The year is 1863, one year before the Civil War. Right now, he is blissfully happy waiting for his date, Mary Alice Brandon at a huge barn that had been decked out for a dance. They had met a couple of months before and hit it off instantly. This night was the night he wanted to officially ask her to be his girlfriend.
Me and my best buddy, Peter waited for our – well my – date just outside the barn where the dance was bein' held. The old thin' had been there for years until our sheriff, Mr. Clyde, had this ides to have a dance. He got all the help he could and cleaned out the place, Peter and I included. In the span of three days (the place was huge!), we had it all prettied up for the dance. The girls were ecstatic. I won't even mention Alice; she was her own little category. I'll tell you, that girl loves anythin' havin' to do with fashion. She practically breaths it in and sends it out in waves. She's like an energetic ball trapped inside a human body. She practically broke my ear drums with her squealin' when I asked her to go with me to the dance. I was startled out of my thoughts by Peter wavin' his hand in front of my face.
"Jazz, you in there... He snapped his fingers. I shoved them out of my face, laughin' when he winced from the way his arm whipped away from me.
"I'm right here, Pete. No need to get all dramatic."
"Actually, there is. I've been callin' for the past two minutes and all I get is Dazed-As-Fuck Jasper. I had to do somethin', I was afraid you'd gotten probed." He smirked, his jokin' demeanor snappin' back into place.
"Well, I'm sorry you're jealous that I have a date and you don't." I shot back.
"Do you really think that I didn't come here waitin' for my date?"
"Yes, I do. If we didn't know each other from small kids, I would think you were gay." I said with a smirk of my own. His jaw dropped and it took all I had to keep my face straight. He closed his mouth and narrowed his eyes at me. Then he changed, mischievousness takin' over.
"I'll have you know I have a date, thank you very much." He turned away from me and leaned against the wall, takin' a cigar out his pocket and lightin' it.
Oh, really? And just who might that be?" I said, callin' his bluff.
"Anna Haden." He said, lookin' at me sideways. He blew a puff of smoke into the air.
"Ha! That's a joke! We both know she's with James."
"Who's to say they haven't broken up?" He said, but there was a slight frown on his face.
"I do. I saw them makin' out just the other day at the bar…and her house…and his house…" I counted off on my fingers.
"Alright, alright, I got it, okay?"
"I don't mean to make you upset, Peter. I just-"
"Whatever, Jasper, have fun with your date!" He sneers the word. Throwin' the unfinished cigar on the ground and snuffin' it out with his boot. Turnin' on his heel, he stalked off alongside the barn wall. When he got to the end, he turned and walked around corner. I frowned. I guess I went a little too far with that one. He's always been sensitive about Anna Haden ever since he first laid eyes on her. I didn't know that it was that serious.
"Over here, Jasper!"
I smiled. I knew that voice anywhere. Turnin', I saw her walkin' with Anna. When she came into the light of the barn door, my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe that I had this lovely little lady all to myself. I mean, I keep expectin' to wake up from a dream. The dress fit her petite body, huggin' all her curves. Her long jet black hair was in soft curls down her back and on her feet was cowboy boots, the only thin' that fits the occasion. I fixed my Stetson on my head and headed over to her. As I got to her, I tipped my hat to her while she giggled and curtsied.
"Hey, Jasper," Anna said. But she wasn't focused on me, she was cranin' her lookin' into the barn.
"Lookin' for someone, Anna?"
"Yeah…" She said distractedly. Then she focused on me. "You see Peter?"
My eyebrows rose. "Uh…yeah, he just left." I pointed in the direction that he disappeared into a few minutes earlier. "He went around side the barn." I said. She frowned and went in the way that I pointed, her blonde tresses swingin'. Guess Peter's crush isn't one-sided.
"What was that about?" Alice asked. I smiled down at her, glad we were by ourselves. "Peter has a thin' for Anna; I guess she does too."
"Anna has a thin' for herself...I knew she likes the way she looks, but don't you think that a little much?" She giggled. I laughed with her.
"Alright, smarty-pants, Lets get inside. I didn't come all the way here to stand outside all night." I held out my hand. "Ma'm? May I have the honor of this dance?" I said, my accent flowin'. I knew she liked it. On cue, she blushed, takin' my hand.
"You may." She looked up at me from underneath her lashes. She was so cute when she did that.
"Well, let's go then." I pulled into the barn and straight to the middle of the dance floor where people were gettin' ready to square dance. Mr. Clyde called out the instructions and we turned this way and that, clappin' when we were told. When we switched partners, our eyes would stay glued to each other until we returned to each other. And even then, we couldn't keep our eyes of the other. Alice was an amazin' dancer. She wasn't like those other girls that stepped on toes, she was confident in her moves. She was so graceful, like a bird in the sky. I was so glad that she would be mine by the end of the night.
