Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
Night fell and I found myself watching the shadows in Jen’s room closely. I felt ridiculous when I scrambled for the light because I “saw” something. What did I see? A pile of clothes on a chair. I found it funny how something so mundane could be turned into something to fear with the darkness of night.
I lay in bed, unable to sleep despite only having three hours of it in the past forty-eight.
It was already early morning when I decided I’d had enough of tossing and turning. I threw the covers off of myself and made my way downstairs to the kitchen.
I usually never ate at their house or invited myself to but today I was starving. Now that I thought about it, I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner two nights ago.
I rummaged through their fridge and found a whole lot of organic stuff. There wasn’t anything in there that I could just eat without cooking so I just grabbed the milk and looked through their selection of cereal. It was a choice between mini wheats and honey nut cheerios. I went with the cheerios.
I snapped my head towards the window as I heard a clatter outside. My instincts told me to stay away from the window but I crept off the high stool at the counter and walked slowly to it. I could hear my heart ringing in my ears as I peeked out, fully expecting some glowing cat eyes to be staring back at me. I couldn’t see anything from there so I made my way to the door and stepped outside on the porch.
It was a quiet night and the cold, fresh air filled my lungs. The air cleared my head a bit but did little to calm my speeding heart.
I’m sure I jumped sky high when Nathan came around the corner behind me and said, his voice clearly strained, “Katie! What are you doing up?”
I was about to answer but he didn’t sound so good. His face was pale and he had his arm clutched around his waist tightly.
I met his eyes before looking back down to his arm and noticed a trickle of blood on his hand. The smell of it hit me like a tidal wave and I had to force myself not to gag. I didn’t usually have a soft stomach but not enough sleep can do that to you.
“Nathan! Oh my gosh! What happened?” I asked, my voice annoyingly high to my ears.
I rushed over to him and put my arm under his to take some of his weight. His skin was unusually cold.
He grunted with pain and walked in the door with me. I sat him down on a chair in the living room and ran back to the kitchen to get some clean water and a towel. I didn’t know what was up with him but whatever it was, he better have a good explanation for me.
Once I made it back to him, Mrs. Borden was with him. To my surprise, she didn’t look overly concerned. Or surprised.
What is going on?
“Katie, bring me that bowl.”
Mrs. Borden’s simple command had me scrambling towards her, bowl in hand. I’d never heard such authority in her voice before. She was usually so soft spoken that it took me off guard to hear her speak in any other way.
I set it beside her as she said, “Nathan, take off your shirt. We need to look at it.”
Without a word, he pulled it off with a grunt of pain. I averted my eyes from his well-formed chest and shoulders. Before I looked away, I caught a glimpse of a tattoo on the left side of his chest. Since when did he get that?
I watched as Mrs. Borden took the wet towel and wiped away some of the blood. His abdomen was so full of blood, it took a couple rinses to actually see where he was hurt. It wasn’t a very deep wound, much to my relief. I didn’t need him dying on my too.
The only thing that puzzled me was that the wound was circular. To me -not that I know anything about this sort of stuff- it didn’t look like a knife wound. It looked like someone took a really big pencil and stabbed him. I mean, a really big pencil.
“Okay, Nathan. What happened?” Mrs. Borden asked.
He glanced at me warily before answering, “Nothing to extraordinary. It just got a hold of my stake and used it, I guess.”
Mrs. Borden grunted in reply.
Stake? I didn’t know what he would need with a stake but…
It couldn’t be a coincidence that I suddenly discover the existence of vampires and then they start talking about stakes. Isn’t that the way to kill vampires? If I hadn’t already figured out that they existed, I wouldn’t have had a clue about what they were talking about.
“Okay you guys, I know that you know something that I don’t. Spill it.” I said. I’ve had enough of games. I was sure that all those weird feeling I’ve been getting from Nathan had something to do with this.
Mrs. Borden put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Live your life, Katie. Sometimes it’s easier not knowing something than knowing. This is one of those things.”
