Lovisa Jiae; Vampire Hunter

Slowly going to be re-uploading this a chapter a week, as I'm editing it.
A story about an Atheist daughter of two extreme Christians, and what would happen if the real, old-school vampires returned. Violence in later chapters.

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4. Mr and Mrs Jiae.

 

‘Hello, darling!’

I rolled my eyes as my mother enveloped me in a suffocating hug. You wouldn’t think that a full-blown Christian would be as affectionate as her, especially towards her atheist daughter. But, she just pretended to herself that I still believed in the Bible. I never bothered to correct her, because believing such things seemed to make her happy.

‘Hi, Mum. How was work?’ I questioned her with a fake inquisitive expression. It was the same boring routine. I would ask her how her work had been; she would ask me about school. Her answer always consisted of a fifteen minute account of her day, which usually included a small section of teenage-style moaning about someone in her office not doing the right thing, a lengthy account of how other people’s driving skills are obviously much worse than hers, and often she told me about her lunch. It certainly surprised me when she actually mentioned something positive for once.

‘Oh, it wasn’t too bad. The traffic was running very smoothly; I didn’t have to slow down once whilst traveling along the road. It was so peaceful. And the office was quiet, too! I suppose it was because everyone took the day off to meet their children on their last day, so I managed to get a lovely amount of work done, and I didn’t even have to stay any later than my normal work hours. The only person there was Cynthia, who doesn’t really talk anyway. She kept offering to get me a coffee, so in the end, instead of thinking that I was taking advantage of her, I gave her some money and asked her to go to the local baker’s and get me a lovely doughnut! She got herself one, too. I wouldn’t expect any less,’ she took a deep breath, although she didn’t even seem to have exerted much during her detailed explanation. Sniffing, she made a girlish squeal and said; ‘Ooh, what are you cooking, darling? It smells wonderful!’

‘Just some pasta, I might roast some vegetables to go with it in a while. Do you want some?’ I asked, glad that she wasn’t querying me about school. ‘I couldn’t find any cheese, though, so it’ll be plain…’

But she had stopped listening, and was interfering with my cooking. She added various spices to the boiling water, stirring it so that it sloshed over the side of the saucepan. I watched painfully as she chopped up several types of vegetable and placed them straight onto a tray, wishing that she wasn’t over-sensitive so that I could point out that if she puts them in to the oven without boiling them first they would char. Instead, I stood up and made my way to the garden, which was dimly lit by the autumn twilight. I sat on the grass whilst looking up at they sky, awaiting the ‘beep beep beep’ of the smoke alarm.

The stars were slowly beginning to appear over the purple and orange hues of the sunset. I breathed in gently, reclining into the overgrown grass and feeling the roughness tickle behind my ears. There was a cool breeze that fluttered over me delicately, causing the trees to sway and the old swing several feet away to creak and groan. I heard the tinkling noise that alerted me of Lucky making her way around the perimeter of the garden, possibly stalking a poor bird or small creature that wouldn’t stand a chance against her hunting prowess. Almost against their will, my eyes closed, and I begun to steady my breathing until I felt at peace. I was so calm that I didn’t even realise that I was drifting into the cool world of slumber.

That is, I didn’t realise I had fallen asleep until I was woken by the familiar buzzing of a mobile phone in my back pocket. I struggled to withdraw it from its denim envelope, and when I did, the glaring light almost blinded me. As my eyes adjusted to the light from the tiny screen, I realised that I had received a message from Tania. I clicked the appropriate buttons and read the message;

‘Hello, Visa, I’m guessing your mum’s home now. How was the whole “how-was-school-even-though-I-don’t-care” speech?’

I smiled, and pressed reply.

‘Well, surprisingly, it was more like she told me about her day then ruined dinner. What about your parents?’

Right on cue, I heard the beeping and the shrieking that alerted me that dinner was officially ruined. Then a male voice met my ears, and I shrugged. Dad was finally home.