When the song was over, I walked her to the sidelines and told her that I was goin' for drinks. She smiled and nodded, leanin' up and kissin' my cheek. I tipped my hat and walked to the refreshment table. As I filled the cups with iced tea, I turned around to look at her. She was talkin' animatedly with a girl that I had seen her with a couple of times before I had the courage to talk to her. She was very popular but not in that 'I'm better than anyone way'. She was friends with anybody and everybody. If you asked around town about Mary Alice Brandon, they'll tell you that she's the sweetest, nicest girl you will ever meet. I wondered if she was talkin' about me the way I was thinkin' about her. I turned back around as I placed the cups on the table. I spotted some homemade cookies and knew that Mrs. Connolly had made them. She made the best cookies that there ever will be. I reached across for a napkin to wrap them up in when someone ran into me. I stumbled into the table, knockin' over the cups of iced tea. The liquid spread over the tablecloth, soakin' it.
"What the hell?" I said as I jumped back from the table.
"Jasper, come quick, somethin's wrong!"
By now, the whole barn was listenin' to our conversation. I turned back to Anna who was shakin', her eyes wide. I grabbed her shoulders.
"Anna, calm down. Deep breaths, " I breathed in, held it, and exhaled. She followed my lead. When she was calm, I spoke.
"Now, what is wrong?" I asked.
"What about Peter?"
She started shakin' again, and that's when I noticed the blood on her hands. Dread filled me as I let go of her and ran out of the barn and around the side. There was an oil lamp hangin' on the corner by a hook. Takin' it, I lit it and held it up so I could see. I immediately wished I didn't. There faint signs of blood and the way that the ground looked, there was a scuffle. As I walked forward, I saw drag marks that lead out to the other side of the barn and into the open.
"Anna, what happened?" I asked.
"I-I came around the s-side of the barn to l-look for P-peter when I h-heard somebody y-yell. When I f-followed the yell, I-I saw him with another p-person out over t-there." She pointed to the open space where the drag marks continued about a yard out. "I-I didn't recognize t-the other person s-so I started to run f-forward to t-try and help h-him but when he s-saw me, he told me to r-run and go f-for help." Tears were fallin' down her face as she spoke. "I was f-finally goin' tell him t-that I h-had broken up with J-James b-but now it's too l-late!" I put a comfortin' arm around her shoulder as she cried.
I pulled her along with me as I walked toward where the drag marks started, holdin' up the lamp as I did. It wasn't until I heard footsteps behind me that I turned around to see that the people from the barn had joined me. They had lamps and pitchforks with them. A couple of people had torches. Everybody still had their dancin' clothes on but they didn't seem to mind. Anna pulled away from me and wiped her eyes. I inwardly chuckled at that. I guess she didn't like for people to see her cry. I turned my attention to the crowd and cleared my throat, gettin' their attention.
"Alright, people. Peter's missin' and I appreciate your willin'ness to help me find him."
Everybody nodded and murmured their agreement. I saw Alice come forward from the crowd and stand at my side. She looked up and narrowed her eyes at me, darin' me to tell her to stay behind. I didn't. As selfish as it was, I needed everybody to help me find my best friend. As I looked into their faces, I didn't see one trace of fear in anybody's eyes and nodded my head. There was no hesitation in Texas when someone needed help.
"Alright, I need three groups. About a minute in, we will split up into those groups. That way, we can get more ground covered. Mr. Clyde, you head one group and then you can decide who heads the second. I'll head the third."
Everybody nodded that they understood and began to split down the middle, not botherin' to sort out who goes where. There was no time for that. As soon as everybody got situated we started into the woods with all three groups walkin' in straight line across. Alice kept pace with me, the only contact bein' my hand in hers. She held a torch in the other. There were no sounds comin' from the forest except for the sound of footsteps crushin' dried leaves and fallen branches and twigs. Not even the occasional hoot of an owl could be heard. I gripped Alice's hand and she stepped closer to me, grippin' back. About a minute in, we split up as we as we said. Each group spread out, with the middle group still goin' straight. As we walked, their torches got smaller and smaller but they didn't disappear completely. I held the lamp aloft as I continued forward, keepin' an eye out for anythin' that moved.
Just as I lifted my foot to take a step, somethin' flew past me face and crashed into the tree to my right with a sickenin' crack! I stumbled back and fell, pullin' Alice with me. Or that's what I thought. When I looked beside me, I let a fear-filled cry as I realized she was nowhere to be seen. I staggered to my feet, gropin' around for the lamp that had fallen out of my hands. When I found it, I quickly brought it out in front of me and turned in every direction, lookin' for her. All around me there was chaos. People were runnin' everywhere, screamin' there heads off. Some were on the ground dead with their throats torn out. What in the hell did that?
