© By Stacey McCoy
I can’t stand to be here. I’m too dangerous to dad and Rylan right now, so I run. And I run and I run.
I don’t want to stop. One of the advantages of being infected with vamps disease is that I never tire. I could run all day and all night if I wanted to.
The high pitch cries of an eagle soaring above are the only thing that stops me and wakes me from my trance. He’s high in the deep blue canvas soaring majestically owning the sky, yet his cries give warning of danger.
Someone’s shoe scuffs the ground to my right. Vamps’ disease gives me the ability to tell the difference between shoes scuffing on rocks compared to an animal’s hooves. One step, then another. The noise stops. Curiosity gets the better of me and I take off, searching for the maker of the sound.
Bursting through the edge of the forest I see a short, young girl, standing on the knife-edge of a dizzyingly high cliff face. Her wavy, blonde hair reminds me of a fairy-tale character, but my admiration doesn’t last long.
To my disbelief, the girl throws herself off the cliff.
Why the hell would she do that?
I don’t have time to think, so I hurl myself over the edge and off the safety of the rocky ledge. I know I’ll survive this fall, but the mysterious young girl won’t.
She’s got a decent head start on me as I watch her free fall, face down, arms spread out wide, welcoming the ground rushing toward her. I feel like an idiot doing it, but I force my arms by my side and keep my legs tight together so my body acts like a bullet shooting toward her.
If I can reach her maybe I can save her.
Within half a second I catch her and wrap my arms around her waist. Her hair whips my face and over the sound of the rushing wind in my overly sensitive ears, I hear her scream “Let go of me. Let me die.”
I can’t let her go. I won’t. But in that split second before plummeting into the rocks below, I realize she’s already dead.
We crash into the rocks below. Pieces of rock and dust cover us from head to toe.
Our bodies should be a pummelled mess splattered all over the place, but they’re not. We’re intact, unhurt. The girl rises to her feet then looks me over with eyes filled with hate. She’d be all of seventeen years old and is as pissed off as a cut snake.
“Why the hell did you do that?” she screams.
I can’t believe this girl. Here I am trying to save her and she’s screaming at me. Her pale skin should be red, from her fury. Her body should be lying beside me, obliterated beyond recognition, but she’s not. Instead, she’s alive, hovering over me and yelling abuse at me.
“Who the hell do you think you are trying to save me? All I want to do is die and you ruined that.”
“Now hang on a minute.” I too rise to my feet and dust the crushed rock powder from my clothes. “How the hell was I supposed to know that you wanted to die?”
“Well, most people who throw themselves of cliffs without a parachute don’t expect to live through the experience. Do they?”
“Most people aren’t vampires though, are they?” I say.
She looks at me shocked that I would know such personal information about her.
“How do you think I survived the fall?” I ask.
“Oh…I… I hadn’t thought. You’re a vampire too?”
A strange friendly silence comes over us. We both begin to walk away from our landing site and through the forest below. Neither of us really seem to care which direction we head and why should we. It’s not like we’re in danger or going to be threatened by a force stronger than us anytime soon.
My companion asks, “Why did you try and save me if you knew the fall wasn’t going to kill me?”
“I didn’t. I only realized you were a vampire once I grabbed hold of you.”
“Yet still you jumped.”
“Yeah. I did.”
We walk on until we reach the edge of a raging river. “So why do you want to die?”
“Well you said it yourself, I’m a vampire, therefore, I’m already dead, but not the level of dead I’d like to be.”
“How long have you been a vampire for?” I ask.
“A little over two years now.”
“That’s not long.”
“How long have you been a vampire for?” she asks.
“Huh, um, well, not quite two weeks.”
If I could blush I would.
“And you’re telling me two years isn’t long. Hang on, you’re a newborn. No wonder you were able to do what you did back there.”
Looking over her shoulder she squeezes her eyes shut as if glancing back at the cliff reminds her of her failed attempt to die.
“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m not having a go at you or anything like that, it’s just I know other vampires who have been stuck like this for a lot longer than two years.”
“There are others here?” she asks, surprised.
“Yes of course.”
Wow, did she really think she was the only one around these parts?
I watch as she wonders to the water’s edge and takes a seat on a large boulder. I join her.
“What’s your name?”
Her dark, almost black eyes stare at the water ahead. She doesn’t blink, and she barely moves. She is a true vampire.
“That’s a nice name. Where are you from?”
“What’s it matter?”
I don’t know why it matters. Hell, I’m just trying to make polite conversation.
“I’m curious that’s all.”
Mia clutches her knees close to her chest then hides her face in the fold of her arms. “It doesn’t matter where I came from because I can’t ever go back.”
“Because of what you’ve become?”
She looks me dead in my eyes. “Smart, aren’t you?”
That’s it. I’m sick of this shit. I jump down from the rock and begin to walk away. I’ve got enough of my own problems to even think about worrying about this chicks messed up issues.
“Wait. Stop. Where are you going?” She cries out after me.
“The hell away from you.” I turn to face her. “How long did you think I was going to hang around for when all you’ve done is yell at me and treat me like shit.”
There’s silence. Even the birds seem to have stopped chirping as if waiting to hear Mia’s answer.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to do or where to go. I have no one.”
Her head returns to its previous position as she sobs quietly.
Great. Now she’s crying. I don’t do crying. I slowly retrace my steps and resume my seat on the boulder.