My father was even more religious than my mother, which wasn’t exactly surprising. He was a tall man with graying black hair and straight white teeth, and was apparently attractive as a young man, although I never believed mother when she told me. He didn’t like music, art or anything creative, so when I was five and had asked to start ballet, he had scoffed and told me to ‘stop being so silly’. It was at the age of eleven that I had realised where I had got my charming attitude and charisma.

 

I knew that if I didn’t go and check on them dad would begin to slip into his impatient mood, if he wasn’t already, so I straightened up and clicked my fingers softly, waiting for Lucky to respond. After thirty seconds or so, I heard the gentle tinkling of her bell, and she appeared beneath the fir tree in the corner of the garden and mewed.

‘Hey, girl,’ I muttered lovingly. ‘Come on, let’s get this over with.’

And, full of dread, I went into the house to face my father.

 

My father wasn’t smiling, as usual. His wrinkled eyes met mine as I sat at the table, waiting for mum to dish up the pasta and the vegetables that were salvageable. I knew that he knew something just from the steely gaze I received from his hazel eyes. I began to wonder if those eyes had ever held any warmth in them, and if he had ever given anyone a loving glance in his life. We sat in silence as mother placed the plates before us, and instinctively I resisted the urge to grab my knife and fork and shovel the food down, purely because I wanted to know what my father had to say.

It was a painful moment hung in the air before they started to pray, with me muttering the words inaudibly to make it seem as if I was accepting the religion. I wasn’t. The torture of their droning voices was short-lived, though, and soon enough I was eating the soft mush that was the over-cooked pasta. It had a disgusting texture, but it was food and I was hungry, which is always the perfect combination. I distracted myself from the food by listening to the conversation that was going on between my parents.

‘The school called me earlier,’ my father said, his tone rising slightly towards the end of his sentence. ‘They wanted to discuss Lovisa’s behaviour this year.’

‘Really?’ mother seemed surprised. ‘Has it improved?’

‘Not exactly. Sister Jones’ exact words were “she is an ignorant, selfish child and doesn’t understand the simple terms of Christianity and when she is being punished.” She told me that Lovisa had been in detention three times a week on average, and it hadn’t made a difference. Also, she seems to have influenced that Tania girl, who’s started to get into trouble, too, which is such a shame. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised with what I’ve been told about our daughter.’ I realised he was speaking as if I wasn’t there. ‘She’s always been a trouble.’

‘She hasn’t always,’ mum seemed to have begun to defend me, but then it took a turn for the worst. ‘It was after Rosa had met her she started to be an ignorant atheist. She doesn’t understand the pleasures religion can offer.’

That was the last straw for me. 

I stood up, fuming with anger, and slammed my knife and fork on the table, startling them both.

‘No.’

Dad looked at me confusedly, so I repeated myself. ‘No.’

‘What do you mean, no?’ he asked me, his steely eyes darkening.

‘I mean I haven’t started this since I met Rosa. I’ve always, always hated your stupid religion. It’s ridiculous. Praising a supposed being that none of you have seen or spoken to in your lives. It’s all rubbish, every single little part of it, including both of you!’

Mother started to speak, but I interrupted her.

‘No. Don’t try to convince me that confessing my sins will stop this, that God will still accept me if I accept that he’s real, because he’s not.He never was, and never will be. Rosa was right. You should’ve respected her more, she was so much better than both of you.’

With that, I pushed my chair backwards, and walked away. I ignored the scraping of the other two chairs, the hurried footsteps that came towards me. My heart was pumping in my chest, making my ears ring. As I heard them both near me, I turned around. I couldn’t focus on their faces for a second, instead staring at the metallic name tag on dad’s chest that read ‘Howard Jiae’. It was scratched and dirty, unlike the gleam of my mother’s. Hers read ‘Lynne, Head of Finance’, which was her new job.

‘Get away from me,’ I started calmly, moving my gaze up to meet theirs. ‘And stay away from me. By tomorrow, Lucky and I will be gone. My things will have gone, my room almost empty, and you can rent the room out to students and earn some extra money. If you can accept one tiny little thing about me, let it be that I’m leaving tonight, and hopefully never returning.’