'I gotta find Alice and get the fuck outta here!' I thought.
"Alice, where are you! Alice!" I yelled over the noise. I was riskin' it just standin' here. I'm a fuckin' target right now but I didn't care. I wasn't leavin' without Alice. I ran into the fray, lookin' left or right for any sign of her. A purple ruffle, her name screamed out from somewhere, anythin'.
"Alice!" I yelled out.
I whirled around at the sound of her voice. She was behind me a couple of feet away and without wastin' anytime, ran toward her. I couldn't see her because of the person that was standin' in front of her. She was bein' held up by a tree by a man no taller than I was. His hair was tangled with twigs and bits of leaves and his clothes were splattered in blood. He had his hand around Alice's neck and a terrifyin' sound was comin' from him. As if he heard me comin', he turned around and slammed her into the ground, grippin' her throat harder. He turned his head up to look at me and a shiver of fear went down my spine. His eyes were pitch black with no whites whatsoever. His lips were curled back from his teeth and her stared at me, growlin'. That's the sound I had heard before. What was he? I trembled and jumped back as he snapped at me.
I shook myself as I ran forward to get her from his clutches. But stopped when Alice called me, her voice a rasp as she struggled to breathe.
"No, Jasper….don't….save yourself…go…" she wheezed. Her head was forced back by the force of the man's grip on her and she locked gazes with me. Blue to green.
"What? No, Alice. Don't say that! You'll be fine. I just have to-" I had unconsciously taken a step forward as I spoke and the man growled at me again. I stopped and glared at him with all the hate and anger I could muster.
"Jasper…please go…I won't survive…tell my mother I'm sor-"
She didn't get to finish as the man swooped his head down and sunk his teeth into her neck.
"NO!" I yelled. I dropped the lamp as I jump at him and on to his back. I felt shock for a moment as I noticed he was ice cold and his body was as hard as a rock. That didn't faze him one bit. His only reaction was to remove his hand from Alice's neck and grip her hair, sharply yankin' her head to the side. I froze as I heard a snap! that said her neck was broken. But I refused to believe it.
'No, she's not dead! She can't be dead! Please, no! No!'
In desperation, I jumped off of him and ran the couple of feet for the lamp that I dropped. I ran back to him and started to hit him across head with the lamp in my hand. It broke, the glass shatterin' on impact. The liquid seeped onto his clothes and I fell to the side as I tried to get away from the fire that flared upon contact with the overused oil. I stared into Alice's lifeless eyes as the flames began to lick at her skin makin' it black and charred. Tears sprung to my eyes as I realized that now she'll never know how I felt about her. She'll never know that I loved her with everythin' I had. The more she burned, the more I cried until I was screamin' out my pain and grief. I didn't care who heard me. They can do what they wanted with me as long as they killed me too. I felt sharp relief when an ice cold hand grabbed me by the back of my neck and heaved me up. I felt absolute happiness when I felt teeth at my neck and pressed down, slicin' through my skin like butter. I did not struggle as the seconds ticked by and I felt weaker and weaker.
'I'm comin', my Alice.'
I whimpered feebly as the suckin' stopped. But then they continued and nothin' could have prepared me for what happened next. Instead of suckin' away at my life source like I wanted them to, they started pushin' some kind of liquid into me through the hole in my neck. It felt viscous as it slithered its way through my veins. They person pulled back and a cold somethin' licked at me neck before I was thrown over their shoulder and a sudden wind whipped my hair about my face. Then it started.
It felt warm at first. Then it got hotter, like touchin' the glass part of an oil lamp after it's been burnin' for a while. It spread to my legs and arms and then from my arms to my fingertips. My body tensed as the fire got hotter and hotter. I wanted to scream but me bein' so weak, I didn't have the strength to do anythin' but stiffen and try to withstand it. The wind howled around me for hours and I wondered in the corner of mind that wasn't preoccupied with the agony, what was goin' on. But at that moment, the pain flared up again and I passed out.
I opened my eyes to a bright light in the distance. Everythin' else was dark and the absence of pain was all I could comprehend. Somethin' tapped me my shoulders and when I turned, I gasped.
"Alice?" I whispered. "Is it really you?"
She smiled. "Hi, Jasper."
"Am I dead?"
"No, Jasper. You're not dead. Your time has not yet come. Nor will it ever. You will live to see many more years. This is the last time you will see me. After this, I will be in here." She lifted her hand and placed it over my heart.
"What do you mean? I don't want to go on without you, Alice!"
"You will have to. We weren't meant to be. In the year 2013, you will meet someone that will mean more to you than I ever did. Listen carefully. There will be complications but you will work through them and you will be happy. That is all the time that I have, Jasper. It is time for you to go back to the World of the Livin'."
"Wait! What complications? Please, Alice! I don't understan'!" I yelled as I reached for her, horrified that my hand passed straight through her. She looked at me, sadness in her eyes.