“Don’t cry. I’m here now. Maybe I can help you.”
Her head whips up that fast I’m scared it might actually snap off.
“Do you know a way I can die?”
“No. But I know a way you can live.”
Walking back toward the lab, I explain to Mia the basic process of reanimation.
“Your father has found a way to cure this…disease?”
It’s funny. Mia’s mouth is moving, but there’s no sound coming out. Her inability to believe my father’s medical triumph makes me laugh out loud. She looks at me and raises one eyebrow.
“What?” I have to ask.
“You mean to tell me your father has discovered a cure for this disease yet you’re a vampire. What gives?”
“Ahh yes, well there’s a whole other story to tell you about that.”
I begin from the start and tell Mia all about Rylan, Savanah, Trent and the whole messed up situation we’re in now.
As we break through the surrounding forest and walk across the green clearing before reaching the steps of the lab, I finish my story by saying, “And that’s why I’m still a vampire. I can’t possibly change back now that I know my family and the reanimation process are under threat. Can I?”
Before Mia can answer everyone comes rushing out the front door to greet us. Thankfully we fed on the way, so it should be easier for me to allow Rylan to come close to me, and by the look of it, I don’t have a choice.
“Kady. Thank god you’re back” says Rylan as he rushes towards me.
The sound of Rylan’s beating heart mixed with the smell of him is alluring, causing my inner demon to stir. I thought I’d be fine having fed recently, but I was wrong. I have to keep him at arm’s length, so I give him the cold shoulder and throw a smug remark his way.
“For crying out loud Rylan, I wasn’t gone for long and besides I’m a big girl. I can look after myself.”
I know I’ve hurt him. I can tell by the way his eyes and shoulders drop to the ground. He steps to the side and is left standing on his own as Mia and I approach the others.
My demon settles; crisis averted, for now anyway.
“Kady. Who’s your friend?” Lawrence asks politely. With his hands clutched firmly together he eyes Mia cautiously as he stands on top of the steps of the lab.
He has no need to be worried, he’s a vampire after all. He’s more than capable of protecting himself against tiny, little Mia, although I doubt he needs too.
As soon as the thought has entered my head I realize I don’t know if Mia is a humanitarian or not. She may not be a threat to Lawrence, Darius or myself, but she very well may be to Rylan, Dad and Nora.
Man, I’m such an idiot.
I share my look of disappointment and stupidity with Lawrence as he casually trots down the steps towards us. I’d say he wants to be as close to Mia as possible in case she launches her fangs toward dad, mom or Rylan’s throats.
“Hi, I’m Mia,” says Mia as she extends her hand to Lawrence.
“Hi, Mia. It’s nice to meet you. So where did you two meet?” Lawrence asks as he folds his arms across his chest. The fact that Mia is half Lawrence’s size means nothing when you’re infected with vamps’ disease, so I understand why Lawrence is taking such protective measures by placing himself in front of Mia.
“I was out hunting, and we just ran into each other,” I say. “Kind of like the way you met Karen and the others over the years,” I add.
Lawrence shoots me a look of warning. Clearly, this is a different situation we find ourselves in, but hey I can’t help it that we met out in the forest the way he has done with other vampires. I mean it happens, right?
Mia gives me an appreciative look as if to say thanks for not telling everyone the finer details of our introduction. There’s no need to elaborate on her mental state and her reasons for throwing herself off the cliff. Which makes me once again realize that I don’t even really know the answer to that question myself. Geez, what do I know about this girl?
“Oh, are there others?” Mia asks as she looks beyond Lawrence.
“Um yeah, there have been over the years, but we’re the only ones here now,” I say.
“Right,” Mia says softly.
“So Mia, I’m sorry to sound rude but I have to ask, do you consider yourself a humanitarian?” Lawrence asks. “As you can no doubt hear, see and smell, we’re not all vampires here and to help keep everyone safe, I need to know what your diet consists of.”
“Oh. Um. Ok, well…”
Mia’s ability to speak seems to have vanished all of a sudden. She looks up at me with wide, strangely familiar, black eyes, silently begging me for the correct answer to Lawrence’s question. A question I cannot answer for her.
All I can do is suggest she answer truthfully.
“I’m guessing a humanitarian is someone who doesn’t feed on humans?”
“Correct,” I answer.
“Well, then I’d be lying if I said I was one. Sorry. I have killed my fair share of human beings in my time. I mean I don’t go on crazy killing sprees. I can control myself and I have found that I can survive on animals just as well and that is why I banished myself to the forest.”
“That’s good to hear. Do you think you’ll be able to control yourself around my human friends while you’re a guest here?”
Internally I’m happy Lawrence is going to allow Mia to stay as long as she can control her unnatural urges to feed off my mother, father and fiancé. I’m sure she will.
“Yes. I will. You won’t have to worry about me I promise.”
“Well then, welcome to the lab, Mia. I’m assuming Kady has told you all about us?”
“She may have mentioned your names once or twice yes, but it’s nice to put a face to that name. I take it you’re Lawrence.”
“Yes, I am. And this is Rylan, Darius, Allister and Nora; Kady’s mother and father.”
“It’s nice to meet you all.”
Watching Mia walk up the stairs shaking hands with everyone gives me a sense of pride for some strange reason. I feel like I needed everyone to like her, but I can’t imagine why.