Onyx

Some are carriers. Some are immune. What you are is a mystery, until it's too late. The change, or the transition from Human to Vampire, is never an easy one. For some, it is fatal, resulting in a one way ticket to your grave. For others who progress to completing the change, it's a new life for them. Onyx Academy of Dusk offers just that - a place for young Vampires to be educated, but dark forces are at work there...

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2. Chapter 1: Changeling

A single wisp of blonde hair blew over her shoulder, streaming across her back to mingle with the rest of the strands. Her dark brown eyes looked troubled, sheltered somewhat by her long black eyelashes. Her eyes were often mistaken for being black, especially from a distance, despite the honey glow they took on in the sunlight.

The woman behind her watched her curiously, wondering when the symptoms would start. She should be convulsing on the ground by now, if previous Changelings were anything to go by, but she wasn’t even twitching.

Children switched for another by fairies were usually referred to as Changelings – but that was just a story created to cover up the true meaning of the word. Changelings were young Vampires, still not fully developed. The woman needed to get the girl somewhere safe, where she had a better chance of developing correctly, and surviving the change.

 “Excuse me,” The woman called, “Are you alright?”

The girl turned, smiling at the woman uncertainly. One hand rested on her forehead, a tell-tale sign that she was far from alright. Despite this, the girl tried to nod, but she was too weak and collapsed to the ground. The woman rushed forwards anxiously, lifting her into her arms.

 “All will be explained,” She promised the girl, “Close your eyes now.”

And the girl did as she was told.

*

When she awoke, she was on a boat in the middle of the ocean. The woman was gone, and so was all evidence of land. Her heart pounded furiously in her chest as she tried to sit up. Her mouth was dry, forcing her to be silent.

 “Oh, you’re awake.” A young boy stood a matter of metres from her. He held out a bottle of water, which she took gratefully and drank from.

 “Where am I?” She asked, her eyes scanning his muscular figure. If he was a threat to her, he could have already done as much damage as he wanted to, so she chose to remain on the bench-like structure beneath her. 

 “We’re heading to Onyx Academy of Dusk, on the Isle of Nyte.” He said slowly, before pausing for a moment, “I assume you’re feeling the effects of the change by now?”

 “The change...” She repeated, “What is that?”

The boy hesitated for a moment before muttering, “It’s the process of a Changeling becoming a Vampire.”

The girl nearly laughed. This was unbelievable! After all, Vampires had coexisted with humans for centuries. It’s not as though she ever thought she would become one. It was quite rare, and they’d always been educated separately, which would explain the existence of the Academy.

“Aren’t you meant to get bitten or something?” She asked, still feeling sceptical.

 “No. Approximately three percent of the world’s population carry a gene that can trigger the changing process. Seven percent are completely immune to it.” The boy said, “If you consume the blood of a ‘carrier’, you will begin the change. Also, if you are a carrier, you can trigger the gene through stress, puberty, or randomly during the teenage years.”

The girl took a moment to absorb this information. It was quite a lot to take in, all of these statistics that she’d never even heard of. They were treated like normal humans, with normal jobs, and normal roles in society.

 “Do I have to drink blood?” She blurted out, flushing red after saying it.

The boy chuckled, “Yes, you do, but you can still eat normal food.”

Anxiously, she reached up, stroking her canine teeth to check their size. They seemed normal – not any longer, or sharper, than before. She didn’t want blood either. The idea of it seemed almost repulsing to her, something deemed morally unacceptable. After all, she wasn’t a cannibal, and she never had appreciated rare steak.

 “Those will lengthen in time. You’ll notice quite a few changes, but these occur slowly. The change can take about six months to complete.” The boy paused, letting his eyes take in her general appearance, “What’s your name, by the way? My manners have escaped me.”

Shocked by his question, she spoke clearly: “Chantelle Wilkinson. And yours?”

 “Kenji Blake.” He said politely, “My brother recently joined the Academy. My eldest brother was a carrier, but during his change he passed away. He never mentioned the blood brothers pact he’d made with Hunter, who’s now a Changeling.”

 “I’m so sorry,” She glanced down at her shoes, feeling uncomfortable.

 “Don’t be,” Kenji smiled warmly at her, “He’s at peace now. Besides, we were the only siblings ever to have been changing up until recently. I’m glad that fewer families are being pulled apart.”

Chantelle thought about this. She was an only child, and her parents had never been the loving type, so she had no one to miss back at home. She had never really trusted her friends that much, choosing to keep her business to herself, and remain quite unsociable. Others, however, would obviously struggle with the abduction of a loved one. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like to care for people – or to be cared for.

 “That, over there, is the Isle of Nyte.” Kenji pointed to a speck of land on the horizon, “The Academy is located there.”

Chantelle didn’t reply. Instead, she focused her gaze on the tiny dot in the distance. Kenji disappeared inside the bridge, navigating the boat in the direction of the land. She heard the dull roar of the motor, powering the boat over the waves. She swallowed uneasily, trying not to show the obvious signs of motion sickness.

 “Hold on tight, Chantelle!” Kenji called, oblivious to her discomfort.

Chantelle clutched onto the bench, closing her eyes tightly. Her stomach lurched as the boat jumped and slammed down into the sea, bouncing off the waves like a stone being skimmed across a lake. Her back jolted as she was lifted off the bench, thrown onto the deck with a painful crash.

 “Kenji!” She shrieked angrily, “Slow down.”

The boat came to an abrupt halt, resuming its normal bobbing and Kenji peered around the edge of the bridge. Seeing her crumpled on the deck, he rushed to her, leading her back to the bench and seating her gently.

 “I told you to hold on.” He said quietly.

 “Can’t you just sail more slowly?” She protested weakly.

He pointed up at the sky, “The sun’s getting higher and higher. It’s not safe for you to be exposed to lots of UV this early in the change.”

 “The sun really does affect Vampires?” Chantelle exclaimed.

Kenji rolled his eyes, “I can’t explain now. It’ll be talked through with you at the Academy, and at this rate, we won’t make it. So please, hold on tightly.”

He vanished again, giving her just enough time to cling onto the wooden structure before he restarted the engine and began the rough journey over the waves. However, Chantelle was thinking over what he’d said. The sun was rising, but that meant that she’d been unconscious overnight! This thought was snatched from her as her head smashed into the bench, making her see stars.

 “I hope this is worth it.” She muttered furiously, pleased to see the land getting ever closer.

The buttons on her shirt were being crushed against her chest as she laid flat against the bench, wrapping her arms around it desperately. The zip on her jeans was even more painful, catching the skin mercilessly, making her wince. At least she would be the first student to ever turn up the Academy covered in bruises.

 “Almost there.” Kenji shouted, trying to be reassuring.

 “Good!” She retorted, receiving a mouthful of cold sea spray.

After a few splutters from her and the engine, the boat came to a halt. Kenji was running across the deck with rope and a handful of keys, and feeling nauseous, Chantelle watched him tie up the boat. Then he offered his hand out to her, trying to help her get to the land safely. She leapt eagerly out of the boat with a sense of newly found gratitude towards the ground beneath her.

 “Welcome to the Isle of Nyte.” Kenji said, gesturing to the land stretching out all around her.

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