Their faces were stunned, and even my father was speechless. A trick of the eye may have taught me that a single tear had formed in the corner of my mum’s eye, but I shook the thought away.  She would never be capable of that much affection towards me, I told myself as I turned away from them and walked into my bedroom, closing the door behind me. It was five minutes before I heard them shuffle away.

I sat on my bed, sighing, hands shaking. I always shake after and during an argument, but there was never a rational explanation for it. The phone clasped between my palms was covered in sweat, and I took in a deep, ragged breath and let out the anger and emotions held within me in one single flow of tears. I punched the pillow behind me, letting out short burst of air before lobbing the phone across the room and burying my head in my hands. What have I done? I thought desperately. I can’t go back on it now, not when I spoke to them like that. They would never forgive me. Why have I done that, I’ve ruined everything. My whole childhood. I should be happy that I’m leaving, and that I’ll never see those horrible people again. They’ve forced me into a whole world when I was unwilling; Christianity was never something I wanted to participate in. I’ve had so many nightmares and scares in this bed that have been unanswered. So why don’t I want to leave? I know the answer, but I just don’t want to believe it. I won’t believe it. I won’t, I won’t I won’t. Not now, not ever. These thoughts need to get out of my head. It’s decided; I’m leaving, and I’m never coming back.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the vibrating of my phone, slightly muted by the purple carpet. I didn’t feel like texting anyone, but when it vibrated for a second time, and then a third time, I stood up and knelt on the floor, looking for the annoying mass of technology. After several more buzzes, I groped under my shelves and clasped the vibrating object, and looked at the screen. Tania’s name and contact picture was flashing, signaling that she was calling. Just as I was about to press the ‘accept’ button, the screen went black, then it flashed up again. She never can leave me alone for two minutes, I thought with a smile, despite my mood. It was Tania’s kind, caring and accepting nature that made her so likeable. I answered the call, attempting to brighten up my voice slightly.

‘Hey, Tan.’

‘Don’t “Hey, Tan” me. You’ve been ignoring your texts and calls. What’s wrong?’ her voice was urgent and panicked, which was to be expected. I was never one to ignore my phone, and the only times I did was during the rare occasions I had been either ill or upset.

‘Nothing, I think. Apart from the fact that I had a massive argument with mum and dad…,’ I mumbled, faltering slightly when I felt a lump in my throat.

‘And what happened?’ she asked. ‘Come on, Lovisa, I’m not stupid. You have to tell me what happened.’

‘I told them that I was leaving.’

‘What?’

‘I told them that I was leaving with Lucky, and hopefully never coming back.’

‘I don’t believe you. Tell me you’re joking,’ I could tell that she was having difficulty coming to terms with what I was telling her. 

‘I would, but I can’t. I’m going to leave, because I can’t go back on it now. They’d hate me, just as much as I hate them,’ I took a deep breath. ‘They insulted Rosa, what else could I do?’

I heard her sigh; she was silent for a few seconds. ‘So what do you want me to do?’

‘I don’t want you to do anything. I would like for you to try and see if I could stay with you for a few days, until I manage to sort everything out,’ I explained. ‘But only if you want to.’

‘I’ll see what I can do,’ she reassured me, and then the line went dead.

 

I told myself that I didn’t have any more time to reflect on what I had done. I needed to pack up, and quickly. I didn’t want to spend any more time than I had to in that house, especially after what I had done. Lucky had nestled herself on my pillow, so I set about opening my suitcase, a lot earlier than I had hoped.

 

It didn’t take me long to shove my many pairs of jeans, skirts and shirts into the case, along with my necessary toiletries and makeup. I decided against taking my hair straighteners, because I knew Tania had some that were probably much better than my own. I suddenly realized how petty I sounded; I was actually taking my time to contemplate whether I should take my hair products with me. I shook my head and turned my attention to how I was going to go about taking Lucky and her belongings with me, finally agreeing with myself that the Browns will probably have a spare cat bed, so I just packed her spare collar and bowls. At the sound of the bell on her spare collar, Lucky lifted her head, giving me a confused look as she mewed softly. I found myself talking to her.