“No! I’m not blind. I can feel that something isn’t right. It’s not every day that my parents and Nathan get attacked. You’re hiding something from me and I want to know what.”
I could feel my cheeks grow warmer as I spoke. I was a bit surprised at myself talking to her like that. I felt a bit guilty since she was my elder and was always very kind and very patient with me. Talking to her like that wasn’t right but I couldn’t change it now.
A wave of guilt flowed through me from Nathan when I mentioned my parents. What was up with that?
I turned my attention towards him and said, “What is going on with you? Every time I say anything, I get these weird ass vibes from you!”
They both looked at me when I said that but it was Mrs. Borden that asked, “What do you mean by ‘weird ass vibes’?”
“I don’t know. When we were at the hospital, I could feel that he was scared and right now, he’s guilty. Why are you guilty when I talked about my parents?” I replied, starting to feel overwhelmed.
“Could you give us a moment, Katie?” Mrs. Borden asked.
I scoffed but did what she asked me. I left the room and went to the kitchen. My stupid bowl of cereal was still on the counter, probably soggy as all hell.
While I waited to be invited back in the living room, I put away the milk and cereal and dumped the rest of my cereal in the garbage. I was definitely not hungry anymore. I’d probably not sleep now either.
“Katie?” Mrs. Borden beckoned a few minutes later, “You can come back in.”
I made my way down the two steps and around the corner to the living room. They were both exactly where they were when I left. The only difference is that they’re expressions were a whole lot more worried.
“Have a seat.” Nathan said as he nodded his head to the chair beside him.
I obeyed without a word. If they were finally going to talk to me, I wasn’t going to argue or give them a hard time.
When I was seated, Nathan looked at me and said, “Before we tell you anything, I want you to promise me something.”
“What?” I whispered.
“Promise me that you won’t think differently of me.” He said. His voice was so distraught and his hazel eyes held much of the same emotion. I couldn’t possibly refuse him.
“I won’t, I promise.” I said. The way he said it though, troubled me.
You won’t be able to keep that promise, love. Not after what he’s about to tell you.
Zander sounded quite sure of himself which scared me. He may be an arrogant vampire but he had a good intel.
What was Nathan going to say?
I didn’t reply to Zander as Nathan started talking, “Well, you’re gonna freak out but monsters and shit exist. It exists and for some reason, Edexx is quite the hotspot for their activity. I don’t know why but I’ve been chosen to hunt them. I am a Hunter.”
I stayed silent and he watched me closely, obviously looking for some sort of reaction. His worry flowed through me again but this time, I felt pain as well. Not physical pain but more like a heart ache.
Did he really care that much about what I thought of him?
“I know,” I looked up as I spoke, trying to gauge what they thought of that, “Well, not that you’re a Hunter but I know about vampires.”
Mrs. Borden looked at me sharply and asked, “How do you know about it?”
I sighed and gave them a brief explanation of the other night when I first figured it out. I didn’t mention that Zander was still in my head though. I don’t know why but I felt like that wasn’t something to be shared at the moment.
I watched as their faces changed from worried and curious to shock and even more worried.
“This Zander just decided to save you then?” It was Nathan that asked. His voice was strained but I it wasn’t because of my story. It had something to do with Zander.
“Yeah. It was weird. He was so hell bent on keeping me alive. He kept whispering to me that I can’t die and ordered the rest of them not to touch me. He basically told them that if they even looked at me, he would kill them,” I stopped as I noticed Nathan looking at me, really worried, “What?”
“Nothing.” Another pulse of guilt came with his words.
“Liar. What is it?” I snapped back at him.
He glared at me and said, “Fine. If you really have to know; Zander is dangerous. I’ve been trying to get my hands on him ever since the Hunter in me became active. He’s not someone to be meddled with, Katie. Do you understand me? If he ever reaches out to you, don’t respond. He’s been known to lure the uneducated into becoming vampires with him. He promises them a good life but always forgets to mention the small facts, like not being able to walk in sunlight for example. He passes those things off as myth and of course, since he snags the dumb ones-no offence-they fall for it. Happy now?”