"You will soon. Goodbye, Jasper." She glided back into the white light. As I tried to follow, I began to slide backwards with every step that I took forward. I struggled to push my foot out in front of me but the more I tried, the faster I slid back. Eventually, she disappeared entirely and I sunk to my lips knees in defeat.
"Alice." I whispered.
"What a pussy."
My head whipped up and I let a startled cry as I fell back on my hands and shuffled back. The man in front looked exactly like me. He came closer and as he did he blocked what little light there was, like he himself was darkness. But strangely it didn't hash my ability to see, I could see as clear as if we were under an afternoon. I gasp as his features sent a chill of fear down my spine. His skin was pale and he was covered in scars from head to toe. The way that he stood demanded respect and exuded dominance. He reached up and took the sunglasses that were on his face and I froze as his red eyes looked down at me. He looked similar to the monster that killed my Alice.
"Well, what do you know? We have a hypocrite on our hands. I see that you don't care much for a first impression. Now the fear I can appreciate. You're clearly not as dumb as you look." He smirked. His voice was deeper than mine which I guess makes sense since he looks like me but isn't me.
"Who are you?" I asked, voice tremblin'.
"I am called many thin's down here. Ares, The God of War, The Demon General an' the list goes on an' on." He waved his hand in a nonchalant gesture. "But since we are on a personal basis, ya can call me Major."
"Major? Wait, what do you mean personal basis? I don't even know you; I've never seen you before in my life. I-"
"Think ya would have remembered. Yeah, I know."
"How did you…"
"Well, if ya would shut up then maybe I could tell ya." He said. I stayed silent.
"Great! Now we can get started."
He moved to sit in front of me and for some reason, I knew I wasn't supposed to see that. It was like he was movin' in extra slow motion instead of the speed I somehow knew he possessed. What is it with all the 'just knowin' shit'?!
"No, you weren't. An' that is because ya are turnin' into a vampire an' you're beginnin' to experience the many thin's that come with it, hence the sight. Plain an' simple." He shrugged.
'Vampire' I thought.
"Yes, vampire. As in a 'live forever' vampire."
I opened my mouth to speak but he cut me off.
"Then why are you here? Ya are here because, if ya hadn't noticed ya need guidance for future…thin's. I am here to help you." He explained. Instead of speakin', I just gave him a questionin' look.
"Put it this way. Ya are in transition from a human," he pointed to me. "to a vampire." He pointed to himself.
"You're a vampire?" I said. He gave me an exasperated look.
"What did ya think I was, a little fairy princess?"
I tried to picture him with sparkly wings, a fluffy dress, and a tiny tiara on his hand, holdin' a scepter. The next thin' I know, I was in my face, growlin'. His eyes were fully black with no whites.
"We don't have time for this childish bullshit. Ya will cooperate, boy, or ya will be forced." He snarled. He wrenched my head to the side and I felt a sting as teeth sunk into my neck. Then the unexpected happened. I was brought back to reality and the agony flared more painfully than ever. I screamed unconsciously, my body findin' a way to voice its pain. I didn't think such pain was even possible but how wrong I was. How many seconds, minutes, hours or days passed I would not know. I didn't have the strength or the will to contemplate such thin's for the pain was all I knew. The pain that seared through me like a thousands white hit branders. Pain that caused me to wish that they would just let me succumb to the soothin' darkness. Pain that, as the endless space of time continued, got worse.
'Think happy thoughts.'
I knew who this was immediately and envied him for not havin' to endure my ride the Hell's rollercoaster. The least he could do was try to help me try to get through this. Inconsiderate jackass.
'Well, hello to ya too Sir Bitchalot. An' for yur information, I am helpin' ya, bein' an empath tends to help with those kinds of thin's, ya know. If it wasn't for me, ya wouldn't be able to think at all. While we were havin' our little chat, ya were goin' through your change at the same time.'
Then why in the hell did you bring me back her?! I could have avoided all of this!
'Because I didn't have that kind of time. This pain is nothin' compared to a few hours ago. Right now, ya are goin' through the last few minutes an' are goin' to wake anytime now. When that happens, ya are not goin' to remember anythin' from yur human life. Ya will be wild an' feral. Once ya are trained, ya will be almost as respected as I am back home. Of course, I'll come out an' have my fun when need be.'
Last few minutes?! It felt like fuckin' years!
'Out of all that I just said, that's all ya got out of it? Guess I can't fault ya, that pain really is somethin', isn't it?'
You think?! Wait, I think the pain's recedin'. I don't feel it in my toes or fingers anymore. Come to think of it, I don't feel anythin' except in my chest where my-
My body took a turn for the worst on the rollercoaster that I was on, goin' down in a spiral down toward the very center of Hell's stomach.