 

‘I know, girl. It won’t be long, then we’ll be out of here,’ I muttered, scratching behind her ears. At that moment, my phone buzzed again, reminding me of the charger plugged into the wall beside my bed. The bed that I hadn’t even gotten to sleep in. The bed in which I had cried myself to sleep in for so many nights, the same bed that had been there during my first sleep over with Tania. It held so many memories, just the same as the rest of my room. Before I started tearing up, I grabbed the charger and answered the phone as I thrust it in my bag, because I couldn’t be bothered to open my suitcase again.

 

‘Hey, Tan,’ I answered the phone, not even bothering to look at the caller ID.

‘Hi, Lovisa,’ a male voice greeted me, surprising me for a second, before I realized it was Luca. ‘Tania’s on her way.’

‘Oh, okay,’ I sighed, hoping that she was going to be quick. ‘How long ago did she leave?’

‘Just now, but she told me to call you because she’s running, I think she knows how much you want to get out of there.’

‘Thanks, Luca,’ I thanked him, and wandered over to the window, opening it. ‘How’s your first evening back been?’

‘Not too interesting. I’ve been learning how to play guitar,’ his voice was layered with pride. He’d wanted to start learning for a while. ‘I’m not going to ask you about yours, it seems quite self explanatory. Although we have some pizza waiting for you here, so you might want to be quick!’

‘That sounds good. Make sure you save me a slice,’ I laughed. Then, I heard the sound of footsteps on the gravel and the distinct panting that belonged to Tania. She appeared at my window a second later, her face flushed red and her wig slightly askew. ‘I’ve got to go, Luca. I’ll be there soon.’

I hung up and grabbed Tania’s arms, pulling her up and over the window sill. She stumbled to the bed, collapsing on it, much to the displeasure of Lucky. I chuckled, before heaving Lucky’s carrier onto the bed and opened it. She mewed in protest when I picked her up and put her in it, but other than that, she didn’t put up much of a fight.

 

Tania stood up, smoothing her shirt down before grabbing the handle of my case. I was tempted to help her, but she didn’t like people thinking that she was weak just because of her cancer. On the contrary, she was the strongest person I knew. She lifted it and threw it over the window sill, beckoning for me to follow her. I hesitated, and then shook my head.

 

‘I’m going to leave them a note,’ was all I said to her, and she nodded.

 

I walked over to my desk, and pulled out my note pad and a black pen. Leaning over, I stared at the page, willing for some words to form in my head instead of the tears that were beginning to form in my eyes.

 

Mum and Dad.

I’m sorry it had to go like that. I’d always pictured my leaving to be much less hostile and aggressive. But the way you insulted Rosa like that, the way you always insult her, even when you know she was the only person I actually liked in our twisted, messed up family. I can’t stand that anymore.

I just feel like I don’t belong here. I don’t care if you suss out where I’m going; I know you’re not going to bother to come and find me. You must be smart enough to know that I don’t want to be here anymore.

I’m sorry nothing worked out the way you wanted.

Give my love to Jamie, although I’ll probably visit him soon.

Goodbye.

 

The mentioning of my brother towards the end of the letter started a new wave of tears that I sniffed back, folding the note and leaving it on the pillow. It wasn’t my pillow anymore, it was theirs. I was struggling to accept that, so I turned away so that I didn’t have to think about it. I passed the carrier to Tania, and clambered out of the window. She pulled the window closed, sighing and adjusting her wig slightly.

 

Muttering a final goodbye to my childhood, I walked away slowly, alongside my best friend. She rested a comforting hand on my shoulder, and I sighed. It was all over. I had a new life ahead of me, with Tania and Luca and who knows what else.

 

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