awkward silence fell over the kitchen, until I heard someone come through the back door. It was a tall woman, her face hidden by the mass of shopping bags she carried. Koda was immediately at her side, helping her with the bags and kissing her on the cheek. This must be Itzel.
Koda placed the bags he'd taken on the counter. I could see Itzel's face now; she had beautiful russet skin and ebony hair that was tied into a long plait that hung over her shoulder. She looked to be in her early twenties, with full lips and large brown eyes. Her eyes grew even larger as she saw me, and she dropped her remaining shopping bags in surprise. Koda watched her reaction carefully. Her eyes didn't leave mine as she spoke.
"Koda, what the hell have you done now?"
Soooo what did you think? I know I probably shouldn't be starting ANOTHER story but I am...please Review! :):):)
Btw for the names of the Nasena tribe people, I tried to research actual Native American names which is why they're a bit unusual!
Next update soon :)