Well, if that wasn’t a lot to take in, I don’t know what is. So, to sum it all up, I didn’t know anything about him. I’ve had a crush on a guy all my life and I only knew what he wanted me to see. That was a real comfort.
“Ummm…would it be a bad thing then if I told you he could talk to me, like, in my head?” I squinted my eyes as if I was expecting a blow to the face.
Nathan sighed, exasperated and said, quite curtly, “Yeah.”
“Hmmm,” was all I said. I kept my gaze away from him and looked around the room. Mrs. Borden was shaking her head slowly in her seat and shared with her son a quick glance.
“Well, what does he say to you?” Nathan asked.
“He says lots of stuff. He basically just talks to me as if we were having a normal conversation.” I said and shrugged my shoulders.
“A bit more detail please.” He said.
In a bit of trouble are you?
“Well, this very second he just asked me if I’m in trouble with you guys. He mostly talks about whatever situation I’m in. For instance, when we were at Timmies, he kept saying stupid stuff about you. And when Mom and Dad were giving me hell yesterday morning, I could see him. I could feel his pain, you know?” I said.
I was definitely not going to tell him exactly what Zander had said about him. He didn’t need to know that I still had feeling for him.
Come on Katie. Tell him what we were talking about. Don’t you think he wants to know? He was so smug I almost felt disgusting just hearing his voice.
Get out of my head.
Hmmm, he chuckled, it’s not going to be that easy to get rid of me, love.
“Okay. I know that there’s a way to block him out a bit. I’ll have to research it for you. In the meantime, don’t talk to him. Just ignore him, okay?”
My cheeks warmed up again as I said, “Okay. I also have to tell you that he thinks I’m, like, his soulmate.”
“What!?” Nathan and Mrs. Borden’s voice were in exact unison.
“Yeah, well...” I explained to them what his theory was and it definitely didn’t help me with their reactions. I didn’t know it was possible but they looked even more worried.
“That doesn’t exactly sound good, Katie. I’m going to go research this. I’ll be back later.” Nathan said as he stood up.
I stood up with him and made him stop, “Nathan, you need rest. It can wait till morning.”
“No it can’t. For all I know, the longer you guys are connected, something could happen to you. I can’t have that, alright?”
“You’re not going anywhere until you rest.” I made my voice firm and gave him my famous “Katie” stare as its been called before.
“Try stop me.” He said, too sweetly to be genuine. I knew I couldn’t. I wouldn’t have even tried before I knew he was a “Hunter.”
“Fine. Be careful though.” I said as I stepped back to let him past.
He smiled, making his fang teeth show, “Of course. Think about it this way, I’ve been doing this without your knowledge of it for years and I’m still alive. Tonight won’t be any different.”
I smiled back but his words did little to comfort me. The difference between tonight and any other night was that I had knowledge of it now. Mrs. Borden was right. Some things are easier to bear if they aren’t known about.
I watched him walk out of the room, pulling his shirt back on as he went. I sighed and sat back down on the chair with a thump.
Mrs. Borden stayed silent for a minute but it was her that broke the silence when she said, “He cares for you, you know.”
I looked at her, puzzled by her sudden statement and said, “What?”
She smiled and answered, “He cares about you. I know he hasn’t been hanging out with you like he used to but I’ll tell you he only did it for your safety. He didn’t want you getting caught up in all this. I can assure you it hasn’t been easy on him, having to play stranger with you. You mean a lot to him.”
I suddenly felt a bit awkward sitting with her. It was, of course, flattering but it was just a bit weird hearing it from her.
“I should go to bed,” I said, getting up from my chair, “Not that I’ll sleep.”
Mrs. Borden smiled again and said, “Goodnight Katie.”
I returned her smile but I could definitely feel how fake it must’ve looked.
I walked up the steps and snuck back into my bed. The covers were cold and I shivered as I tried to cover myself completely in an attempt to warm up.
My shiver suddenly increased. Tonight was going to be a long one.